[In-Depth Comparison] Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) vs Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58) – Crowning the budget gaming KING

The budget gaming segment has been getting fierce and very competitive over the years. The frontrunners so far have been the Pavilion Gaming from HP, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 from Lenovo, and the Nitro 5 from Acer.

While the Pavilion has largely stayed the same, except for the annual hardware upgrade. The IdeaPad Gaming has tried to improve, but Lenovo always seems to miss something pivotal, which made the 2021 laptop hard to recommend. Then we have the Nitro 5, which has slowly resolved much of its issues, and now stands as a heavy favorite for the throne of best budget gaming laptop for 2022.

Today we’re giving you an in-depth comparison between the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) and the Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58). For the 2022 year, both laptops have gotten a complete redesign, while the IdeaPad fixed its battery drainage issues from last year with the inclusion of a bigger power brick. The Nitro 5 looks better than ever, with a large battery and decent displays.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) configurations:

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58) configurations:

Contents


Design and construction

Since these are more affordable machines, some cost-cutting is inescapable. That’s why we see both the IdeaPad and the Nitro with plastic bodies. However, the laptops look really good, with the Lenovo device looking more and more like a Legion machine, with blue accents on the back and the sides.

The Nitro 5 is much more minimalist now, coming with a more boxy design, that still keeps to its gaming roots, with an aggressive rear end and streaks of blue and red running across the lid. In terms of durability, we would give the edge to the Nitro as well, since it has a more stable lid and a very durable base. However, the Lenovo laptop is around 200 grams lighter and has a 22 mm profile, 5mm thinner than the Nitro.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

Keyboard and touchpad

The IdeaPad Gaming 3i comes with a very good keyboard with long key travel and clicky feedback. The keycaps are large and well spaced out, while there’s a 4-zone RGB backlight. Above the keyboard is the power button, which lights up in three colors, depending on what performance mode you’re in – Blue (Stay quiet), White (Auto), and Red (Performance). The touchpad has a Mylar surface, a tradition from the ThinkPad series.

On the Nitro 5, we have a Red backlight with the WASD and Arrow keys also painted in Red. There is an RGB option, but the overall experience from the unit is great. The key travel is long, the feedback is clicky and the keys are well spaced out, so you won’t misclick on accident. Above the keyboard sits a large vent for cooling. The touchpad has a smooth surface, but the clicking mechanism doesn’t work well in the top 30% of the area.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

Ports

The IdeaPad Gaming 3i has two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, one Thunderbolt 4 port, an HDMI 2.0 port, a LAN port, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and a power plug.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)

As for the Nitro 5, it has two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, one extra Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, a LAN port, a 3.5 mm audio jack, an HDMI 2.1 connector, and the power plug.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)


Disassembly, upgrade options

Both laptops offer similar upgradeability, with two SODIMM RAM slots that fit up to 64GB of DDR4 memory. The IdeaPad also has two M.2 slots, only one of which fits 42 mm Gen 4 drives. On the side of the Nitro 5, both M.2 slots fit Gen 4 drives, while there’s also space for a 2.5-inch SATA drive, with mounting accessories in the box.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

Specs sheet


Display quality

Both laptops come with an FHD IPS panel. The Lenovo laptop has a 120Hz refresh rate, while the Nitro 5 has a 144Hz refresh rate. Under a microscope, the panels are very similar, with a pixel density of 142 PPI, a pitch of 0.18 x 0.18 mm, and a Retina distance of 60cm. Both laptops also offer different panels to pick from, including a 165Hz QHD display.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

With IPS panels, both laptops have excellent viewing angles. Here we have images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

The IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s display has a maximum brightness of 306 nits in the middle of the screen and 293 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 10% and a 1040:1 contrast ratio.

On the side of the Nitro, we measured a max brightness of 324 nits in the middle of the screen and 300 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 11%. The contrast ratio is a lot higher – 1440:1.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

Color coverage

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows the color coverage of both the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) and the Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58) which cover about half of the sRGB color gamut.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

Color accuracy

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results in factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can check the results from the test of both laptops, with both the factory settings (left) and with our “Design and Gaming” profile applied (right).

Both devices don’t reach a low enough dE value to be considered accurate.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

Despite having a higher refresh rate, the Nitro 5 blunders, with the Lenovo device having the shorter Fall + Rise time of 16 ms.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

Health Impact / PWM (Blue light)

PWM – Screen flickering

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable by the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Both laptops use no PWM across all brightness levels, meaning that the displays are comfortable to use, without presenting any excessive eye strain in this aspect.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) 15.6″ FHD IPS LEN156FHD (LEN9059): Buy our profiles

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58) 15.6″ FHD IPS Panda LM156LF-2F01 (NCP004D): Buy our profiles

Battery

The Lenovo laptop comes with a small 45Wh battery pack. On the side of the Nitro, we see a 59Wh unit, which is 31% larger but delivers a much longer battery life, lasting for 6 hours and 3 minutes more in web browsing and 2 hours and 26 minutes more in video playback. Now, we conduct the battery tests with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.


Performance

Both laptops are powered by the Alder Lake H-series, offering up to a Core i7-12700H. On the GPU end, there are the RTX 30-series, with the Acer notebook offering much higher TGPs, which will definitely affect performance.

