If you want a budget laptop for casual gaming then the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-51-55WL can be your choice. With all the aggressive lines and bright highlights, you can easily make your buddies to believe that it’s one of those high-end funky gaming beasts. And with the moderately powerful 1050Ti GPU it is perfect for some shoot-out once in a while as well. So let’s check out its capabilities then.
- CPU – Intel Core i5 Quad-Core (7th Gen), 2.5 GHz
- GPU – 4 GB DDR5, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
- Memory – 8 GB DDR4, extendable upto 32 GB
- Screen – 15.6-inch Full HD IPS (1,920 x 1,080)
- Storage – 256 GB SSD
- OS – Windows 10 Home edition
- Performance – It comes with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM which can easily be upgraded up to 32 GB and a 256 GB of SSD. It also decided to include a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti which is not very common at this price point. While it may not be a hardcore gaming GPU but surely is powerful enough to quench your thirst for casual gaming. With this hardware, everyday jobs like web surfing or video streaming get done quite efficiently. Another thing, for some reason Acer decided to not include the caddy and the PCI cable for the extra HDD space. Pretty annoying as you have to order them separately (and would cost you some extra bucks). Even with the limited capabilities of the 1050 Ti GPU, it can run games like Tomb Raider (63 fps in 1080p ultra, ~200 fps in 780p medium), Shadow of Mordor (56 fps in 1080p ultra, >100 fps in 780p medium) and Far Cry 4 (~48 fps in 1080p ultra, >70 fps in 780p medium). It is told that it is at least 10-20% more capable than the slightly dated NVIDIA 965M graphics card.
- Price – The rock-bottom pricing of this model is the bottom line of this laptop. Providing a dedicated GPU at a price of 700 is really something to be proud of. It is one of the cheapest laptops to include an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti graphics card. To my surprise, the cheapest laptops with a 1050 Ti GPU were MSI GL62M 7RE-407 ($800) and Lenovo Legion Y520 (>$900). As you can see there is some daylight between Nitro 5 and its closest competitors at least in the pricing section.
- Battery – The battery is also one of the major positives of this laptop. The 3220 mAh battery pack is able to keep it alive for a reasonable amount of time. It can stay alive for nearly 5 to 6 hours before running out of juice while doing tasks like lightweight browsing or office works. That’s a pretty good runtime considering it’s a 15-inch full-fledged budget laptop. Although, making the 1050 Ti GPU come into work while running solely on the charge might not be the greatest idea in the world as the battery backup comes down to a meagre 1 and half hour.
- Display – Let me clear one thing first- the display is not as bad as it may seem from the rest of the description. Rather I would say it’s just so-so, if not bad. It’s a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display. The average brightness is found to be around 210 nits which is, to be honest, just in the ballpark of the category average. With a sRGB coverage of 70% and the colour accuracy score (calibrated delta E value) of roughly 1, nothing much can be expected from the screen as both of the numbers are just okay, again.
- Cooling – Now cooling is a major issue on this laptop. It has been a consistent problem for Acer as the same problem can be seen in Acer Aspire 7 as well. The temperature stays under control in the normal workflow as the average temperature seldom gets over 32°C (90°F). But under heavy workload (read while gaming) the max temperature can reach a scorching 46°C (115°F) just over the left-hand part of the keyboard. So the temperature can be a performance limiting factor in this laptop. Also under load condition, the fans tend to get really noisy and the noise level can easily cross the 50 dB mark which is considered to be very noisy.
Acer Nitro 5 turned out to be quite a powerful tool. Even with some serious drawbacks, it performed pretty well. And for the heating issue, I would say a cooling pad would do the trick while gaming as it’s not a major issue while doing trivial tasks. Considering all the pros and cons I would advise you to jump for it.