Notebookcheck

Acer Nitro 5 (Core i5-9300H, GeForce GTX 1650) Laptop Review

Florian Glaser, 👁 Florian Glaser (translated by Alex Alderson), 05/13/2019

Midrange through and through. While OEMs currently reserve Nvidia RTX 20-series GPUs for their more expensive gaming laptops, Acer has chosen to equip its attractively priced Nitro series with GeForce GTX 1600-series chips. Read on to find out how the entry-level model performs in our detailed review.

Acer Nitro 5

If you want to spend a maximum of 1,500 Euros (~$1,685) on a gaming laptop, then the Acer Aspire Nitro range could be a perfect fit for you. Acer has recently refreshed the series too with an upgraded case and a choice between the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.

Moreover, Acer has eschewed 8th generation Intel Core processors on which many OEMs still rely for newer 9th generation chips. You can choose between the quad-core Core i5-9300H that powers our review unit or the more powerful, and hexacore, Core i7-9750H. Likewise, you have the option of equipping the Nitro with 8 or 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, although Acer currently only sells the series with a 512 GB SSD. Our test device is the AN515-54-53Z2 for reference, which costs just under 1,100 Euros (~$1,236) on notebooksbilliger.de at the time of writing. Incidentally, our review unit is also the base model of the series.

We have chosen to compare the Nitro 5 against other comparably priced 15.6-inch gaming laptops. Our comparison devices will include the Dell G5 15 5587, the Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH and the Medion Erazer X6805. We shall also compare the GeForce GTX 1650-powered Nitro 5 against its AMD-powered sibling. Please keep in mind that our review unit is the first that we have tested with the GeForce GTX 1650. Our Nvidia-powered comparison devices all have GTX 10-series GPUs for full disclosure.

Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2 (Nitro 5 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop) - 4096 MB, Core: 1395 MHz, Memory: 8000 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 417.88, Optimus
Memory
8192 MB 
, 2 x 4 GB SO-DIMM DDR4-2666, all slots occupied. Max. 32 GB
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, LG LP156WFC-SPD1 (LGD0563), IPS, Full-HD, 60 Hz, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM370
Storage
WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G, 512 GB 
, PCIe SSD. Slots: 2 x M.2 2280 & 1 x 2.5-inch
Soundcard
Realtek ALC255 @ Intel Cannon Point-LP PCH - cAVS (Audio, Video, Speech)
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Combined 3.5 mm headphone & microphone jack
Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 27 x 363 x 255 ( = 1.06 x 14.29 x 10.04 in)
Battery
57 Wh, 3720 mAh Lithium-Ion, 4 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Quick start guide, Warranty booklet, HDD upgrade cable, various manufacturer tools, Norton Security Ultra, XSplit Gamecaster trial, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.158 kg ( = 76.12 oz / 4.76 pounds), Power Supply: 450 g ( = 15.87 oz / 0.99 pounds)
Price
1100 EUR
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Acer has given the Nitro 5 a major design overhaul. While the old model had wide bezels, Acer has jumped on board with the slim side display bezels for this year’s model. The reduction in bezels has also allowed the company to make the new Nitro 5 noticeably more compact than its predecessor. Our review unit is also around 3 cm narrower and 1 cm shorter than its AMD sibling, while it is 200 g lighter too. Overall, the Nitro 5 is comparatively light for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop; only the Legion Y730-15ICH matches our review unit out of our comparison devices here.

Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5

Discounting the slimmer bezels, the Nitro 5 looks remarkably like its predecessor. The device retains the red styling of yesteryear, which Acer continues to apply to the keyboard, the edging around the touchpad and the display hinge cover, the latter of which also has the NITRO branding.

There are some subtle changes though. Acer has changed the shape of the Nitro 5’s ventilation slots and has ditched the textured finish that it previously applied to the top case. The design of the display lid is also more restrained, most of which is plain black plastic. Acer has applied a textured finish to the left and right sides of the lid, but this does not stop the Nitro 5 from looking more discreet and less playful than its predecessor.

The plastic case is sturdy enough too, although not impressively so. The base unit only gives way under intense pressure, but we can temporarily deform the display lid using two hands with relative ease. The display also bounces around a bit, although it has a comparatively large opening angle of approximately 150°.

