Acer Nitro 5 AN515 Gaming Laptop Review

OUR VERDICT

  • High performance
  • Faster SSD storage
  • Pretty high screen contrast ratio
  • Keys have tactile feedback to give
  • Precision touchpad is smooth, responsive, and accurate
  • Quite long-lasting battery
  • Opens using just one finger
  • Pretty solid plastic build
  • Well bigger and good placement of arrow keys
  • Highlighted WASD keys
  • Keys have 4-level of zonal red color backlit
  • Impressive thermal management
  • WASD part observed pretty cool during maximum stress mode
  • Fans are average loud
  • No thunderbolt port
  • Display is below an average brighter
  • Screen color gamut falls on poor side
  • Little more screen flex observed
  • Keyboard flex found to be extended to the palm rest area
  • No Windows hello support
  • Fingerprints show up but easy to wipe away
  • CPU Undervolting is a game changer in increasing the performance and reducing the temperature
  • Buying a cooling pad for this laptop is worthy
  • Can do
  • Graphics Editing
  • Video Editing
  • Web programming
  • Android programming
  • Desktop programming
  • Run most of the Engineering software like AutoCAD, CFD, and many more
  • Gaming
  • Small-scale machine learning
  • Cannot do
  • iOS/Mac programming
  • Medium and above level of Machine learning
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Hello, guys. Today, in this article, I'm going to review the Acer Nitro 5 AN515 gaming laptop in detail.

In addition to that, I will also compare its performance with other laptops I have reviewed to let you know that is it the laptop you should consider buying.

First, like other laptops I have reviewed, this one is also I received from New Delhi. So, let's get started. But, before I proceed, read my article on an explanation of laptop specs to understand the laptop's inside components in a better way.

Table of Contents

Technical Specs of Acer Nitro 5 AN515 Review Unit

  • CPU: 4.1GHz 4 Core 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H Processor | 6MB Smart Cache
  • Graphics: Dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 Graphics
  • RAM: 2666MHz 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1TB 5400RPM HDD + 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD display | IPS & Anti-glare Panel | 246 nits
  • Battery: 57Wh 4 Cell Li-ion battery | Lasted for 9 hours and 54 minutes on YouTube watching.
  • Weight: 4.78lb (2.2 kg)
  • Laptop dimensions: 36.35 x 25.5 x 2.69 cms
  • Ports: Jump to the port section

The Build Quality and Material

The black plastic lid of Acer Nitro 5 AN515 display.

The Acer Nitro 5 AN515 has a smooth black plastic lid. The interior is smooth and made of matte black plastic finish. In addition to that, there is also red accenting around the keys, touchpad, and throughout the laptop.

So, overall the build quality feels okay like other plastic build laptops I have tested. Similar kind of accenting but of blue color you will get on Dell G3 3500 gaming laptop. Furthermore, it has also a solid plastic build.

Dimensions and Weight

The dimensions of Acer Nitro 5 AN515 gaming laptop

The dimensions of this AN515 Nitro 5 are 36.35 cms (14.31-inch) in width, 25.5 cms (10.04-inch) in depth, and 2.69 cms (1.06-inch) in height. In addition to that, I have also measured the weight using a propert weight meter. The readings are as below.

  • For laptop only: 4.78 lbs (2.2 kg)
  • For laptop + Charging cables: 5.86 lbs (2.7 kg)

Here, the motive to check the laptop with charging cables is to show you how much weight you have to carry during traveling. And, I found it thicker when compared to Dell G3 3500 (2.16 cms), Razer Blade Pro 17 (1.99 cms), MSI GS65 Stealth-004 (1.79 cms), Dell Alienware m15 R2 (2.01 cms), and Lenovo Legion 7i (2 cms).

It is lightweight to carry when compared to Razer Blade (3.55 kg), Dell G3 3500 (3 kg), Legion 7i (3.13 kg), and Dell Alienware (3.3 kg). But, found heavier than MSI GS65 Stealth-004 (2.40 kg).

Display Quality and Color Reproduction

Size and Quality

The 15.6-inch FHD 60Hz display without G-Sync available.

This laptop has got a 15.6-inch 1080p 60Hz display with no G-sync available. It is surrounded by 7.5mm of thin bezels from the side and It has good viewing angles, thanks to its IPS panel.

