UPDATE: Nov. 13, 2023, 2:27 p.m. EST After an Acer rep’s request, this review was updated to reflect Acer Nitro 5’s rebrand to “Nitro V 15.”
Whoa! The Acer Nitro 5, now renamed to Nitro V 15, packed with delicious internals that can handle triple-A gaming, blew my mind. This is a sub-$1,000 gaming laptop, so naturally, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
The Acer Nitro V 15 beats similarly priced rivals. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable
But of course, the Nitro V 15 is a budget-friendly laptop, which means Acer had no choice but to make some compromises that may turn you off. That being said, let’s dive into what I love and hate about the Acer Nitro V 15.
Acer Nitro V 15 price and specs
The Acer Nitro V 15 in this review is only $999. You can find it at Newegg and it comes with the following specs:
Intel Core i7-13620H CPU
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU
16GB of RAM
1TB of SSD storage
15.6-inch, 1080p display with a 144Hz refresh rate
What I love about the Acer Nitro V 15
I’m a sucker for gaming laptops that look good in both environments: a glitzy entertainment room and inside a stuffy corporate office. The Acer Nitro V 15 fits that bill.
The design is fire
Call me a snoozefest all you want, but I can’t stand gaming laptops that look like “gaming laptops.” You know, the eyesores that simply have too much going on the chassis, lid, and keyboard. I want to game — not throw a darn 80’s party on the keyboard. The last thing I want is distracting features (I’m lookin’ at you RGB lighting) disrupting my focus during gameplay.
Acer Nitro V 15has an attractive design. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable
The Nitro V 15 has the perfect balance of fun and serious. It has a cool lid that looks like Wall-E rolled over it, leaving futuristic tracks on the cover. On the top center, you’ll find an iridescent “N” that gives the Nitro V 15 its edge. However, it’s not plagued with per-key RGB lighting you may find on pricier gaming laptops, which I’m not complaining about. The Nitro V keeps it simple with white backlighting.
Easy access to Nitro Sense app via keyboard
With the simple tap of the “N” key, you can access the NitroSense app.
The NitroSense app opened on the Acer Nitro V 15. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable
This nifty software will likely be your most-visited app; it lets you tweak the system to your liking before launching games. For example, you can adjust the fans according to your workflow and tasks. Before jumping into lightweight work (e.g., web browsing), you can use the NitroSense app to turn one of the two following modes:
Quiet — Restricts fan speeds to reduce noise levels
Balanced — Recommended for everyday, standard usage
While gaming (or diving into any other task that stresses the CPU and GPU), you can turn on Performance mode. Another mode you should be aware of is Eco; this lets you squeeze out as much battery life as possible.
Performance is damn good
I’ll dive more into this in subsequent sections, but I ran the Cyberpunk 2077 benchmark on the Acer Nitro V 15 and it exceeded my expectations.
Cyberpunk 2077 on Acer Nitro V 15 Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable
As mentioned at the outset, I reviewed the MSI Cyborg 15, which has the same price tag as the Nitro V 15 — and the Acer laptop crushed its competitor like an eggshell.
Wide selection of ports
Acer offers a sweet variety of I/O options on the Nitro V 15. On the left, you’ll find the power port (DC-in), an Ethernet port, HDMI 2.1, two USB Type-A ports, and a USB Type-C port (Thunderbolt 4). On the right, you’ll find another USB Type-A port, a headset jack, and a Kensington lock slot for security purposes.
I could use an extra USB-C port, but the Acer Nitro V 15 is a sub-$1,000 gaming laptop, so I’ll take what I can get.
What’s ‘eh’ about the Acer Nitro V 15
You can’t be bougie on a beer budget, but there’s one particular element about the Acer Nitro V 15 that I’m aggressively indifferent about.
The display won’t win any trophies
I appreciate the display’s 144Hz refresh rate, which means that you’ll get smooth visuals that’ll benefit you while playing fast-paced games. For example, while gunning down enemies in Deathloop, I felt a sense of heightened responsiveness and seamlessness.
The Acer Nitro V 15’s display isn’t colorful, but this isn’t surprising. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable
However, the 15.6-inch, 1080p display isn’t anything to write home about. While playing Cyberpunk 2077, the color richness looked mid, which is par for the course for a sub-$1,000 gaming laptop. Hey, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, right?
Loud AF, but this isn’t out of the ordinary
Some games will test the limits of your CPU and GPU, and when that happens, the Nitro V 15’s dual-fan system will kick in to keep its powerful internals temperate.
