Gaming laptops generally fall into two categories based on their size, which is usually 15.6 and 17.3 inches. The larger laptops offer more space for extra cooling, but they can be so large that its difficult to move them around. The Acer Nitro 5, at 15.6-inches, is surprisingly svelte (especially for the price), but even then it is still 1.1-inches thick and weighs just under 6 lbs.

One of the easiest ways to save some cost is on the chassis, and the Acer Nitro 5 is made completely out of plastic. What the company has done to improve the look and feel though is to incorporate a faux carbon fibre weave into the design, which covers the top of the laptop, as well as the keyboard deck. It provides some much-needed texture on the top of the laptop, and provides a nice look and feel to the device without being too over-the-top. For contrast, there’s a red hinge bar, and the keyboard backlighting is red as well. Due to the budget nature, there’s also no thin-bezel design that we’ve seen on even some gaming laptops, so this is a large and wide laptop for 15.6-inches of screen space.

The large size does allow Acer to cram in a full keyboard with number pad on the right. 15.6-inch devices with a number pad are kind of a mixed bag though, since the keys tend to get pretty crammed together, and this model is no exception. The lack of a full size zero key also makes transitioning to this number pad less than ideal, but it is there if you need it. The other tradeoff is that it pushes the rest of the keyboard off center. Acer also commits a faux pas by putting the power button in the keyboard, which means you may accidentally turn off the computer while typing, although this is mitigated by it being above the number pad and not near the keys you’d use most of the time.

As for key feel, this is another area where Acer has saved some room on the bill of materials. The keyboard doesn’t offer very much travel, and the keys are quite slippery and don’t offer much tactile response either. With gaming laptops offering quite a bit more Z height than something like an Ultrabook, it would be nice to see a keyboard with a bit more travel here.

Luckily the same can’t be said of the trackpad, which is a generous size without being unwieldly, and the trackpad offers an incredibly smooth surface, and detects taps, two-finger scrolling, and more, with zero issues. Considering the sad state of trackpads on many laptops, this was unexpected considering the value segment Acer is targeting.

Acer offers two USB 2.0 ports on the right side, coupled with the barrel power connector and headset jack, and the left side offers a Type-C USB 3.1 Gen1 port, along with a USB 3.0 Type-A, HDMI, and an SD card reader. The RJ45 connector has a hinged section on the bottom to allow it to expand to full size when a network cable is plugged in. It can be a bit of a struggle to get the connector back out again though, but if you’re using the laptop on a desk, it’s still worth having the Gigabit connection.

Overall the design is very nice. The low-end material for the chassis is spruced up with the carbon-fibre look, and the chassis itself doesn’t flex or bend at all if you pick it up on one size. The Acer Nitro 5 doesn’t offer the premium look and feel of some of the top gaming systems, but it also doesn’t come with their price tag.

Introduction System Performance
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  • evolucion8 - Sunday, February 17, 2019 - link

    Compared as against Vega 10? Typo on the article lol. And there had been many other laptops with RX GPUs, like the Asus GL702ZC with an RX 580, the Acer Predator 500 with Vega 56, the HP Omen with an Intel CPU but an RX 580, not as widely adopted as the Intel/Nvidia combo but going onto the right direction. Hope you guys can review the AMD powered Predator 500 which is impressive!
  • Brett Howse - Sunday, February 17, 2019 - link

    Vega 10 is the iGPU on the Ryzen 7 2700U in the Acer Swift 3.
  • eva02langley - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

    Big, bulky, unattractive...

    Thanks Acer... when will you understand that we want THIN FORMAT laptops with APU for production and office work ABLE to game at 720p?

    Man, my only hope is the 3700u is actually part of the upcoming MS surface.
  • GreenReaper - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

    If you want that, you might not want Acer. Try a more upmarket brand. Of course they might go with Intel because it still has the edge on single-threaded performance at a particular power level. A chunky laptop with good cooling is one of the cases where Ryzen makes the most sense.

    But there are now things like the Lenovo IdeaPad 720S:
    and the Huawei Matebook D:

    Notebookcheck found some good things about the IdeaPad w/2500U:
    The 2700U, slightly more:
    But not as much as the Intel alternative:
    Basically poor thermals and single-channel DIMM killed it. The Matebook allegedly has dual-channel.

    I would suggest waiting until the 3xxx and maybe even until 7nm comes out for it (yes, I know that's probably another year, but you might get Navi and AV1 decode as well, arguably worth the wait).
  • Ford_Prefect - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

    Kinda of regret buying this now, as ASUS is gearing up to release TUF FX705 and FX505 models with Ryzen 5 3550H processors. The latter of which has a 120 mhz display option.
  • Ford_Prefect - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

  • 0ldman79 - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    When you factor in that random bug on Skylakes (could be on later models as well, just can't confirm) where the uncore draws 6W at idle for no reason at all the low usage power consumption difference effectively disappears.

    Reboot the Skylake machine and the issue goes away, but you have to actually notice it in order to do that. Your average user probably isn't watching Core Temp and the power draw while using the laptop.
  • Gasaraki88 - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    For some reason this review is very confusing and pointless? The charts just have random laptops on them, not all the laptops appear in all charts, the laptops tested are all random, some are cheap, some are very expensive, so what's the point? You have to have a standard to compare, you can't just throw random laptops together. Are you comparing similar priced laptops? Are you comparing 'gaming' laptops? Are you comparing laptops that weight similar? Are you comparing laptops with similar wattage cpus?

    We know that a $2000 laptop is going to be faster than a $1000 one.
  • ballsystemlord - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    Spelling and grammar corrections:

    So what do you if you need more performance, particularly GPU performance?
    Missing do.
    So what do you do if you need more performance, particularly GPU performance?

    We've reached out to Acer and AMD to confirm the TDP settings, but as you'll see below this Ryzen 5 2500U performs well ahead of other we have tested.
    Other whats?

    Luckily the battery life is probably not that big...
    Missing comma
    Luckily, the battery life is probably not that big...
  • JamesALang - Monday, March 4, 2019 - link

    I am very glad to be here.This is very interesting and give us great information in this blog. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful information PCM dumps with us. I want to visit again.

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