Acer Nitro 5 vs Asus TUF Dash F15 - which budget gaming laptop should you buy?

Asus TUF Dash F15 vs Acer Nitro 5
(Image credit: Future)

There’s no shortage of good gaming laptops right now; if anything, the market is oversaturated to the point of bursting with numerous different manufacturers and a wide range of models. It can be a daunting prospect to choose one, especially since the cost of some of the best gaming laptops is no joke. That's why we're breaking down the details of two of our favourite mid-range laptops, the Acer Nitro 5 and the Asus TUF Dash F15, and working out which one you should buy. Both are considered budget buys, regularly coming in under $1,000 / £1,000 but still offering powerful components under the hood.

This comparison will examine every aspect of both laptops, from design and durability to price and performance. We’ll go over some of the different variants available for both, but the baseline comparison point will be the models we’ve previously had our hands on.

These two gaming laptops occupy the same space in a crowded market, with competitors like MSI, Lenovo, and Razer all vying for the same piece of the pie. There are a lot of similarities between these cheap gaming laptops, such as the matching screen size and resolution and the shared use of Nvidia’s 30-series graphics. When it comes down to it, though, the Acer Nitro 5 and Asus TUF Dash F15 are entirely different beasts. Which will be the victor? Read on to find out.

TL;DR: Asus TUF Dash F15 vs Acer Nitro 5

Asus TUF Dash F15

  • More portable
  • Better aesthetics
  • Slightly lower performance
  • Fewer configurations available
  • Only 15.6-inch
  • No webcam
  • Worse thermal performance
  • Faster drive speed

Acer Nitro 5

  • Too chunky for portability
  • Cumbersome design
  • Slightly better performance
  • More configurations available
  • Available in 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch
  • Webcam
  • Better thermal performance
  • Slower drive speed

Asus TUF Dash F15 vs Acer Nitro 5 - Price

Given the wide variety of available models with different internal components, the price of both the Asus TUF Dash 15 and Acer Nitro 5 can vary significantly. Pricing on the current 2022 models starts at $999.99 (£849.99) for the TUF Dash 15 and $1,049.99 (£999.99) for the Nitro 5. However, these machines certainly aren't shy of a discounts, and older units are available at lower prices around the web.

At the other end of the scale, the most expensive Dash F15 clocks in at $1,499.99 (£1,484.99). The priciest Nitro 5 will run you a hefty $2,299.99, though that’s for a US-specific model packing a more powerful RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, which takes it beyond our mid-range price band.

Broadly speaking, the pricing on these two gaming laptops is very close when comparing the exact product specifications. It’s difficult to determine if one is clearly better value purely by looking at the specs and pricing. However, it should be noted that there are far, far more versions of the Nitro 5, since the Dash F15 chassis was only introduced in 2021. That means you're more likely to find an extremely cheap configuration of the Acer model if you're shopping in the $500 - $800 / £600 - £800 price range.

Asus TUF Dash F15

  • $999.99 - $1,499.99

Acer Nitro 5

  • $1,049.99 - $2,299.99

Asus TUF Dash F15 vs Acer Nitro 5 - Features

The real question when comparing these two gaming laptops is what sets them apart from each other, since the pricing clearly doesn't. The immediate difference is in size; while both the Nitro 5 and the TUF Dash F15 are rocking 15.6-inch displays, the Dash F15 was designed as a thinner, lighter alternative to existing gaming laptops from Asus.

As a result, the Dash F15 weighs about 15% less than the Nitro 5 (although this varies a little dependent on model). It’s also about 4mm thinner, which doesn’t sound like a lot but is noticeable when comparing the laptops side-by-side. The difference in chassis profile marks the Nitro 5 as a chunkier, less portable laptop, something to consider if you want to game on the go.

The Dash F15 also has a smaller keyboard, forgoing the numpad for a compacted 80% layout while the Nitro 5 sticks with the full-scale keyboard. Some new 2022 versions of the Dash F15 do offer a keyboard complete with numpad, if that’s a sticking point for you.

Both the Asus TUF Dash F15 and the Acer Nitro 5 offer 1440p screen options. However, only the Acer offers 17.3-inch form factors if you're after a larger display, but are naturally more expensive too. The Nitro 5 also has a wider range of available SKUs as mentioned above, with cheaper versions using the GTX 1660 and 1650 GPUs and more powerful models coming equipped with RTX 3070 Ti or 3080 cards. Some 2022 models have adopted the excellent Ryzen 7 5800H processor from AMD, while the TUF Dash F15 is limited to only Intel CPUs.

The Acer Nitro 5 has a little bit more visual flair thanks to the optional RGB keyboard (limited to red backlighting only on cheaper models). The Nitro 5 also has the better keyboard for typing and gaming, with the Dash F15’s feeling a little spongey in comparison. Still, we think the Dash F15 is the better-looking of these two laptops, with a clean, angular aestehtic and thinner screen bezel that appeals more than the somewhat basic appearance of the Nitro 5.