The Acer Nitro V 15 sounds like a plane taking off when pushed to its limits. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable
Yes, they do an excellent job at keeping the Ntiro 5 cool, but if I didn’t know any better, I’d mistake ’em for a leaf blower. It’s worth noting, though, that this is par for the course for most gaming laptops. If you want a quieter experience, grab the Lenovo Legion 9i, which has a unique thermal solution — if you don’t mind dropping an extra $3,000, of course.
Sound is OK
Cheap laptops often have a poor reputation of offering quiet, tinny audio. After launching Dua Lipa’s “Houdini” on Spotify, the snappy tune sounded repressed on the Nitro V 15’s dual-speaker setup — as if someone placed a stereo inside a small, closed box.
However, I’m not too bothered because many gamers reach for headsets to pair with their laptops anyway. And on the plus side, the sound gets sufficiently loud.
Quiet keyboard, but could be clickier
To gauge how comfortable I am on a new keyboard, I use the Live Chat typing test. On my daily driver laptop, the M2 Pro MacBook Pro, I type at a speed of 82 words per minute (WPM).
The Acer Nitro V 15’s keyboard has its ups and downs. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable
However, on the Acer Nitro V 15, I type at 75 WPM. What I love about the Nitro V 15’s keyboard is that it’s quiet. If a murderer was out to get you, and all you had in your hand was the Nitro V 15, you could probably get away with emailing someone for help without alerting the intruder. Plus, there’s a full-sized numpad — a useful addition for some gamers.
But the keyboard’s clickiness could be improved. The keys are a bit too soft for my taste, but this isn’t a dealbreaker. It’s also worth noting that the touchpad isn’t the smoothest, but again, this is a negligible flaw.
What I dislike about the Acer Nitro V 15
While I’m blasé about the Nitro V 15’s display color richness and accuracy, I firmly dislike Nitro V 15’s dim, 250-nit display.
The screen could be brighter
While playing Cyberpunk 2077, I found myself wanting to increase the screen to a brighter setting, but I was disappointed to find that I had already hit the max tier.
Battery life is meh
Like most gaming laptops, the Nitro V 15 isn’t very energy efficient.
‘Cyberpunk 2077’ running on Acer Nitro V 15. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable
I’d suggest keeping the Nitro V 15 plugged in. I experienced the laptop shutting down on me in just a little over an hour while playing Cyberpunk 2077 — and I didn’t get to save my progress. (Scroll down to see our recorded runtime for the Acer Nitro V 15.)
Chassis attracts fingerprints
My Nitro V 15 is a criminal investigator’s dream.
The Acer Nitro V 15 has a fingerprint-attracting chassis. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable
Acer Nitro V 15 Geekbench and 3DMark scores
Acer Nitro V 15 delivered a multi-score score of 12,797 (Performance Mode) on the Geekbench 6 test, which tests for CPU prowess. Compare this to the equally priced MSI Cyborg 15, which notched a score of 12,075.
The Acer Nitro V 15 also crushed the MSI on 3DMark’s Time Spy benchmark, which tested the Nitro V’s 4050 GPU. It delivered a score of 8,670, beating the MSI’s 6,907 figure.
How well does ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ run on Acer Nitro V 15?
I like to see a minimum of 60 frames per second for my games, and the Acer Nitro V 15 hit an impressive average of 92 frames per second on the Cyberpunk 2077 benchmark (High preset). After activating DLSS, a feature designed to double the frame rates with AI upscaling, it jumped to a 122 frames per second.
On the other hand, the MSI Cyborg 15 could only muster 54 frames per second on Cyberpunk 2077. With DLSS on, it climbed to 113 frames per second.
Acer Nitro V 15 battery life
As mentioned earlier, the Nitro V 15’s battery life isn’t great. Yes, the battery life of most gaming laptops is short, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing. We ran the PCMark 10 battery benchmark (gaming version) on the Nitro V 15, and it lasted just 1 hour and 29 minutes.
The battery life on the Acer Nitro V 15 is quite short. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable
However, this is better than its rival, the MSI Cyborg 15, which only survived for 1 hour and 1 minute.
The Acer Nitro V 15 is the best cheap gaming laptop I’ve tested so far. It can handle Cyberpunk 2077, one of the most graphics-intensive games on the market, like a champ. It even beats the MSI Cyborg 15, which shares similar specs.
However, as one might expect, a gaming laptop priced below $1,000 will have some trade-offs. In the case of the Nitro V 15, that means losing out on a bright display, a vivid screen, per-key RGB lighting, and more.
If you’re just looking for a gaming laptop that ditches all the bells and whistles for impressive gaming performance, the Nitro V 15 is the one for you.