Acer’s 2021 Nitro 5 is 100 percent a gaming laptop.
The 2021 Nitro 5 will come in a variety of configurations ranging from $800 to $2,000. Like many gaming laptops, it’s big, bulky and for some reason very red. No one can confuse it with a MacBook Pro or a Dell XPS or a Surface Laptop Studio. For gaming, the Nitro 5 lives up to its looks. It can handle graphically intensive, big-budget games at 1080p without breaking a sweat.
But with a focus on gaming first, Acer has created a laptop that’s not as good for anything as work or entertainment.
As the ongoing shortage of computer parts (especially for desktop GPUs) continues, consumers are turning to gaming laptops to get their RTX30-series fix. If all you need is a GPU to play with ray tracing on, the Nitro 5 has the right combination of performance and price. You won’t get the same amount of performance from the laptop GPU as you do from the desktop version, but it’s good enough.
If you purchase a product through a link in this article, input may be received by the sales department. We only include products that have been personally selected by our input editorial team.
The 2021 Acer Nitro 5 has so many different configurations it makes my head spin. In the sub-$800 range, you get a 144Hz FHD display, an Intel Core i5 processor, a GTX1650, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The limited $2,000+ version comes with a 165Hz QHD display, high-end AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, RTX 3070 GPU with 8GB VRAM, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD. The Nitro 5 I tested is the middle ground. It is equipped with Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11800H, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. It has a 15.6-inch LED display with FHD resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate. Smooth Game. At $1,099 I think it’s a great price for the performance, and while it’s not as powerful as the gaming PC I built a few years ago, it’s delivered and it’s a fraction of what I paid to build and upgrade it.
The 8-core hyperthreaded Core i7 is one of the top options for laptops these days and is comparable in performance to the Apple M1 chip. The speed was definitely noticeable when I loaded Nitro 5 and loaded games, and it blew me away when I ran 3DMark. Traded fists with my son over the years, but still awesome, AMD Ryzen 2700X. Even though the Nitro 5 is a gaming laptop, and that means the GPU does the show – the Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU doesn’t disappoint.
As with Nvidia’s RTX GPUs, the RTX 3050 Ti is nowhere near as fast as its older siblings, nor does it carry the same amount of VRAM. But when he plays everything from Halo infinite For AppAncient legends to the GhostrunnerThe GPU performed better than I expected.
Halo infinite When set to medium graphics settings, it ran at 70fps without any significant fluctuations. For comparison, the game ran at 90fps when played on my PC with the same settings. On Nitro 5, the game warned me not to overclock the graphics because the 4GB VRAM on the 3050 Ti wouldn’t be enough. In my opinion, the game looks comparable to what I’m seeing on my PC and Xbox Series S at medium settings, albeit at low framerates. I didn’t notice that the game looks worse in Nitro 5 Apex Legends, the game that I mentioned so much, the framerates were even better, hovering around 90 fps, which is not far from the AMD Radeon 5700XT in my PC.
Those two games, however, do not benefit from Nvidia’s RTX ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). why You need an RTX card more than anything else. These two features are not supported in every game, but more and more titles are. Ray tracing basically allows light to simulate light realistically.
Meanwhile, DLSS uses a deep learning neural network to boost game quality from lower resolutions. This runs on the AI Tensor Core processor on the GPU. The result is that you can play games at 1080p or higher, even though it’s actually running at a much lower resolution, freeing up GPU resources for more and more stable frames. Ray tracing is a big buzzword that publishers and developers like to throw around, but DLSS is like a game changer.
I played to test DLSS. Ghostrunner First turn DLSS off and then on. With DLSS off, the game looks fine. This is not surprising; Ghostrunner It’s one of the most beautiful games to come out in the last few years. Frames hovered around 70fps for the most part when set to the highest graphics settings, although they sometimes went as high as 120fps. While the game is playable, the difference between 70 and 120fps is noticeable, especially in a fast-paced action game. Ghostrunner. But with DLSS, frames went up to 144fps and stabilized. Occasionally it dipped by a few frames but nothing as severe as before. I set the DLSS preference to “Performance” which prioritizes higher frames over resolution. I noticed that some textures and surfaces are not as sharp as before and there is some grain. However, the benefits of a stable framerate far outweigh the almost unattainable change in graphics resolution.
My experience in ray tracing Ghostrunner It wasn’t that positive on Nitro 5. Even with DLSS on, framerates dropped to a painfully slow 9fps. The game sometimes hits 40fps but not often. The game is unplayable with ray tracing on. Regardless, DLSS as a standalone feature more than makes up for shoddy ray tracing.
DLSS is worth it.
It was playing more of the same. Wolfenstein: Young Blood, a two-year-old game that was one of the first to feature RTX and DLSS. The ray tracing in this game only covers reflections, which I’m not happy about if I’m honest. You’ll notice ray tracing when you walk on reflective surfaces like windows, metal, or pools of blood, but I didn’t think it was useful to shine. On the other hand, DLSS is worth it. With the feature turned on automatically, I noticed the game running at around 144fps. A run-and-gun shooter felt like a new game on higher frames.
