Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55-53E5 Review
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55-53E5 gaming laptop boasts strong performance, a comfortable keyboard and a bright IPS panel, but its display is dull and battery life would be better.
- Bright display
- Comfortable keyboard
- Strong performance and graphics
- Mediocre battery life
- Dull display
The Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55-53E5 gaming laptop is designed for the budget-minded gamer who doesn’t have tons of money to invest in a gaming notebook. Starting at under $1000 for the model we’re reviewing, this is a value gaming laptop that can run most games, but don’t expect it to fire Cyberpunk 2077 and other demanding games at the highest settings.
Ideal for entry-level gamers, the Acer Nitro 5 expands your options for an affordable gaming laptop that can handle gaming at 1080p and when not playing, you can run productivity tasks with ease, too. For a fact, it does deliver more for less, especially when stacked against other gaming laptops with similar hardware.
Our review unit rocks an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card and a mid-tier 10th generation Intel Core i5-10300H processor, then rounds up everything with a user-controllable dual-fan cooling system, a Full HD 15.6-inch IPS screen and a keyboard that’s comfortable enough to play on for hours on end.
With its combination of a low asking price, fairly powerful specs and a solid feature set overall, the Acer Nitro 5 is undoubtedly one of the best value laptops you can buy out there. Of course, Acer made some sacrifices to make this machine affordable, but none affect the laptop’s overall performance enough to matter, especially when you consider how much you’re saving.
That said, if your budget can stretch a bit and have a thing for newer components, Acer has since updated its Nitro 5 line with a late 2022 model that should be future-proof for a few years to come. We’re talking of the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58-725A, that builds on the success of its predecessors to offer even better gaming performance.
This newer Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58-725A (2022 model) features a refreshed design over the plain, red-themed design of the original Acer Nitro 5, and it gets even more powerful thanks to a 12th generation Intel Core i-12700H processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, a 15.6-inch 144Hz 3ms IPS display, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage. That’s a lot of computer for a few hundred dollars more. Otherwise, if you’re on a tight budget, the Nitro 5 AN515-55-53E5 remains terrific value for entry-level gaming.
Acer Nitro 5 Specs
- Laptop Class: Gaming
- CPU: Intel Core i5-10300H
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop GPU
- RAM: 8GB DDR4
- Screen: 15.6″ FHD 144Hz IPS
- Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD
- Weight: 5.07 pounds
- Size: 14.31 x 10.04 x 0.94 inches
When it comes to looks and feel, there’s a lot to be desired with the Acer Nitro 5. That doesn’t mean it’s boring or bland – in fact, there are some winnings to appreciate here.
Nonetheless, we like the minimalist gamer look, with red trimmings on the keyboard, backlight and trackpad as well as the upper rear bar. The display hinges are sturdy and secure, and the available number of ports is a boon.
Beyond that, there’s nothing to write home about the Acer Nitro 5 design. The screen lid, for example, is made of cheap plastic, and the area around the keyboard track picks fingerprints like crazy, and the screen has almost an inch of bezels around it. Port options include the latest USB 3.2 Type C, another USB 3.2 Gen 2 (with power off charging), two USB 3.2, one HDMI 2.0 and an Ethernet port.
Display, Camera & Sound
The Acer Nitro 5 sports a 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 display which is a mixed bag. On one side, it lets you enjoy gaming on a bright panel clocked it at 144Hz refresh rate, bit on the other hand, it spoils the show with middling colors.
For sure, you can load up Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and cruise though the sprawling fields of England, but the greens and yellows of the land look fairly washed out. However, that’s not to say it looks extremely bad, especially when you climb into dark areas, since you’re guided by the bright display throughout the game. Again. The high refresh rate makes combat much better, especially when you turn down the graphics settings.
In tests, the Nitro 5 covers only 45.7% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is below the budget gaming laptop average of 52%. Still, the Acer Nitro 5 is slightly more colorful than the competing MSI Katana GF66 (44.2%), but the HP Victus 16 (77.3%) is livelier. And, at 316 nits, the Nitro 5 is surprisingly bright for a budget gaming laptop, which is well above the 295-nit average. Once again, it maxes out the MSI Katana GF66 (248 nits), while the HP Victus 15 (358 nits) still leads the pack.
