I reviewed the excellent Acer Swift 3 back in February which was one of the first laptops on the market to feature the new AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor with an integrated RX Vega 8 GPU.
The Acer Nitro 5 uses the same CPU, but this budget gaming laptop now has the new Radeon RX 560X GPU which should allow people to play AAA games in 1080p comfortably in medium to high settings.
Currently priced at £599.00 on PC World for their Black Friday sales, but with a usual RRP of £749, this is the currently cheapest gaming laptop PC World have.
The full specification of the laptop includes:
- AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Quad-core Processor – 2.0 GHz / 3.6 GHz
- AMD Radeon RX 560X 4 GB GDDR5
- 8 GB DDR4 (2133 MHz) RAM
- 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
- 6″ Full HD 1920 x 1080p IPS Display
- Dual-band AC WiFi
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- Bluetooth 5.0
- USB Type-C x 1, USB 3.1 x 1, USB 3.0 x 1, USB 2.0 x 2
- Dimensions – 75 x 390 x 266 mm (H x W x D)
- Weight 2.7GK
Design and Build
As far as gaming laptops go I quite like the design of the Acer Nitro 5, it adopts the familiar gaming aesthetics we are used to now, but not excessively so. You don’t get RGB or in your face logos on the outside of the case. Instead, it is a carbon fibre looking design with some red flourishes on the hinges. You should be able to take this into the office for a day's work without looking too much of a gamer geek.
The 15.6-inch format at 2.7KG weight make it reasonable portable too, it can’t compete with the likes of the Dell XPS 15, but these are priced very differently with the XPS 15 being around double the cost.
The 15-inch screen does have quite chunky bezels, but this is to be expected with both gaming laptops and affordable laptops.
It is reasonably thick, but this helps accommodate the cooling system, in particular for the RX 560X GPU. The slightly chunky nature makes basic upgrades and maintenance easier, I don’t like opening up loan samples but it appears you have easy access to the RAM, M.2 port for the SSD, the 2.5” drive bay and even the M.2 port for the Wi-Fi card.
A recommended upgrade would be swapping out the mechanical hard drive for a large SSD, for example the Crucial MX500 500GB currently costs £62 on Amazon. If you are feeling frivolous, the WD Black 250 GB NVMe at £59.99 would be a good upgrade for your boot drive.
The thickness of the laptop gives you a decent number of ports including RJ-45, USB Type C and Type A, as well as an SD card reader and an HDMI port. So, you should be able to set this up on a desk without investing in several adaptors.
Overall, considering the price, the design and build quality are excellent.
Keyboard & TrackPad
When you open up the Acer and power it up you will be greeted by a bright red backlit keyboard, this is a static red and not RGB.
The WASD keys are highlighted to aid finger location and the power button is built into the keyboard layout using the same style of key as the rest of the keys. I prefer a proper power key to avoid accidentally pressing it, but it is not the end of the world.
Typing on the Nitro 5 is quite pleasant, the 15-inch format gives you a decent amount of typing space, and there is a moderate amount of travel with the keys.
Similarly, the trackpad is good too, it is large responsive and includes dedicated left and right buttons. It is offset to the left though, so if for some reason, you were gaming using the trackpad, it feels a little cramped using WASD and the trackpad.
I don’t have the tools to test colour accuracy, but the screen is good as for as an affordable laptop goes. The IPS display provides excellent colour reproduction and viewing angles. Brightness was good enough for me, I typically use my laptop at 25% to 50% brightness so it was never going to be huge issue for me.
While some companies are shifting towards higher-resolution screens, 1920×1080 is an excellent resolution for an affordable gaming PC. You still get plenty of screen real estate for general day to day work, but the 1080p panel is cheaper and easier to drive than higher resolutions.
You get the usual bundled software with this laptop as all other Acer laptops. It is not overloaded with software, and anything you don’t want can be uninstalled.
You also get Nitro Sense, which is added software that allows you to control the cooling of the laptop as well as the power plans and view the internal temps. It works as expected, switching the fan control to max made the fans go from quite to reasonably loud. Once I had used this once, I just switched back to auto and found this more than adequate for gaming and day to day office work.
For some reason the registered amount of RAM in my system was 7GB, I am not entirely sure why this would happen, but there does not appear to be any issues with the system running or its performance. I opened up the hatch on the case for the RAM and the correct amount is installed.
Running both PCMark and 3DMark to get an idea of the overall performance of this machine yielded some interesting results. With the PC Mark result of 3574 being higher than the 3208 achieved by the i7-8550U found in the Acer Swift 5.
With the 3DMark using Time Spy I achieved 1967 which is a higher than score than quoted on PC World which quotes 1962 and a higher score than the GTX 1050 which has a quoted 1866. It is also not far off the score achieved by the Nitro N50 desktop which costs the same as this laptop.
In terms of real-world usage, the Acer Nitro 5 can fly the tasks of a typical user. Day to day office work is no challenge and I comfortably worked on it writing content for several hours on a Sunday morning.
The 128GB boot drive means Windows and all your office applications boot up quickly with no obvious lag. 128GB is a bit on the small side, but if you keep all your games on the second drive you should encounter no issues. I did install Just Cause on the boot drive and quickly found myself running out of room.
One thing I did notice, or perhaps not notice, was the fan noise. With this having a thicker frame than an ultra-portable there is a decent amount of ventilation, and I assume decent sized fans. It is not silent but during day to day use it is barely noticeable, and under load the volume is moderate with the sound profile bearable, being on the low end rather than a high-pitched hum.
Being a budget gaming laptop, this is not going to play AAA games at high settings, but it should be able to play most games comfortably if you dial down the settings a bit.
The 1967 Time Spy score made me think I should get similar performance in Just Cause 3 to the Acer N50, however, this was not quite the case. I got a similar memory warning, but the game was very slow and laggy, I had to dial down nearly all the settings to low or medium to get the game more playable. This is a very resource intensive game so a bit unfair to test the laptop with it.
Playing other games yielded better results, I was able to play GTAV with medium settings comfortably over 33fps during my time with it. Similarly, less demanding but hugely popular games such as Fortnite, Overwatch, COD and Skyrim all ran on medium or high settings without any issues at all.
Looking at the benchmarks and reviews of other laptops, the RX 560X found in this laptop should offer performance in between the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti, which represents tremendous value for money as the laptop is cheaper than all the other options.
You don’t buy a gaming laptop for its excellent battery life. However this does reasonably well, and noticeably better than the power-hungry beast of a laptop, the Predator Helios 500.
I was able to get a mornings worth of work done without being connected to power, but there is no way it would have lasted a full day. You should be able to squeeze 5-6 hours out of it though.
For gaming, the battery will last a couple of hours at best, which is about the best you would ever get from a laptop.
The Acer Nitro 5 is a great affordable gaming laptop offering impressive value compared to performance, giving you similar if not better performance than the Intel/NVIDIA counterpart at a lower price point.
During my review, I found no majors issues that would put me off buying it myself. More storage and memory would be nice, but these all come at a cost, and they are easily upgradable yourself if you feel you need more down the line.
The normal RRP of this is £749.99 which I think is great value for money, but if you were to buy it today on Cyber Monday you will pay just £599 which is an absolute bargain.
This was a sponsored review, but all the opinions are my own and honest.
Acer Nitro 5 15.6" AMD Ryzen 5 RX 560X Gaming Laptop Review
Product Name: Acer Nitro 5 15.6" AMD Ryzen 5 RX 560X Gaming Laptop
Offer price: 599
Build & Design - 85%
Performance - 85%
Price - 90%