Design

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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  • GreenReaper - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

    People who are just coming here to find a review of a particular laptop may not know that.

    I agree that it would be nice to know for sure if it was stuck in single channel, as I seem to recall that being a criticism of its other AMD model. At the same time it's possible that the impact is less given the separate graphics hardware with 4GB dedicated GDDR5.
    Reply
  • jgraham11 - Thursday, February 21, 2019 - link

    Brett, thank you for commenting back. Bottom line is that when people are choosing a laptop to purchase, most people that don't have an unlimited amount of money or a specific design requirement want to know what they can get with the money they have. By comparing notebooks that are double, triple or more the price and not indicating price so distorts the perception of this product in a negative way. To solve this, label the price of each notebook (you would get crucified for making such outlandish comparisons) or only compare to other notebooks that have a similar price tag.
    If you don't do that, you are supporting an Intel monopoly, please say that isn't the case.
    Reply
  • Annnonymmous - Sunday, February 17, 2019 - link

    It actually shows how much of a bargain this laptop is. Why spend all that money when a bargain bin laptop gets you within a similar level of performance. I own this laptop. It won't disappoint you. Reply
  • Vitor - Friday, February 15, 2019 - link

    Wow, what a dismal ips display. That's depressing actually. Reply
  • niva - Friday, February 15, 2019 - link

    I said to myself:. Wow, finally, an AMD laptop with a good ips display!

    Then I saw the results. It's clear that unless AMD makes their own machines directly, no manufacturer will get it right.
    Reply
  • mr_tawan - Friday, February 15, 2019 - link

    Based on my own experience with Acer's machines. ... This is about just right :P.

    Well I've never come across Acer's machine with good stuffs in it before, they are pretty much all budget-oriented. That said things, might have changed.
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Sunday, February 17, 2019 - link

    I've been saying this same thing for years. AMD has had great notebook chips for awhile, but no OEM takes them seriously. They should partner with sapphire or clevo and build a range of proper Radeon-books or such. Reply
  • michaelflat1 - Thursday, February 21, 2019 - link

    Clevo and MSI are not going to use AMD's 7nm mobile chips on their release.. so we are out of luck on that front.. some budget laptop chinese companies are locked into a contract with intel, they get cheaper chips but not allowed to sell any amd laptops.. only one amd ryzen embedded laptop to come out of china :( (not regarding matebook D)

    If AMD's 7nm goes right hopefully we can get a big OEM onboard, microsoft? Dell? Apple!?! that would probably be dreaming..

    I think the high idle consumption is keeping them out of high end laptops, and stuff like video playback/streaming on youtube has too much of a hit on battery life.. maybe 7nm will fix this (we hope)
    Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    Yep, manufacturers seem to fall into the trap of them being slightly cheaper than Intel/Nvidia parts meaning they have to penny punch every other component. Would be a pretty great system with a decent display, and preferably dual channel memory, though as noted that doesn't choke a CPU much since this has dedicated VRAM. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, February 16, 2019 - link

    It would be useful to see calibrated results. Products like the ColorMunki are not expensive.

    Since the black depth wasn't as bad as some of the other screens here it may be the case where this panel isn't quite so bad with calibration.
    Reply

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