Color Reproduction Efficiency

Spyder 5 PRO is testing the screen color gamut of Acer Nitro 5's display.
Spyder 5 PRO is testing the color gamut.

The color reproduction capability of this laptop is measured by testing the screen color gamut. For that, I have used Spyder 5 PRO. The results of the test conducted are shown in the below image.

Screen color gamut test results. The display got 46% of DCI-P3, 45% of NTSC, 46% of AdobeRGB, and 63% of SRGB.

So, overall, little below an average color gamut display. To be frank, In my laptop review lists, there only 3 to 4 laptops that have a 60Hz refresh rate display.

In terms of color reproduction, the results are similar to Dell G3 3500. But, when compared to Razer Blade, MSI GS65, Alienware m15 R2, and Legion 7i, this one sucks. It is to note that other variants of Nitro 5 have improved display If you have a higher budget.

Is the display enough bright?

The chart of Display brightness vs nits at 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of screen brightness.

The display of my review unit has reached 246 Nits at 100% of screen brightness at the center. So, pretty closer results to Dell G3 3500. But, it sucks when compared to Legion 7i, Razer Blade, MSI GS65, and Alienware m15.

In addition to that, the screen contrast ratio found 920:1. So, a very nice contrast result. It's higher than Alienware m15 (740:1), Dell G3 3500 (840:1), and nearly similar to Legion 7i.

Screen Flex

The AN515 Acer Nitro 5's screen has little more flex.

There is little more screen flex when tried to move the screen up and down using fingers. The flex is caused by the low strength of the hinge and plastic lid. But, overall, I found no issue during normal use, thanks to the average thick plastic lid.

In addition to that, My review unit has opened up with just one finger. That demonstrates the evenly distributed weight across the hinge. Also, note that initially, you gonna face some problem but, over the use, it will be resolved.

Keyboard – Tactile, Flex, Build, and RGB Backlit?

Keyboard Flex and Build Quality

The plastic keyboard has also some flex when pressed it down hard using fingers by fair pressure.

Well, due to the plastic interior, I found little more keyboard flex when pressed the keyboard down hard using fingers with fair pressure. In addition to that, it was also a bit extended to the palm rest area. In my experience, I found it pretty standard like other gaming laptops. Overall, no issues during normal typing.

Furthermore, the keyboard has highlighted WASD keys so that you can easily distinguish them from the others.

Single Zone of Red Backlit

The keyboard has a single zonal Red backlit.

The keys of the Acer Nitro 5 AN515 gaming laptop have the only single zone of 4-level red backlit. You can also turn it off completely if you want. The keyboard backlit is bright enough to illuminate the secondary function of keys also, as you can see in the above image.

Fine Typing Experience

Typing on this tactile keyboard is pretty good experience.

The typing on the keyboard is fine. It gives above-average consistent tactile feedback. Unlike Dell G3 3500 gaming laptop, I got almost no shallow feeling during typing. In addition to that, the power button is placed just next to the "End" button.

But, it's not an issue since your accidental press won't create any problem. You have to long-press the power button then after Acer software will prompt you to what to do. So, overall pretty good like other gaming laptops.

Bigger and Fairly placed 4 Arrow Keys

The 4 bigger and fairly placed arrow keys on the Acer Nitro 5 AN515 gaming laptop's keyboard.

The 4 arrow keys are enough bigger and fairly placed, unlike Dell G3 3500 when compared to. So, the chances of the accidental wrong press are minimal to no in the Nitro 5's tactile keyboard.

Precision Touchpad

Smooth, responsive, and accurate precision plastic touchpad. It clicks down anywhere and 4.13 x 2.99 inches large.

Acer Nitro 5 AN515 has a smooth, responsive, and accurate plastic 4.13-inch wider touchpad with red accenting around the edges. It is Windows recognized precision unit. In addition to that, it clicks down anywhere, and unlike Dell G3, it has no dedicated buttons. Although, that doesn't require even.

Furthermore, my gaming experience says that a laptop's touchpad even if it's a precision unit it never helps while escaping from enemies. For that, I recommend buying an external dedicated gaming mouse.

It's bigger when compared to the touchpad of MSI GS65 Stealth-004 (4.1 x 2.7 inches), Lenovo Legion 7i (4.13 x 2.76 inches), Dell Alienware m15 R2 (4.1 x 2.36 inches), smaller than Razer Blade Pro 17 (5 x 3 inches), and nearly equal to Dell G3 3500 gaming laptop.

