Laptop, Review

Acer Nitro 7 Review: Slim, Value for Money Gaming Laptop

Acer’s range of gaming laptops have gotten better over the years. The Predator Triton 500, for one, is my personal favourite with its sleek profile and good gaming performance for the money. And now, we have something more affordable, but almost equally as good: the Acer Nitro 7.

Sporting a slim chassis, high performance, fast display, and good value for money, the Nitro 7 should be in your list if these are what you look for in a gaming laptop.

Specifications

Display15.6-inch 144Hz FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
ProcessorIntel Core i7-9750H (2.6GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, 12MB cache)
GPUNvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GDDR6 VRAM
RAM8GB DDR4
Storage256GB PCIe SSD
CameraHD resolution
Battery55WHr
Dimensions363.4 x 259.5 x 19.9 – 23.14 mm
Weight2.5kg
AudioBottom-firing stereo speakers
Ports1x USB Type-C
2x USB 3.1 Type-A
1x USB 2.0 Type-A
1x HDMI
1x RJ45

Design

One of the biggest selling points of the Nitro 7 is its slim profile, which is touted to be only 19.9mm thin. However, that’s only the front part of the chassis; the back is slightly thicker at 23.14mm. While that doesn’t sound quite as impressive, the Nitro 7 is still slimmer than most gaming laptops in the market now.

Aesthetically, this laptop looks quite understated on the outside. The Acer logo blends seamlessly with the black lid, there are subtle red highlights on the vents, and the brushed metal finish looks and feels really nice. But once you lift the lid, there’s no mistaking it for anything other than a gaming laptop.

Not surprisingly, black and red colour scheme – typical of gaming laptops – are found throughout the Nitro 7. The keyboard has red backlighting (no RGB here), and even the trackpad has red accents surrounding it. Personally, I quite like how the laptop looks overall: it still has a rather minimalist design despite the “gamer” colour scheme.

Build quality of the Nitro 7 is quite good too. Metal is used extensively – except for the plastic screen bezel – it doesn’t creak with added pressure, and it just feels really well put together. However, some of the laptop’s edges are a bit sharp to the touch, especially the bottom lid area.

As for the Nitro 7’s connections, it’s pretty complete. It has three full-size USB-A ports (two of which are USB 3.1), a USB-C connection, an HDMI output, and an RJ45 port. Chances are, these ports will meet most consumers’ demands.

All in all, the Nitro 7 is a well-designed, understated gaming laptop with a relatively slim body. As mentioned, it has solid build quality too, though I do wish the chassis was a bit more polished to get rid of the sharp edges.

User Experience

Gaming laptops don’t typically have the best battery life, but the Nitro 7 proved to be an exception. Well, for the most part. With the power plan set to power saver and the display dimmed to a comfortable level, I managed to get five hours of use consistently with this laptop. Not the best battery life, but certainly not the worst either.

As for the Nitro 7’s keyboard, it’s reasonably good. It has ample amount of key travel, good tactility, and a relatively standard layout. Whether I’m using the keyboard to game or to write lengthy articles, I never find it to be subpar or lacking in any meaningful way.

That being said, much like the Predator Triton 500’s keyboard layout, I find it really odd for Acer to place the NitroSense software key right next to the backspace button. While I accidentally hit that key less often than I do on the Triton 500, it still happened more often that I would’ve liked. I dread seeing the NitroSense logo pop up every time I hit the key by mistake when I’m writing articles.

On a brighter note, I love the Nitro 7’s trackpad, which is surprisingly good for a gaming laptop. It can track my inputs accurately, my fingers glide effortlessly on the smooth surface, and using only the trackpad for my productivity tasks proved to be a non-issue. Overall, it’s a really good trackpad, especially for a Windows-based machine.

You know what else that is good? The Nitro 7’s 144Hz 15.6-inch 1080p IPS display. Thanks to the high refresh rate, everything – and I mean everything – looks extra smooth on this screen. Even the simplest action like moving the cursor or scrolling looks that much more fluid on this display.

Of course, games that can take full advantage of the 144Hz refresh rate also look incredibly smooth, making for an enjoyable gaming experience. It’s made even better with the display’s excellent viewing angles, dynamic range, and vibrant colours.

