Acer Nitro 16 review: "competitive across price and performance"

Acer Nitro gaming laptop on a wooden table
(Image: © Future)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

The Acer Nitro 16 shows what happens when entry level gaming laptops start to grow up. This is still a chunky rig, but thoughtful design keeps things feeling streamlined and the component value under the hood means it stays competitive within its price bracket.

Pros

  • +

    Solid performance for its price

  • +

    Slick design and aesthetic

  • +

    Bright display with excellent contrast for IPS

  • +

    Rear ports available

Cons

  • -

    RTX 4070 can't fully ramp up

  • -

    Chunkier build than other options

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

Built to occupy the desks and backpacks of budget-conscious gamers, the Acer Nitro range of gaming laptops has always been a firm favorite for those looking to spend under $1,000. These rigs have traditionally prioritized component value in their price tags, substituting high-end build materials and displays for the chance to scoop up mid-range or higher components at a fraction of the price of some of the best gaming laptops. However, the newer Acer Nitro 16 does things a little differently. 

Yes, this is still a cheaper gaming laptop, but with a new lid redesign, a fantastic display, and a more considered form factor the latest Nitro is starting to buck its own trend. I say starting to, because this is by no means a budget gaming laptop in the chassis of a premium device - but it certainly feels like a step up from previous models. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Specs
Row 0 - Cell 0 TestedAlso Available
Price$1,479.99 / £1,479.99 $999 - $1,799.99 / £999 - £1,799.99
Display16-inch QHD+ at 165Hz1920 x 1200 at 165Hz
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 7735HSAMD Ryzen 7 7840HS | AMD Ryzen 5 7640HS | AMD Ryzen 5 7535HS | AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS | Intel i5-13500H
GPURTX 4070RTX 4050 | RTX 4060
RAM16GB DDR5 RAM8GB | 32GB
Storage1TB SSD512GB SSD
ConnectivityWiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2-
Ports1x HDMI, 1x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1x RJ-45-
Dimensions36 x 27.9 x 2.5cm-
Weight2.79kg-

Design

Acer Nitro 16 gaming laptop lid on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)

Straight out the box, the Acer Nitro 16 feels like a fresh step in a new direction. That much is obvious from the 16:10 form factor and new colorful lid design. This new language has been spread across both the Nitro 16 and Acer Nitro 5 machines for the next generation, but those crisp blue and pink lines are more minimal here and allow for a far more refined aesthetic overall. In the centre, you'll find Acer's new Nitro logo, a chunky 'N' in what would have been glossy glass on a more premium model, but is simply light gray plastic here. 

Acer Nitro 16 from the side on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)

A wedge design means the Nitro 16 doesn't feel as chunky as it initially looks in the hand. A larger grill section protrudes from the rear of the machine, angling away from the desk from the bottom to keep things looking sharp. This is a clear departure from the days of brick-shaped gaming laptops, and while it's not going to send the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 or HP Omen Transcend 16 back to the scales those used to affordable gaming laptops are going to feel a real benefit to this new form factor.

The entire chassis is constructed of plastic, which is to be expected. There's a little flex to the main lid and a lot more in the keyboard deck itself, though not as much as you'll find on older machines. The main hinge feels sturdy and rotates smoothly, though there is a little wobble when maneuvering.

Features

The display is the Acer Nitro 16's strongest asset. The move to a 16:10 ratio is inline with current market-wide designs, and opens the Nitro line up to far more immersive gameplay. However, it's the brightness and super vivid colors that truly work the hardest here. The screen itself is a 1600p IPS panel with a 165Hz refresh rate - a step up from the 1200p / 1080p 144Hz panels you'll typically find on budget gaming laptops. That translates to a crisp QHD+ resolution and bright, punchy colors benefitting from excellent contrast. Of course, you're not going to get the same experience here as you would with a Mini LED or OLED panel, but this is still impressive considering its position in the market.

