The Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55-59KS is a budget gaming laptop that makes strategic tradeoffs to deliver near-perfect 1080p gameplay at a nice price.
- Decent gaming performance for price
- Great battery life
- Attractive black-and-red design
- Cheap build quality
- Dim display
The Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55-59KS is the company’s latest stab in the budget gaming market, and it ticks off all the right boxes for your portable gaming needs. Like its predecessor from last year, this Nitro 5 is designed with budget-minded gamers in mind, and it certainly expands your options for a cheap laptop that can handle demanding PC games.
That’s because the AN515-55-59KS offers more for less, with a price tag that’s hard to beat for the components. It rocks an Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card and a latest 10th-generation Intel Core processor; then rounds up everything with a keyboard that’s comfortable enough to play for hours on end.
When it comes to looks and feel, there’s a lot to be desired with the Acer Nitro 5. That doesn’t mean its boring or bland – in fact, there are some winnings to appreciate here.
For starters, we like the minimalist gamer look, with red trimmings on the keyboard, backlight and trackpad as well as the upper rear bar. The display hinges are sturdy and secure, and the available number of ports is a boon.
Beyond that, there’s nothing to write home about the Acer Nitro 5 design. The screen lid, for example, is made of cheap plastic, and the area around the keyboard track picks fingerprints like crazy, and the screen has almost an inch of bezels around it. Port options include the latest USB 3.2 Type C, another USB 3.2 Gen 2 (with power off charging), two USB 3.2, one HDMI 2.0 and an Ethernet port.
Display, Camera & Sound
These are the three components we’re lukewarm about. The camera, which records video at 720p 30 fps at its highest setting, is blurry. If you’ll be using it for casual web chats, it’ll be fine, above that, don’t expect high quality imagery here.
The Acer AN515-55-59KS uses a 1080p, 144Hz refresh display, which is still sharp and clear, but it appears to leans towards the darker side (even at its brightest setting), and is essentially the exact of bezel-free.
Finally, the laptop’s sound is fairly hyped on the high-end and quite echoey, but you can personalize it with the equalizer in the Dolby Audio software. Simply put, its another laptop with subpar audio – par for casual gaming, unless you’re Origin.
Keyboard & Trackpad
More reason most of us buy Acer’s Nitro 5s is the keyboard. There’s nothing overly special about it; the symbols are in red, the backlight is also in red, and the WASD keys are emboldened in red paint. Overall, it’s just your typical, middle-0f-the-road keyboard. Having said that, we find it very comfortable as well as quite reliable.
You’ll find the keyboard fast and responsive, and you won’t experience any lags, missed presses or accidental presses – during work or play. As for the trackpad, it gives a lot of travel and is quite stiff. While gaming laptop trackpads are frowned upon in PC gaming, especially for FPS, RPG and action games, we expected something better here.
Knowing that the Nitro 5 is a budget gaming machine, it’s safe to say that you don’t expect blazing gaming on modern titles. Having said that, its 10th-generation Intel Core i5-10300H Processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card are limited to 1080p gaming, where it puts a strong showing when compared to other 1080p gaming laptops.
It’s important to note that its RAM, CPU and GPU offerings mean that newer AAA games – the blockbuster in the gaming screen – are most like not going to run smoothly at their highest settings. If that’s what you need, consider something like the Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-72XD, that packs an RTX 2060 graphics card, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and Intel’s Core i7-10750H processor. However, be prepared to spend a little more for the Predator Helios.
Back to gaming, the Nitro 5 AN515-55-59KS is a solid performer, for as long as you stick to 1080p settings. On the Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Highest, 1080p), it hovers around 51 frames per second, which outpaces the budget gaming laptop average (36 fps). The Lenovo Legion 5, powered by a GeForce GTX 1660Ti offers a better score on the same settings (57 fps), while the Acer Predator Helios 300 with an RTX 2060 GPU tops the list (74 fps).
At the same settings, Grand Theft Auto V plays at 42 fps, while Metro Exodus averages 51 fps. hat’s slightly better for an entry-level gaming laptop as it goes above the 37-fps average.
Surprisingly, the Acer Nitro 5’s battery lasts longer than you’d expect of any budget gaming laptop. Overall, gaming laptops are notorious for their bad battery life, and we’re surprised that this guy could crank 4 hours 13 minutes at 50% brightness.
This is partly to the newer energy efficient 10th-generation processor, and the not-so-bright display that doesn’t consume much battery.
The Acer Nitro 5 is almost your dream budget gaming laptop, with competition-beating hardware, 144Hz display, good frame rates and nice VR score. However, there’s one laptop that keeps outperforming the Nitro 5 on 1080p gaming: the new Acer Predator Helios 300.
The Intel Core i7-powered Helios 300 is a super gaming rig, sporting a punchier display, more storage, a better GPU, and better overall performance. On the plus side, the Nitro 5 triumphs over most of its competitors with a luxurious keyboard and is offered at a very reasonable price.
If decent VR performance, good battery life and portability appeal to you, go for the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55-59KS, but if you prefer a better display, more storage, a blisteringly fast CPU and more RAM, the Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-53-72XD) is the better option.
Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 15.6" Full HD IPS 144Hz Display, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, WiFi 6, DTS X Ultra, Backlit Keyboard, AN515-55-59KS
2 used from $863.63