Size comparison

385 mm / 15.2 inch 265 mm / 10.4 inch 33 mm / 1.299 inch 2.5 kg5.62 lbs390 mm / 15.4 inch 266 mm / 10.5 inch 27 mm / 1.063 inch 2.4 kg5.29 lbs389 mm / 15.3 inch 274.7 mm / 10.8 inch 24.95 mm / 0.982 inch 2.9 kg6.29 lbs363 mm / 14.3 inch 255 mm / 10 inch 27 mm / 1.063 inch 2.2 kg4.76 lbs362 mm / 14.3 inch 267 mm / 10.5 inch 19.95 mm / 0.785 inch 2.2 kg4.85 lbs

Connectivity

Ports

Unfortunately, the selection of ports has gotten worse rather than better. Acer has replaced one of the two USB 2.0 ports with a USB 3.0 port and has stuck to four USB ports overall, but it has also inexplicably removed the card reader. Likewise, Acer has persisted with a combined 3.5 mm jack rather than having dedicated headphone and microphone inputs. Also, there is only an HDMI 2.0 port for image output, while there is no USB 3.1 Gen2 or Thunderbolt 3 ports. We welcome the inclusion of an RJ45 port though, but it does not stop us from marking the Nitro 5 down here.

The distribution of ports is lacklustre too. Acer has moved the ventilation grille to the right-hand side of the frame and has brought the headphone jack along with the USB Type-A port forward. The positioning of these three means that you are likely to feel warm air blowing against your hand if you use an external mouse with your right hand, while the mouse will likely catch against any cables you have connected. In short, we do not understand why Acer has made these design decisions because they only serve to reduce the Nitro 5’s functionality.

Left-hand side: Kensington lock, RJ45 LAN, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A
Left-hand side: Kensington lock, RJ45 LAN, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A
Right-hand side: 3.5 mm headphone and microphone jack, USB 2.0 Type-A, power connector
Right-hand side: 3.5 mm headphone and microphone jack, USB 2.0 Type-A, power connector

Communication

We have no cause for complaints with our review unit’s Wi-Fi performance though. Acer has equipped the device with an Intel Wireless-AC 9560 module, which achieved exceptional transfer speeds in our iperf3 Client Wi-Fi tests. We conducted these tests with the Nitro 5 approximately 1 m away from our Linksys EA8500 reference router, for reference.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4
683 MBit/s ∼100% +2%
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
674 MBit/s ∼99% 0%
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
671 MBit/s ∼98%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
619 MBit/s ∼91% -8%
Average of class Gaming
  (141 - 702, n=213)
598 MBit/s ∼88% -11%
Dell G5 15 5587
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
485 MBit/s ∼71% -28%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
721 MBit/s ∼100% +5%
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
684 MBit/s ∼95%
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
642 MBit/s ∼89% -6%
Dell G5 15 5587
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
582 MBit/s ∼81% -15%
Average of class Gaming
  (144 - 721, n=213)
545 MBit/s ∼76% -20%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4
520 MBit/s ∼72% -24%

Software

Acer preinstalled a few pieces of software along with Windows 10 Home 64-bit, which should please people who like to fine-tune their systems. The company’s Nitro Sense program manages the Nitro 5’s power plans and fan control. The software also displays an overview of system information like fan speed along with CPU and GPU temperatures. Acer has bundled its Care Center program too, which provides support information and allows you to download updates or recover the device. Windows Update still downloads other updates regardless though.

Nitro Sense
Nitro Sense
Care Center
Care Center

Accessories

Acer includes a quick-start guide, warranty booklet and an HDD adapter in the box. The latter allows you to retrofit a 2.5-inch drive should you wish to do so. There is a 135 W power supply too, although Acer bundles a higher capacity version with more-expensive and powerful models.

Maintenance

Maintenance is a bit more complicated than it was on the Nitro 5’s predecessor. Acer has not included any maintenance flaps this time around, so you must remove the bottom case to access any internal components. Fortunately, you only need a Phillips screwdriver and some brute force to pry the case from the chassis. You then have access to all main components including the battery, drive bays and RAM. You cannot swap the CPU or GPU, but this is common for most laptops, except for something like the Alienware Area-51m.

Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5
Acer Nitro 5

Warranty

The Nitro 5 comes with 24 months limited manufacturer’s warranty. The coverage includes a pickup & returns service, although Acer only extends this internationally for the first 12 months of the warranty period.

