Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52) review – 17-inches of reasonably priced gaming
The popularity of the Nitro series worldwide is undoubtedly high. One of the main reasons for that is their low price. Indeed, most of the time, they are outsold by the Predator Helios 300 series, but this is to be expected when you take into consideration the better-built quality of the latter.
However, the Nitro 5 (AN517-52), is a 17-incher that packs decent hardware – from the budget GTX 1650, all the way up to the RTX 2060, which enables ray-tracing in the titles that support it. Moreover, this notebook embodies the latest from the Intel world, including the Core i5-10300H and the Core i7-10750H. And while the Core i7 is no longer the benchmark for computing power, it is still going to deliver the optimal gaming experience.
In addition to the fresh hardware, this device comes with a choice of 60Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz IPS panels. Our particular unit is equipped with the middle one, and you’re going to see in-depth information about it, including picture quality, PWM usage, and pixel response times.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-nitro-5-an517-52/
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (Laptop, 95W) #54 in Top GPUs NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (Laptop, 75W) #69 in Top GPUs NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Laptop, 90W) #72 in Top GPUs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (Laptop) #74 in Top GPUs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti (Laptop) #101 in Top GPUs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop, 50W) #104 in Top GPUs
- up to 2000GB SSD + up to 2000GB HDD
- M.2 Slot
- 2x 2280 M.2 NVMe slots See photo
- up to 64GB
- Windows 10 Home, Windows 11 Home, Linux, No OS
- 55Wh, 4-cell, 55Wh, 4-cell , 53Wh, 4-cell
- Body material
- Plastic / Polycarbonate
- 403.5 x 280 x 24.9 mm (15.89" x 11.02" x 0.98")
- 2.70 kg (6 lbs)
- Ports and connectivity
- 2x USB Type-A
- 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
- 1x USB Type-C
- Ethernet LAN
- 10/100/1000 Mbit/s
- Audio jack
- 3.5 Combo Jack
- Fingerprint reader
- Web camera
- Backlit keyboard
- 2 Stereo Speakers
- Optical drive
- Security Lock slot
- Kensington Lock
All Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52) configurations
What’s in the box?
Inside the package, we found some paper manuals, a 135W charging brick (that’s what you get with the GTX 1650), and some fancy stickers to personalize your new laptop.
Design and construction
Plastic, plastic, plastic. Everything here is plastic, unlike its slightly more premium cousin – the Predator Helios 300. Not that the quality is poor, but the material itself could have been better. It is a fingerprint magnet and the huge 17-inch chassis is a little bendy especially when you lift it from the side. On the bright side, Acer was able to shave some 300 grams of the total weight of the device, compared to last year. Now, the scales stop at 2.70 kg, while the profile measures at 24.9mm.
Its lid opens with a single hand, which is surprisingly common with 17-inchers. It also has rather thin bezels all around the display, while the camera can be seen in its orthodox position.
On the base, there is practically the same keyboard unit, like that on the 15-inch Nitro 5 (AN515-55). This means it has decent key travel and clicky feedback, making it a good board for gaming and typing. Also, it has a backlight, although it only glows in Red (yet there is an RGB option as well).
Not only that, but it features a NumberPad. Yep, its keycaps are noticeably smaller than the rest, but at least it’s there, right? Unlike the XPS 17 or the MacBooks. Additionally, you have full-sized Arrow keys, but they are placed immediately next to the NumberPad, making accidental clicks inevitable.
Unfortunately, the base is bendy, even if you don’t press too hard. On the bright side, the touchpad is decent, and should you have any problems making it run, install the latest Intel I/O driver, you can find on Acer’s official support page.
