We got to see the smaller of the Nitro 5 models in its (inhuman) flesh, and there’s a lot to like despite its role as an affordable machine. Certainly, Acer claims that the Nitro 5’s better cooling technology will help it perform more efficiently than its similarly priced competitors. It’s also better looking than previous generations of Max-Q laptops, which have always sacrificed part of their design in favor of better thermals. The keyboard is, in our experience, a bit too springy for the fast-twitch competition, but that’s what the peripherals are for.
I’m nit-picking, but I think the single USB-C port on the chassis is a bit stingy given how quickly we are embracing the standard. There are a lot of people out there who might not have the cash available to upgrade their devices, sure, but it would have been nice to have one on both sides. That aside, the sacrifices and tradeoffs here are hidden well enough (for now) that you might not notice you’re using a (nice) inexpensive gaming laptop. We won’t know for sure until we can put the final version to some real stress testing, but for now the Nitro 5 makes a good first impression.
At the same time, Acer is updating the Aspire 7 (and 5) with new AMD chip options, with the high-end model receiving a Ryzen 5000 series chip and up to a GTX 1650 GPU. Naturally, you can order up to 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and optional WiFi 6 on this machine, as well as user-controllable fan speeds. The mid-tier Aspire 5, meanwhile, gets a 5000 series chip (as yet unspecified) paired with AMD’s Radeon RX 640 GPU, up to 24GB of RAM and with a 1TB SSD or 2TB hard drive.
Acer Nitro 5 will be available in 15.6 and 17.3-inch versions in North America in February, with the base models priced at $ 750 and $ 850, respectively. Naturally, that price will skyrocket as soon as you start adding parts to the aforementioned high-end system, which will set you back $ 2,299. The Aspire 7 and 5, meanwhile, will arrive in March, with base models priced at $ 750 for the 7 and $ 550 for the 5.