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Acer Nitro 5 (Intel, 2021) review: Cheap and capable

Acer Nitro 5 (Intel, 2021) review: Cheap and capable

Acer Nitro 5 (Intel)

The Acer Nitro 5 (Intel) has everything you'd want in a gaming notebook — without breaking the bank. For starters, my review set (AN515-57-723G) is fast enough to run the latest games at 1080p, thanks to its 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics. There's also a 144Hz Full-HD IPS display, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, as well as ample RAM and storage. But the key spec here is probably its S$2,298 price tag, which is relatively affordable for a mid-range gaming laptop.

Quick specs

  • 15.6-inch Full-HD display (144Hz)
  • Intel Core i7-11800H with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics
  • Thunderbolt 4, 3x USB Type-A, Ethernet, HDMI
  • 2.2kg

This Intel-powered Nitro 5 has the exact same chassis design as the AMD Ryzen 7 variant that I tested in May. It is a sturdy chassis with the usual trappings of a gaming notebook. Four vents at the sides and the rear, with a dash of red to break the all-black look. The 4-zone RGB keyboard backlight also helps to add some colour. It's an upgrade over the single-zone backlight found in entry-level gaming laptops. This, as well as other settings like fan speed, can be adjusted in Acer's NitroSense gaming control centre. Personally, I feel that NitroSense strikes a nice balance at catering to both casual and hardcore users. For the most part, you can just leave everything to their defaults. But I recommend turning off the Windows logo key to avoid accidental presses in games. The keyboard itself offers decent key travel (1.6mm) with a slight bouncy feel.

Acer Nitro 5 (Intel)
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

One of the few differences between the Intel Nitro 5 and its AMD sibling: the Intel one gets a Thunderbolt 4 port. Useful if you plan to connect the laptop to a monitor or a dock. The Thunderbolt 4 port is also rated at 40Gbps compared to the 10Gbps USB-C port on the AMD version. In addition, you'll also find three USB Type-A ports, as well as HDMI and Ethernet. The audio is fairly standard for a notebook. There's not much bass, but it's clear without any distortion. The dual 2W speakers are on the softer side, though. My Nitro 5 review set comes with a 1TB solid-state drive. However, if you're running out of space, you can add a secondary 2.5″ SATA hard drive yourself. This is pretty cool, and not something you can do in other notebooks. I found the instructions online, while the required cables are included.

Acer Nitro 5 (Intel)
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

The 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11800H chip in the Nitro 5 makes its mark in system benchmarks like PCMark 10. Its overall score of 7,161 beats the 6,820 produced by the AMD Ryzen 7 Nitro 5. In fact, its score is similar to that of the Asus ROG Strix Scar 15, which uses an AMD Ryzen 9 chip. But with both the Intel and AMD Nitro 5 sporting the same GeForce RTX 3060 graphics chip, gaming performance is largely similar. For instance, both models managed around 52 fps in Metro Exodus at Ultra setting. The heat produced by the Nitro 5 was also tolerable. While I wouldn't touch the hot narrow strip above the keyboard, the keyboard felt reasonably cool. And the cooling fans were not too noisy when set to Auto.

At S$2,298, the Acer Nitro 5 (Intel) is slightly cheaper than its AMD counterpart (S$2,498). Both notebooks are essentially similar in design and performance, but you do get more RAM (32GB instead of 16GB) with the AMD model. The Nitro 5 also compares well against other notebooks in this price range. For instance, the Asus TUF Dash 15 is S$2,198, despite being slower in benchmarks due to its slightly weaker specs (Core i7-11370H and RTX 3050 Ti). Overall, the Nitro 5 lacks some of the frills of more expensive models, but it hits the spot for price and performance. It is available at Acer's own online store, as well as its official stores on Shopee and Lazada.

See Also

Note: Review set provided by Acer.

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All you need in an affordable mid-range gaming notebook.

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