Please see our Guarantees, Return Policies & Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Acer has made some minor changes to the keyboard between generations, but it still inherits the pros and cons of its predecessor. Typing on our review unit is an unspectacular yet pleasant enough experience, but we have mixed feelings about the keyboard layout. Some buttons are too close to each other for our liking despite the chiclet design, especially the # and Enter keys. The right arrow key also extends into the number pad, which could lead you to accidentally pressing the right arrow key initially instead of the 0 key. We still prefer full-size keys to half-size ones though. Acer has also outlined the arrow keys in red as it has with the WASD keys, a decision that will divide opinion. Aesthetically, they go against the Nitro 5’s relatively understated look, but they stand out nicely when gaming.

The positioning of the power button is an odd one too. Acer has decided to place it at the end of the function keys, which is not in itself a bad idea. However, it does not stand out from the other keys, so we sometimes found it hard to spot. The colour and lettering style of the keys is difficult to read in some lights too.

A look at the keyboard deck
A look at the keyboard deck
And with its backlight enabled
And with its backlight enabled

Trackpad

The trackpad is also a mixed bag. While it has a pleasantly smooth finish, its precision leaves something to be desired. Multi-touch gestures are easy to perform though, especially two-finger gestures such as scrolling or zooming. Acer has opted for an integrated rather than dedicated input device that allows the trackpad to be an enjoyably large 10.5 x 7.5 cm. Including dedicated mouse buttons would have made the trackpad feel a lot smaller, the effect of which would have been compounded by its imprecision.

Display

Acer has equipped our review unit with a 60 Hz 15.6-inch display, specifically the LG Philips LP156WFC-SPD1. We suspect that the company opted for a 60 Hz panel to save on costs. A 144 Hz display would have been a nice addition though.

246
cd/m²
228
cd/m²
243
cd/m²
218
cd/m²
238
cd/m²
215
cd/m²
227
cd/m²
203
cd/m²
220
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 246 cd/m² Average: 226.4 cd/m² Minimum: 17 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 83 %
Center on Battery: 238 cd/m²
Contrast: 881:1 (Black: 0.27 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.11 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.1, calibrated: 3.76
ΔE Greyscale 1.78 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
57% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 36% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.41
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
LG LP156WFC-SPD1 (LGD0563), IPS, 1920x1080
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
LG Philips LP156WF6 (LGD046F), IPS, 1920x1080
Dell G5 15 5587
LGD053F, 156WF6, IPS, 1920x1080
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
BOE NV156FHM-N61, IPS, 1920x1080
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AU Optronics B156HAN06.0 (AUO60ED), IPS, 1920x1080
Response Times
0%
16%
-26%
-19%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
42 (20.8, 21.2)
38.4 (18.8, 19.6)
9%
33 (16, 17)
21%
43.2 (25.2, 18)
-3%
48.4 (24, 24.4)
-15%
Response Time Black / White *
26.8 (16, 10.8)
29.2 (16.8, 12.4)
-9%
24 (14, 10)
10%
40 (21.2, 18.8)
-49%
32.8 (18, 14.8)
-22%
PWM Frequency
20490 (99)
21740 (99)
Screen
-6%
-38%
-18%
3%
Brightness middle
238
270
13%
229
-4%
286.5
20%
299
26%
Brightness
226
269
19%
224
-1%
269
19%
284
26%
Brightness Distribution
83
86
4%
87
5%
84
1%
88
6%
Black Level *
0.27
0.32
-19%
0.28
-4%
0.33
-22%
0.24
11%
Contrast
881
844
-4%
818
-7%
868
-1%
1246
41%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.11
5.1
-24%
6.1
-48%
6.3
-53%
4.98
-21%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
6.89
9.25
-34%
12.2
-77%
10.01
-45%
7.67
-11%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
3.76
3.25
14%
6.12
-63%
4.17
-11%
3.7
2%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.78
4.16
-134%
5.68
-219%
5.6
-215%
4.58
-157%
Gamma
2.41 91%
2.53 87%
2.4 92%
2.23 99%
2.55 86%
CCT
6311 103%
6860 95%
6989 93%
6822 95%
6397 102%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
36
54
50%
36
0%
55.7
55%
57
58%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
57
82
44%
57
0%
85.1
49%
87
53%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-3% / -5%
-11% / -30%
-22% / -20%
-8% / -0%

* ... smaller is better

In short, our review unit has a disappointing display. According to X-Rite i1Pro 2, the panel only has an average maximum brightness of 226 cd/m², which is much darker than the displays in most of our comparison devices. Its 57% sRGB and 36% AdobeRGB colour-space coverages are underwhelming too, especially for a gaming laptop.

CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Colour Saturation
CalMAN: Colour Saturation
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: Grayscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - calibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker – calibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker – calibrated

The contrast ratio, reaction times and viewing angles are also below par. Most of our comparison devices do not have great contrast ratios either, but that is no excuse for Acer equipping the Nitro 5 with what is, basically, a bargain basement display.

57% sRGB colour-space coverage
57% sRGB colour-space coverage
36% AdobeRGB colour-space coverage
36% AdobeRGB colour-space coverage

Worse still, our review unit suffers from backlight bleeding. The panel is only 83% evenly lit, which leads to bright spots appearing in the top corners of the display when using the Nitro 5 in poorly lit rooms or at night.

Using the Acer Nitro 5 with light shining on the display
Using the Acer Nitro 5 with light shining on the display
Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
26.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 10.8 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 53 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.4 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
42 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 20.8 ms rise
↘ 21.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 53 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (40.6 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9603 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

Our review unit with its Core i5-9300H processor and GeForce GTX 1650 GPU sits firmly in the midrange of modern gaming laptops. Its 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD is comparatively large for a gaming laptop at this price, particularly as there is a second M.2 2280 drive bay and a 2.5-inch bay too. 8 GB of RAM is standard though, and at least Acer has included two SO-DIMM modules so that the system runs in dual-channel mode. The only downside is that you must replace both modules if you ever want to upgrade to 16 GB or beyond, but that is a minor gripe.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
HWiNFO
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
AS SSD Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark
Software
LatencyMon

Processor

The Core i5-9300H succeeds the Core i5-8300H, a popular CPU that found itself in the entry levels of most multimedia and gaming laptops released in the last year. The new processor is more of an upgrade in name only though. Intel has increased the clock speed by 100 MHz, but both CPUs have 8 MB of L3 cache and can process up to eight threads simultaneously. They both have a 45 W thermal design power (TDP) too.

We should point out that the Nitro 5 supports Nvidia Optimus. This allows the system to switch from its Nvidia GPU to its more-efficient Intel UHD Graphics 630 for undemanding tasks like video-streaming and web-browsing, which reduces power consumption and should help lengthen battery life.

Cinebench R15 Single 64-bit
Cinebench R15 Single 64-bit
Cinebench R15 Multi 64-bit
Cinebench R15 Multi 64-bit
CPU and GPU during a Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark
CPU and GPU during a Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark

We checked the clock speed behaviour of the Core i5-9300H using Cinebench R15. The quad-core chip reaches its maximum potential in the single-core benchmark where it averages 4.1 GHz, but it disappoints in the multi-core version. Our review unit briefly reaches 4.0 GHz before dropping to around 3.3 GHz, a level that it can consistently maintain.

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Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2 Intel Core i5-9300H, Intel Core i5-9300H: Ø707 (700.72-757)
Dell G5 15 5587 Intel Core i5-8300H, Intel Core i5-8300H: Ø723 (697.18-735.2)
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H Intel Core i5-8300H, Intel Core i5-8300H: Ø823 (815.58-828.24)
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0 AMD Ryzen 7 2700U, AMD Ryzen 7 2700U: Ø658 (642.69-661.47)

As you can see from the benchmark tables, the Nitro 5 cannot distinguish itself from its Core i5-8300H-powered competitors. What’s more, the Legion Y730 gets around 8% more peak multicore performance with its nominally weaker CPU than our review unit does. The Nitro 5 also only scored approximately 5% higher in CB R15 Multi 64Bit than the G5 15 5587. The Core i7-8750H destroyed the Core i5-9300H too, with the Medion Erazer X6805 scoring 58% more than the Nitro 5 in the same benchmark.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
Intel Core i5-9300H
176 Points ∼100%
Dell G5 15 5587
Intel Core i5-8300H
172 Points ∼98% -2%
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
Intel Core i7-8750H
171 Points ∼97% -3%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
Intel Core i5-8300H
166 Points ∼94% -6%
Average of class Gaming
  (77 - 212, n=458)
153 Points ∼87% -13%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
150 Points ∼85% -15%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
Intel Core i7-8750H
1196 Points ∼100% +58%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
Intel Core i5-8300H
818 Points ∼68% +8%
Average of class Gaming
  (196 - 1979, n=461)
783 Points ∼65% +3%
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
Intel Core i5-9300H
757 Points ∼63%
Dell G5 15 5587
Intel Core i5-8300H
731 Points ∼61% -3%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
661 Points ∼55% -13%
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
757 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
176 Points
Help

System Performance

Our review unit also sits in the midfield of our PCMark 10 comparison table. Its fast SSD allows Windows 10 to boot quickly and run without issue, but we would have expected a better showing in benchmarks with its comparatively newer CPU and GPU.

