We tested and reviewed the Acer Nitro 5 vs HP Pavilion 15 in terms of Performance, Display Quality, Price, Portability, Battery Life and more.
Above you can see the ranking with the results and below you will find the in-depth tests of the two Laptops.
Ranking First: HP Pavilion 15
- Strong graphics card with great Gaming Performance
- Long battery life
- Great sound
- More Expenisve
Two-tone metal case, only 18 millimeters thick and a dedicated graphics card: Already the first glance reveals to some extent what HP is aiming for with this 15 incher. Neither as slim, light and limited as an ultrabook, nor as extroverted and extremely equipped as a gaming notebook.
It doesn’t want to be a Predator, Omen or ROG. For that, both the processor and the good, but only entry-level graphics card are not powerful enough.
For the casual gamer, who needs the notebook’s performance for something completely different to 90 percent, the configuration seems appropriate, though.
However, only a closer look can show whether the HP Pavilion 15 also does justice to the almost $1000.
Basically, only the notebook is delivered, as the matching power supply is hardly an optional accessory. There is no colourful cardboard box or a small fabric cover, no practical adapter or colourful accompanying brochures.
HP has opted for recycled cardboard, protective padding in the right place and a wafer-thin but sealed bag. This may seem disappointing at first, but on the other hand, in most cases these accessories end up in a dark drawer rather than really benefiting you.
The next surprise follows immediately, as the extremely slim device is surprisingly heavy. While other notebooks advertise that it weighs just under 2.2 lbs, this one weighs almost 4.4 lbs.
As the graphics card alone weighs just under 1.1 lbs, this is of course hardly surprising. The metal case contributes the rest, feels really good and above all is of high quality.
No soft plastic shell as in the entry-level segment, no large ventilation slits or a colorful, glowing HP logo as in the high-end or gaming segment – the illuminated keyboard, which is a nice contrast to the anodized and somewhat darker upper shell with a touch of violet in its bluish tone, is appropriate for this.
The island keyboard also has a number pad, through which however some keys have been pushed to the side and upwards inconveniently. The fast typing of numbers makes up for this fact.
The touchpad can come up with a few special features. It is unusually wide, which after initial irritation actually allows for good operation. Moreover, up to four pressure points are recognized in parallel, which triggers different actions in each case. With a little practice, this also makes daily use easier.
The simple design and the discreet colour difference between the lid and the base appear noble and are worthy of a high-quality tool. The design of the speakers has the potential to polarize. The triangular segments are inclined in different directions and the tiny point openings do not bode well when it comes to collecting dust and dirt.
An explicit mention deserves the mechanics for the opening. At first it gives the impression that it remains stable and firm even after many years of folding back and forth.
It also lifts the case slightly from the floor and provides better ventilation. Exactly here, where unfortunately there are no maintenance flaps to replace the hard disk and RAM, the valuable interior must be cooled.
With the thin construction, the design with very slim ventilation slots only on the bottom and along the backside can be considered as almost without alternative. But the fan has a hard time under full load due to the closely spaced components and becomes correspondingly loud.
In view of the outstanding graphics, it is allowed to do so, though. However, it also gets loud in between while surfing or installing a small program. Almost noiseless working is not possible in this way. In everyday work, however, it should hardly be noticeable, especially in comparison to a PC with good performance.
With Full HD on a diagonal of exactly 15.2 inches, more than five pixels can be seen over the length of a millimetre. This corresponds roughly to the limit of what is visible and results in an overall very natural display.
However, there are no major special features. The normal color space is displayed and also the brightness does not stand out from the average.
In the office, at home on the sofa and at the desk everything else would be too much. But outdoors, especially in sunshine, it’s slowly becoming difficult to continue to see the image clearly.
Such extreme demands are usually only met by the fewest screens, though. With HDMI, the Pavilion can be connected to the 4K resolution. But why HP decided to use only HDMI 1.4, although the graphics card can handle 8K, i.e. 4 times more, remains their secret.
