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Acer’s Nitro 5 has long been a gold standard in the affordable gaming laptop nice, offering decent performance at incredibly low prices. If you have around $1,000 to spend on a laptop that can run AAA titles at decent frame rates, then the Nitro lineup was the best choice to consider.
The only downside was they looked and felt heavy and cheap compared with some of the competition. Now, we have some new Acer Nitro 5 machines with 12th gen Intel chips and 2022 Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs, and it seems like it’s the perfect time to give the Nitro 5 a tap with the quality stick.
Our review unit, the Nitro 5 AN515-58-525P packs an Intel Core i5-12500H processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD storage, and a 144Hz IPS display. Its subpar battery life and thick boy limit its portability, but it’s otherwise a capable gaming machine offered at a reasonable price.
About the Acer Nitro 5
Here are the specs of the gaming laptop in this review:
- Processor: Intel Core i5-12500H
- Graphics: Nvidia RTX 3050
- RAM: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Storage: 512GB
- Display: 1920 x 1080p @ 144Hz display
- Ports: 1 x HDMI; 1 x USB-C; 4 x USB-A; 1 x Ethernet; 1 x Headphone jack
- Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
- Webcam: 720p
- Battery: 230 W battery charger
- Weight: 5.51 pounds
- Size: 14.2 x 10.7 x 1.1 inches
This new line of Nitro goes head-to-head with the like of the new Asus TUF Faming F15 and the MSI Thin GF63. That’s some stiff competition, but the Nitro stacks well thanks to a mild design refresh, a capable 12th Gen Core i5 CPU, and a GeForce RTX 3050 GPU. That’s a combination that can deliver very impressive gaming frame rates at Full HD.
Acer has also refreshed the Nitro 5 in terms of build quality. While it hasn’t suddenly decided to start building the Nitro 5 out of machined aluminum, the new model feels and looks less-bargain based than previous models.
What we like
The new look design is cool than ever
The older Acer Nitro 5’s black-and-red aesthetic was starting to feel dated, so a new all-black scheme with subtle colored highlights to replace it is a thrill. It’s just as bulky as before, but that heft gives the hardware enough room to breathe and keep cool when running graphically demanding titles.
When you run Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the bottom of the laptop doesn’t get hot and doesn’t feel uncomfortable on your lap. On the inside, the hardware also stays cool. The fans don’t get loud when playing games, either. Even when running strenuous games like Cyberpunk 2077, the fans aren’t loud enough to make dialogue or louder game sound effects inaudible.
Comfortable keyboard and trackpad
Like previous models of the Nitro 5, the AN515-58-525P comes with a big keyboard, build for serious gaming and typists. Not only are the keys themselves a little bigger than your average laptop keys, but they’re also more well-spaced than usual. The keys themselves offer good depth and depress fine with the perfect amount of force – comfortable on the fingers, but not so delicate that you’ll accidentally press them.
Meanwhile, the trackpad is huge, smooth, and responsive, making for easy screen navigation. Multi-touch gestures consistently register, and the fairly smooth surface offer little friction. Clicks are accurate, although it requires some force to actuate.
If you opt to use an external mouse and keyboard, the Nitro 5 has lots of USB ports to plug peripherals, as well as an HDMI port and an Ethernet port.
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Excellent gaming performance
With its 12th-gen Intel Core i5-12500H and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, the Nitro 5 isn’t the most powerful gaming laptop out there. But that’s one of the sacrifices you make when you fall below $1,000. Still, you should be able to play most games fine, though you’ll have to turn down some settings to get high frame rates.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 is a mainstream GPU created for gaming laptops, that sits right below the RTX 3060 in the performance stack and is seemingly a refreshed upgrade over the GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1650 laptop cards.
With the graduation from GTX into RTX designation, it means the RTX 3050 gets ray tracing and DLSS features, with the latter bringing a big boost into the mobile gaming segment. To put it into perspective, Metro Exodus (Ultra Settings, 1080p) averages 61fps, which is almost at par with the RTX 2060’s average frame rate of 58fps at the same settings.
