Acer Nitro 16 Hands-on: Reinvigorated
January 6, 2023 Andrew Cheng

At CES 2023, the Acer Nitro series got an updated design language and a cool new logo – in my opinion, at least. The aesthetics of Acer’s Nitro gaming laptops have been changed several times over the years, but none of them were quite this drastic; or as sleek-looking.

Thanks to the new design language and shiny new hardware under the hood, the Acer Nitro 16 is more compelling than ever. After all, it can be configured with either AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series chips or Intel’s 13th gen processors, along with Nvidia’s new RTX 40 GPUs.

Needless to say, the Nitro 16 looks to be a capable gaming machine, and I can’t wait to put it through its paces in a full review.

Ahead of its unveiling a couple of days ago, I managed to spend a brief time with the Nitro 16. As mentioned, it can be configured with either AMD’s or Intel’s chipsets, though it remains to be seen which of the two chipmakers’ processors will offer better performance.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test any games on the Nitro 16 to see just how capable its hardware are, especially the new RTX 40 series GPU. If we were to take Nvidia’s word for it, the Nitro 16 should be able to deliver good gaming performance with improved power efficiency and lower heat generation.

That being said, it’s worth mentioning that Acer has not revealed the exact RTX 40 GPU of the Nitro 16 yet, so it’s a little tough to gauge the performance level of the gaming laptop right now.

One of the most eye-catching design elements of the new Nitro 16 has to be the top lid. Gone are the Acer branding and plain black design for some sleek accent lines and new Nitro logo. These are really only minor changes, but it does give the gaming laptop a more…premium appeal, if you will.

And then we have the 16-inch display of the Nitro 16, and it looks great. Thanks to the fast 165Hz refresh rate, every animation looks extra smooth. The extra frame rate is noticeable just by moving the cursor around the screen.

It’s also worth noting that the Nitro 16 now features a slightly taller display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, so you get more vertical screen real estate to work with.

To game effectively, you need a good set of keyboard. In this respect, the Nitro 16…has a reasonably good keyboard. While it does feel a tad too “soft” for my liking due to the low actuation force, it does have more than enough key travel to not feel shallow. There’s also good tactile feedback for a comfortable typing and gaming experience.

But what I don’t quite get is the numpad that’s squeezed to the right of the Nitro 16’s keyboard. Not only is the compressed layout not feel great to use, it also shifts the primary keyboard to the left, making it slightly awkward to get used to. Of course, if you want a numpad, then you probably won’t mind this.

As for the trackpad, it’s great. It has a nice, smooth surface, and it can track my fingers quite accurately.

The Acer Nitro 16, with the renewed branding, really does invigorate the Nitro series of gaming laptops. It looks better, it gets a taller display, and the hardware are as capable as ever. When we take into account the fact that the Nitro series has always offered good value for money, the new Nitro 16 is that much more attractive.

However, the Malaysian availability and pricing of the Nitro 16 have not been revealed yet, so it remains to be seen if its value proposition will remain as competitive as it is now. For context, the previous Nitro 5 – the direct predecessor of the Nitro 16, despite the different naming convention – retailed from RM4,399 locally at launch.

If Acer Malaysia can retain this price point, I reckon the Nitro 16 will be well-received by Malaysian consumers. After all, a sub-RM4,500 gaming laptop with AMD or Intel’s latest processors paired with Nvidia’s RTX 40 series GPU sounds like a great combo, even though its global pricing is higher.

Take the price of the Nitro 16 for the US market, which starts at $1,149 – that comes up to about RM5,060. However, in China, it retails from only 7,099 Chinese yuan (approximately RM4,555). That is closer to the starting price of the gaming laptop – well, last year’s model, anyway – on our shores.

Hopefully, the Nitro 16 will continue to offer good value for money once it is launched here in Malaysia. The gaming laptop will be available first in China sometime in April 2023, while the US and EMEA markets will get it in May 2023.