PCMark 10 - Score
Dell G5 15 5587
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8300H, SK hynix SC311 M.2
5483 Points ∼100% +10%
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5234 Points ∼95% +5%
Average of class Gaming
  (2603 - 7171, n=153)
5080 Points ∼93% +2%
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop), 9300H, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4973 Points ∼91%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8300H, Intel Optane 16 GB MEMPEK1J016GAL + HGST ST1000LM049 1 TB HDD
4527 Points ∼83% -9%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, SK Hynix HFS128G39TND
3763 Points ∼69% -24%

Storage Devices

Acer has equipped our review unit with a 512 GB WDC PC SN520 SSD that delivered excellent transfer speeds in benchmarks like AS SSD. The drive is considerably faster overall than those in our comparison devices, with only the Erazer X6805 and its Samsung PM961 coming close to the transfer speeds that the WDC PC SN520 achieves.

Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Dell G5 15 5587
SK hynix SC311 M.2
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
Intel Optane 16 GB MEMPEK1J016GAL + HGST ST1000LM049 1 TB HDD
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
SK Hynix HFS128G39TND
AS SSD
-7%
-70%
-48%
-73%
Score Total
3423
3113
-9%
557
-84%
692
-80%
600
-82%
Score Write
1550
762
-51%
199
-87%
239
-85%
194
-87%
Score Read
1240
1565
26%
240
-81%
290
-77%
274
-78%
4K Write
115.08
100.94
-12%
62.19
-46%
45.63
-60%
54.49
-53%
4K Read
45.59
44.29
-3%
24.44
-46%
94.22
107%
23.64
-48%
Seq Write
1373.79
1262.47
-8%
243.71
-82%
156.07
-89%
126.79
-91%
Seq Read
1571.75
1652.94
5%
511.34
-67%
736.06
-53%
470.8
-70%
WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 1739 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 1455 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 317.9 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 287.8 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 1421 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 1457 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 42.05 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 109.1 MB/s

Graphics Card

One of the most exciting things about the Nitro 5 is its GPU. The device is the first that we have tested with the GeForce GTX 1650, which succeeds the popular GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Nvidia has delivered a decent performance boost between generations, which it has achieved by increasing the shader count from 768 to 1,024 among other improvements. The GeForce GTX 1650 theoretically has around a 100 MHz lower base clock and a 60 MHz lower boost clock than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. However, the speeds that individual cards can reach in practice depend largely on the cooling system with which they are paired.

3DMark 11 Performance
11828 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
8073 points
Help

In short, the Nitro 5 manages its GPU clock speeds well. The GeForce GTX 1650 averaged 1,710 MHz during Unigine Heaven 4.0 and 1,650 MHz in The Witcher 3 when set to Full HD and ultra-graphics, both of which are respectable. Our review unit also maintained peak frame rates throughout an hour-long play-through of The Witcher 3 with no disturbing peaks or troughs.

051015202530354045Tooltip
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2 GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop), 9300H, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G; The Witcher 3: Ø36.9 (34-39)
Dell G5 15 5587 GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8300H, SK hynix SC311 M.2; The Witcher 3: Ø34.9 (31-38)
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0 Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, SK Hynix HFS128G39TND; The Witcher 3: Ø21.3 (17-23)

The GPU performed well in synthetic benchmarks like 3DMark 11 too. The GeForce GTX 1650 scored over 30% more than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti here, while the Nitro 5 almost reached the levels of the G5 15 5587 and its GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q. Our review unit loses ground in 3DMark Fire Strike though, but it still performs well considering its price.

3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
11662 Points ∼100% +26%
Dell G5 15 5587
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
10970 Points ∼94% +18%
Average of class Gaming
  (385 - 40636, n=483)
10771 Points ∼92% +16%
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop)
9292 Points ∼80%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop)
8004 Points ∼69% -14%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop)
6262 Points ∼54% -33%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
14557 Points ∼100% +11%
Dell G5 15 5587
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
13871 Points ∼95% +6%
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop)
13125 Points ∼90%
Average of class Gaming
  (513 - 50983, n=559)
12597 Points ∼87% -4%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop)
9805 Points ∼67% -25%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop)
8451 Points ∼58% -36%

Gaming Performance

The GeForce GTX 1650 is powerful enough to play most modern triple-A games in 1080p at high or maximum graphics. In short, you should have no issues with gaming in the Nitro 5's native display resolution.

