Need a laptop for work but want to try and sneak a gaming machine under your boss’ nose? The Acer Aspire V Nitro might just be the one for you.
What Is It?
- Processor: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 4710HQ
- RAM: 16GB
- Screen: 15.6-inch 1080p (as tested), 17.3-inch 1080p, 15.6-inch UHD, 17.3-inch UHD
- Memory: 1TB
- Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0
The Aspire V Nitro is the latest attempt to super-charge Acer’s existing laptop range to have it straddle both the gaming and productivity markets.
It’s packing a 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 4710HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 1080p 15-inch display and NVIDIA’s GeForce 860M graphics card for all your gaming.
The Aspire V Nitro comes in a few different flavours, with the 15.6-inch configuration packing either a 1080p or UHD display, and a 17.3-inch model. The entry model starts from $1399 and goes up to $2699. The 15.6 1080p Black Edition we tested comes in at $1999.
Despite quite a gung-ho name, the Acer Aspire V Nitro is actually pretty subtle to look at. Its matte black lid is ribbed for nobody in particular’s pleasure, and the silver hinge is actually quite a classy touch. Gaming laptops are normally all bright colours, awkward angles and massive weights, but the Aspire V Nitro is none of these things. It’s not even heavy. The 1080p version we tested could be
It’s for the gamer who has an office job to go to, and that’s great. With BYOD programs taking over the nation’s workplaces, having a relatively inexpensive machine with gaming chops you can sneak through the finance department is a massive plus. Visually speaking, the loudest thing about the V Nitro is its red backlit keyboard.
Keep in mind, however, that this means the V Nitro is a laptop that’s also good at games, rather than a bespoke gaming laptop like a Razer or Alienware machine. More on that later.
The whole range of Aspire V Nitro laptops are reasonably specced, with the one we tested pumping along with an Intel Core i7 processor, a stupid amount of RAM and a massive hard disk. It would have been nice if it had a paging SSD to speed up load times, but nobody’s perfect.
Under the hood it performs passably as a gaming laptop, scoring a 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme score of 1862 and a normal Fire Strike score of 3767. It’s not about to put an Aorus or Razer machine to shame, but it’s good for a game or two after a hard day at the office. For example, you’ll have a great experience on a game like Tomb Raider which pumps out an average frame rate of 66fps (and a maximum of 80fps) in full HD.
The keyboard has very little give in it when pressed and it packs in a full number pad as well, which comes in handy if you love a macro key or nine. The trackpad is also a great little number.
It’s also great to see a laptop with a UHD screen option for a reasonable price. If you’ve ever wanted your MacBook Pro with Retina Display to play a game or two, this is the laptop you ought to be taking a look at.
As with most laptops pitched at gaming, the battery on the Aspire V Nitro falls down when you start to play an actual game on it. We got a maximum time of two hours out of it while gaming. Battery life on balanced is almost double that which isn’t bad for a large Windows laptop, but when will we get a gaming laptop that sips on its power rather gulping it down?
Also, on balanced mode the screen turns itself down to around 75 per cent of its full brightness. Normally that would be ok but on the Aspire V Nitro it’s a real pain given that the viewing angle on the LCD panel isn’t great when it’s pumped up to 100 per cent. There’s a considerable amount of fade when you’re off-centre to the display, even more so when it’s turned down. The screen isn’t a touch panel like on other Windows 8.1 devices either, if that’s something you look out for.
My main problem with the V Nitro, however, is how it heralds itself as a gaming laptop for gamers, when really it’s a gaming laptop for the business crowd. It’s running a GPU that’s a year old (meaning it’s not well future-proofed for upcoming AAA titles you’ll want to play), and comes filled to the eyes with crapware that your parents would use if they bought themselves a new machine.
It serves a niche market well, but if you want a proper gaming laptop, you should look elsewhere.
Should You Buy It?
If it’s a laptop to fit into your company’s BYO device scheme that’s you can also use for some cheeky week-night gaming you’re after, then the Acer Aspire V Nitro is worth a look. It’s sleek, well-featured and a decent all-round machine for desk jockeys looking to get a bit of gaming in after hours.
But sadly it’s the jack of all trades and master of none. It suffers from slightly older hardware, and poor battery life which means that it’s not ideal for gamers looking for a laptop they can push to the limit with their Steam titles.
Think of it as a business laptop first, capable of fun after hours. Then you’re on the right track.