Acer Nitro 5 - Performance and Verdict

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Acer Nitro 5 – Performance

The £899 model I’ve reviewed, the Nitro 5 AN515-51, is powered by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. That’s the same as the bottom-spec Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming and Asus ROG STRIX GL553. All three can be upgraded to the more powerful GTX 1050 Ti, which benefits from extra cores and a faster clock speed.

The GTX 1050 will play most Triple-A games at High graphics settings on the Nitro’s 1080p screen. It ran through Tomb Raider’s high-quality benchmark with an average of 45fps, and handled its Very High settings at 34fps. In Shadow of Mordor it averaged 43fps.

Only the toughest games will prove too much for this GPU, but the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming’s GTX 1050 Ti is quicker. That machine ran Tomb Raider’s High settings at 50fps, and it managed 53fps in Shadow of Mordor. The Asus was one frame slower in Tomb Raider but three frames faster in Shadow of Mordor.

The Nitro 5 is powered by a Core i5-7300HQ processor, which is another mid-range component. It’s got four cores but no Hyper-Threading, and it runs at 2.5GHz. It’s the same chip as the Asus, but a step behind the Dell’s Core i7 silicon.

Benchmarks illustrate the gap between the chips. The Acer’s weaker single-core speed saw its Geekbench single-core result of 3658 fall behind the Dell by around 500 points and the Acer by about 300 points, and it was behind both machines in the multi-tasking test too –  3000 points behind in the Dell’s case.

The Acer has enough pace to handle games as well as video and photo editing, but the Nitro isn’t helped by some of its peripheral components. The SSD’s read and write speeds of 539MB/s and 424MB/s are entirely ordinary, and the 8GB of DDR4 memory is arranged in a single-channel configuration, so it’s always going to be slower than a pair of 4GB sticks.

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The four-cell battery can’t compete with its rivals. The Acer’s power pack lasted for three hours and 38 minutes in the standard benchmark, which is par for the course on a gaming machine, and it then handled 90 minutes of intensive gaming with the screen at full brightness. It’s a few minutes short of the Asus’ figure, but it’s not even half of what the Dell can manage.

At least the Acer never presented any thermal issues. The Nitro remained quieter than most gaming notebooks through every benchmark and stress-test, and its peak CPU and GPU temperatures of 82°C and 59°C are no concern. The exterior remained cool, too.

The £899 Acer that I’ve reviewed is the cheapest Nitro 5 model, which means it’s a step behind the GTX 1050 Ti graphics core. However, two different models are available. Spend an extra £100 and you’ll net a version with a Core i7 processor to match the Dell, and another £100 on top of that will add the GTX 1050 Ti graphics chip.

Should I Buy the Acer Nitro 5?

The Acer’s GTX 1050 GPU and Core i5 processor are easily fast enough for 1080p gaming and general-purpose computing, but both of its rivals are quicker: the similarly-priced Asus is marginally faster, while the top-spec Dell is a larger step ahead, although you do pay for that.

 

The Acer’s components sit inside a well-built, good-looking case that has a solid selection of ports.

Unfortunately, the lower price comes with a few issues. It’s nice to see an IPS screen, but it’s a bit cold and has poor sRGB coverage, while battery life is underwhelming.

The Asus and Dell machine’s don’t necessarily solve these common issues, but they both do sneak ahead of the Acer: the former laptop is a little cheaper and just as solid in most departments, while the pricier Dell is better-built and faster.

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Verdict

The Nitro 5 is a reasonable mid-range laptop, and while it doesn’t push the sub-£1000 gaming laptop category any further forward, it’s a sensible choice for someone looking for a portable powerhouse.

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