The Nitro 5’s shell is made entirely of black plastic, covered with a few cyberpunk-style screen prints on the back of the screen. The assembly is particularly sensitive to fingerprints. Vents are distributed under the corners of the screen and the connectors take place on the front of the chassis and behind the screen.
Upon opening, we discover a keyboard with a numeric keypad. Obviously the keyboard has RGB backlighting in 4 zones, and not key by key. It is possible to assign colors and effects to it, but so do not expect to see moving rainbow-like animations. Customization is done with the NitroSense software which has its dedicated key with a stylized N at the top left of the numeric keypad.
The keys are a little packed to fit a numeric keypad, but the typing remains pleasant. Note that the arrow keys and ZQSD are circled in white to be more quickly identified.
The touchpad of just acceptable dimensions offers a good glide. Small flat on the left and right clicks which sink excessively on the lower part.
The connection is made up of three USB 3.2 ports, a Thunderbolt 4 port, an HDMI 2.1 port and an HDMI 2.1 port.
The wireless part is provided by the Killer 1650i chip, the version with software overlay of the AX210 chip from Intel which offers wifi 6 at 2400 Mb/s and Bluetooth 5.2. The HD definition webcam offers correct rendering in good light conditions, at the cost of strong smoothing. In the dark, digital noise is particularly visible. Acer did not consider it useful to add a memory card reader or a method of unlocking Windows, whether by fingerprint reader or with the infrared option of the webcam.
The cooling system of the Acer Nitro 5 consists of two fans, 4 heat pipes and 4 radiators distributed in the two corners under the screen. If the overall heating is under control after a good 20 minutes of play (50°C measured just in front of the hinges), the noise pollution is significant, even very significant. In Performance mode — which we enable on all laptops gaming for our tests — the Nitro 5 reaches no less than 54.2 dB; suffice to say that the entire drafting of the Digital was able to enjoy his furious purring. The default mode reduces noise pollution to 45.5 dB, which is much more acceptable, but the performance drops around 10% across all games in our test panel. Note that the Silent mode of NitroSense actually activates the Whispered Mode of the Nvidia drivers, which limits the display to 60 fps, with the consequence of reducing heating and therefore noise.
To access the interior of the Nitro 5, you must remove 11 Phillips screws and unclip the shell. We discover a small 57 Wh battery, two DDR4 slots, two M.2 slots, one of which is occupied, and a 2.5 inch slot whose connectors are provided in the box. Even the wifi card is accessible and replaceable. Good point for scalability then.