Fingerprints on the Smooth Surface

Fingerprints on the smooth plastic matte finish surface of Acer Nitro 5 AN515.

The matte black finish is some sort of shiny and smooth. So, fingerprints and dirt easily show up. But, it's easy to clean using the micro-fiber cloth. In addition to that, thanks to the black color, I observed no color change over the use.

During my Alienware m15 R2 (White variant) review, I found it was slightly yellowish over the use, but that's not the case with Acer Nitro 5 AN515 gaming laptop.

Processor, Graphics, and RAM

Acer laptop with removed bottom cover.

Going off to the topic, Are you guys able to see the CPU and GPU chip? I have just removed the bottom cover to show you. But, I think it's not.

Coming back to the topic, an Intel Core i5 CPU and NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU is powering the laptop. In addition to that, 2666MHz 8GB of faster DDR4 RAM is giving more than enough space for smooth multitasking.

To make the laptop faster, Acer has provided the 256GB of PCIe based SSD storage in addition to 1TB of 5400RPM hard disk to load and write the files noticeably quicker.

Cinebench R20 Score

To check the CPU performance, I have conducted the 3 runs on Cinebench R20. Cinebench is a tool used to check the single and multi-core scores of CPU by performing several tests. The average of the 3 runs is in the below image.

Cinebench R20 score of average of 3 runs on Acer Nitro 5 AN515 gaming laptop.

The Cinebench results conclude many things like whether the CPU undervolting beneficial, buying the cooling pad is worthy, and many more.

At stock fan, the average of the single and multi-core score were 451 and 3195, respectively. At Max fans, the single-core score was stable, but the multi-core score was raised to 3498. A quite noticeable improvement of almost 300 scores. Last, At max fans with 0.15v undervolted CPU, the single-core was reached 452, and the multi-core score was at 3601.

So, here, the CPU undervolting has shown a considerable positive impact on multi-core performance.

Average CPU and GPU Clock Speed

The CPU and GPU clock speeds were measured by performing the stress and gaming tests in different modes. For gaming tests, I have played The Witcher 3, not because it's my favorite game, but because it shows the great combination of CPU and GPU performance. And the stress tests were done with the AIDA64 tool.

And the same tool and method were used to measure the TDP, CPU and GPU temperature, laptop's exterior temperature, and fans' noise. So, let's begin with clock speed.

The average CPU and GPU clock speed of average of 3 runs for different modes of stress tests using AIDA64 and gaming tests on Acer Nitro 5 AN515 laptop.

During the stress test at the auto fan, the CPU and GPU clock speeds were 3623 and 1681MHz, respectively. In the same test with max fan, both' clock speeds were raised to 3933 and 1705MHz, respectively. So, it indicates that the max fan gives a pretty higher CPU and GPU performance.

In the same test with 0.15v undervolted CPU, CPU clock speed was raised to 4001 from 3933MHz that indicates little noticeable improvement. And, GPU clock speed was reached 1727MHz. In the same test, the use of a cooling pad has shown very little change in CPU and GPU clock speeds.

In the gaming test at the auto fan, the CPU and GPU clock speeds were at 3598 and 1705MHz, respectively. The same test with the max fan has considerably raised the CPU speed to 3802MHz and GPU to 1769MHz. With 0.15v CPU undervolting in the same kind of test, CPU clock speed was at 3943MHz and GPU at 1784MHz.

In the same test, the use of a cooling pad has raised the CPU speed by 59MHz and GPU by 5MHz.

So, overall, the CPU undervolting has shown drastic improvement in the CPU and GPU clock speeds. Further use of a cooling pad has shown a positive impact in gaming but no effect in video editing, small-scale machine learning, and any task other than gaming. Next, we will look at the Power consumption of CPU and GPU.

Average CPU and GPU TDP in Watts

The motive of this test was to identify the possible and easily implementable ways to reduce the CPU and GPU TDP to improve battery life a bit. TDP is the acronym of the Thermal Design Power in watts that indicates the power consumption by chip under a maximum load.

Average CPU and GPU TDP of 3 runs for different modes of stress tests using AIDA64 and gaming tests on Acer Nitro AN515 laptop.

In the stress test at the auto fan, the CPU and GPU TDPs were 25.6 and 49.6 watts, respectively. In the same test with max fan, the CPU and GPU TDPs were raised to 34.1 and 49.5 watts, respectively.