For you, the absence of HDMI 2.0 means that a simple 4K TV can be connected well. However, a high-end screen and the built-in graphics could display more, which the simple video output prevents.
The sound theme is dominated by one name: Bang & Olufsen. Their logo can be found discreetly at the bottom left of the keyboard. They are probably also not entirely innocent of the unusual look of the loudspeaker cover.
They get loud, and very impressively so, in comparison to many other notebooks or simple drivers in monitors. A test run to maximum with opera aria has been passably accomplished.
If you value good sound, this pair of speakers will at least not be a disappointment.
However, you should note the limitations that the missing size brings with it. A slightly tinny sound only disappears at a volume just under 50 percent.
This also leads to system sounds that are played too loudly starting with a metallic crackling sound. But given the limited possibilities, HP has done a really good job here together with B&O.
There is no shortage of performance anywhere. From access to the hard disk to processor speed, the overall package is convincing. From professional image editing to simple video editing, there are basically no delays whatsoever. Where most Ultrabooks would already run out of breath, the Pavilion can still gain a little more.
The chip, an Intel Core i7-8565U, is by no means the fastest of its kind. Above all, it builds a bridge between efficiency and sufficient computing power. It was able to prove this in the image processing of a picture with 80 megapixels.
The CPU in combination with the built-in SSD also makes itself noticeable in other tasks, starting with the startup process. It usually takes less than 20 seconds from pressing the button to the final appearance of the desktop. Without the many HP utilities, it could go even faster.
The hard disk is beyond any doubt. Just under 500 gigabytes are perfectly sufficient in most situations. Here they are also connected to the other components via an M.2 interface.
What this means is shown by a short copy process: just under 4 gigabytes are duplicated in 2 seconds. That is 12 Gigabit per second, with a theoretically possible 32 Gigabit.
The memory is basically so fast that it does not hinder the loading of larger amounts of data at any time. This becomes a decisive factor in graphics-intensive games.
The graphics card can be said to be up to almost any task that can be tackled with the Pavilion. The Nvidia GTX 1050Ti is a gaming graphics card, but from the beginner’s range. It convinces with solid performance rates, which are absolutely sufficient for new games with cutbacks and all aging games.
What you noticed when you looked at the performance monitor: RAM, memory access and graphics are very difficult to utilize. The actual bottleneck is the processor.
Windows 10 Home is of course pre-installed. Almost everyone can handle it. The list of available software is long.
But: Even after the fourth reboot, a utility from HP appears again, asks for a login, the registration, needs permission to collect data and so on.
The fact that once a conflict even occurred during the Windows update should not remain unmentioned. HP has certainly included many practical functions here, such as CoolSense, which adjusts the fan speed and thus the temperature of the components to different situations. Others seem immature and without added value.
Here, less would have been more in any case. To get rid of the superfluous software again, you’ll have to plan or live with at least two hours.
HP expects the battery to last eleven hours with 68 watt hours. The capacity is certainly impressive. It is worthy of the pavilion’s performance.
This very theoretical time specification is of course difficult to comprehend. A 2 hour charging from the internet with maximum screen brightness and a medium load cost the battery 30 percent.
Extrapolated this would result in 6 hours and 40 minutes. Assuming that the notebook also doesn’t always have to be busy and the display can be used even darker, more than 8 hours are realistic in any case.
The battery even holds up against this during gaming. After one hour of intensive benchmark tests, just under 40 percent were left. However, the effects of the frugal processor are evident here. A full-fledged gaming notebook would have already run out of power at this time.
The closed bottom is again a bit of a pity in connection with the battery. Thus, changing the battery becomes a costly and lengthy procedure.
The expectations in this sub-discipline should by no means be set too high. The notebook is capable of gaming, but never like a thoroughly pure gaming notebook.
Nevertheless: FIFA 20 was of course tried out. With the maximum possible quality and the resolution Full HD there was exactly one jerk, but it didn’t necessarily have to come from the game.
