Although the Acer Nitro 5 Spin wasn’t announced right here at IFA 2017 – it was made official early last week – the Taiwanese company naturally had the gaming laptop on display at its booth. Of course, I took the opportunity to take the Nitro 5 Spin for a quick spin – pun intended – and if Acer prices it right, it may be a pretty compelling convertible gaming laptop.
First up, specifications. The Nitro 5 Spin comes with a 15.6-inch 1080p IPS touch display, Intel’s 8th generation Core i5-8250U or i7-8550U processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, up to 512GB of fast PCIe SSD storage and 16GB of DDR4 RAM, as well as a claimed battery life of up to 10 hours. While this battery life doesn’t sound too far-fetched for any capable laptop, it’s quite a surprise for a gaming machine.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s worth noting that the Nitro 5 Spin is very, very similar to the recently refreshed Acer Spin 5. In fact, both laptops share the same design and GPU, although the Nitro 5 Spin does sport a more “gamer” aesthetics with its black and red colour scheme. Beyond that, however, only certain hardware options differentiate the two convertibles.
Similarities aside, let’s get on with the actual hands on, starting with the Nitro 5 Spin’s keyboard. Surprisingly enough, the keyboard is pretty good: there’s enough key travel for a comfortable typing experience, the layout isn’t out of the ordinary, and I love the tactility of the keys. In fact, it’s really one of the most decent laptop keyboards I’ve ever tried, especially for a laptop in this price range.
The trackpad of the Nitro 5 Spin is also good. It can track my fingers accurately, and the smooth surface makes for pleasant user experience. Of course, it’s not quite as good as a trackpad found on a productivity-focused laptop, but the Nitro 5 Spin’s trackpad is certainly above average for a gaming-focused machine.
Unfortunately, the Nitro 5 Spin showcased at Acer’s booth did not have any particularly demanding games installed, but you can expect the laptop’s GTX 1050 GPU to run most modern games decently well. The graphics settings may need to be turned down, but there’s no doubt the Nitro 5 Spin can run games like Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or even Overwatch with relative ease.
Beyond gaming, I reckon the Nitro 5 Spin can double as a pretty capable productivity laptop too; especially if it can deliver 10 hours of battery life as claimed. It has a great keyboard, a good trackpad, and the convertible nature of the Nitro 5 Spin makes it ideal for users to switch between different modes to suit different usage scenarios. The hinge is pretty solid as well: it has just the right amount of tension.
However, there is one thing that stood out to me when I picked up the Nitro 5 Spin: it’s quite a hefty laptop. Weighing 2.2kg, switching between modes is not an effortless feat with the Nitro 5 Spin. To top it off, it’s a 15.6-inch laptop too: you wouldn’t want to use it in tablet mode for too long.
But all things considered, the Acer Nitro 5 Spin is quite the compelling gaming laptop. The fact that it’s also a convertible laptop is really a nice bonus. However, once – or if – the Nitro 5 Spin is made available right here in Malaysia, its retail price will ultimately decide if it will be an attractive enough gaming machine.
For the sake of comparison, the Nitro 5 Spin retails from $999 in the US – that’s about RM4,265. Now, as it is, this isn’t the most attractive price tag for a GTX 1050 laptop, and it’s almost a certainty the Nitro 5 Spin will be priced slightly higher in Malaysia than in the US.
While value for money isn’t necessarily the Nitro 5 Spin’s main selling point, it is a convertible gaming laptop: it’s quite an uncommon form factor. Those who are looking for a gaming laptop that can also double as a capable productivity laptop may see the Nitro 5 Spin as an attractive option. Alternatively, there’s also the new Spin 5 for those who want a more conservative – and professional – colour scheme.