CPU benchmarks

Here we tested the Core i5-12500H inside both machines. The CPU inside the Nitro 5 is 5% quicker in 3D Rendering and has a minuscule 0.1-second lead in Photoshop.

Results are from the Cinebench R23 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)


GPU benchmarks

Here we tested the NVIDIA RTX 3050 inside the two laptops. The Nitro 5 version has a 10W increase in the TGP, which causes a 6% lead in 3DMark Fire Strike and a 5% lead in Unigine Superposition.

Results are from the 3DMark: Time Spy (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming tests

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

Metro ExodusFull HD, Low (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) – GeForce RTX 3050 (85W)103 fps46 fps22 fps
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58) – GeForce RTX 3050 (95W)108 fps (+5%)48 fps (+4%)23 fps (+5%)

Borderlands 3Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) – GeForce RTX 3050 (85W)92 fps63 fps48 fps
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58) – GeForce RTX 3050 (95W)99 fps (+8%)67 fps (+6%)50 fps (+4%)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)Full HD, Lowest (Check settings)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) – GeForce RTX 3050 (85W)139 fps85 fps75 fps
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58) – GeForce RTX 3050 (95W)143 fps (+3%)89 fps (+5%)81 fps (+8%)

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) – GeForce RTX 3050 (85W)82 fps75 fps65 fps
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58) – GeForce RTX 3050 (95W)86 fps (+5%)79 fps (+5%)69 fps (+6%)

Temperatures and comfort

The IdeaPad has a setup with three pipes, one shared between the processor and graphics, and one separate for each of them. There are four heatsinks on the rear and the sides, along with two fans. Part of them is painted in bright blue, which can be seen when looking at the device from the outside.

The Nitro 5 has pretty much the same setup, with an equal number of pipes, heatsinks, and fans.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

Max CPU load

Intel Core i5-12500H (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)3.88 GHz @ 3.03 GHz @ 75°C @ 104W3.76 GHz @ 2.93 GHz @ 80°C @ 94W3.16 GHz @ 2.37 GHz @ 70°C @ 66W
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)3.77 GHz @ 2.83 GHz @ 75°C @ 98W3.92 GHz @ 3.00 GHz @ 80°C @ 101W2.85 GHz @ 3.07 GHz @ 80°C @ 85W

As we can see, the Nitro 5 is able to deliver slightly higher wattage from its CPU, but also, the E-cores have a higher frequency than the P-cores, which is a bit unorthodox, On the other hand, the Core i5 inside the Lenovo device runs 10°C cooler.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)1910 MHz @ 73°C @ 82W1912 MHz @ 71°C @ 82W
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)2021 MHz @ 70°C @ 94W2009 MHz @ 73°C @ 94W

The RTX 3050 inside the Nitro 5 has pretty close to the same temperature but uses 12W extra, which results in about a 100MHz increase in clock speeds.

Gaming comfort

Both laptops are cool on the outside, but the Nitro 5 is even cooler, with a hotspot of only 39.5°C. In terms of noise, both laptops can get very loud, but that’s the nature of gaming laptops.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)

Verdict

Both the IdeaPad and the Nitro present quality offerings that keep improving each year. However, Lenovo seems to have a down year with the 2022 notebook, as despite fixing the battery drainage problem, battery life itself is a lot worse. And how can it be better, if we only have a 45Wh unit that has to take care of a 12-core processor? It’s about time Lenovo starts implementing bigger batteries, as there is space on the inside, especially in gaming machines.

Other than that, both laptops have plastic bodies that are relatively durable. The designs have improved massively as well, as the Nitro 5 needed a huge refresh, while the IdeaPad gets closer and closer to the Legion series. The two devices bring excellent input devices, with good keyboards that have long key travel and clicky feedback.

The I/O is a bit better on the Nitro, delivering one more USB port, which can have its uses. The Nitro 5 also offers better upgradeability with two M.2 Gen 4 slots and space for a 2.5-inch SSD, as Acer supplies you with mounting hardware inside the box.

The laptops have identical displays, with an FHD IPS display with a high refresh rate (120Hz for the IdeaPad Gaming 3i and 144Hz for the Nitro 5). These are budget displays, but there are also other panels with higher resolutions and refresh rates, which also have good color coverage.

Performance is a bit higher on the Nitro 5, with the Acer device also showing higher FPS in the gaming tests. Lastly, the cooling setups keep the hardware within reasonable temperatures. Still, the Nitro provides higher CPU and GPU clock speeds.

If it were up to us, we would pick the Nitro, since it feels like a more balanced device and fixes much of the issues that we have on the IdeaPad Gaming 3i. For one, the battery life is much better, while the performance is higher as well. Also, if you want a higher-tier GPU, the Nitro 5 offers a 140W RTX 3060 and a 150W RTX 3070 Ti.


Why choose the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)?

  • + Better display with faster response time


Why choose the Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)?

  • + Longer battery life
  • + More performance
  • + Better upgradeability

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58): Full Specs / In-depth Review

All Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) configurations:


All Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58) configurations:

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omar
1 year ago

Gracias, ya tome mi decision por el Nitro 5