The laptop market continues to expand and innovate every year and Acer laptops are one of the participants in this ongoing race. Now we are witnessing a revival of competition in the market, because before, devices based on Intel processors actually dominated. But with the advent of the Zen architecture, the situation begins to level out, there are more possible combinations, which means that we have a wide choice of systems for your taste, requirements and budget.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

Today, another modification of the Acer Nitro 5 we have already examined more than once based on the AMD Ryzen 7 2700U processor and the Radeon RX560X video card, namely the AN515-42 model, will become a test subject. It is really interesting to know how the «red» bunch will behave in real conditions.

Model Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)
Manufacturer’s site acer.com
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 2700U 2200MHz (up to 3800MHz Turbo)
RAM 16 ГБ, DDR4-2400, single-channel
Display 15,6″, 1920×1080, IPS (LG LP156WF6-SPK6)
Video card AMD Radeon RX 560X
Disk subsystem SSD 128 ГБ Hynix HFS128G39TND-N210A, HDD 1000 ГБ Toshiba MQ04ABF100
I/O ports 1x USB 3.1 Type C (Gen1), 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, HDMI 2.0, LAN RJ-45, headphone out
Communications WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1
Cartridge reader SD (XC/HC)
Multimedia Audio system 2.0, web camera
Battery, mAh 3220 (min. 3090)
Power adapter, W 135
Dimensions, mm 390 x 266 x 25,75
Weight, kg 2,7
Cost, $ n/a

Contents of delivery

Unfortunately, we got a sample without factory packaging, so it is not possible to evaluate its quality. On the other hand, it is unlikely to be different from the previously reviewed modifications, so you can familiarize yourself with the packaging in our own Nitro 5 reviews.

The bundle, of course, cannot be called rich, it contains only the most necessary — only a charger. But market positioning does not imply anything extra in the kit of this laptop.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The ADP-135KB power supply is rated at 135 watts.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

Appearance

Visually, the next representative of the Nitro line does not differ from its comrades. All the same restrained game design. The laptop feels very beaten down and strong, does not play anything and does not flex in both the folded and open states.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The back side is actually the “exhaust” of the cooling system, so the rich red design of the screen hinge is clearly in place. Well, the inscription Nitro reminds the owner of himself even with the screen open.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The «carbon» texture of the surface of the lid looks good and is quite successful in terms of performance. But it is worth noting the following — it is difficult to leave fingerprints on it, but if you have already managed to mark your laptop in this way, then it will be quite difficult to wipe it off and microfiber will obviously not be superfluous.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The bottom of the laptop is almost half made with ventilation grilles, which is great — the components will be provided with a good flow of outside air. Let’s pay attention to the present service windows, through which quick access to the second drive and RAM is provided. The impressive dimensions of the rubber feet hint that the stability of the laptop is all right.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The front face of the Nitro 5 does not carry a special functional load, except that additional grilles allow the sound from the speakers to spread not only down, but also directly towards the user.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The left side contains Kensington Lock, LAN RJ-45, USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI, USB 3.0, and an SD memory card reader.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

On the right side of the laptop there is a four-pin 3.5 mm audio jack for connecting a headset, two USB 3.0 ports and a charging port.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The keyboard is framed by the same «carbon» surface, and the layout is fairly standard for laptops: long Shift, small Enter, full-size NumPad, nothing unusual or stand out. As for the soiledness, everything written above about the surface of the lid is relevant here.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The key travel is quite short, kind of gaming, because it is really more convenient during games, and not when typing.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The edging of the WASD keys “climbs” a little on the upper edge of the buttons, and therefore the backlight is more noticeable, and even without it, the gaming unit stands out from the rest of the keyboard.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The backlight is very even and pleasant, absolutely does not draw attention to itself in conditions of poor or no lighting. After a few minutes of inactivity, the keyboard backlight goes out, conserving battery power and not interfering with, for example, watching movies.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The touchpad is located directly below the space bar and is aligned with the mouse buttons.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

And of course, the camera module is classically located above the top of the screen.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

Screen

Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42 uses LG Philips LP156WF6-SPK6 15.6-inch AH-IPS panel. The working resolution is 1920×1080, which is good, because 4K will be excessive for a 15-inch laptop, and the video accelerator should be completely different. The refresh rate is 60Hz. The matrix has an anti-reflective coating, there is no touch control.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

