The Acer Nitro 5 2022 doesn’t just offer what you’d expect from its spec sheet, it often pushes beyond—a coup for such a low-cost machine.
CONSIDERING YOUR FIRST gaming laptop? The Acer Nitro 5 2022 is the easy pick. Yes, there are flashier options available, figuratively and literally, but Acer’s budget gaming machine is as dependable as they come. It isn’t much to look at, but, glass half full, that means it’s inoffensive too.
The complete gaming package outperforms the price you pay—from sheer horsepower to a very good keyboard. There are some sacrifices, but you can’t expect perfection at this price. If you’re a gaming laptop newbie or just someone with an interest in this portable form factor who doesn’t want to spend the Earth, you can’t ignore the Acer Nitro 5 2022.
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Acer Nitro 5 2022: Design
|Display|| 15.6-inch IPS|
|Processor||12th Gen (“Alder Lake”) Core i5-12500H|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti|
|Ports||1 x USB Type-A 3.2|
2 x USB-A 3.2
1 x USB-C
1 x HDMI
Acer Nitro 5 2022: Design
Acer has gone for a pretty minimalist look with the newest Nitro 5, which is just fine by us. It wasn’t long ago that most Nitro laptops (and a lot of gaming laptops in general, especially entry-level models) were covered with aggressive colors and design flourishes, but that has steadily become a design of the past. Garish red and black were especially popular, and while some may still like that much-flogged combination, it was difficult to find an affordable gaming rig that just looked like a normal laptop.
Indeed, the previous Nitro 5 from earlier this year had a different look, and red featured prominently. Its lid corners and rear vents were a bit more geometric, while this new edition has a squarer, cleaner look. The lid is unadorned and smooth, without the muscle lines of the early 2022 version.
Build-wise, the Acer Nitro 5 2022 is perfectly adequate. The chassis is entirely plastic, but it resists much flex and bends through normal use. That’s a little less surprising when you consider how chunky the overall design is—this is a pretty thick system—and it serves to make it a bit sturdier.
The keyboard is slightly better than you might expect from a budget laptop. The keys have a nice bounce, and as a bonus, the keyboard features RGB backlighting across four customizable zones. The touchpad is serviceable. Overall, the build quality is pretty good, if nothing to write home about.
Acer Nitro 5 2022: Display
A good portion of more premium laptops’ cost goes toward a thin design, but a chunkier chassis like this is much cheaper. The Acer measures 1.06 x 14.1 x 10.7 inches (HWD) and weighs 5.51 pounds, reasonably mobile as gaming laptops go but heftier than a modern daily driver. It may not be the first machine you’d want to take with you everywhere, but it’s acceptably trimmed for a budget gaming rig.
Nestled into this frame is a 15.6-inch display, the longtime standard size. Larger 17.3-inch screens have been around for a long time, with 14-inch and 16-inch screens a more recent trend, but this size represents your go-to, still-portable gaming laptop size. It’s an IPS panel with full HD (1920×1080 pixels) resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate.
That means the screen refreshes the image more frequently during play, leading to a smoother-looking experience—as long as the CPU and GPU can keep up. You can learn more about refresh rates in our explainer, and we’ll delve into the components and performance test results in a moment. On paper, that refresh rate and resolution are a good fit for an entry-level gaming laptop.
The exterior feature set is completed with a 720p webcam and some useful ports. The left edge holds the headphone jack, a USB 3.2 Type-A port, and an Ethernet port. The latter is not always included, especially on gaming notebooks; there’s more likely to be one on a thicker laptop like this because of the jack’s physical size, so that’s one benefit to the bulk. The right side includes two more USB-A 3.2 ports, while the laptop’s rear holds the power jack, an HDMI video output, and a USB-C port.
Acer Nitro 5 2022: Performance
Our $899.99 test unit features a 12th Gen (“Alder Lake”) Core i5-12500H processor, 16GB of memory, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, and a 512GB SSD. That’s an appealing entry point for gaming at this price: The GPU is good for the price, 16GB of RAM is better than 8GB, and the 12th Gen is Intel’s latest platform. The system is configured at 95 watts, which can decidedly have an impact on gaming performance.
Acer also offers a more expensive 140-watt model through its site and Amazon; the only change for its $1,329 price is a step up to a GeForce RTX 3060. For gamers, however, that’s a notable bump; the 3050 Ti is a little hit-and-miss when it comes to hitting 60 frames per second (fps) in demanding titles, but the RTX 3060 is a rock-solid 60fps GPU. If you’re a performance-focused player or intend to play the most demanding AAA games, this may be worth the cost, but it will yank the system out of the budget range.
This set of systems illustrates several facets of gaming laptop shopping today. It’s not a perfect set, but most 12th Gen Intel systems released to date have been premium Core i7 and Core i9 machines, with virtually none at budget pricing up to now. The 11th Gen Nitro 5 is, naturally, a very similar laptop with a previous-generation processor (albeit a Core i7, not a Core i5). The Acer Predator Helios 300 and MSI Katana GF66 are also similar, with a bump up to GeForce RTX 3060 graphics.
Finally, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 will show you what paying up for a smaller, more powerful system will do, and whether the performance gap is worth hundreds of dollars more. Expect it to lead most if not all of these tests, as it’s the most expensive contestant.
We test Windows PCs’ graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark: Night Raid (more modest, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs). Two more tests from GFXBench 5.0, run offscreen to allow for different display resolutions, and wring out OpenGL operations.
In addition, we run three real-world game tests using the built-in benchmarks of F1 2021, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Rainbow Six Siege. These represent simulation, open-world action-adventure, and competitive esports shooter games respectively. We run Valhalla and Siege twice at different image quality presets, and F1 2021 with and without Nvidia’s performance-boosting DLSS anti-aliasing. We run these tests at 1080p resolution so results can be compared fairly among systems.
This is the real area of interest for gamers, and the new Acer Nitro 5 2022 acquits itself well considering its price. We frankly don’t see many gaming laptops under $900 in today’s market, so as the least expensive model here, Acer’s scores are not surprising. Its RTX 3050 Ti does pretty well, but consistent 60fps at maximum settings is a bridge too far.
Acer Nitro 5 2022: Battery Life
We test laptops’ battery life by playing a locally stored 720p video file (the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel) with display brightness at 50% and audio volume at 100% until the system quits. We make sure the battery is fully charged before the test, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting turned off.
The battery life is a definite plus for this laptop, even if some of the alternatives lasted longer. Budget systems and larger laptops are often either short on runtime or power-hungry, but the Acer Nitro 5 2022 clears a long enough threshold to be positive. Seven hours off the charger (though your runtime will vary, especially if you play games on battery power) is enough to keep you from worrying about the next time you’ll be near a wall outlet.
Acer Nitro 5 2022: Verdict
The new Acer Nitro 5 2022 doesn’t top any benchmark charts, but at $899 there’s not much room for complaint. The system is one of the least expensive modern gaming laptops while offering good components and features baseline.
Take the screen and storage. A 144Hz display has become today’s minimum expectation in any gaming machine, but it is still nice to have at this price, and there are plenty of ports, too. The 512GB SSD will fill up quickly with large game installs, but even pricier systems often have no more storage in their base model configurations. If you’re concerned about consistently hitting 60fps at top settings, you should probably opt for an RTX 3060 machine like the MSI Katana GF66, but the Acer Nitro 5 2022 remains an attractive, affordable alternative.