The Acer gaming range of laptops is one of the quiet achievers, consistently delivering great hardware and software experiences for gamers on a budget. The Nitro series is their budget range, offering an excellent balance of price and performance. Today we’re looking at the Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58-93JE) gaming laptop.

Priced under $2,300 and specced with a 12th Gen Intel Core i9 processor, NVIDIA RTX 3060 laptop GPU with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, on paper the Nitro 5 offers a great deal for gamers on a budget.

At first glance it has the gamer aesthetic and the screen is large and bright, but is it going to take care of your gaming needs on the go? I spent two weeks with the Acer Nitro 5 and here’s how it went. 

Hardware and Design

The Nitro 5 is fairly typical of most gaming laptops these days with sharp corners, RGB keyboard and funky design on the plastic  lid. It also includes the big booty behind the hinge that most gaming laptops have evolved, allowing for more airflow and venting over the powerful internal CPU/GPU combo. 

It’s a fairly compact size for a device with a 15.6-inch display, which still fits in the old EFTM backpack for hitting the road and it certainly doesn’t feel like it weighs 2.5kgs when it’s sitting on your lap.

That 15.6-inch display is FullHD resolution but comes with a 165Hz refresh rate with 3ms response time. It’s a good monitor for gaming, especially on a laptop. It’s not the highest end, but has good refresh, brightness and colour definition. 

There’s a chunky bezel at the bottom of the display, but around the top and sides it looks pretty good, though there’s work to do there. There’s a webcam built-in to the top of the bezels above the screen, it’s not the highest quality but it’s decent and works pretty well.

There’s a full-sized keyboard on the lower deck of the Nitro V with the keyboard including a numeric keypad. The keys are a little spongy for typing long hours but the cushioning when gaming for long periods is superb. The keys have a white outline below a black keycap, with the WASD keys showing additional white highlights, in addition to the raised bump on the W key to make resting your fingers for gaming a lot easier. 

NitroSense software is their gaming control centre offering options for quiet, ‘default’ and Performance modes. This software paired with the NitroSense button on the keyboard made it easy to switch modes when I felt like playing games. That said the fan noise moving a lot of air through the vents in performance mode is fairly extreme but it’s blowing away from you, so it’s not intrusive.

There’s a full array of ports on the laptop, with dual USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A Ports on the right, RJ45 and a single USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A Port on the left. On the rear you’ll find the HDMI port, barrel connector for the 230W power supply and a single Thunderbolt 4 USB Type C port.

The laptop comes with Killer Ethernet E26001 and Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650i for excellent connectivity and there’s the Killer app pre-installed for you to fiddle with your network settings. 

Hiding underneath the laptop are more vents for cooling, with rubber feet to lift it just off the desk to allow airflow. It’s also underneath where you’ll find the speakers. There’s a speaker on either side of the laptop, and it’s not the greatest sound in the world but I’ve heard far worse from bigger laptops – so while it’s not excellent, it’s decent. 



The performance of the Nitro V is good, giving you a decent gaming option on the move for very little budget. 

The review model features a 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, the Acer Nitro V also runs the NVIDIA RTX 3060 mobile GPU making it a great option for gaming on the go. 

I played a fair bit of Sons of the Forest and saw consistent 65-75fps while the laptop was powered on the 230W charger, but that dropped to around 38-45fps on average while on battery. You can of course change settings for slight improvement but even on quite low settings the battery meant consistently lower fps.

I also played some Cyberpunk 2077, still waiting for DLC to dive back in fully, but this game still eats up GPUs, so it’s a great test. I again saw good results on power, with up to 80fps peaks, but more consistently around 65-75fps, with the battery performance dropping to around 25-35fps on average. When that low, it’s barely playable, and that’s after lowering settings. 

These performance levels can of course be tweaked while powered in NitroSense, but when on battery you simply get the default performance profile from Acer which is a little restricting.

I also ran it through the 3DMark TimeSpy and CPUSpy benchmarks and here’s how they went.


The Predator Nitro 5 gaming laptop includes a 57Wh Li-ion battery with a 230W barrel style charger included in the box. The laptop gets around 5 hours of battery life just doing fairly basic web, video and office work. If you want to play games on the move though, the battery drains significantly faster, averaging just over an hour of gaming while unplugged. You can fiddle with brightness settings to eke out a few more minutes of battery life, but overall it’s a pretty set life span. 

Charging isn’t ‘fast charge’, but at 230W it’s fast enough. In just 15 minutes you’ll get around 20% battery and just over 50% in half an hour, but you’ll need to wait up to 2 hours to get a full charge. You can also charge with a high wattage USB-C charger, though you get the dreaded ‘slow charging’ notification and it takes a bit longer to charge it, but it does work.


The laptop comes with Windows 11 Home pre-installed and will receive updates with Microsoft adding features and patching stuff regularly. 

There’s a couple of pop-ups on the Acer Nitro, I had two from Norton’s, one an advert and the other a restart request after an update, an advertisement from Express VPN and an offer for 100GB of free space for a year from DropBox. If you don’t like pop-ups or If you have your own VPN or Anti-Virus/Malware software then uninstall these and install your own. 

There are other pre-installed apps including DTS config software, or at least app icons pinned to your start menu. I had WhatsApp, TikTok, ESPN and Forge of Empires pinned, though when you click on them they simply download from the Microsoft Store, so just don’t click them. There’s also a bunch of Microsoft pre-installs as you’d expect with MSOffice trials included if you want to take advantage.

Should you buy it?

The ACER Predator Nitro 5 is perfect for gamers on a budget. The balance of performance, hardware and style offer an option to anyone wanting to play games, but keep their belt tightened. 

There’s a lot to like on the Nitro 5, but also a lot which could be improved. The quality is good, though being a budget model means you get more plastic components. It also means you skimp out on some things such as extended battery life, with the five hour average not particularly impressive for a business laptop.

But there is a lot to like. I was able to play some decent games using the RTX3060 mobile GPU inside, even at a much reduced frame rate. It also has a comfortable keyboard for gaming, a big bright display and decent audio.  

At $2300 it’s going to be hard to find something with this amount of hardware, so make sure you check it out