The Best (?) Budget Gaming Laptop


– Hey guys, this is Austin. Usually when you’re talking
about a gaming laptop, you’re pretty much in
the $1,000-plus budget. Now there’s nothing wrong
with high-end gaming laptops. Not only do you get all the
fun toys like, you know, high-end displays with high
refresh rates and RTX graphics, but you also get some of the
nicest designs out there. However, not everyone wants
to spend 1,000, 2,000, even $3,000 when it
comes to a gaming laptop, and that is where Acer’s Nitro 5 comes in. There’s definitely something to a laptop that you can take to
work or school all day and yet still come home
and play some games without breaking the bank. Now specifically what I have
here is the all-AMD version, so it’s got a Ryzen processor
as well as RX graphics. However, you should definitely
keep an eye on those prices. So I was able to pick
this guy up for $570, and at less than 600 bucks,
there’s a lot to like. What’s not so hot, though, is that sometimes this laptop
spikes up to around $700, and at that kind of price, it’s a little bit of a harder sell, so definitely be sure to keep an eye out for when the sales are, and, well, just don’t
overpay for the laptop. Take a look around the Nitro 5, and it absolutely looks the part of a much more expensive gaming laptop. It’s all red and black,
it’s built reasonably well, and you even have a back-lit keyboard which is a nice touch at the price. Now the bezels definitely
are on the larger side, and the screen isn’t
anything all that special. So it is a 15.6-inch 1080p IPS panel, so it’s good, it’s decent, but it doesn’t have any kind
of high-end bells and whistles such as that high refresh rate. But, I mean, we’re talking
about less than 600 bucks. It is hard to complain about this stuff. This screen is totally fine. You also get a solid selection of ports. Not only is there USB-C and Ethernet, but you also have plenty
of USB-A ports, HDMI. There’s even an SD card reader. Now, at almost six pounds, this is certainly not a thin
and light gaming laptop. It’s a little bit on the thicker side, and yes, it is made
entirely out of plastic, but honestly, it does
feel reasonably sturdy. I really wouldn’t worry about leaving this in my bag all day. It’s what’s inside that’s
really interesting. Now there is a standard Core i5 and GTX 1050 version of this laptop. What I have here is the pure AMD version, Ryzen 5 2500U as well as a Radeon RX 560X. This is straight-up not a combo that I’ve pretty much ever seen before, but you know what, it’s actually not bad. Sure, the Ryzen 5 does fall behind the higher-wattage Core i5. When you look at the graphics
compared to the GTX 1050, it’s actually a slight bit faster, which is especially impressive considering we basically never see
AMD graphics in laptops. Performance-wise, when you get
into a game like Overwatch, it’s really no problem. So right now on 1080p on Medium settings, we’re getting a very consistent 60 FPS. This makes sense, right? This is the kind of performance that you would expect out of something that’s roughly the
equivalent to a GTX 1050. It’s not the most powerful
thing in the world, you won’t be able to
play everything on Ultra, but games like this are 100% playable. So we were about to start
playing Apex Legends until I realized that this was using the integrated GPU instead
of the actual RX 560, so I’m gonna try to fix that real quick. So this actually does bring
me to one of the issues that I found with this system in that the driver situation
is all over the place. So this does have AMD graphics, it was included with that Ryzen processor as well as the Radeon graphics, but the issue is that even though they’re going to be fixing this soon, right now you just can’t
go to the AMD website and download drivers. You actually have to get them
specifically from the OEM, which in this case is Acer. Oh, hi, Austin from the future here, back with an important update. So of course the day after
we filmed that segment, well, AMD dropped that driver update that they have promised, so now you can go straight
to the AMD website and download all the drivers
you need for the Nitro 5, and importantly, it looks like
Apex Legends is now working. With everything cranked to 1080p Medium, I can see if we pull up Task Manager that the 560 is running it 80, 90% load. It looks like we should be good now. All right, that’s definitely better. So, yeah, with a mixture of Medium and a couple of Low settings, we’re pretty close to a 60 FPS lock now. With the driver issue fixed, this is a much more usable laptop, so disregard everything I
said earlier, it’s fine now. So it does look like Fortnite is properly supporting the 560X. So I hop into my settings here. I am able to run at 1080p on High, and now let’s see how
it actually performs. Okay. Oh, wow (laughing). We just need to make a montage
of me dying in Fortnite. I mean, this is fine, like, it was running 50 frames per second until I got shot in the face. Upgrading is pretty easy, although it is a little
bit on the limited side. So with a single screw on the bottom, you can upgrade the RAM, so by default this guy
comes with eight gigs, although it’s me, I’m
definitely gonna upgrade to 16. Not only is that just nice to have, but also considering that we’re
running a Ryzen processor, having fast dual channel memory
can make a big difference. Then there’s the hard drive. So by default, this comes
with a one terabyte drive, and that’s fine, it’s kinda decently quick as far as hard drives go, but it’s 2019 and you guys should know
my stance on hard drives. Just no. Just say no to hard drives. Thankfully, upgrading
this is also super-easy. Again, it’s just one screw
behind the door on the bottom, and I think it’s actually
a pretty worthwhile upgrade to go to something like a 500-gig SSD. It’s not that expensive, and it’ll give you a ton of capacity, but importantly, you’re
gonna get that SSD speed. Now as this is a gaming laptop, battery life isn’t
exactly the strong suit. Now it is actually pretty decent for a gaming laptop like this. I was able to get around four
to five hours of standard use, but of course you have to keep in mind that you’re going to need a charger if you really want to take this out for a full day of proper use, and especially if you’re gaming. I mean, you’re definitely gonna need it. So when it comes to the Nitro 5, it is all down to the price. Now at $570, with just
a couple of upgrades, this is absolutely my
favorite budget gaming laptop that I’ve taken a look at all year. Unfortunately, if you’re
paying upwards of $600, the value proposition
becomes a lot sketchier, so it really does kind of depend on where you’re able to find this and how expensive it is. Once they get those AMD
driver issues sorted out, there’s a lot of potential
with the Nitro 5. (children cheering)

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