When it comes to entry-level gaming laptops, Acer Aspire Nitro 7 is a prime example of how every decision counts. Every component must be second-guessed, and every trade-off must be considered because a mere $50 can mean the difference between standing out and stalling out. Do you want a larger screen or more storage space? More RAM or a better GPU? High-end laptops can have it all, but low-cost machines don’t have that luxury.
The problem is that sometimes you get a laptop that is ideal for one niche but suboptimal for the average buyer. Acer’s Nitro 7 has an above-average (at least for this price point) 15.6-inch display, plenty of SSD storage, and a powerful CPU—but it skimps on the graphics card, which is an important component for a gaming laptop.
It’s an odd choice, and my first instinct is that most people would be better off with another Acer laptop, specifically the Predator Helios 300, which costs the same but has a better graphics card. But we’ll get to that later. Let’s get started.
- The Acer Nitro 7 is, for the time being, one of Acer’s easier lines to navigate. There are only three options, with prices ranging from $1,050 to $1,200.
- We looked at the top-tier model, model number AN715-51-752B. Try saying it three times fast. In this case, $1,200 buys you an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, an Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD.
- Below that is the $1,100 model, which has 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The $1,050 model includes one of Nvidia’s previous-generation GTX 1050 cards, which is more of a bargain than it appears, as the GTX 1650 is on par with a 1050 Ti, not a base 1050.
- Our $1,200 review model is most likely the best choice. You could certainly run a gaming PC with only 8GB of RAM, but I would not recommend it. That alone eliminates the two lower-end models from consideration, especially given their $1,000-plus prices.
- As I mentioned earlier, $50 can be a lot of money when it comes to entry-level laptops—but in this case, I believe the extra money is necessary. If you want to spend less than $1,200, consider the Nitro 5 line instead.
Design Of This Laptop
- I’m intrigued by Acer’s Nitro line. They’re like undercover gaming laptops. But not in a convincing way. When you bring a Nitro 7 to work, everyone will say, “Hey, nice gaming laptop.” Nobody is fooled, especially with the odd pentagonal shape of the base and lid.
- The Nitro 7 is, however, more restrained (and refined) than Acer’s Predator line. The chassis is all black, with no red vent covers or highlights like the Predator line. The lid is a particular highlight, brushed metal etched with the Acer logotype and nothing else—no “Predator” or even “Nitro,” and certainly not that strange Transformers-looking logo used on Predator laptops.
- Anyway, we’ve arrived at the first of Acer’s Nitro 7 options: The presentation. It’s a feature that most low-cost laptops skimp on. It’s nice to have, but it’s a luxury. When given the option, most manufacturers choose to invest their limited resources in internal hardware.
- The Nitro 7’s 15.6-inch, 19201080 IPS screen, on the other hand, looks fantastic. Sure, it’s still a low-cost display. However, viewing angles are fairly wide, color reproduction is surprisingly solid, and the Nitro 7 easily clears the 250-nit battery testing floor. It’s one of the Nitro 7’s few clear advantages over the Predator Helios 300, which has a notoriously poor display.
- I’m less enthusiastic about the touchpad, if only because it lacks physical mouse buttons. That frustrates me on any gaming laptop. In theory, you’d plug in a mouse for all gaming, but sometimes you can’t, and tap-to-click touchpads are nearly impossible to use efficiently in those cases. It is, however, smooth and sensitive, which is a step up from some of the budget models I’ve used.
- But when it comes to performance, the value proposition becomes more questionable, especially at the $1,200 list price. Again, our Nitro 7 review model was outfitted with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor and an Nvidia GTX 1650, which is an incrementally improved GTX 1050 Ti.
- Throttling is the CPU’s problem, plain and simple. At this point, we’ve looked at a few Core i7-9750H laptops and reviewed many with its predecessor, the 8750H. The point is, we know what to expect. In short bursts, the Nitro 7 performs mostly as it should, with Cinebench R15 scores that are in line with our expectations—slightly below average, but not by much.
- The GTX 1650 is the Nitro 7’s biggest letdown. To be clear, the GTX 1650 has a place in Nvidia’s lineup. It’s not a bad card, and its predecessor, the GTX 1050 Ti, was recommended in a number of laptops. It’s an excellent entry-level option.
- However, our benchmarks show that $1,200 is a steep price for a 1650-equipped laptop. To allow for direct comparisons, I’ve included the benchmarks we ran with Acer’s Predator Helios 300, which, as I mentioned earlier, costs the same $1,200 but comes with a more powerful GTX 1660. (though it was 1060 at the time of our review).
To conclude, The Acer Nitro 7 is a competent laptop with some unusual priorities, focusing on the display and storage at the expense of its internal components. It may be ideal for some, but the majority of people are probably better off with Acer’s other low-cost options.
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