FIFA is considered as a very good-natured game, which is still absolutely playable on older computers. Nevertheless the behaviour gives an idea of what is possible.
All games that could mature for a few years will run here. The benchmark test with Final Fantasy XV, which was released for PC only in March 2018, also gives cause for optimism.
At low detail level a solid “standard” is achieved. Gaming really works here, just with a few details less and maybe not the most graphically groundbreaking title on the market – slim gaming.
But at the same time it should be clear: The notebook reaches its limits. The underside noticeably exceeds 40 degrees Celsius, even if it doesn’t get too hot.
The fan has to give its all and expresses the effort clearly audibly. The battery manages just under two hours in this situation, respectable, but it certainly plays more carefree in mains operation.
I already mentioned the beautiful island keyboard with the chic backlighting, and the compressed keys as well. But two remarks about real gaming should not be missing:
The scaled down arrow keys had a negative effect on FIFA 19 for example. The fact that the F-keys only respond by holding “fn” should irritate all friends of the fast save function.
A complicated grip diagonally over the keyboard is needed instead of a simple press. This can be changed so that the F-keys primarily perform their original function.
To do this, you should at least be familiar with the basic BIOS settings by disabling the “Active Key Mode” menu item.
The keyboard is also primarily designed to be elegant and visually appealing, and only after that comes usability.
The notebook is not perfect. Nor can it be at that price, because the different demands placed on a computer vary greatly and require completely different hardware.
On the other hand, there are basically no weak points. The battery lasts very long, even during demanding activities. This performance is sufficient for almost all applications that are below the requirements of intensive gaming.
At the same time, the device is slim and does not look bold or conventional. Good sound is added to this, which can boast quite a powerful roar, considering that it is still a slim notebook.
The loud but unavoidable ventilation and the limited brightness of the screen are annoying.
The bottom line is that the HP Pavilion 15 manages most tasks conditionally well. Weight and battery performance fall behind an Ultrabook, but if you need a versatile and above all mobile notebook that can be used on different occasions, this Pavilion is just right, which is why it’s ranking first versus Acer Nitro 5.
Ranking Second: Acer Nitro 5
- Good Gaming Performance
- Better price by a good margin
- Very good battery life
- HDMI port for external displays only
You can easily spend several thousand dollars on a gaming notebook – or even a triple-digit amount, for example for Acer’s Nitro 5. I have tried out how well it plays on it.
I took a very specific look at the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-43-R5TP. Because you can only get this configuration from Galaxus. Our category manager Kevin promised me a gaming all-rounder with a good price-performance ratio that is ideal for getting started in the gaming sector.
Design & Ports
The Acer Nitro 5 doesn’t have bright LEDs that glow in many colors. Instead, black and red dominate the appearance. The case on plastic with its clear corners and edges is mostly kept in black.
Red is used to emphasize individual elements and is especially strongly represented on the keyboard. Even its backlight is red.
Weighing in at 5.07 lbs, the Nitro 5 is still portable, but not a laptop that you want to lug around every day. With ports to the left and right of the side, you don’t have to do without anything important. HDMI, USB-C (3.1) and USB 2.0 each come once, USB 3.0 even twice.
There’s also an Ethernet port for the LAN cable and a 3.5 mm audio port. The WLAN can handle the AC standard, only with Bluetooth you have to be content with version 4.0.
The 15.6-inch display of the Acer Nitro 5 has a Full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. That’s enough size for a sharp display and I particularly like the fact that the screen is matt and doesn’t reflect. This makes the colours look a little less intense. With a reflective display, they are stronger, but that also makes them more reflective.
For my taste, the brightness could be higher. I often had to increase the brightness in the graphics settings so that I could see well in all dark corridors. By default, the screen was too dark at maximum brightness. You’ll have to do without gimmicks like a high refresh rate or especially fast response times on this standard display.
I like number pads on keyboards. They allow you to enter numbers faster and more conveniently than using the row of numbers above the letters. So I think it’s basically good that Acer has given the Nitro 5 a number pad.
