Home Computing Acer Nitro 5 (2019) review: A great budget-conscious laptop, at least for the moment

Acer Nitro 5 (2019) review: A great budget-conscious laptop, at least for the moment

by techadopters

Acer’s latest Nitro 5 shows you just how affordable gaming laptops have become. Last year we reviewed the 2018 version of the Acer Nitro 5, which promised a great entry-level gaming experience for a mere $800 or so—cheaper even than some entry-level desktops I’ve built.

Now 2019’s Nitro 5 (available at Best Buy) has come across my desk, touting the usual annual upgrades. That means slightly more than usual though, as we’ve had both CPU and GPU generation changes this year. What can $800 buy you in 2019? Is it actually good enough for a modern gamer-on-the-go? Let’s find out.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best gaming laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested. 

Variants

We took a look at the $830 Nitro 5, which features an Intel Core i5-9300H clocked at 2.4GHz, an Nvidia GTX 1650, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a 128GB SSD boot drive.

It’s not quite the most expensive Nitro 5, but it’s close. There’s also an $880 version that’s almost identical, except it trades the dual-drive storage solution for a single 500GB SSD. It’s up to you whether that’s worth the extra dough, though I’d argue the answer is yes.

Acer Nitro 5 (2019) IDG / Hayden Dingman

Then there are a variety of less expensive Nitro 5s. At the very bottom is a $670 variant with an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor, AMD Radeon RX560X graphics, 8GB of DDR4, and a 1TB hard drive (but no SSD). There’s also a split-gen version that combines a Core i5-9300U with Nvidia’s older GTX 1050, sitting at $730.

It’s complicated, but honestly the version Acer sent us is probably the most balanced kit—though as I said, that 500GB SSD is tempting.

Design

The Nitro 5 may not be the sleekest or most attractive laptop, but it doesn’t feel cheap either—a common pitfall for budget laptops. The faux-brushed metal lid looks higher-end than it is, though one touch dispels the illusion. This laptop is very plastic. Still, it’s a stealthy way to improve the Nitro 5’s standing from a distance. And while I’m not in love with the red-and-black color scheme, which just screams “Gaming Laptop,” the jewel-tone variant used here is eye-catching and slightly less garish than the norm.

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