In Horizon Zero Dawn played at maximum settings at 1080p, the RTX 3050 is pretty much faster than a comparable RTX 2060, delivering a solid 60 fps experience on the native laptop display. With that said, the performance is almost 18 frames behind the medium power configuration of the RTX 3060.
As configured, the AN515-58-525P with an RTX 3050 graphics card faces competition from laptops rocking Nvidia’s line-up. The RTX 3060 GPU in the Acer Predator Helios 300 is much faster, offering ~35% more performance at the same 80W power level, or 50% more when the RTX 3060 is configured at its maximum 115W limit. That’s a much larger margin, considering that MSI GL66 (11UGK-001)’s RTX 3070 is only 20% ahead of the Helios 300’s RTX 3060 GPU.
Finally, any gaming laptop worth its salt should also have some decent productivity chops. The Acer Nitro 5 has a 12th-gen Intel Core i5-12500H CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, which should be more than sufficient for getting a bit of work done when you’re not gaming.
What we don’t like
The display would be brighter
If you’re looking at playing the latest AAA games with breathtaking visuals, the Nitro 5 may not be for you. While the display’s 144Hz refresh rate creates buttery smooth motion in games, the washed-out colors won’t make the action pop.
Measured on a colorimeter, the display’s color output and brightness only reproduce about 60% of the standard RGB color gamut. That means any game you play on the laptop will look dull, and in an age where lots of gaming laptops have exemplary screens that at least cover the entire sRGB gamut, that’s underwhelming.
The Nitro 5’s screen isn’t particularly bright, either. At 282 nits of max brightness, the display is bright enough for a well-lit indoor space, but it may look dark in sunlight. On the other hand, it does have good black levels, s of you stick to gaming indoors, the Nitro 5’s high display contrast gives a lot of depth to visual content.
Subpar battery life
Gaming laptops don’t have a good reputation when it comes to holding a charge, but the Nitro 5 does better than some of its direct competitors. This Acer laptop runs for 4 hours and 33 minutes on a single charge, and that consists of web browsing, light graphics work, and video streaming, all while connected to Wi-Fi with the display set to 150 nits of brightness.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 leads the pack with 8-plus hours of battery life, but that’s a premium gaming laptop that costs almost as double the Nitro 5. Elsewhere, the MSI Pulse GL66 runs for 3:18, while the Asus TUF Gaming runs for almost 7:30, which is recommendable. Gaming laptop as well.
Acer Nitro 5 Review – Verdict
While many people buying gaming laptops will have their eyes set on the most expensive systems out there, Acer continues to deliver for those whose budgets are a bit more restricted. The Acer Nitro 5, like its predecessors, continues to serve as a solid, entry-level offering for folks who want to game on a PC seriously.
Sure, the display and speakers aren’t as great as more expensive options, but they’re competitive with other budget and mid-range laptops. Perhaps the biggest issue is the amount of software Acer has jam-packed on all its Nitro 5s. Some of it’s useful, but in general, it’s bloatware that people buying this laptop won’t need, and may spend a few hours uninstalling.
Overall, the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58-525P is a solid gaming laptop for its price. While you can’t max out the settings on every game and expect it to deliver a stellar performance, you can still get good performance if you turn a few graphical settings down. Also, the display is good enough for gaming at 1080p, we only wish it were a little brighter. Still, if you’re on a budget, you can overlook these shortcomings as this laptop is still very likable as a mid-range gaming machine.
Acer Nitro 5
The Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58-525P is a solid option for affordable gaming thanks to its good performance, updated chassis, and satisfying keyboard; but like most gaming laptops, battery life does little to impress.
- Decent mainstream gaming speed
- Affordable pricing
- Robust, satisfying keyboard
- Plenty of ports and an updated chassis
- Poor battery life
- Other laptops are lighter
Last update on 2023-09-27 at 19:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58-525P Gaming Laptop | Intel Core i5-12500H | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop GPU | 15.6" FHD 144Hz IPS Display | 8GB DDR4 | 512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD | Killer Wi-Fi 6 | Backlit Keyboard
$707.50 in stock