Acer Nitro 5 AN515-44 Laptop Review: AMD dating Nvidia

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Acer’s Nitro 5 refresh is available in two basic configurations: The AN515-55 equipped with an Intel Comet Lake processor, and the AN515-44 featuring an AMD Renoir processor.

If you want to save some money you might want to opt for the Ryzen 5 4600H. AMD’s hexa-core can easily take it up against Intel’s Core i7-9750H that many more expensive laptops are equipped with. Alternatively, the AN515-44 can also be purchased with a very powerful Ryzen 7 4800H, the same CPU that flexed its muscles in the Bravo not too long ago.

Our review unit was furthermore equipped with a fairly new upper mid-range GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU, a 144 Hz display, a 512 GB SSD, and 8 GB of single-channel DDR4 RAM. For reasons of better performance, we would have wished for a dual-channel configuration. In order to purchase this particular configuration, you had to part with around $1,000 at the time of writing.

Case

Despite the fact that the case is made almost entirely of plastic, the new Nitro 5 looks and feels fairly premium. The lid in particular looks strikingly similar to real aluminum. The combination of black surfaces with red highlights (keyboard, touchpad, etc…) reminds us of various MSI laptops, and it hits a good balance between boring and playful.

Rigidity was decent except for the not particularly sturdy cover. The base unit only warped after applying a significant amount of force. Build quality was also on a par with its competitors, and thus at a decent level. A maximum display opening angle of 150 degrees should suffice for most users.

As is expected of a modern laptop, Acer opted for narrow albeit slightly wider bezels than those found on some of its competitors. Nevertheless, the Nitro’s footprint of 36.3 x 25.5 cm (14.3 x 10 inches) turned out to be fairly compact for a 15-inch device, as did its maximum height of just 2.4 cm. Thanks to its moderate weight of no more than 2.2 kg it is even portable to a certain degree.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Based on the marketing material on Acer’s website some of the more expensive Nitro 5 models feature an RGB-backlit keyboard. However, the AN515-44 has to make do with a red backlight underneath Acer’s well-established gaming keyboard. It offers a well-defined touch and feel as well as a solid overall layout safe for the combined Insert/Delete key. Furthermore, the German keyboard layout fused the left Shift key with <>| as well as the Return key with #, which while uncommon and confusing at first did not cause any issues after some getting used to.

A very useful feature was the availability of brightness and volume control on the cursor keys, particularly for touch typists. You will need both hands to trigger these functions, though. Some users will also benefit from the dedicated numpad.

Chiclet keyboard...
Chiclet keyboard…
...with red backlight
…with red backlight

Touchpad

The red-framed touchpad’s footprint of 10.5 x 7.5 cm (4.1 x 3 inches) is more than adequate for a 15-inch laptop. Its smooth surface ensures great gliding capabilities, and its precision was at an acceptable level. As expected, various gestures are supported, for example pinch by zoom or two-finger scrolling. The sound it makes when triggering the buttons is rather loud and clattery, and it could have used some additional fine-tuning, particularly considering that overall keyboard clatter is very low.

Display

In the past, displays with more than 100 Hz were mostly limited to expensive high-end laptops. Nowadays, more and more budget gamers are equipped with these high-frequency panels.

Performance

This model can be found in the upper mid-range segment of gaming laptops, both in terms of price as well as performance. It is worth noting that the CPU offered much more performance headroom than the GPU, which topped out in some of the more-demanding games occasionally already. Unlike the GPU the RAM can be upgraded, and we strongly suggest doubling the RAM from 8 to 16 GB of dual-channel RAM.

Processor

First things first: AMD’s Ryzen 5 4600H offers a breathtaking price-performance ratio. The hexa-core CPU is manufactured in a 7 nm lithography process and supports up to 12 simultaneous threads thanks to SMT.

Its clock speeds were pretty impressive overall. While it only achieved its maximum boost of 4.0 GHz under ideal conditions, an average of 3.7 GHz with load on all cores is more than respectable. The fact that performance dropped after a few runs is no exception but rather typical for a laptop.

GPU Performance

Truth be told we are somewhat disappointed by the GTX 1650 Ti despite its overall decent performance. Looking at the benchmark results reveals that the DirectX 12 GPU can only perform slightly better than a “regular” GTX 1650.

Gaming Performance

The Nitro 5 AN515-44 was developed with price-sensitive gamers in mind that might not necessarily insist on running every single game on the display’s native resolution of 1920×1080 on maximum details. Accordingly, recorded frame rates in less-demanding games such as FIFA 20 get very close to the display’s refresh rate while more-demanding, graphically intense, or poorly optimized games (we are looking at you, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Borderlands 3) tend to skip frames. Things quickly turn ugly when running at even higher resolutions, for example 2560×1440. Generally speaking, a GTX 1650 Ti is not suited for display resolutions higher than QHD.

Temperature

Temperatures recorded during our The Witcher 3 test indicate that the fans could easily be running slower than they are. CPU and GPU temperatures of around 60 °C each hint at quite a lot of thermal headroom. In our unrealistic stress test performed by running FurMark and Prime95 simultaneously we recorded temperatures of up to 71 °C for the GeForce GTX 1650 Ti and 85 °C for the Ryzen 5 4600H, both of which are also more than adequate for this load scenario.

Battery Life

Thanks to its combination of switchable graphics and low power consumption the Nitro 5 offers excellent battery life. Despite its comparatively small 57 Wh battery it managed more than 13 hours of runtime in our idle test at minimum display brightness, and close to 9 hours in our Wi-Fi test at medium brightness.

Verdict

Acer Nitro 5 AN515-44. Review unit provided by Acer Germany.
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-44. Review unit provided by Acer Germany.

Price-conscious users take note: The Acer Nitro 5 AMD edition with Ryzen 5 4600H and GeForce GTX 1650 Ti is a true price-performance recommendation.

While the first RX 5500M and GTX 1660 Ti laptops start making their way into the $1,000 gaming laptop segment, which could potentially offer even better gaming performance, a comparable CPU performance would cost much more in an Intel-equipped device.

Disregarding some of the corners Acer had to cut, such as the dim display with poor color-space coverage or the device’s poor connectivity, the Nitro 5 AN515-44 is a very attractive and versatile budget device. Thanks to long battery life and a comparatively lightweight and compact case it can even be considered somewhat portable.

 

#Affiliate notice I get commissions for purchases made through most of the links in this post to support the expenses of this website but at no additional cost to you.

Click here to check its price on Amazon

Kindly note that this article was outsourced and the information within was collected from various online trusted sources. We don’t own, or performed any mentioned tests personally.

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