Acer Nitro 16 gaming laptop open on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)

Underneath that you'll find a full sized keyboard with everything you need for everyday productivity and gameplay. Each keycap is bordered with a slick white band and extra emphasis on WASD and arrow keys. The keypress action here is nicely snappy with a crisp debounce and while that aforementioned flex is apparent it's only felt when truly trying to hammer for it. The trackpad below is a little smaller than you'll find in alternative models, but it provides smooth tracking with a responsive click. 

Acer Nitro 16 keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

The Acer Nitro 16 also has a feature almost guaranteed to win me over personally - and that's rear ports. Not only that, though, but the full suite of I/O connections is also spread nicely across the sides as well. That meant I was able to easily dock and keep cables out of the way when working on a big screen while also being able to plug extra accessories in either the left or right hand side of the device. My setup is looking a little frazzled at the moment so any help with cable management is most welcome. I did, however, find the power cable's connection at the rear was a little hit and miss. I couldn't find anything physically wrong with the port or plug, but it was frequently loose during play sessions.

As is generally the way, there are a bunch of different configuration options for the Acer Nitro 16. In general, though, you're looking at an AMD processor with the vast majority of options opting for the Ryzen 7 7840HS. Having an RTX 4050 option on the table is excellent news for those looking to spend as little as possible, but you can also ramp things up with an RTX 4060 or RTX 4070 as well. RAM ranges from 8GB, which would be unadvisable to all but the most casual of players, up to 32GB DDR5. That's a solid array of options, catering for both entry level and mid-range players at a fair price point (and don't forget when those gaming laptop deals come around, these are often some of the first to drop their price tags). My test unit came with an AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS processor (which I can only see on UK shelves at the moment), RTX 4070 GPU, 32GB DDR5 RAM, and a 1TB SSD.

Performance

Overall, the Acer Nitro 16 performs admirably. My RTX 4070 configuration was able to handle both 1080p and QHD+ gameplay in high settings at over 60fps easily. Those numbers did start to dip below the 60fps threshold when bumped up to Ultra settings in more demanding titles, but with some tweaks things should be running smoothly in the majority of gaming scenarios - especially if your configuration runs a Ryzen 7 7840HS CPU. 

Benchmark Tests

Time Spy: 10,611

Fire Strike: 24,524

Cinebench 2024: Multi - 732, Single - 90

PC Mark 10: 6,627

I primarily benched these numbers against the RTX 4060 / Intel i7-13700HX toting HP Omen Transcend 16 and Alienware M16 laptops. These are both offering a weaker GPU spec overall, but come in only slightly more expensive than the Acer Nitro 16. Their performance across industry and in-game benchmarks is a good indicator of price / power ratio, especially pertinent considering the Nitro range has traditionally offered excellent component value. 

(Image credit: Future)

The Acer Nitro 16 did outperform both the HP Omen and Alienware in Time Spy and Fire Strike tests, and - notably - performed similarly to an RTX 4070 / AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS configuration of the 2024 Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. Yes the Zeph has size on its side, but for sheer component value that's a solid result. Those results aren't leaving the other two in the dust, but considering the amount you're paying they're certainly optimistic. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
In-Game Benchmarks
Benchmark1080pQHD+
Shadow of the Tomb RaiderHigh: 146fps | Highest: 140fpsHigh: 124fps | Highest: 115fps
Total War: Three KingdomsHigh: 124fps | Ultra 89fpsHigh: 68fps | Ultra: 49fps
ReturnalHigh: 96fps | Epic: 82fpsHigh: 72fps | Epic: 58fps
Hitman 3High: 106fps | Epic: 105fpsHigh: 92fps | Epic: 90fps

The Acer Nitro 16 doesn't quite make the most of its RTX 4070 GPU in this configuration. That weaker CPU is pulling scores down slightly, and despite the additional airflow space in the main chassis slimmer gaming laptops with RTX 4060 GPUs can easily keep pace. However, these certainly aren't numbers to be sniffed at. The new generation is well placed here, providing its three figure framerates in easier tests without breaking a sweat and offering it all at a price that would have seemed impossible just a couple of years ago. 