Then, on the bottom panel, you can see the ventilation grills. Actually, there were a lot of haters on the Web saying that the ASUS TUF A15‘s vents are blocked, and that looks stupid, and why didn’t they figure it out. Well, to say it straight, the TUF A15 draws air mainly from the keyboard. However, when we saw this device, the first thing that came to our mind is, why are the ventilation grills so small here? Indeed, they are placed only over the fans, unlike the Lenovo Legion 7 (15), where 50% of the bottom plate is reserved for air intake. However, it doesn’t seem like the Nitro 5 (AN517-52) makes use of a neet design that allows it to suck air through the keyboard. Nevertheless, there are a total of four cutouts for heat exhaust, which is a significant upgrade over last year.
This year, the charging port is moved to the back of the device. The rest of the I/O, however, is situated both on the left and on the right. Respectively, you can find an RJ-45 connector, two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports, and an audio jack on the left, while on the right, you can see an HDMI connector, another USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port, as well as a USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 2) port.
Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance
On the inside, this laptop looks like the 15-inch Nitro 5 hiding in a bigger chassis. Nevertheless, you still got 12 Phillips-head screws before you have access to the internals. After you undo them, you’ll find it easier to start prying the bottom panel from one of the front corners.
When it comes to the cooling, there are three heat pipes, one of them shared between the CPU and the GPU. Additionally, the components around both chips are cooled by two metal plates.
What this laptop excels at, however, is upgradability – there are two RAM SODIMMs, supporting up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, while the storage consists of two M.2 slots and a 2.5-inch SATA drive bay.
Lastly, the battery is the same 57.5Wh unit, seen on the 15-inch version.
Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52) is equipped with a Full HD 120Hz IPS panel, model number AUO B173HAN04.7 (AUO479D). Its diagonal is 17.3″ (43.94 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 127 ppi, and a pitch of 0.2 х 0.2 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 69cm (27″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).
Viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.
The measured maximum brightness of 283 nits in the middle of the screen and 268 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 7%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6510K – matching the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1230:1.
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 in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. 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 Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52)’s color gamut coverage.
Its display covers only 51% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
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 at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
Below you can compare the scores of Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.
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.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 25 ms.
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 to 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.
The backlight of the Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52) doesn’t use PWM to adjust its levels of brightness. This means the display is comfortable for use, without presenting any excessive eye strain in this aspect.
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.
Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52)’s display has a 120Hz IPS panel with a good contrast ratio and comfortable viewing angles. Additionally, it doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness. Sadly, though, the color coverage is very narrow – 51% of sRGB, and despite the fast refresh rate, we monitored slow pixel response times, which results in ghosting in fast-paced games.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52) configurations with 17.3″ FHD IPS AUO B173HAN04.7 (AUO479D).
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected].
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount
Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52)’s speakers produce a relatively loud sound with good quality. Its lows have some deviations from clarity, while the mids and the highs are clear.
All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/8329?b=1
Now, we conduct the battery tests with 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. We got more than 7 hours of Web browsing and 6 hours and 40 minutes of video playback – not bad for a 17-inch gaming machine.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
Once again, Acer’s choice was to go with Intel. This time, they went for the Comet Lake-H processors, and the two CPUs of choice are the quad-core Core i5-10300H and the hexa-core Core i7-10750H.
Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
As a typical gaming device, you have more GPU options. On the bottom side, there is the GeForce GTX 1650, and the performance gradually rises with the GTX 1650 Ti, GTX 1660 Ti, and ends up with the lowest tier ray-tracing graphics card from NVIDIA – the RTX 2060.
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
|Far Cry 5||Full HD, Normal (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650||66 fps||62 fps||58 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Lowest (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650||110 fps||82 fps||41 fps|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)||Full HD, Lowest (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650||89 fps||57 fps||51 fps|
|Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650||58 fps||54 fps||48 fps|
Temperatures and comfort
Max CPU load
In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.
Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.
|Intel Core i7-10750H (45W TDP)||0:02 – 0:10 sec||0:15 – 0:30 sec||10:00 – 15:00 min|
|Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52)||3.05 GHz (B+17%) @ 68°C||3.05 GHz (B+17%) @ 75°C||2.90 GHz (B+12%) @ 79°C|
|Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-55)||3.02 GHz (B+16%) @ 82°C||3.04 GHz (B+17%) @ 92°C||2.67 GHz (B+3%) @ 92°C|
|Lenovo Legion 7 (15)||3.78 GHz (B+45%) @ 80°C||3.69 GHz (B+42%) @ 83°C||3.51 GHz (B+35%) @ 83°C|
|MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx||3.65 GHz (B+40%) @ 95°C||3.41 GHz (B+31%) @ 95°C||3.30 GHz (B+27%) @ 95°C|
Despite the low frequencies, we are happy to see the low temperatures. This makes the 17-inch version a lot better in terms of thermal capacity.
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)|
|Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52)||1746 MHz @ 65°C||1723 MHz @ 71°C|
|Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-51)||1597 MHz @ 70°C||1590 MHz @ 71°C|
|Dell Inspiron 15 7590||1395 MHz @ 80°C||1395 MHz @ 84°C|
|Acer Aspire 7 (A715-74G)||1552 MHz @ 70°C||1532 MHz @ 76°C|
|Dell G3 15 3590||1605 MHz @ 67°C||1566 MHz @ 74°C|
|ASUS ROG G531||1461 MHz @ 65°C||1408 MHz @ 71°C|
|ASUS TUF FX705||1566 MHz @ 74°C||1568 MHz @ 74°C|
|Acer Nitro 7 (AN715-51)||1633 MHz @ 61°C||1599 MHz @ 67°C|
This trend continues to the graphics department, where we can see a great improvement over the last-year device.
Although the fans were clearly audible, when we take into consideration that this is a gaming notebook, the noise is not that big of a deal. However, we monitored temperature of just above 51C in the top middle portion of the keyboard.
Indeed, 17-inch gaming notebooks are not that popular, compared to their 15-inch siblings. They are more difficult to handle, take more space, and generally, they look like something’s wrong with them. However, the benefits of having a larger screen can be numerous. First of all, in many cases, you don’t need an external monitory, just because, the 17-inch display is big enough for home use.
Sometimes, you even get better cooling from the larger unit, because of the more space inside of it. In the configuration we tested this notebook, we found it to be perfectly capable to manage its temperatures. However, based on the 15-inch model, we think that purchasing it with the more powerful (and expensive) graphics cards would certainly affect the comfortability, both in terms of temperature and noise.
Nevertheless, this notebook has some features, that make it stand out. First, the two M.2 slots. We feel like it is mandatory for 2020. However, it also has a 2.5″ SATA drive bay, and we found a dedicated cable for connecting such a device, inside the box. Yes, there is no SD card reader, which is petty, but honestly, it is easier than ever to find a USB to SD card flash drive adapter.
Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-52)’s display has a 120Hz IPS panel (AUO B173HAN04.7) with a good contrast ratio and comfortable viewing angles. Additionally, it doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness. Sadly, though, the color coverage is very narrow – 51% of sRGB, and despite the fast refresh rate, we monitored slow pixel response times, which results in ghosting in fast-paced games.
Interestingly, this is an issue we found with the MSI GL75 – a laptop that boasts the same 120Hz panel with the same model number. It’s just too bad when manufacturers try to blind you with pretty words, and at the end of the day, you just received an ultra-budget over-glorified 120Hz panel.
Ultimately, this device lacks the sheer performance it should deliver. Especially when you compare it to an AMD-equipped machine, like the ASUS TUF A17. In our view, the ASUS device would be a better choice, especially if you use your device for CPU-intensive tasks.
- It has two RAM SODIMM slots and two M.2 drives, besides the 2.5″ SATA drive bay
- Optional RGB backlight
- Lack of PWM (AUO B173HAN04.7)
- Comfortable viewing angles and good contrast ratio (AUO B173HAN04.7)
- Lacks an SD card reader
- Slow response times, despite the 120Hz refresh rate (AUO B173HAN04.7)
- Covers only 51% of sRGB (AUO B173HAN04.7)
- Doesn’t explore the full potential of the Core i7-10750H
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-nitro-5-an517-52/