Overall, the Nitro 5 is a solid laptop for gaming, especially considering the price of this particular model. As a budget-conscious user, I’d love for the RTX 3050 Ti not to become obsolete next year. Sure, you’ll have to lower your graphics settings, but I’m sure this GPU will continue to deliver for years to come.
Like I said before, the Nitro 5 is one of the best laptop CPUs you can get right now. The model I tested has 16 GB of RAM, which is now considered the basic amount of memory for modern games. In other words, the Nitro 5 shouldn’t be slow, especially when browsing the web or the Steam store. For some reason, my Nitro 5 review unit frequently drops to lag when downloading games, running other programs actively in the background, or idle. I noticed upon unplugging, the laptop defaulted to the battery saving mode in the Nitrosense software to increase battery life. I switched both undocked and docked modes to high performance; That doesn’t seem to have completely stopped random slowdowns from happening.
For example, Microsoft Edge is my preferred browser because it uses less memory than Google Chrome. But usually it stops completely. Clicking and typing are three to five seconds behind. I thought maybe it was a matter of memory (or lack thereof); Even after I close all my apps, the task leader shows that the RAM is using more than 50 percent. Increasing the RAM capacity to 32GB can improve performance, and it’s something you can easily do on the Nitro 5.
I asked an Acer spokesperson and was told that the company is not aware of such problems with the Nitro 5 laptops. They suggested I reset the laptop to factory settings. After doing this, the problems disappeared. Maybe I had a tire review class? Worth noting: It’s still a bottleneck if you push the CPU to its limits, but almost any laptop. For games, I didn’t notice any unusual drops in performance when the laptop was plugged in. That said, gaming laptops always come with tradeoffs when connected to AC power with a battery. On battery, I saw the frames coming in Halo infinite Lower to 30fps. It’s not a problem exclusive to Nitro 5, but it’s worth mentioning.
My review unit’s problematic review doesn’t change the fact that the Nitro 5 isn’t the most comfortable laptop. It all comes down to the placement of the keyboard farthest from the front edge of the laptop. To be precise, the keyboard is four inches away from the right edge. In a typical typing position, it was my forearms, not my wrists, that rested on the laptop. Also, the 3/4-inch height of the laptop is too high and frequently puts pressure on my hands. Typing on the Nitro 5 keyboard is never fun. I typed this review on the keyboard; Not ergonomic at all. It’s a little better when I keep my weight off the edge by placing my hands fully on the table, but it’s awkward and requires pushing the laptop back, which isn’t always possible (ie on small tables).
As far as laptop keyboards go, the keys and travel are great. The keys have some resistance to them, so it’s not often that you accidentally hit the wrong one when you move your fingers to another key. You have to hit each key deliberately. As a heavy hand that always grazes and enters the wrong keys, I love it. The keys are also evenly spaced, giving you plenty of room for error. And the key travel gives it slightly superior quality to most thin laptop keyboards. Basically, it doesn’t look like you’re typing on paper. The keyboard can’t compare to a mechanical keyboard like the Keycron Q1 (which is ridiculous), but after using it for gaming, I found myself not complaining.
Besides the keyboard layout, the trackpad is another sticking point. Instead of being square in the middle where it looks more natural, it’s too far to the left. I normally use my right hand to navigate with the trackpad, but in this case, it felt far away. I found that the trackpad was centered with the keyboard, but after a few hours of struggle I switched to a mouse and haven’t looked back.
The keyboard and mouse leave a lot to be desired, but the issues I listed don’t affect gameplay for two reasons. First, you can tilt your left hand at a 45-degree angle when playing, and you don’t have to worry about digging into the edges. Second, use the mouse Only The right choice for PC gaming; No one uses a trackpad to play games. Obviously, the Nitro 5 is designed for, you know, playing games. i know, Shocking! But it is not enough to compensate for what it is It doesn’t. do.
First for the players
The 2021 Nitro 5 is built for high-end 1080p gaming with a powerful CPU and GPU combination. Although playing modern games at ultra or epic settings is out of the question, the fact that the RTX 3050 Ti can use DLSS gives me hope that this laptop will keep up with new titles. At $1,099, the Nitro 5 model I tested is one of the best ways to get a mobile RTX 30-series gaming experience. Other bonuses like the fluid 144Hz display, backlit keyboard, excellent cooling and generous I/O can’t be overlooked. However, from where I stand, it’s hard to recommend this laptop to just anyone.
Maybe you are the type of person who can only buy a laptop for gaming because you have other work to do, but I don’t fall into that category. I don’t think many others do either. Yes, $1,099 is a great price for what you get, but it’s still a lot of money for, essentially, a gaming console. If you’re like me, a gaming PC or laptop should be a device that can do it all, or at least do it all. Nitro 5 is very inconvenient to use for productivity work, and the random lag detracts from what should be a seamless Windows 11 experience. Without those frustrations I might be singing a different tune, but I feel like the Nitro 5 can’t walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. Laptops – gaming or not – should be able to do both.