The Witcher 3
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
Average of class Gaming
  (12.6 - 115, n=256)
47.1 fps ∼100% +33%
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H
39.5 fps ∼84% +12%
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop), 9300H
35.4 (min: 28) fps ∼75%
Dell G5 15 5587
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8300H
34.9 (min: 29, max: 39) fps ∼74% -1%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8300H
27.9 fps ∼59% -21%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U
20.6 fps ∼44% -42%
1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
Average of class Gaming
  (11.1 - 194, n=218)
80.6 fps ∼100% +32%
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H
72.1 fps ∼89% +18%
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop), 9300H
61.1 (min: 51) fps ∼76%
Dell G5 15 5587
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8300H
58.3 fps ∼72% -5%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8300H
51.9 fps ∼64% -15%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U
33.2 fps ∼41% -46%

However, we would recommend stepping up to the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti for gaming in QHD and at least a GeForce RTX 2070 for UHD. Please see our gaming benchmarks page and our GeForce GTX 1650 review for more information about the GPU and how it performs in other games.

low med. high ultra
The Witcher 3 (2015) 61.135.4fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 4844fps
Far Cry New Dawn (2019) 5753fps

Emissions

Fan Noise

Acer has equipped the Nitro 5 with two fans, which are pleasantly quiet at idle. If you are not pushing the machine hard, then the fans will either stay quiet or whir at between 31 dB(A) and 33 dB(A). We also could not hear any annoying electrical interference like coil whine during our tests.

Fan noise at idle
Fan noise at idle
Fan noise under load
Fan noise under load
Speaker frequencies
Speaker frequencies

The fans reach intrusively loud levels during CPU and GPU-intensive tasks like gaming though. We recorded the fans in our review unit peaking at 46 dB(A) while playing The Witcher 3, but our stress test pushed them up to a maximum of 49 dB(A).

Some laptop fans exceed 50 dB(A), but we would still recommend using headphones when gaming with the Nitro 5. Its fans will drown out its speakers even if you max out the volume.

Noise Level

Idle
30 / 31 / 33 dB(A)
Load
46 / 49 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30 dB(A)
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop), 9300H
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H
Dell G5 15 5587
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8300H
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8300H
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U
Average of class Gaming
 
Noise
-2%
5%
5%
6%
0%
off / environment *
30
29
3%
30.3
-1%
28.9
4%
29
3%
29.4 (27.7 - 32, n=260)
2%
Idle Minimum *
30
29
3%
31.1
-4%
32.2
-7%
29
3%
31.5 (28 - 41.7, n=683)
-5%
Idle Average *
31
32
-3%
31.1
-0%
32.5
-5%
31
-0%
32.8 (28 - 46.6, n=683)
-6%
Idle Maximum *
33
35
-6%
34.2
-4%
32.7
1%
32
3%
34.7 (28 - 51, n=683)
-5%
Load Average *
46
45
2%
34.9
24%
33.2
28%
36
22%
40.5 (30.3 - 58, n=684)
12%
Witcher 3 ultra *
46
47
-2%
42.7
7%
43.1
6%
44
4%
Load Maximum *
49
56
-14%
44
10%
45
8%
46
6%
47.8 (38.9 - 64.1, n=684)
2%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Some parts of the Nitro 5 get hot to the touch too under load too, but not dangerously so. Most of the case exceeds 40 °C under maximum load, while one area reaches 50 °C, but the palm rest remains a pleasantly cool sub-30 °C.

Likewise, case temperatures do not exceed 25 °C when the system is idling. Overall, the Nitro 5 should only ever feel hot to the touch when you are pushing it hard.

System information while playing The Witcher 3
System information while playing The Witcher 3
System information during a FurMark and Prime95 stress test
System information during a FurMark and Prime95 stress test
Heat map of the top of the device under load
Heat map of the top of the device under load
Heat map of the bottom of the device under load
Heat map of the bottom of the device under load

It is a different story under the hood though. GPU core temperatures only reached a maximum of 72 °C during our stress test, but the CPU peaked at 94 °C, which is only a few degrees short of its maximum operating temperature. However, we designed our combined FurMark and Prime95 stress test to push systems to their limits, so you should not experience these high internal temperatures even when enjoying prolonged gaming sessions.

