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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  • IBM760XL - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    This is the sort of configuration that, had it been available a couple years ago, probably would have resulted in me buying an AMD laptop instead of a hex-core Intel. Along with the powerful CPU, it has an adequate GPU, a good keyboard layout (notably the arrow keys), a plastic chassis (which I prefer on the exterior to metal, although metal core + plastic exterior is best), and a port selection that is so 2017 (again a plus for me). Not to mention upgradable memory and storage.

    I'd be a little bit distrustful of the build quality of an Acer, but have to admit my mate's Acer with a 1070 has held up surprisingly well, so to save a few hundred bucks by going with this one instead of the simlar MSI + Intel that I did go with... it would have be tempting.

    Screen, meh. It's 1080p and IPS in its size segment, which is about all I'm going to ask for. Wouldn't pay $330 for Ti + 144 Hz.
    Reply
  • ads295 - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - link

    For what it's worth, we have 4 Acer notebooks in our household. Oldest one is 5+ years old and youngest is less than 1. All of them are doing pretty well. Reply
  • isthisavailable - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - link

    Will we ever see a laptop with H series processor and no GPU? Reply
  • lefty2 - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - link

    Why is there no review of the noise emissions? Reply
  • Brett Howse - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - link

    It's in the thermals section. 53 dB(A) measured at sustained load. Reply
  • lefty2 - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - link

    But what about noise level at idle / low work loads? Reply
  • Brett Howse - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - link

    Also in the text of the review... no noise at low load. Reply
  • Muzeem - Saturday, October 10, 2020 - link

    can u review hp pavilion gaming 15 ec ryzen 4000 models Reply
  • Shmee - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - link

    How hard is it to take apart / upgrade? Since the drive is fairly small capacity, this would be important IMO. Also how many SODIMM slots are there? Reply
  • lakedude - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    On my Nitro 5 there are doors on the back for memory and SSD access but this might have changed. Mine shipped with a m.2 SSD installed, leaving the bay empty for a 2.5 inch. Once again this might have changed by now. Reply

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