It’s not a stretch to say we’ll probably see new gaming laptops with bigger and better graphics cards soon with 2021 and CES right around the corner. That’s all well and good for anyone who wants the latest and greatest, but many people would prefer something that just good enough—aka something on a budget. These laptops may weigh more than five pounds, they may not have the best display or the best keyboard. They get the job done though, and they do their jobs well, which is why I’d be happy to recommend Acer’s Nitro 5 to anyone who wants something that can do it all, but doesn’t need to spend an ungodly amount of money on a gaming laptop.
The Acer Nitro 5 is the type of laptop I would have loved to have in college. At 5.07 pounds, it’s light enough to carry around in your backpack, but it’s dimensions are thick enough so you don’t have to worry about it sliding around on your desk. Even at that weight, it’s still sort of brick-like with 14.3 by 1.02 by 10-inch dimensions. It would be nice to have that height under an inch at the very least, but it still comes with attractive features that budget laptops normally would not in the past, like a 1080p, 144 Hz IPS display. It’s a more-than-solid gaming laptop for $1,100.
The Nitro 5 has just the right amount of ports, too: one USB 2.0, two USB-A 3.1, one USB-C 3.1, Gigabit Ethernet, audio line out, headphone jack, and one HDMI port. Some $2,000-plus laptops have less ports than that! This laptop isn’t built for streaming, but if you want to plug in a wired mouse, a headset, and a standalone mic to coordinate with your friends over several rounds of Apex Legends, you can do that. There’s also Bluetooth 5.0 support, and a built-in 1280 x 720 webcam plus microphone.
The last-gen Intel processor isn’t that big of a compromise compared to the Nitro 5’s total package. The Core i7-9750H performance is definitely not as fast compared to the 10th-gen. But I’d rather sacrifice a bit of performance that only amounts to small decrease in frame rates or a few additional seconds of processing or loading time instead of DRAM, storage capacity, or a ray-tracing graphics card. The 512 GB SSD is middle-of-the-road for the overall price of this laptop, but it can easily be upgraded down the line. Games’ file sizes are massive these days, so any tier of gaming laptop should come with at least a 1 TB SSD. That’s one of the biggest drawbacks to the Acer Nitro 5, but again, it’s a budget laptop. Concessions need to be made somewhere.