Max. Load
 47 °C
117 F
47 °C
117 F
45 °C
113 F
 
 46 °C
115 F
46 °C
115 F
42 °C
108 F
 
 27 °C
81 F
25 °C
77 F
25 °C
77 F
 
Maximum: 47 °C = 117 F
Average: 38.9 °C = 102 F
50 °C
122 F
47 °C
117 F
39 °C
102 F
41 °C
106 F
41 °C
106 F
39 °C
102 F
26 °C
79 F
27 °C
81 F
28 °C
82 F
Maximum: 50 °C = 122 F
Average: 37.6 °C = 100 F
Power Supply (max.)  44 °C = 111 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38.9 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 33 °C / 91 F for the devices in the class Gaming.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 47 °C / 117 F, compared to the average of 39.4 °C / 103 F, ranging from 21.6 to 68.8 °C for the class Gaming.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 50 °C / 122 F, compared to the average of 41.8 °C / 107 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 22.9 °C / 73 F, compared to the device average of 33 °C / 91 F.
(±) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 36 °C / 97 F, compared to the device average of 33 °C / 91 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 27 °C / 80.6 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.7 °C / 83.7 F (+1.7 °C / 3.1 F).
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop), 9300H
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H
Dell G5 15 5587
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8300H
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8300H
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U
Average of class Gaming
 
Heat
-10%
-14%
11%
-6%
-12%
Maximum Upper Side *
47
43
9%
50.2
-7%
30
36%
47
-0%
45.7 (28 - 68.8, n=648)
3%
Maximum Bottom *
50
55
-10%
57
-14%
40.8
18%
44
12%
49.2 (25.9 - 78, n=646)
2%
Idle Upper Side *
24
28
-17%
28.6
-19%
23.4
2%
30
-25%
30.7 (21.6 - 46.8, n=599)
-28%
Idle Bottom *
25
30
-20%
28.9
-16%
27.8
-11%
28
-12%
31.5 (21.1 - 50.3, n=597)
-26%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

The Nitro 5 has stereo speakers like many laptops. The speakers reproduce high-pitched tones comparatively accurately but at the expense of mid and low-end frequencies. Overall, the speakers are good enough for occasionally listening to music or watching videos. However, we would recommend using external speakers or headphones where possible for a better listening experience.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2043.346.72539.640.53132.4334034.442.35027.231.36329.327.48027.728.610026.830.912523.433.516022.745.120022.952.125023.554.631519.958.940019.76550019.269.963017.970.58001870.7100017.872.6125018.967.3160017.869.3200017.465.8250017.765.7315017.765.2400017.861.1500017.558.6630017.552.6800017.457.71000017.359.51250017.360.41600017.355.2SPL30.278.9N1.443.2median 17.8median 60.4Delta1.56.729.83427.431.527.729.928.429.826.726.725.525.325.631.424.943.321.545.221.646.621.354.920.861.319.363.818.464.118.364.917.566.917.571.517.870.418.368.418.367.917.168.417.466.117.758.717.863.21861.617.961.817.762.317.760.617.558.217.451.13078.41.343.8median 17.9median 62.31.35.1hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseAcer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (79 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 14.5% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 8.5% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.4% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 62% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 33% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 17%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 34% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 59% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (79 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 10.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.5% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (3.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1.6% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (13% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 14% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 81% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 18%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 9% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 89% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Power Management

Power Consumption

The Nitro 5 has surprisingly low power consumption at idle, during which it consumes between 5 W and 11 W. By contrast, only the G5 15 5587 of our comparison devices can better our review unit here, with the other candidates consuming considerably more than the Nitro 5.

Moreover, the system consumed a maximum of just 90 W while playing The Witcher 3, which underlines the extent to which Nvidia has optimised its Turing architecture compared to its older Pascal-based chips. The Nitro 5 even consumes less than its AMD-powered sibling too. Overall, it is an impressive showing for Acer and the GeForce GTX 1650 here.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.2 / 0.4 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5 / 7 / 11 Watt
Load midlight 89 / 132 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop), 9300H
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H
Dell G5 15 5587
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8300H
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8300H
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U
Average of class Gaming
 