The same test with 0.15v undervolted CPU has raised the CPU TDP by 0.8 watts and no change in GPU TDP. And in the same test with the use of a cooling pad has further increased the CPU TDP to 35 watts, and GPU was at 49.5 watts.

In the gaming test with auto fan, the CPU and GPU TDPs were 27.8 and 47.8 watts, respectively. In the same test with max fan, both' TDPs were raised to 28 and 49.3 watts, respectively.

The same test with 0.15v undervolted CPU has increased the CPU TDP to 28.9 watts and reduced the GPU TDP to 49.1 watts. And, in the same test with the use of a cooling pad, the CPU TDP was further raised to 30 watts, and GPU TDP was found at its previous position.

So, CPU undervolting (UV) is going to help you out a bit during gaming. Overall, I found the CPU UV and cooling pad not noticeably worthy in terms of TDP. That's what this test concludes.

Video Editing Performance

The video editing performance was tested by two ways.

  • Average of the video export time
  • Multitasking during video export

Average of the video export time

In this test, I have exported the 16 minutes and 13 seconds long video in YouTube 4K H.264 preset on this Acer Nitro 5 AN515 using Adobe Premier CC. I have repeated the test 5 times to show you an average export time.

Adobe Premier CC video export results of average of 5 runs on this Acer Nitro 5.

As you can see in the above image, this Nitro 5 has exported the video in on average 16 minutes and 38 seconds (998 seconds). The result is similar to Dell G3 3500 (954 seconds), and I feel no strange.

The weird happened to me when I have compared the result with Dell Alienware m15 R2. Despite the quite higher specs than Acer Nitro 5 AN515, Alienware has exported the same video in on average 951 seconds.

Multitasking during video export

The motive to conduct this test wasn’t other than to rate the smoothness of this laptop when the CPU is busy with intense work. I have checked the following during the video export, the touchpad, keyboard, and laptop’s response time.

Overall, I found quite good results, thanks to the Intel Core i5 CPU, NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB GPU, 2933MHz 8GB DDR4 RAM, and 256GB SSD Storage.

Thermal Performance

This test was performed to tell you whether the cooling pad and CPU undervolting are worthy in the CPU and GPU temperature reduction.

Average CPU and GPU temperatures measured during different modes of stress tests using AIDA64 and gaming test on Acer Nitro 5 AN515.

At idle, the CPU and GPU were at 36.7 and 34 degrees C, respectively.

In a stress test at an auto fan, the CPU and GPU temperatures were raised to 84 and 71 degrees C, respectively. The same test with a max fan has reduced the GPU temperature to 64 from 71 degrees C, and the CPU was found stable at 84 degrees C.

In the same test with 0.15v CPU undervolting, both CPU and GPU temperatures were reduced to 80.5 and 61 C, respectively. The same test with the use of a cooling pad has further reduced both' temperatures to 78.9 and 57 degrees C, respectively.

In the gaming test at an auto fan, the CPU and GPU were at 88.7 and 67 degrees C, respectively. The same test at max fan has reduced the CPU temperature to 74.9 degrees C and GPU to 59.

In the same test with 0.15v CPU undervolting, the CPU and GPU temperature further reduced to 71.1 and 55.1 degrees C, respectively. In the same test, the use of a cooling pad has little further reduced both' temperatures to 55 and 70.8 degrees C, respectively.

So, the CPU undervolting is found to be a game-changer in a reduction of both CPU and GPU temperatures. And the use of a cooling pad helps to reduce it a little further during gaming and other tasks. That's the only outcome of this test.

Laptop's Exterior Temperature

The laptop's exterior temperature was measured to figure out how it feels when actually putting your hands on the palm rest or keyboard during processor-intensive tasks or gaming.

AN515's exterior temperature in idle mode at auto fan.

In idle at an auto fan, the middle of the keyboard was getting mid 30 degrees C. The sides were at mid 20 C. And, the palm rest was cool.

AN515's exterior temperature during CPU and GPU stress test at auto fan.

When the CPU+GPU stress test was running on at Auto fan, the middle of the keyboard was getting low 50 C. The sides of the keyboard were found at mid 35 C. And, the palm rest was found again pretty cool here. In this test, some of the keys started feeling a bit warmer when touched.

AN515's exterior temperature during CPU+GPU stress test at max fan.

