Acer designed its Nitro 5 gaming laptops as affordable midrange solutions for gamers. These systems are available in both 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch form factors with various hardware configurations. In this article, I will focus on a larger 17.3-inch model. Acer equipped its Nitro 5 gaming notebooks with a relatively modest feature set compared with other gaming laptops, but that doesn’t stop them from being solid values overall.
The Nitro 5’s exterior is entirely made of plastic. The system’s 1080p display just has a common 60Hz refresh rate and 6-bit color depth. The 17.3-inch model is also rather heavy at 6.6 pounds.
Our sister site PCMag benchmarked a system with an Intel Core i5-9300H processor that has four CPU Hyper-Threaded CPU cores, as well as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics processor with 4GB of RAM. Acer tossed in 8GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. This notebook also has a second M.2 slot that is unoccupied, and there’s room inside the notebook to add a 2.5-inch drive, which makes it easy to add more storage if you feel adventurous enough to take apart the system.
PCMag noted that the laptop’s speakers sounded clear even with the volume maxed out, but like most laptop speakers the ones in this laptop are lacking in bass. Acer opted to mount the Nitro 5’s speakers on the bottom, however, which means that your audio experience will vary greatly depending on how the notebook is positioned and on what type of material. Personally, I absolutely hate it when laptop manufacturers opt to use bottom-mounted speakers, as speakers mounted beside the keyboard offer a significantly better and more consistent audio experience.
PCMag tested this notebook against four other systems. Acer’s Predatory Helios 300 is easily the fastest system tested here and easily holds the lead in every test. Walmart’s Overpowered Gaming Laptop 17+ should have been an easy winner for second place, but, as you will see in a moment, it struggles to outperform the remaining systems in the test group.
The Acer Nitro 5 and the Dell G5 15 SE closely match each other with identical CPU, GPU, and RAM configurations, whereas the Lenovo Legion Y530 is just slightly behind with a slower GPU.
Kicking off the tests with Cinebench R15 sees the Acer Nitro 5 fall into last place. As the Dell and Lenovo systems here use the same CPU, their performance lead over the Acer is likely due to superior cooling. Surprisingly, the Overpowered laptop with its Core i7 processor just barely stays ahead of the slower Core i5s. We see essentially the same results when testing with Photoshop CC.
Things continue to look bleak for the Acer Nitro 5 when we look at the synthetic gaming benchmark results. The Acer Nitro 5 is no longer in last place but instead sits in fourth when tested with Unigine’s Superposition 1.0 test, with the competing Dell system narrowly edging out the Nitro 5.
The results from 3DMark are more mixed with the Acer Nitro 5 and Dell G5 15 SE vying for 3rd place.
In real-world gaming tests, the Acer Nitro 5 performs somewhat better. It claims a clean win for 3rd place in Far Cry 5. It also stays in third place and maintains a healthy lead over the Dell G5 15 Se on Rise of the Tomb Raider when tested with very high graphics settings.
Although the Nitro 5 gaming laptops can’t quite compete with Acer’s more powerful Predator 300 notebooks, it clearly offers fierce competition against Dell’s G5 15 Se. Not only is it competitive in terms of performance, but the Acer Nitro 5 discussed in today’s review sells for $879.99, whereas the Dell G5 15 Se typically retails for $1,018.99.
The Dell is on sale right now for $919.99, but even after that, it’s an extra $40 for a very similar product. As such, I’d recommend the Acer Nitro 5 over its competition based on the current market conditions and performance.