Notebook brightness adjustable from 16 to 262 cd/m2, which in principle is sufficient for working indoors in any light, but may not be enough when working in bright sunlight, if you have such a need. But the stability of the contrast cannot but rejoice, because it keeps at the level of 1200:1 in the range of 30-100% brightness, and the minimum value sags only up to 1161:1, which is unlikely to be clearly noticeable.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The factory settings of the LG Electronics matrix certainly leave much to be desired. On the face of insufficient color gamut according to the sRGB (58.4%) and Adobe RGB (40.3%) standards, the triangle is clearly more shifted towards yellow. We see that the color temperature is generally close to the reference values, but the gamma curve shows noticeable discrepancies as the brightness changes.

Measurements of deviations in DeltaE using the Argyll utility showed 4.51 units in the average and 16.63 in the peak value. The only thing that did not fail is the white point, which is within the recommended value.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

IPS-matrix implies the absence of significant fading of the image when deviating from the screen. Below you can see that even at significant angles the image is still normally distinguishable, but in fairness, it is worth noting the manifestation of a parasitic yellow tint.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

In general, the impressions are exactly the same as they should remain from a budget IPS matrix. Although the color reproduction is far from ideal, it is still much better than that of TN matrices. Simply, for example, when working with photographs, it is worth considering its features.

Internal organization

The cooling system in the Nitro 5 series notebooks has always pleased us with good performance. True, in the case of the bundle from AMD, we see not two large thermal pipes, but one large and two medium ones, which apparently allowed us to slightly increase the efficiency of heat dissipation.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

Otherwise, the layout of the system does not differ from its counterparts in the model line. The battery is located in its compartment and of course it will not be possible to remove it indiscriminately. As always, I am pleased with the separate presence of a slot for a 2.5-inch drive, as well as an M.2 slot for connecting an SSD.

The Qualcomm Atheros QCNFA344A radio module supports WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac protocols, as well as Bluetooth 4.1.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

Also, I think many will be pleased with the fact that the RAM is not filled with two, but with one Kingston ACR26D4S9D8MD-16 module. It is unlikely that anyone will notice a drawdown associated with a single-channel mode of operation in a laptop, but a free “growth” slot will definitely come in handy in the future.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

As has been repeatedly mentioned in the review, this Nitro 5 is based on the AMD Ryzen 7 2700U processor on the Raven Ridge core. This CPU has four physical cores that process eight threads, and the third level cache is 4 MB. Base frequency 2.2 GHz with maximum values ​​up to 3.8 GHz. The nominal TDP of this 14nm processor is very low at only 15W.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

The laptop is equipped with two video adapters — built into the RX Vega 10 processor and a discrete Radeon RX 560X. And here we are faced with the first questions. It would seem that if there are two adapters from the same «camp», there should not be problems with switchable graphics, but that was not the case. It is very difficult to force the system to choose exactly the video accelerator that you need. And it would be nice if this only concerned the office mode — the “embedding” just works correctly in it. The adventure begins when we get into the game, in the settings of which there is no choice of an accelerator, and RX Vega 10 was automatically assigned. In short, I had to turn off all possible energy-saving profiles in all, even the deepest and most secluded loopholes of Windows 10, in order to get the discrete accelerator in all games.

Well, it is worth mentioning the nuance with the drivers. It may seem to someone that it is enough to go to the AMD website and download the last suitable package and, thereby, close the issue on two accelerators at once, but no. The video driver itself will be installed, but the Adrenaline accompanying it is not supported by the system. And it is he who is responsible for the switchable graphics. It is quite difficult to find the latest drivers for this modification of Nitro 5 on the Acer website. Therefore, the only true and correct solution at the moment is to update the drivers through Windows Update — the most current ones are really pulled up there. Well, perfectionists will have to put up with the presence of an outdated Catalyst in the system for the time being. We hope that AMD and Acer will resolve this issue, which personally reminds me of the transition from Windows XP to Windows Vista and the lack of official support for the latter from some particularly cunning laptop manufacturers.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

To say that the Radeon RX 560X has tremendous performance is, of course, a dissemble. This is a budget-level graphics adapter and you should not expect more results from it. The operating frequency of the core is 1275 MHz, and the memory is only 5800 MHz. After 20 minutes under maximum load in Battlefield 1, the core temperature is still within comfortable limits and does not force resetting the frequencies.

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-42)

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