However, the symmetry is lost and the letters and especially the touchpad are not placed in the middle. The longer I use the notebook, the more it bothers me.
In return, I liked the keys the whole time. They are large enough and have reasonable spacing between them. Their stroke is pleasantly high at 1.6 millimeters and the pressure points are clear and distinct.
There’s no doubt about the game controls. In the dark, the red backlighting ensures that you can see the keys better. Acer has optically highlighted the WASD keys and the arrow keys so that you immediately notice them.
On the touchpad, my fingers glide along unrestrained and elegantly. I can move the mouse pointer without any problems or delays. It’s big enough for my taste – although of course there are bigger ones.
In the end, however, the following still applies: To be able to play with a notebook, you need at least one mouse. With the touchpad you are much too slow. An external keyboard is also better in the long run. But you can also use a gamepad.
The Acer Nitro 5 has two speakers that radiate their sound to the left and right sides. For a notebook, they create a decent stereo sound, which underlines games well and also sounds good in your ears when watching music videos. According to Acer, technologies that bear names like “Waves MaxxAudio” and “Acer TrueHarmony” are responsible for the good sound.
If you want to get through a day in the office with the Acer Nitro 5, you’ll have to trust the power-saving features. As a simulation for simple tasks, I ran YouTube videos in the browser all the time and didn’t think much about saving power.
That’s why the screen brightness remained at 100 percent. The result: after about six hours, the lithium-ion battery was empty. If you take care to save a bit of energy, the Nitro 5 will last more than seven hours.
Playing, however, puts more strain on the battery than Youtube videos. Here I got the battery empty after just under 90 minutes. So without a power supply, the gaming experience is short-lived.
The external factors of the Acer Nitro 5 are therefore satisfactory. Time to take a look at the hardware, which is not insignificant for a gaming notebook.
With the Ryzen 5 3550H, you can expect a chipset that isn’t trimmed for performance, but should have a good power/energy consumption ratio.
It achieves 1683 points in Cinebench R20 and is thus roughly on par with the Intel Core i7-6700HQ. In the Geekbench benchmark, the Ryzen 5 loosely outperforms the Core i5-8250U, which is for example in the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air, with 848 points in single-core and multi-core mode.
The Ryzen 5 has a real graphics card and eight gigabytes of RAM at its side with the AMD Radeon RX 560X. The RX 560X is considered a mid-range graphics card and fits the Ryzen 5 with this classification, scoring 22,632 points in the OpenCL test at Geekbench 5.
What do these numbers mean in practice? Given the hardware, I chose an older game to try out: “Gears of War 4”. The notebook’s ventilation is directly noticeable during startup, but becomes quieter again relatively quickly.
The game has its own benchmark test, which has an average frame rate of 54.1 FPS as a final result. It also suggests to me, in view of the Nitro 5’s hardware’s performance, to choose predominantly medium graphic settings. I follow the recommendation and can go on a monster hunt without a jerk.
The Acer Nitro 5 AN515 is not the most powerful gaming notebook, but it is comparatively cheap. Even for the similarly powerful Xiaomi Mi Air you have to pay more and do without typical gaming elements: Apart from the design, these would be, for example, the CoolBoost for a higher fan speed and thus improved cooling of GPU and CPU. NitroSense for monitoring and controlling the entire system is also missing.
I especially like the matt display very much and the numeric keypad of the keyboard is very practical, especially beyond games.
All important connections are there and the memory turns out to be large. However, with its hardware the Acer Nitro 5 is not the right choice if you want to play “Cyberpunk 2077” on it next year.
If you want to be able to choose the best graphics settings at all times, you should also buy a more expensive, but more powerful notebook.
As the first gaming notebook that doesn’t yet have to handle Triple AAA titles, most of which are released from the age of 18, the Acer Nitro 5 is just as suitable for classics from your games collection.
All in all it is ranking second behing the HP Pavilion 15, but it’s still a great Laptop and has the much better price. So if you are on a tighter budget, this might be your choice.