Acer’s Nitro 7 is a classic example of how every decision matters when building entry-level gaming laptops. Every component must be second-guessed, every trade-off weighed, because a mere $50 can be the difference between standing out and stalling out. Do you opt for a better screen or more storage space? A better GPU or more RAM? High-end laptops get to have it all, but budget-friendly machines don’t have that luxury.

Trouble is, sometimes you get a laptop that’s perhaps perfect for one niche, but suboptimal for your average buyer. Acer’s Nitro 7 opts for an above-average (for this price point at least) display, a generous amount of SSD storage, and a top-tier CPU—but it skimps on the graphics card, a fairly important component for a gaming laptop.

It’s an odd choice, and my first instinct is that most people will be better off with a different Acer laptop—namely, the Predator Helios 300, which lists for the same price but packs a better graphics card. We’ll get into that later though. Let’s dig in.

Variants

The Acer Nitro 7 is mercifully one of Acer’s simpler lines to navigate, at least at the moment. There are only three variants, running from $1,050 to $1,200.

We reviewed the top-end model, with the catchy model number AN715-51-752B. Try saying that three times fast, eh? In this case $1,200 gets you an Intel Core i7-9750H, an Nvidia GTX 1650, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

Acer Nitro 7 (AN715-51-752B) IDG / Hayden Dingman

Below that is the $1,100 variant, which scales back to 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. At the bottom, the $1,050 model packs in one of Nvidia’s previous-gen GTX 1050 cards—which is more of a cut than it might seem, as the GTX 1650 is on a par with a 1050 Ti, not a baseline 1050.

Our $1,200 review model is probably the best option. You certainly could run a gaming PC with only 8GB of RAM still, but I wouldn’t recommend it. That alone is enough to cut the two lower-end models from the running, especially given their $1,000-plus prices. As I said up top, $50 can be a lot of money when you’re dealing with entry-level laptops—but in this case, I think the extra money is a necessity. If you’re looking to go cheaper than $1,200, take a look at the Nitro 5 line instead.

Design

Acer’s Nitro line is interesting to me. They’re like gaming laptops gone undercover. Not in a convincing way, mind you. Pull out a Nitro 7 at the office and people will be like, “Hey, nice gaming laptop.” You’re not fooling anyone, especially with the weird pentagonal shape of the base and lid.



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