Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 Review – GPU Needs Improvement
The Acer Nitro 5 is part of the company's value-focused offerings aimed at giving you the best bang for your buck, this time powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H. Is it truly worth your money? Let's find out.
2 Years Warranty (1st year International Travelers Warranty)
+ AMD Ryzen 4800H works great
+ 4-zone RGB keyboard
+ 144Hz refresh rate
+ Decent array of ports
+ Doubles as an emergency powerbank
+ Good running temperature
+ Fan speed at max surprisingly isn't too noisy
- Build quality could be improved
- Thick bezels
- No SD card reader
- Only single stick 8GB RAM
- GTX 1650 is holding the laptop back
Unboxing the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020
The box itself has some pretty cool graphics of robots, along with a promo for the “eSports Social Platform” Planet9 on the bottom right corner. The QR code will take you directly to the site but in case you’re curious, you can click right here. Inside the box of the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020, you will find the following items:
- Setup guide
- HDD upgrade kit (cable and screws)
- 135W power brick
- Power cable
- Planet9 stickers
- Quick guide
- International Travelers Warranty guide
- The Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 itself
As many of you may know by now, the Nitro lineup is supposed to be the more affordable, value-focused series of gaming products. The build itself is decent, but it mostly feels rather plasticky. The lid itself has the Acer logo taking center stage, with some slits on the left and right sides that arches towards the center as it goes down for a more aggressive look.
Open up the lid and you get a 15.6-inch Full HD 144Hz IPS display, a 4-zone RGB chiclet keyboard complete with Numpad, and your run-of-the-mill trackpad. The bezels are also on the thicker side but nothing excessive. It’s here that you start to see a bit more with Acer is focusing more on the internals to attract consumers that are more value-centric. The display does have a bit of a wobble, especially if you type a bit hard.
On the left side, you have a Kensington Lock, an air vent, an RJ45 LAN port, two USB-A ports, and a 3.5mm combo audio jack. On the right side, you have a USB-C port, another USB-A port, an HDMI port, and an air vent. In case you’re wondering, the proprietary charging port resides in the rear, sandwiched between the two rear vents. It’s worth noting that the rear is mostly red, allowing it to stand out a bit more in the blackness of its build.
Moving to the bottom, you have some air vents, speaker grilles, product stickers, and five stands. It’s worth noting that only four of the five stands are rubberized whereas the remaining one is small and purely plastic. Another thing is that you get a clear view of 10 screw holes here, with one hidden by the Acer warranty void sticker in the center.
Overall, the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 looks like your typical gaming laptop. The build quality is decent and the looks can be improved. Given the range and design choice of this product however, we’re certain that they’re more focused on the internals and practicality than anything else. It looks exactly like the Intel variant which we reviewed a few months ago.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 4800H @ 2.9 GHz (up to 4.2 GHz Boost), 8C/16T, 45W TDP, 7nm|
|RAM||8GB DDR4 @ 3200 MHz|
2 x slots, upgradable to 32GB (2 x 16GB)
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR6|
|Storage||512GB PCIe NVMe SSD (WD PC SN530)|
1 x 2.5″ SATA slot vacant
1 x M.2 slot supporting RAID0 vacant
|Software||Microsoft Windows 10 Home|
Killer Control Center
Norton Security Ultra
|Connectivity||Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 160Mhz|
1 x RJ45 LAN (Killer E2600 Gigabit Ethernet)
3 x USB 3.0 Type-A (1 x supports power-off charging)
1 x USB-C (supports USB 3.2 Gen2 up to 10Gbps)
1 x Kensington Lock
|Display||15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 144 Hz IPS, Acer ComfyView LED-backlit TFT LCD display|
1 x HDMI
|Audio||2 x 2W speakers|
1 x Combo audio jack
|Power||135W power adapter|
57.5 WHr 4-cell Li-Ion battery
|Dimensions||363.4 x 255 x 23.9 mm|
As we’ve listed in the specifications table, the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 uses a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. To be precise, it’s the Western Digital PC SN530. As you can see from the CrystalDiskMark results, not only is it good, it actually performed better than its Intel counterpart.
Moving on to Cinebench R15, you can see that the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H powering the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 performs pretty great. While the single core difference with its Intel counterpart is negligible, the multi-core score is noticeably higher for the AMD CPU.
A similar pattern can be seen in Cinebench R20, with the AMD variant outclassing the Intel counterpart in multi-score by a noticeable margin yet again. It’s also interesting to see that the AMD Ryzen CPUs are holding the fort here. If you’re worried about it not matching up to Intel CPUs, this should serve as proof that it’s certainly not the case.
On Unigine SuperPosition in its 4K Optimized benchmark, the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 performed decently enough for its specs. Here, the Intel variant managed to outclass it by a big margin. However, that’s to be expected as this test is GPU-reliant and that one comes with a GTX 1660 Ti whereas this one uses the lower end GTX 1650.
