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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  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, February 16, 2019 - link

    Unfortunately, it looks like the ColorMunki's price has gone way up and its software may not be reliable with Windows 10. Reply
  • GreenReaper - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

    It'll probably go on sale at some point and you can buy it then. I never even installed the software, just DisplayCal. Reply
  • Brett Howse - Saturday, February 16, 2019 - link

    You can't calibrate when the backlight won't do sRGB. There's no way to get more blue out of the light than is available. All calibration would do is lead to some pretty extensive crushing. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, February 17, 2019 - link

    I read too quickly and thought you meant the panel had excessive coverage in the blue range. I see that it's the opposite. Usually with cheap laptop screens a very low contrast ratio accompanies strong sRGB undercoverage. A ratio of over 1000 is surprising for a screen with such poor gamut.

    Some undercoverage of sRGB can still really benefit from calibration, as seen here in the greens:

    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/viewsonic_vx24...
    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/asus_ms246h.ht...
    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/benq_ew2420.ht...

    However, if it is severe as this laptop's is, then it's probably not worth the trouble.
    Reply
  • GreenReaper - Monday, February 18, 2019 - link

    Our eye responds more to green light, so I guess it's one way to easily boost perceived brightness and hence contrast ratios (as long as there isn't too much leakage as well).

    Calibration makes the crappy TN screen on my Lenovo X120e look a heck of a lot better, even if it's obviously not as good as my other displays - reasonably consistency within its coverage area is key.
    Reply
  • Arbie - Friday, February 15, 2019 - link

    Saying that one thing is "100% faster" than another means it is twice as fast. You do this repeatedly, where what you meant is "100% as fast". The two are wildly different. Reply
  • Brett Howse - Friday, February 15, 2019 - link

    Appreciate the feedback and updating the wording. Reply
  • LMonty - Saturday, February 16, 2019 - link

    I'm glad Brett is confident enough to appreciate valid corrections. :) Many tech writers ignore comments like this or even deny them. Reply
  • Brett Howse - Saturday, February 16, 2019 - link

    I wrote one thing while meaning another - I always appreciate constructive feedback! Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, February 15, 2019 - link

    At first glance - looks like decent budget gaming option. Looking closer:

    1. WTF is up with single-channel AMD notebooks? It literally HALVES APU performance in some games and significantly nerfs most other CPU operations. If you still have access to this laptop, please consider tossing in another stick of RAM.

    2. That IPS display *shudder*. At what point does it even matter if it's going to be of such low quality? Also, why not FreeSync?

    3. What's up with the 1060 and 1050 on the gaming charts dramatically switching positions? Are there some throttling issues at play?
    Reply

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