The Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop Review: Absolutely AMD - Ryzen Plus Polarisby Brett Howse on February 15, 2019 8:30 AM EST
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.
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Peter2k - Friday, February 15, 2019 - linkWould be interesting
I've ordered a FX505DY, from Asus, and it has the same GPU, an "upgraded" 3550H but also just one RAM stick
And rule of thumb with Ryzen is single channel = terrible performance
So it would be interesting to see how it impacts performance here
Also I wonder personally if in my case Asus would let me at least RAM XMP settings instead of running it stock at 2400 no matter what
Annnonymmous - Friday, February 15, 2019 - linkSorry to disappoint, but my results were very similar in dual-channel. I know that if used for the onboard GPU, the results would definitely be better, but for the discrete card, there's no appreciable difference in the results.
Peter2k - Saturday, February 16, 2019 - linkThx anyway
Annnonymmous - Friday, February 15, 2019 - linkHere is my results: https://www.3dmark.com/fs/18345476
deksman2 - Saturday, February 16, 2019 - linkYou might experience slightly higher CPU performance though... and also, synthetic benchmarks aren't too representative of real-world performance.
I suggest you try running actual games with dual-channel for more accurate comparison.
Still, when it comes to the article, I don't necessarily agree that its AMD fault for low battery life... but mainly that Acer paired it with a very low capacity batter instead. It IS a 25W TDP APU part after all, and the IGP should be handling most of the media watching.
Brett Howse - Saturday, February 16, 2019 - linkRaven Ridge has a power usage issue at idle. All Raven Ridge laptops suffer from poor battery life unfortunately.
LarsBars - Sunday, February 17, 2019 - linkI thought I have read all the AT articles about Raven Ridge. What exactly is the issue? Can you link me to the explanation, thanks.
Brett Howse - Sunday, February 17, 2019 - linkhttps://www.anandtech.com/show/13726/the-lenovo-th...
Annnonymmous - Sunday, February 17, 2019 - linkThe battery life is just fine. I regularly bring this thing to my bedroom and use it to complete work before bed. It runs dead silent and only warm to the touch. While I have a lapdesk, it is unneeded because the bottom ventilation is great. Your knee/leg won't possibly cover up all holes. Further, 3-4 hours is plenty.
On older games, you'll get 3 hours off the APU too. So something to consider.
PeachNCream - Friday, February 15, 2019 - linkAccurate screens are nice, but I think there's a bit of an over-emphasis placed on that sort of thing here mainly because, in the past, other review sites didn't actually do detailed color analysis and instead just tossed out a quick statement based on eyeball observations. It sort of resulted in that analysis becoming a differentiator between AT and the competition so the focus on it when, for most people, it really doesn't matter, is a leftover. That doesn't mean its a useless thing, of course. I'm sure there are people that care (or at least will think they should care because they have devised some reason to believe it matters a lot) so it should continue and readers can filter for spam as needed with liberal use of the page selector.