Thermals of the Nitro 7, on the other hand, could be better. In prolonged gaming sessions, the CPU and GPU got up to 95°C and 83°C respectively with the fan profile set to Auto. Not particularly great numbers, especially with the CPU. Even in this setting, the fans were already spinning quite audibly. Setting the fan profile to Max make them even louder, though it should improve the temperatures.

Will you feel the heat on the laptop itself? You bet. While the palm rest area stayed relatively cool, the keyboard does get a bit too warm for my liking. On top of that, you really wouldn’t want this laptop on your lap in long gaming sessions; the bottom chassis gets quite toasty.

Despite its average cooling performance, I thoroughly enjoyed using the Nitro 7 as my gaming machine and daily driver. Now, let’s get to the exciting stuff: performance.

Performance

Powered by an Intel Core i7-9750H processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU, the Nitro 7 is a capable gaming laptop. Sure, the GTX 1660 Ti is not a gaming powerhouse, but it is powerful enough to run most modern games at maxed out graphics settings above the desired 60fps mark.

I’ve tested a number of games with the Nitro 7, and most of them – with the exception of Witcher 3, as the game is locked at 60fps – run well above the 60fps mark. See for yourself with the results below.

Games (Maxed Out Settings @ 1080p)Average FPS
Witcher 3 (HairWorks disabled)58.70
Fortnite83.37
Apex Legends81.59
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds 64.39

Pretty good results, right? In fact, as I’ve mentioned before in my review of the Asus TUF Gaming FX505, this level of performance is very close to the RTX 2060’s numbers. While you don’t get RTX-exclusive features like ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), you won’t be spending as much money either.

While these games are not really making full use of the Nitro 7’s 144Hz display, you can easily achieve higher frame rate by tweaking the graphics settings. It may even give you a competitive edge in the battle royale titles I’ve tested above.

Competition

Two variants of the Nitro 7 are available in Malaysia. The one I’m reviewing here is the GTX 1660 Ti model, which retails at RM5,199. The more affordable GTX 1650 variant, on the other hand, costs RM4,899. Given the small price difference, I would definitely recommend going for the higher-end GTX 1660 Ti model – it offers much better value for money.

For RM5,199, the Nitro 7 has a number of noteworthy competition; some of which are even more affordable.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G

Just like the Nitro 7, the Zephyrus G is quite a slim gaming laptop. It has a 19.9mm thin chassis, 8GB of RAM, and a slightly slower 15.6-inch 1080p display with 120Hz refresh rate. Even with the slower display, the Zephyrus G features a much more generous 512GB SSD, a sleeker, almost bezel-less display, and a lower RM4,999 price tag.

But on the flip side, the Nitro 7 has a faster Core i7-9750H than the Zephyrus G’s AMD Ryzen 7-3750H processor, not to mention the fact that Acer’s offering has a more powerful GPU. See, the Zephyrus G comes with a Max-Q version of the GTX 1660 Ti, which is slower than the Nitro 7’s standard GTX 1660 Ti.

Lenovo Legion Y540

While it’s not quite as thin as the Nitro 7 with a 25.9mm thick chassis, the Lenovo Legion Y540 is a good alternative to the former. Its customisable nature makes it a lot more versatile when it comes to the choice of hardware, and in terms of looks, I’d argue the Y540 is the sleeker option with its almost bezel-less design.

Then again, you’ll have to pay slightly more for the Legion Y540. The GTX 1660 Ti model with a Core i7-9750H processor, a 144Hz 15.6-inch 1080p IPS display, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB PCIe SSD with a 1TB 7200rpm HDD storage retails at RM5,299.

Conclusion

The Acer Nitro 7 is a great option for gamers who want a slim gaming laptop with a good level of performance. Even if there are more affordable options in the market with the same GPU, you’d be hard-pressed to find a different gaming laptop in the same price range with the Nitro 7’s CPU and GPU combo in a slim chassis.

If there’s anything that is lacking with the Nitro 7, it would be the laptop’s thermal performance and SSD capacity. Even then, you can still game effectively with the average cooling performance, and the storage capacity can be upgraded relatively easily.

Those who are looking for a slim, capable gaming laptop should definitely consider the Nitro 7. It may not be perfect, but it offers good value for money and performance in a slim package.