As far as gaming laptops go, it seems like Alienware and Razer hold the market’s attention, with HP getting in there recently, but Acer is attempting to grab it back, taking one of its Aspire machines and kitting it for games. Does it succeed, or would you be better off sticking with the competition?
The gaming laptop world tends to be dominated by Dell’s Alienware and Razer’s… well… Razer, but Acer is a big enough manufacturer, and late last year made strides to get in on that market as well.
The result is called the “V Nitro”, a machine that still fits in with the Aspire line of computers, and yet packs in the specs to deliver what should be enough performance for the audience looking for a perfect all-in-one that can sit on the desk and be taken somewhere else at a moment’s notice.
To handle this, the Acer Aspire V Nitro (591G) is reliant on an Intel Core i7 processor from the fourth generation, also known as “Haswell”. This processor is clocked at 2.5GHz and is paired with 16GB RAM, as well as 1TB storage, just in case you were concerned that you would run out of space.
A proper graphics solution is a must have on a gaming computer, and rather than just go with whatever Intel uses for internal graphics, Acer has included the Nvidia GeForce GTX860M chip here, with 4GB graphics RAM included.
Wireless connectivity is handled through 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, while wired is supported over Gigabit Ethernet, with ports for HDMI, and three USB 3.0 ports.
There is no optical drive in this computer, so don’t expect a Blu-ray or DVD burner, or even a reader.
All of this sits underneath a 15.6 inch screen delivering the Full HD resolution of 1920×1080, with In-Plane Switching (IPS) display technology used and a matte finish. Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 is ready on this computer out of the box, too, though we need to note that there is no touchscreen on this computer.
Fortunately, there’s a keyboard and touchpad, so that side of things is at the very least sorted.
And then we have the gaming laptop series, or rather, a singular item.
That item is the Aspire V Nitro, a gaming laptop that appears to take one of Acer’s regular Aspires and ups the specs for the needs of a gamer.
Gone are the basic video chipset, and the screen that forced you to shift your viewing angle to something dead on to see anything, replaced with parts that would make people who like computers smile, and some red LEDs under the keyboard to boot.
This is the Nitro, and Acer is hoping it does the job to bring people who like to game over to Acer, instead of with rivals Alienware, MSI, Origin, Razer, and even Apple scraping in there with its Retina-equipped MacBook Pro 15.
So does it do the job, or could you find something better overall with one of those other companies?
From a spec point of view, Acer appears to have more or less gone with the design mould for a gaming computer these days.
What you’re looking at isn’t an Ultrabook by any stretch of the imagination, with an Intel Core i7 quad-core fourth-generation processor (Haswell) clocked at 2.5GHz and paired with 16GB RAM.
There’s also 1TB of space, but unlike other machines out there in this part of the market, the hard drive is one of the older types, with a conventional hard drive from WD (WD10JPVX-22JC3T0), a “Blue” drive from the company and running at a speed of 5400RPM.
Gaming rigs tend to prefer the speed of a solid-state drive, and we do too, but if you must include a hard drive, we are a little surprised to see Acer not going for something a little more high brow, such as a 7200RPM drive, or even something with some solid-state memory working along the side.
It is a gaming laptop, after all.
Also working here is Nvidia’s GeForce GTX860M with 4GB graphics memory, putting the machine right on par with some of the other gaming machines making their way out to stores this year, including the HP Omen 15, which we recently checked out.
As a result, tests with games like “Civilization V” showed the machine could handle Full HD 1920×1080 with all the graphical options turned up, letting you get the most out of your games with ease.
Our experience with “Portal 2” was very similar, once again with graphics up, producing an easily enjoyable experience, though we’d definitely plug in a mouse, as the trackpad is nowhere near as responsive as first-person gamers will want.
Adding to this, you’ll find a decent keyboard with backlighting underneath for when you play games, though you won’t find any programmable keys for macros or other gaming actions.
What you will find is a number-pad found on the very right of the keyboard, something we don’t see often on laptops, especially those in the 15 inch space.
Granted, this 15 inch machine is closer to a 17 inch in its design, and so we can see where Acer is getting it from, but as a note, the keypad is particularly small, and you can see where Acer has had to scrounge for space with this part.