Design

Acer has tweaked the design of the Nitro 5 for this year, offering a cleaner look than the outgoing model. The 15.6-inch display offers a “narrow-bezel” design, although really that is only on the sides. For this kind of price, Acer is not going to be able to compete with the thinnest and lightest laptops out there, plus as a gaming-focused system, offering a bit more space for components and cooling is crucial. The chassis features an aluminum keyboard deck and aluminum top veneered to the plastic chassis. The display lid is quite flimsy, but the hinge looks and feels robust. The underside features four nice sturdy rubber feet, and lots of cooling, but the plastic feels inexpensive. If you are after an entry-level gaming laptop, you are always going to compromise something, and the chassis is one of the low-points of this device, even though it is a step up from the previous generation

15.6-inch laptops sometimes offer number pads included, often at the expense of the rest of the keyboard, and that is the case here as well. To fit a number pad you really need to step up to a 17.3-inch device, or better yet, a separate USB device if needed, as the arrangement is decidedly non-standard. The keyboard also features the power button, which is generally a poor design, but acceptable here since it is over the number pad and less likely to be accidentally pressed. The keys themselves are reasonably, with good resistance and travel. On the low-end system, there is only one color for the backlighting, although some models of the Nitro 5 do offer 4-zone RGB backlighting. Acer also does not activate the backlighting when using the trackpad, which is not ideal, since you can’t activate the keyboard to see where the keys are in a dark room.

For the trackpad, Acer is using a plastic design with Precision Touchpad drivers. For a plastic touchpad, it is quite responsive, although not as nice to use as a glass trackpad on more premium products. If you were gaming on this system, you would likely want to hook up a USB mouse regardless.

For cooling, Acer has a quad-exhaust with intakes on the bottom and sides.

The left side offers up two USB 3.0 ports, a headset jack, and the RG-45 port, which is a half-height port that expands when needed to keep the design ethos intact. On the right, there is HDMI, along with a third USB 3.0 port, and the USB-Type C port. Although the number of ports are great, their placement is quite far forward in the chassis, which may be an issue for cable management depending on your setup. Acer has moved the barrel power connector to the back of the unit, which is great since it is easy to keep the power cord out of the way. It would have been nice to see that accompanied by some USB or video ports as well, in case you ever wanted to dock the laptop with rear connections, but once again, for a budget-focused design, you can not have everything.

Overall, the new design is similar to the previous one, with heavy use of plastics to keep costs down, and compared to more premium designs, such as Acer’s Triton 500, you can clearly feel the impact of Acer targeting a lower price bracket, but if you wanted a gaming system on a budget, the correct place to save money would be the chassis design, so despite the shortcomings, they are expected, and a key factor in keeping the Nitro 5 in the price range it lives in.

Introduction System Performance: AMD Renoir H
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  • cfenton - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    The screen is such a big compromise on a laptop. I wish there was an option to pay a bit more and get something decent.

    I know it's kind of weird, but this looks like it would make a decent HTPC. It has lots of power and a new GPU for media playback.
    Reply
  • ingwe - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    Yeah this screen makes it DOA to me. Such a shame they cut that corner as it really separates a decent laptop from a great laptop. Reply
  • edzieba - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    Seriously, 61% sRGB? How on earth do you even FIND an IPS display with primaries that far off?! Reply
  • Otritus - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    I recall an entry level laptop with amd having a 38% sRGB 60hz 1080p 15.6 in screen. That's more inaccurate than not! Reply
  • meacupla - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    Consumers need to realize that panel type ≠ inferred quality

    Very high quality TN panels have good enough color reproduction, but still not great viewing angles.
    Very poor quality IPS panels look like garbage, and look like garbage at any angle.
    Reply
  • meacupla - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    Just to be clear I don't mean to let Very poor quality TN panels off the hook either.

    Very poor TN panels have extremely awful color reproduction, but are also combined with atrocious viewing angles that invert colors inside of 50cm viewing distances.

    So, as awful as this IPS panel is, it's still infinitely better than an equally very low cost/quality TN panel.
    Reply
  • sonny73n - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - link

    I just got an laptop for less than $780. To my surprise, its IPS display has no backlight leaks even in the dark. I won't mention the brand because some of you may start the politic bullshit but here's the specs:
    Ryzen 4700U, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIE SSD, 14" 1080p 100% sRGB display, fingerprint sensor on the power button and backlit keyboard.

    The companies behind those brands that allowed to sell in the US must've thought that most consumers are pretty stupid - all their midrange and budget devices are garbage.
    Reply
  • DiHydro - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - link

    Toshiba Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    I bought an Intel version of this laptop last year - paid $550, so it was the lowest end model and I'm certain had this same display. The screen isn't that bad - much better than other laptops I had looked at. In fact, I had originally purchased an HP budget gaming laptop on black Friday, but the TN screen was so horrible I had to return it. By comparison this screen was awesome. I'm real picky about screens - my normal driver is a Dell Mobile Precision with an expensive color calibrated display. This screen was not as good, but I have no problems with it. Reply
  • lightningz71 - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    I wish that the 1650ti version was available for testing as well. I've seen a few comparison benchmarks online, but not as rigorously done as these.

    Also, it looks like the 4800h version with the 1650ti and improved screen might be a decent foundation for a long term machine. Being able to add a 2.5 inch ssd as a boot drive, and then get two fast NVME drives to raid together to hold the game files, you could have a convincing mobile machine for the new titles coming out for the next console generation. It would be able to keep up with the higher data throughput demands, have 8 real cores, and a similar amount of memory, just no ray tracing.
    Reply

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