Acer’s Nitro lineup of casual gaming laptops will soon include the brand-new Nitro 7. Despite its palatable $ 999 starting price (high-end gaming laptops typically climb well above $ 2,000), the Nitro 7 looks good and has the potential to offer excellent performance per dollar based on the brief time I spent with it at Acer’s unveiling this week.
Unlike the existing Nitro 5, which comes in either 15- or 17-inch versions, the Nitro 7 will be available only with a 15.6-inch display. It’s a good one, though, with the thin borders we’ve come to expect from cutting-edge laptop designs, as well as a high 144Hz refresh rate, which could offer a smoother gaming experience.
The big unknown at this point is which graphics-chip options the Nitro 7 will offer when it arrives in June. Acer promises it will include “the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics,” which suggests that it could sport yet-to-be-announced mobile versions of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 16-series.
A High Refresh Display
Besides having a high refresh rate, the 15.6-inch display on the Nitro 7 offers a full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) resolution and a matte finish that helps reduce glare, even in Acer’s extremely bright demo room. The top and sides of the display are very narrow, giving it a sleek, modern look.
10 More Keys
The narrow display borders necessitate a narrow base as well, but the Nitro 7 still manages to include a 10-key number pad to the right of the keyboard. This is handy for some games, as well as for gamers who also need to manipulate data in programs like Microsoft Excel.
The keys have red LED backlights, with thicker perma-color borders to highlight the “W,” “A,” “S,” and “D” keys that are commonly used for in-game navigation.
An Average Touchpad
Nitro touchpads are typically nothing to tap home about, with the last Nitro 5 we reviewed offering a particularly balky one. The one here isn’t much different, offering adequate, if not particularly accurate, mousing and no dedicated left- or right-click buttons.
Acer decided to go with a sleek metal finish for the oustide of the Nitro 7’s display lid. The brushed metal isn’t my favorite—I slightly prefer the simple black finishes of Razer’s gaming-laptop lineup. But I’ll take the brushed finish over an ostentatious design full of red accents or chintzy plastic that is sometimes present on midrange gaming laptops.
Left Side Ports
As a midrange gamer, the Nitro 7 presumably doesn’t need room for massive fans and heat pipes to cool extremely powerful CPUs or GPUs. That means it is very slim for a gaming laptop, measuring just 0.78 inches thick. Still, there’s room for an adequate port selection, including three USB ports, an HDMI output, and an Ethernet jack on the left edge. The Ethernet jack doesn’t quite fit, however, which means Acer squished it and fitted a movable “jaw” tab that you’ll have to pry open to plug in a networking cable.
Right Side Ports
Meanwhile, the right edge features an air vent, a power port, and a combo audio in/out port for plugging in a gaming headset or other audio device. Missing from the Nitro 7’s I/O complement is a Thunderbolt 3 port and an SD card reader.
A Peek Underneath
More air vents line the Nitro 7’s bottom. The laptop has two cooling fans that include a CoolBoost setting to increase fan speed by 10 percent and CPU and GPU cooling by 9 percent compared to auto mode. This setting will likely also considerably boost the noise level, but I didn’t get to evaluate its effects in the crowded demo room.
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