During the CPU+GPU stress test at the max fan, the middle of the keyboard found at mid 45 C, a bit cooler than it was during the stress test. The sides were at low 30 degrees C. In addition to that, The WASD part was also less than warmer, much more on the cool side. And, the palm rest area was again pretty cool here.

So, overall, I found a pretty good cooling solution has established on this laptop. The fans and heat pipes shared between CPU and GPU are found working efficiently to cool down this machine. I found no issue while using it on my lap.

When compared to the Dell G3 3500 of the same specs, I found the thermal management is better than G3. In G3, the WASD part was getting a bit uncomfortable, and that's not the case with this laptop.

Fans Performance

The fans' performance was tested to check the noise produced by this laptop.

The fans noise levels of Acer Nitro 5 for different modes of stress tests.

In idle mode at the auto fan, The 2 fans were at 35.4dB - completely silent. While the CPU+GPU stress tests running on at auto fan, they were at 45.7dB - slightly audible but not distracting. During the same stress test at the max fan, they were at 55.8dB - less than average louder compared to other gaming laptops.

Camera and Microphone

The 720p camera and a microphone placed at the top bezel of Acer Nitro 5 AN515.

The 720p camera and a microphone are placed at the top thin bezel in the middle. No Windows Hello supports here. The camera quality is not incredible but a little less than average. The microphone found capturing the sound okay during both idle and max fans.

So, overall, a pretty average camera and microphone result from Acer Nitro 5 AN515 gaming laptop.

Speakers

The down-firing speakers of this machine.

The 2 down-firing speakers are placed at the front corner of both sides. While listening to the YouTube video, they sounded okay, to be frank, a little below an average. They feel a bit tiny but loud at maximum volume. In addition to that, the LatencyMon results are looking good despite a bit tiny sound.

LatencyMon results for Speakers' quality. The results are look fine.

So, overall, not an incredible speaker this Acer Nitro 5 has got, but not too bad even.

Ports on the Acer Nitro 5 AN515 Gaming Laptop

On the Left

Ports on the left side of Acer Nitro 5.

On the left side of Acer Nitro 5 AN515, there are the following ports from left to right.

  • 1 Kensington lock
  • 1 Air exhaust
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 2
  • 1 3.5mm audio/combo jack

On the Right

Ports on the right side of Acer Nitro 5.

On the right side of Nitro 5, there are the following ports from left to right.

  • 1 USB 3.1 Type-C (Not a thunderbolt port and display output, Cannot even be charged)
  • 1 USB 2.0
  • 1 HDMI 2.0 output (Connect straights to the NVIDIA eGPU)
  • Another air exhaust

On the Back

Ports on the backside of Acer Nitro 5.

The back of AN515 Nitro 5 got two air exhausts at the left and right corners and a power input port in the middle. Furthermore, to plug-in the laptop, you need to push the power adapter a bit harder than average - that's something I would like to tell you.

There's nothing on the front except for the smooth plastic and a bit rounded edges.

Air Intake Vents

Air intake vents directly above the fans.

Underneath the laptop, there are some air intake vents directly above the fan to let the fresh air enter to keep the laptop cool as much as possible.

Battery

The real world battery life results of Acer Nitro 5 during gaming and YouTube Watching.

The battery life was tested for normal and gaming-tasks. For the normal-task, I have watched the YouTube videos at 50% screen brightness, background apps disabled, and keyboard lighting off. And, for gaming, I have played The Witcher 3 at medium settings and FPS set to 30.

So, despite the low battery, the gaming has survived for 1 hour and 24 minutes on it. A bit higher than Dell G3 3500 (1 hour and 15 minutes).

Storage

This Acer Nitro 5 AN515 has got 256GB of PCIe-based SSD storage in addition to 1TB of 5400RPM hard disk. As usual, it's worthless to test the HDD's speed due to moving parts inside it, it's much much slower.

So, I have tested the SSD speed using the CrystalDiskMark tool. And the results of the test are shown in the below image.

SSD speed test results by CrystalDiskMark.

The CrystalDiskMark tool results show that the SSD read and write speeds are fine but less when compared to the Dell G3 3500. Next, I will finish this laptop review article by showing the gaming benchmarks I have measured while playing the 3 games for maximum settings for half an hour.

Gaming Benchmarks

Gaming benchmarks tested on Acer Nitro AN515 laptop.
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