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🥇Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-5812: Gaming Deal of the Year [Review]

  • Ergonomic backlit keyboard
  • Quad Core i5 processor that clocks in at 4.1 GHz
  • Full HD display
  • User activated fans
  • 8 GB of DDR4 RAM (easily upgradeable)
  • Dodgy trackpad for gameplay
  • Under 5 hours of battery life (above standard)

An affordable gaming laptop, that's an oxymoron if we've ever heard one. None the less, that's precisely what Acer has sought out to do with its latest affordable model; the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-5812. 

Obviously, such an endeavor would not come without its particular set of challenges, however, after carefully reviewing the model, we feel that Acer has made a product that's managed to entice and excite us all the same. Without further ado, let's see what we've got under the hood.

Battery Life5

In short

This laptop is a great option for anyone looking to get into the world of gaming laptops but not interested in re-mortgaging their homes in the process. Due to its high-end specs it's also very suitable for programmers, graphic designers and video editors. Its battery life isn't great -like most of its kind- but it more than makes up for that shortage with a solid overall performance of demanding and not so demanding tasks.

Let's take a look at the design

From a design standpoint, we can see that Acer hasn't exactly re-invented the wheel by any stretch of the imagination.

In that regard, the AN515-54-5812 packs a pretty standard design with red accents along the keyboard and trackpad. It's worth pointing out that the keyboard has a nice travel distance of 1.6 mm, ideal for long typing sessions, and to get that immediate feedback that's quite necessary when gaming.

Speaking of the keyboard, the laptop in question also comes with a dedicated NitroSense key which gives you quick access to the commands. Also, both WASD and directional keys are highlighted in a bolder red color for easy access, something to take into account.

We would be remiss if we said the trackpad was perfect (or very good even). In all honesty, it works well for a day to day usage but when it comes down to gaming we would really advise you to purchase a dedicated gaming mouse, as this will elevate the experience much more.

The display is alright, specifically, we've got a 15.6 inch LED-backlit IPS display that's pretty standard within mid-range laptops such as this one.

At this point let us be reminded that this is not a fully-fledged gaming laptop but rather a more "entry-level gaming laptop" and that's going to show in the quality of the build, particularly in components that are quite expensive such as the display.

How does it perform on a day to day basis?

Performances has two sides: "everyday" and "gaming". In this particular sub-section of our review we're going to tackle the "everyday performance", leaving the "gaming performance" for our next paragraph.

In that regard, the AN515-54-5812 delivers a pretty solid day to day experience with a good grasp of multitasking, video and image editing as well as your standard web browsing, video streaming, and document editing.

This is all due to the fact that it packs a 9th generation i5 processor that clocks in at a maximum 4.1 GHz, its 8 GB of DDR4 RAM -easily upgradeable BTW - and 256 GB of SSD storage. 

All of these components merge to offer a quick and seemingly effortless performance on all kinds of tasks from turn on to turn off and everything in between. Also, it's worth mentioning that you can also activate the fans if you feel like the laptop is getting heated, something that's rarely within the user's options and is greatly appreciated.

We're not going to dive onto benchmarks or anything of the sorts because those numbers rarely offer a "true vision" of the laptop's performance but we will say that just like most of the customer reviews have already pointed out, we are truly impressed by the overall performance.

What about gaming? What's the deal with the battery life?

We could not review the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-5812 and not talk about gaming. In short, this laptop is best suited for medium gaming at medium settings.

Specifically, on the graphics side, we've got a dedicated Nividia GeForce GTX1650 GPU with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM.

This, coupled with the 9th generation quad-core i5 CPU will deliver excellent numbers on games such as Gears Tactics (roughly 90 fps on FHD), Doom Eternal, or Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order (>50 FPS on FHD).

However, do not expect this laptop to deliver a smooth performance on gaming when you wish to adjust the settings to 4K by connecting an external monitor because the FPS will fall dramatically to an excruciating experience.

Overall, on medium settings, you should be able to enjoy most of the latest crop of AAA games launched throughout this year.

As far as battery life is concerned, gaming laptops are not particularly known for delivering on this front. That said, while Acer has promised us a hefty 8-hour battery life on the Nitro 5, this particular model has managed to deliver slightly under the 5-hour mark which is quite impressive all things considered.

Let us remember that being a gaming laptop, the AN515-54-5812 has a lot of components to power so it's quite standard for battery life on these machines to barely go beyond the three-hour mark at best.

What are the connectivity options? Does it have a fingerprint sensor?

When it comes to gaming laptops connectivity is a pretty big deal, be it because you don't want your game to lag behind because of a glitchy WiFi connection or because you want to use some awesome new wireless headphones. With that in mind, we're happy to see that Acer has spared no expense when it comes down to the connectivity aspect.

For WiFi, we've got the WiFi 6 standard with a dual-band connection working at both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz with MU-MIMO technology to achieve a maximum speed of 2.4 Gbps.

You've got your standard HD webcam which is basically only useful for videoconferences and, in case your WiFi connection is not stellar you've also got an RJ45 slot to connect to the internet the old fashioned way (and get way better download speeds while you're at it).

Of course, Acer could not launch a laptop in 2020 and not implement at least one USB Type C port as well as two standard USB 3.0 ports, a standalone USB 2.0 port -your best option to connect an external mouse such as the official Nitro Gaming Mouse- and your default HDMI ouutput port.

You've also got an audio jack - great to connect a gaming headset - and curiously enough it does not pack a CD reader -not that we've used it in the last 5 years - nor an SD card reader -which we actually do use :( -.

Finally, in a curious bonus, this laptop is also Alexa certified, which means we've got Amazon's virtual assistant already integrated onto the experience. This can be particularly useful if you've got a smartphone home and you want to "set the mood" for your gaming experience by turning on "smart lights" and so forth.

What are the customer reviews/opinions saying?

We know that digging through customer reviews can be a job in and of itself and can take a good couple of hours, more so when there are dozens to read through, that's why we've done it for you!

 In the case of this particular model, we were quite surprised at the time of publishing, with over 80 customer reviews, almost all of them are positive. Specifically, people seem to be very impressed by the value that Acer delivers on this model.

On the other hand, something negative that was mentioned a couple of times -as we did in the beginning of this review- is the trackpad quality, which is not great.

Verdict: Should I Buy It?

In closing, the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-5812 presents itself as a solid value proposition, offering up an entry-level gaming laptop at a mid-range laptop price point. What we like the most are its key specs (CPU, RAM, SSD), the decent battery life - by the standards for these laptops - its GPU for light and moderate gaming as well as its WiFi 6 dual-band connectivity for a fast internet connection.

Sure enough, we're going to have to get a gaming mouse because the trackpad is far from great for gaming purposes but we appreciate the design, the backlit keyboard, and the Full HD display. Overall, an excellent proposition considering its very low price point, more so when you take into account that you can easily upgrade both RAM and SSD storage.