Power Consumption
-61%
-6%
-29%
-24%
-156%
Idle Minimum *
5
10
-100%
4.9
2%
8
-60%
7
-40%
19.9 (3.8 - 113, n=643)
-298%
Idle Average *
7
13
-86%
8.5
-21%
11.8
-69%
10
-43%
25.4 (6.8 - 119, n=643)
-263%
Idle Maximum *
11
21
-91%
9.1
17%
13.1
-19%
18
-64%
30.5 (8.3 - 122, n=643)
-177%
Load Average *
89
101
-13%
90.7
-2%
90.2
-1%
79
11%
104 (14.1 - 319, n=634)
-17%
Load Maximum *
132
176
-33%
144
-9%
136.2
-3%
128
3%
168 (21.9 - 590, n=633)
-27%
Witcher 3 ultra *
90
126
-40%
110
-22%
107.8
-20%
98
-9%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

After those impressive power consumption values, it should come as no surprise to see the Nitro 5 at the top of our battery life table too. Acer equips the device with a 57 Wh battery, a capacity that is on par with the batteries in our comparison devices, and which allows it to achieve excellent runtimes.

Our review unit lasted about 8 hours in our practical Wi-Fi battery life test, during which we reduce display brightness to around 150 cd/m² and turn all power-saving features off. Predictably, the device needs recharging much sooner if you are pushing it hard.

We should also point out that the Nitro 5 maintains approximately 80% of its peak CPU and GPU performance when running on battery. This 20% reduction should not affect frame rates significantly, for reference.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
17h 24min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
8h 06min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 28min
Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2
GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop), 9300H, 57 Wh
Medion Erazer X6805-MD61085
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, 46.7 Wh
Dell G5 15 5587
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 8300H, 56 Wh
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 8300H, 57 Wh
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, 48 Wh
Average of class Gaming
 
Battery Runtime
-28%
-0%
-37%
-30%
-42%
Reader / Idle
1044
503
-52%
705
-32%
577
-45%
336 (39 - 1174, n=624)
-68%
WiFi v1.3
486
270
-44%
391
-20%
315
-35%
340
-30%
252 (78 - 622, n=305)
-48%
Load
88
98
11%
133
51%
60
-32%
78.7 (18 - 202, n=591)
-11%
H.264
325
246 (88 - 506, n=134)

Pros

+ cool palm rest even under sustained load
+ good value for money
+ excellent battery life
+ slim display bezels

Cons

- no Thunderbolt 3
- no card reader
- dim display
- colour inaccurate
- disappointing speakers

Verdict

Acer Nitro 5 laptop review. Test device courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de.
Acer Nitro 5 laptop review. Test device courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de.

The Acer Aspire Nitro 5 is a balanced package at a fair price. The combination of a Coffee Lake CPU with a Turing GPU breezes through almost all applications, unless you overdo it with QHD or UHD resolutions and extremely high graphics settings. We also liked the inclusion of a fast PCIe SSD too.

By far the biggest highlight of the Nitro 5 is, however, its battery life. The device is perfect for those who want to game on the move. Likewise, it is even better for those who want to do more general tasks like responding to emails and browsing the web without being chained to a power outlet.

The Acer Aspire Nitro 5 is great value for money even though it suffers from a few compromises and weaknesses.

The more compact design and the quality of input devices are decent for the money too. However, Acer would need to improve a plethora of things for the Nitro 5 to get a higher overall rating. Firstly, the speakers are not the best, and neither is the display. Moreover, the selection of ports is rather meagre and outdated; we would have expected to see at least one Thunderbolt 3 port and a card reader in 2019.

However, do not let these weaknesses put you off. The Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2 is a great gaming laptop for the money. You will struggle to find anything more powerful or offering a better overall package for around 1,100 Euros (~$1,236).

Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54-53Z2 - 05/11/2019 v6
Florian Glaser

Chassis
76 / 98 → 78%
Keyboard
75%
Pointing Device
75%
Connectivity
48 / 81 → 59%
Weight
62 / 10-66 → 93%
Battery
90%
Display
85%
Games Performance
91%
Application Performance
99%
Temperature
88 / 95 → 93%
Noise
78 / 90 → 86%
Audio
70%
Average
78%
83%
Gaming - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Acer Nitro 5 (Core i5-9300H, GeForce GTX 1650) Laptop Review
Florian Glaser, 2019-05-13 (Update: 2019-05-14)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor
I got my first smartphone aged 11, my first PC aged 12 and I have been tinkering with electronics ever since. I like to keep abreast of the latest news and technology, which inevitably leads me to switch my laptop and phone every few months. When I'm not writing for Notebookcheck, you will find me seeking out new coffee shops, bars and trying to find some hidden gems in record stores.