Acer Nitro 5 2020, the latest version in the gaming laptop line that impressed me a lot last year with a cooling system that's just as good as premium products.
In this 2020 model, it's also very impressive. Ice cord temperatures. Well it's not literally ice-cold, but you know what I mean. It really surprised me that such a powerful 10th Gen Intel CPU, which is known to get super hot, can be cooled down so well by this machine. You know what the reason is? 135 watts charger. First I'm gonna get into the cooling and performance of this machine, and then we're gonna explore its other components together later.
I was really, really surprised at the performance of the i7-10750H chip. It pushes up to 95 watts of power, stable at around 70 watts during benchmarking. I was pretty sure that if power usage gets this high, it's definitely going to get very hot when gaming. But no, real temperature test shows that it only stays at around 70 degrees Celsius. Impressively cool.
If you're just an average user, you can now rest assured that you can bring this laptop home and have some great gaming experience with it. The coolness of the Nitro 5 doesn't only come from its cooling system. But it turns out Acer only opted for the 135 watts charging brick instead of the old 180 watts one, so when gaming, the power capacity of the CPU is only around 30 watts. 30 watts for the CPU, 50 watts for the GPU, plus other opponents. 135 watts charger? Perfect.
You might think it's not fully utilizing the power of the device, then. But think about it, how often do you actually need the full capacity of both the CPU and the GPU at the same time? When gaming, you mainly use the GPU, so the CPU being on the lower side doesn't really affect anything.
The GTX 1650Ti on this machine is still extremely powerful, always stable at 50 watts and the gaming FPS is also very consistent. And then when you're working, editing video on Premiere Pro for example, you're switching to mainly using the power of the CPU, so the power flushes there instead. This method is pretty similar to the MacBook Pro. The Pro's charger is also not even 100 watts.
Acer decided to use this smaller 135 watts charger, it won't be able to fully utilize the power of both the CPU and the GPU at the same time, but that's one way to keep the machine cool and it's probably a wise choice at the moment since Intel's 10th Gen CPU is way too hot. Besides, the 135 watts charger is also smaller in size and more portable.
About design, this is one of the things that really attracted me. The Nitro 5's design through the years since 2018, 2019 and now 2020 have always followed the "Gaming" genre, but it gets a bit simplified every year.
This 2020 version still has that sharp, pointy, edgy look of a high performance gaming laptop but at the same time it manages to look very modern and trendy. Still the same black and red color scheme, but the red strip at the hinge is simplified into a black that blends in to its surroundings.The lining of the WASD keys and the arrow keys are also changed from red to white, as well as the edges of the key caps. I prefer this color design because it's a bit less distracting.
The red accents are instead moved to the back of the machine, making this area look much more stylish than last year's model.The back panel is also modified a little bit to fit in with the edginess of the air vents area. Only if the Acer logo was also made a little tougher and pointier to cohere with the overall design. The current one just looks a bit too soft. The build quality is very good. The whole thing is made of plastic but it still feels very sturdy and I really like the surface finishing style. It's smooth and a little matte, giving the machine a premium look and I believe that this thing is going to be very durable.
The I/O also changed a little. Last year, the device was criticized for having the power jack on the right side, getting in the way of the air vents. This year, Acer moved it to the back of the machine.See? Just keep complaining and criticizing if you find any faults in a device because manufacturers do actually listen to users' demands to improve through the years.
The rest of the I/O is pretty adequate, including USB-A, Type-C, HDMI and Ethernet port.The display. A bit of a shame that this is still a 60Hz display. With such high spec options, I think Acer should have equipped the machine with a 120Hz display to increase the product's attractiveness.In this aspect, clearly Acer is still behind ROG or MSI. Display quality is just okay with the FullHD IPS panel.
About the touchpad. Good tracking ability, smooth touches but it's a plastic surface so if your hand sweats just a little bit, it will start to get sticky.
The keyboard gives a good typing feel, long travel, very good tactile feedback Overall just a great typing experience. What's more is the keyboard of this year's Nitro 5 is equipped with RGB LED lights, divided into four color zones. It's almost like a must with a gaming laptop right? But there's one thing: The key caps have a matte surface, so they start to get oily and shiny after a while.
There's an integrated Nitro Sense key on the keyboard. When you press it, the fan control app will automatically pop up. Similar to its predecessors, the fan control ability of this year's Nitro 5 works very quickly. The fan starts to run as soon as you click and when you set it to maximum speed, the temperature goes down 5 degrees Celsius.
About upgradability, there's 2 RAM slots, 2 NVMe SSD slots, plus 1 for HDD. Oh, and it also has WiFi 6. But don't buy it just for WiFi 6 because you'd need to upgrade your router to utilize WiFi 6 and you would also need a very high bandwidth to feel any difference. Lastly, the 57.5 WHr battery gives around 5 hours of use time with light tasks
If you already loved last year's model, there's no reason that you wouldn't love this machine because all the changes made are positive. Everything on this machine fits well with a gamer the build quality and cooling material in this machine is even better than other competitors on the low-budget, entry-level gaming laptop market.
There's only two things then you need to take note of: One: it's only a 60Hz display. Within this price range, you can easily find 120Hz display already, and Two: it won't be able to simultaneously fully utilize the power of both the CPU and the GPU since the charger only has a 135 Watts capacity. It's not necessarily too important, but based on your needs and requirements, just make sure that you take them into considerations.