There isn’t much else that distinguishes these two products from each other; the selection of ports for physical connectivity is broadly the same, and both laptops come with either Windows 10 or 11 based on preference. The only remaining difference we want to highlight is the TUF Dash F15’s lack of a webcam, which renders it useless for video calls; no problem for some, but an issue for anyone wanting to use their laptop for both work and play.

Asus TUF Dash F15

  • Thinner, lighter chassis
  • Smaller keyboard
  • Only 15.6-inch models
  • Smaller range of configurations
  • No RGB but better looking overall
  • No webcam

Acer Nitro 5

  • Heavier, clunky chassis
  • Full sized keyboard
  • Also available in 17.3-inch
  • Wider range of configurations
  • RGB
  • Webcam

Asus TUF Dash F15 vs Acer Nitro 5 - Performance

Since there are multiple models available for both the Acer Nitro 5 and the Asus TUF Dash F15, here are the potential maximum specs for both laptops: 

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Asus TUF Dash F15 vs Acer Nitro 5
Header Cell - Column 0 Asus TUF Dash F15Acer Nitro 5
ProcessorUp to 11th-gen Intel Core i7Up to 12th-gen Intel Core i7 / 5th-gen AMD Ryzen 7
GraphicsUp to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
MemoryUp to 16GB DDR4 RAM @ 3,200MHzUp to 32GB DDR4 RAM @ 3,200MHz
Display15.6-inch, 240Hz15.6/17.3-inch, 165Hz
Resolution1080p / 1440p1080p/1440p
StorageUp to 1TB NVMe M.2 SSDUp to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Ports1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x RJ45, 1x Thunderbolt 41x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1x RJ45
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2
OSUp to Windows 11 ProUp to Windows 11 Pro

On paper, it seems pretty clear that the Acer Nitro 5 has the edge here. But those higher-spec models are naturally more costly, and the TUF Dash F15’s specs are no slouch either (though it's worth noting these machines run off a cheaper 4-core Intel processor). The Dash F15 also offers a Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, which is enabled for display output and power delivery. Beyond that, physical and wireless connectivity is very similar, with the only advantage the Nitro 5 has being Bluetooth 5.2, which offers slightly lower power consumption and multi-connection support.

Of course, it’s what the laptop can do with that hardware that matters, and testing has demonstrated that the Nitro 5 has a definite leg up over the Dash F15 in that department, managing to squeeze slightly better performance from the same GPUs. It’s not a huge performance gap, though, and the Dash F15 can still comfortably hit 60fps in most games at 1080p with the RTX 3070. You’ll definitely want to spring for the 16GB of RAM in the F15, though, as the 8GB model presents a significant performance bottleneck - this can be upgraded further down the line.

Thermal performance is also superior in the Nitro 5, likely due to the larger chassis enabling better heat dissipation. We noted that Acer’s gaming laptop had generally great thermals in our 2022 model review, while the Dash F15 isn’t quite as good due to its thinner design. One significant difference in performance is the drive speed; the Dash F15 lives up to its name with a speedy SSD, while the Nitro 5’s write speeds are decidedly unimpressive.

Asus TUF Dash F15

  • Smaller specs 
  • Slightly behind in GPU performance
  • Thunderbolt 4 USB-C
  • No Bluetooth 5.2
  • Slightly worse thermal performance
  • Faster drive speed

Acer Nitro 5

  • Available in higher spec
  • Nudges ahead in GPU performance
  • No Thunderbolt
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Better thermal performance
  • Slower drive speed

Asus TUF Dash F15 vs Acer Nitro 5 - which gaming laptop should you buy?

Ultimately, these are both good choices for anyone looking to buy a mid-range gaming laptop. The Acer Nitro 5 offers better performance potential and more available SKUs, while the TUF Dash F15 has a more stylish design and is undeniably the more portable of the two.

With similar gaming performance, which one you purchase should boil down to what you intend to use it for. The Nitro 5 offers excellent potential for use as a desktop replacement system, capable of being used for both business and pleasure with its webcam, full-scale keyboard, and relatively quiet fans.

The TUF Dash F15, on the other hand, is a portable powerhouse, slimmer and lighter than the Nitro 5 without compromising significantly in the gaming department. Its lack of a webcam means it doesn’t work well as a remote-work tool, but if you’re only looking for a gaming system, we reckon it’s the better option. It has better battery life than the Nitro 5 too, although neither are particularly impressive—a common theme among most gaming laptops!

For something a little more expensive, check out the best Alienware laptops and the best Razer laptops on the market right now. We're also showing you all the best laptop backpacks to keep your rig safe on the move as well.

Writer for Maximum PC

Christian is a writer for Maximum PC, but also writes in a freelance capacity for a number of other sites including GamesRadar, PC Gamer, and TechRadar. He knows the PC gaming space inside out, particularly when it comes to hardware including PC builds, keyboards, and other peripherals.