The camera, which records video at 720p 30 fps at its highest setting, is blurry. If you’ll be using it for casual web chats, it’ll be fine, above that, don’t expect high quality imagery here.
Finally, the laptop’s sound is fairly hyped on the high-end and quite echoey, but you can personalize it with the equalizer in the Dolby Audio software. Simply put, it’s another laptop with subpar audio – par for casual gaming, unless you’re Origin.
Keyboard & Trackpad
More reason most of us buy Acer’s Nitro 5s is the keyboard. There’s nothing overly special about it; the symbols are in red, the backlight is also in red, and the WASD keys are emboldened in red paint. Overall, it’s just your typical, middle-of-the-road keyboard. Having said that, we find it very comfortable as well as quite reliable.
You’ll find the keyboard fast and responsive, and you won’t experience any lags, missed presses or accidental presses – during work or play. As for the trackpad, it gives a lot of travel and is quite stiff. While gaming laptop trackpads are frowned upon in PC gaming, especially for FPS, RPG and action games, we expected something better here.
Our review unit for the Acer Nitro 5 has mid-range specs across the board, including the RTX 3050 laptop GPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD and a 144Hz IPS display. That said, the Intel Core i5-10300H CPU is from the previous generation, it doesn’t quite match the 11th Gen CPUs in the computers we compared it against, which include the Acer Predator Helios 300 (Core i7-11800H/RTX 3060), ASUS TUF Dash 15 (Core i7-11370H/RTX 3050 Ti) and the Lenovo Legion 5 (AMD Ryzen 7 5800H/RTX 3050 Ti).
In general, the Acer Nitro 5 is a strong midrange gaming laptop, with good scores in real-world gaming, though not always leading performance across our suite of test games.
As aforementioned, powering the Nitro 5’s gaming engine is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU with 4GB of VRAM. So, what does that mean? Well, with such a graphics engine, you can cruise England’s sprawling countryside at over 53 frames per second in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at Ultra, 1080p settings. And, it means a few other things too.
On the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (High, 1080p), the Acer Nitro 5 averages 36 fps, which is well above the mainstream gaming laptop average (32 fps). Still, it remains behind the Helios 300 (64 FPS) and the Asus TUF Dash 15’s RTX 3050 Ti (41 fps).
On Far Cry New Dawn (Ultra, 1080p), the Nitro 5 once again slides past the category average (60 fps) with 69 fps, again behind the Acer Predator Helios 300 (98 fps) and the Asus TUF Dash 15 (73 fps).
Surprisingly, the Acer Nitro 5’s battery lasts longer than you’d expect of any budget gaming laptop. Overall, gaming laptops are notorious for their bad battery life, and we’re surprised that this guy could crank 4 hours 13 minutes at 50% brightness.
This is partly to the newer energy efficient 10th-generation processor, and the not-so-bright display that doesn’t consume much battery.
Is Acer Nitro 5 AN515 good for gaming?
Yes, the updated 2020 Acer Nitro 5 series is a step-up from the previous generations, but there’s the latest 2022 Acer Nitro 5 AN515 that’s an even more competitive budget and mid-range gaming laptop.
Nonetheless, the Acer Nitro 5 is your ultimate cheap gaming laptop. It primarily has decent performance going for it, but some few other features aren’t ticking for it so well, especially the display, battery life and there are newer models with even better hardware for around the same price.
It’s tough to recommend another cheap gaming laptop because you’ll ultimately pay more, but we can vouch for the Asus TUF Dash 15 (2021) to deliver even better gaming performance thanks to newer hardware (Intel Core i7-11370H, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti) for around the same price. It’s our current Editors’ Choice for budget gaming laptops.
But overall, what the Acer Nitro 5 has going for it the most is its price, so you can save a few bucks while at it, and you can also check our best gaming laptops lists for more recommendations.
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55-53E5 Gaming Laptop | Intel Core i5-10300H | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop GPU | 15.6" FHD 144Hz IPS Display | 8GB DDR4 | 256GB NVMe SSD | Intel Wi-Fi 6 | Backlit Keyboard
$739.00 in stock
6 used from $642.39