The results are similar in 3DMark’s Time Spy benchmark. It’s not to say that the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 is bad, it just needs a stronger GPU to get a higher score here. This is also a good indicator of what you can expect from in terms of gaming performance.
In PCMark’s benchmark suite, it seems to indicate that the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 gaming laptop is a decent all-rounder machine. You can easily use this for work and play without issues unless what you need to run is very resource-intensive. In which case, you might want to look into some upgrades.
As for gaming, the Acer Nitro V AMD 2020 performed decently in Full HD at each games’ highest settings. Running temperature for CPU and GPU is also good as I had no thermal throttling. Even at max fan speed, it’s not too noisy. Due to it using a GTX 1650, you would definitely need to lower the graphics settings for most games for a smoother, more enjoyable experience.
In PCMark’s Modern Office endurance test, the battery life of the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 was better than expected. It lasted noticeably longer than its Intel counterpart with a difference of 133 minutes, which I found odd. However, even the gaming endurance test showed noticeably better results as it lasted 24 minutes longer. That may not sound as big as 133 minutes but keep in mind that gaming will use far more energy.
As for my own use with web browsing, YouTube videos, Photoshop, and word processing, I typically get about 3 and a half hours to 4 hours of use per full charge. The battery life is certainly decent and noticeably better than its Intel counterpart.
As it shares the exact same body as its Intel counterpart, there’s a small design issue I’d like to make note of once again. Make sure to plug in the charger until you hear an audible click in the rear of the laptop as it requires a little extra push compared to other laptops. Otherwise, you might think that it should be powered up when it’s actually not.
The Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 is clearly a budget gaming laptop with internals that pack a decent punch. It’s powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. As for memory, it has a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD and 8GB DDR4 RAM clocking in at 3200MHz. In comparison, the Intel counterpart’s RAM clocks in at 2933MHz.
While I do feel that the storage is plenty, it would be nice if it immediately came with 16GB DDR4 RAM (dual-channel). This will improve its usability greatly in all areas. I can understand not being able to do so to keep things within a budget, but if you plan on getting this, I highly suggest upgrading the RAM. It does have enough slots for it.
As mentioned earlier, it has a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display with a 144Hz refresh rate. The colours, while not the best, is surprisingly good for a budget gaming laptop, with good viewing angles as well. You can open the lid up to roughly 155°. which is more than enough. There’s not much games that can let you truly enjoy the 144Hz refresh rate, with CS:GO most likely being the only viable one, but at least the option is there.
The laptop measures in a 23.9mm thick and 2.3kg in weight. It’s definitely far from being big and heavy, but we have seen lighter, more portable gaming laptops as of late, even from Acer themselves. I still don’t think it’s hard to carry around, but if you really need a light machine, do consider your options.
The Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 has a decent array of ports. It has a total of three USB-A ports, a USB-C port, an HDMI port, a combo audio jack, and an RJ45 LAN port. What’s great here is that the USB Type-A port on the right side supports power-off charging, essentially turning the laptop into an emergency powerbank. Would be great if they included an SD card reader here.
The keyboard on the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 is comfortable to use. It has a 4-zone RGB keyboard with low travel distance and decent tactility. The addition of the Numpad makes things even more convenient, especially if you need to use this for work. I expected Acer to cut some costs and make it a single-zone RGB instead, so good on them for going a little extra here. The trackpad works fine but there’s nothing much to shout out about.
As this is a Nitro gaming laptop, it comes with the Acer NitroSense software. It isn’t as extensive as the PredatorSense software, but it’s still something. You can adjust fan speed, change power plan, customize keyboard RGB lighting, and more. The UI is simple and straightforward so most people shouldn’t have trouble with it.
Apart from that, you do have the KILLER Control Centre, specifically when used with a LAN cable, and the DTS:X Ultra software for a more immersive audio experience with 3D audio. I doubt you’d bother with it when used with internal speakers but with gaming headsets, it can give you that extra edge over your enemies in games, especially first-person shooters.
The speakers on the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 gaming laptop are decent at best. It can produce decent details with a severe lack of bass, which is to be expected from built-in speakers. I personally wished that the volume could be louder, but it’s not too bad. You’re better off using your favourite pair of earphones / headphones / gaming headsets.
Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 Verdict
The Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 is a good budget gaming laptop. You get a good amount of firepower and there are some upgrade options you can consider for a better experience. If you simply need a gaming laptop under a budget, especially with a good CPU, this will easily fit the bill.
The build quality could be improved, the bezels are on the thicker side, and GTX 1650 is a little weak. It still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a good value-for-money offering. With that I award the Acer Nitro 5 AMD 2020 gaming laptop with our Bronze Pokdeward.
Big thanks to Acer Malaysia for letting us use this laptop for the purposes of this review.