Acer Nitro 16 Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark

(Image credit: Future)

Onto a nice and easy Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark. This is a less demanding game that plays particularly nicely with Nvidia, so scores are often high. However, the Alienware M16 took the 1080p crown here, jumping ahead of the Acer Nitro 16 in both High and Highest settings. The score was evened out a little in QHD+, though, with the Nitro posting an admirable 115fps at the top end of the settings scale. The HP Omen's 1200p display kept pace with the Nitro 16 despite its slimmer form factor, but I would have expected more from the RTX 4070 Acer with plenty of airflow room. 

Acer Nitro 16 Total War Three Kingdoms benchmark

(Image credit: Future)

Total War: Three Kingdoms often presents gaming laptops with a bit more of a challenge, with far more moving objects on screen. The Nitro 16 still couldn't outperform the RTX 4060 Alienware M16 here, with that QHD+ Ultra score falling far further behind others. It's at this top end of performance that the Nitro 16 struggles the most, though I was able to bring numbers up slightly with some graphical tweaks during everyday play. 

Acer Nitro 16 Returnal benchmark

(Image credit: Future)

The Nitro managed to stay above 60fps for the majority of its Returnal benchmarks, once again dropping out of the race at QHD+ Ultra settings. The M16 was the victor overall once again here, with the RTX 4060 model pulling well ahead of the Nitro across the board. 

Acer Nitro 16 Hitman 3 benchmark

(Image credit: Future)

My Hitman 3 benchmarks bucked a trend. The Acer Nitro 16 managed to use its RTX 4070 a little better here, pulling ahead of the Alienware M16 by some margin. That's across both 1080p and QHD+ resolutions, and even with settings pumped up to max. This is another easier benchmark which often returns three figure results in high-end machines - and the components in here finally have a chance to shine. 

Should you buy the Acer Nitro 16?

Acer Nitro 16 laptop open on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)

The Acer Nitro 16 is a fantastic entry level gaming laptop with configuration options reaching up into the mid-range for a fair price. While it's not using those components for the same kind of performance we'd see from a more sophisticated build, it's certainly keeping up with high-end gaming laptops within its price range by squeezing more expensive GPUs into lower prices. While it can struggle with more complex QHD+ Ultra settings, particularly in demanding games, you're getting excellent value for money here considering 1080p performance generally keeps pace with pricier rigs. 

Its display, while dropping some of the more premium features available today, also offers a fantastic backdrop for all that action, with a level of quality we haven't seen from too many starter rigs in the past. Those tired of lugging cheap gaming laptops around will also benefit from the slightly thinner form factor to boot. 

How we tested the Acer Nitro 16

I used the Acer Nitro 16 as my dedicated laptop for all work and play over the course of one week, while also testing for an additional week alongside the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and Acer Nitro 5. In that time, I played House Flipper and Assassin's Creed Odyssey while stress testing across Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Total War: Three Kingdoms, Returnal, and Hitman 3. I also used 3D Mark industry tests Fire Strike and Time Spy to benchmark the GPU and Cinebench and PCMark 10 for CPU and general performance tests. For more information on how we test gaming laptops, check out the full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.

If you're after a different brand, we're also rounding up all the best Razer laptops and the best Asus gaming laptops on the market. Or, take a look at the best Alienware laptops available. 

More info

Available platformsHardware, PC
Less
Tabitha Baker
Managing Editor - Hardware

Managing Editor of Hardware at GamesRadar+, I originally landed in hardware at our sister site TechRadar before moving over to GamesRadar. In between, I've written for Tom’s Guide, Wireframe, The Indie Game Website and That Video Game Blog, covering everything from the PS5 launch to the Apple Pencil. Now, i'm focused on Nintendo Switch, gaming laptops (and the keyboards and mice that come with them), and tracking everything that suggests VR is about to take over our lives.