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Acer Nitro 5 vs HP Pavilion (2021): Which Budget Gaming Laptop Should You Buy?

While a gaming laptop can significantly improve gaming experience and performance, beginners probably aren’t too keen on spending a hefty sum of money for one right away. Fortunately, there are budget-friendly gaming laptops in the market that impress with their performance and features despite their low price points. The Acer Nitro 5 and the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 are perfect examples of this, both ideal for newbies who want to level up their game. To help you decide between the two, here’s an in-depth comparison that covers their design, display, performance, and battery life.

Acer Nitro 5 vs HP Pavilion Comparison Chart

ModelHP Pavilion Gaming 15Acer Nitro 5
 HP Pavilion Gaming 15 Laptop, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, AMD Ryzen 5 4600H, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512 GB PCIe...Acer Nitro 5 AN515-45-R83Z Gaming Laptop, AMD Ryzen 5 5600H Hexa-Core Processor | NVIDIA GeForce GTX...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Display Resolution1920 x 10801920 x 1080
Display Type15.6-inch Full HD IPS display15.6-inch Full HD IPS display
CPUAMD Ryzen 5 – 4600H
AMD Ryzen 7 – 4800H
AMD Ryzen 5 – 4600H
AMD Ryzen 7 – 4800H
Memory8GB, 12GB, 16GB8GB, 16GB
Storage1TB256GB, 512GB
Graphics CardNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650ย 4GBNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GDDR6 4GB
Keyboard BacklightYesYes
Ports1 SuperSpeed USB Type-C, 1 SuperSpeed USB Type-A, 1 USB 2.0 Type-A, 1 HDMI 2.0,
1 RJ-45
1 HDMI, 1 USB Type-C,
1 USB 3.2 Gen, 1 RJ-45
Dimensions14.17 in x 10.12 in x 0.93 in14.3 in x 10 in x 0.94 in
Weight4.37 lbs5.29 lbs

Design

The HP Pavilion Gaming 15 and the Acer Nitro 5 have similar designs and build quality but the former’s keyboard is easier to use.

HP Pavilion vs Acer Nitro 5 design
Both the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 (left) and the Acer Nitro 5 (right) are made entirely out of plastic.

If you’re not into the bold colors that gaming laptops tend to sport, you’ll be relieved to know that both the Acer Nitro 5 and the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 have understated designs. Decked out in all black, it would be easy to pass them off as normal laptops. That said, these two models are made entirely out of plastic as a way to keep their prices low. So in terms of build quality, they’re definitely not the most solid. This is especially true for the Acer Nitro 5 which has some flexing on its lid because that area is quite thin. But you’re obviously not going to be throwing them around or sitting down on them so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

As for their keyboards, the one on the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 is enjoyable to use. It’s a fully-featured keyboard complete with a numpad. It even has adjustable white backlighting which you can turn up two notches, turn off altogether, or put on timer. As for typing experience, it feels a lot like typing on an ultrabook because of the shorter key travel. This allows you to type quite fast without making a lot of noise. As for the keyboard on the Acer Nitro 5, it’s not as easy to use, no thanks to the red-on-black combination. The keys aren’t very legible, especially when you’re not in a dim room, making it hard to figure out which key does what.

Display

The HP Pavilion Gaming 15’s screen delivers a much better performance than that of the Acer Nitro 5.

HP Pavilion vs Acer Nitro 5 display
The HP Pavilion Gaming 15’s (left) screen is brighter and more vivid than that of the Acer Nitro 5 (right).

The display on the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 is a standard one, made up of a 60Hz 1080p IPS panel with a brightness of 250 nits and 45% color gamut. Overall, its performance is satisfactory considering the affordable price point. It remains bright and visible even when you’re gaming in a well-lit space, plus its viewing angles are wide enough side to side so you should be able to play co-op games. The only group of gamers that might complain are those who play e-sports as the 60Hz refresh rate might be too limiting for them. But then again, it’s impossible to get a decent 144Hz display within this price range so we can’t really fault the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 for that.

As for the Acer Nitro 5, you can tell that they really cut corners with its screen. It’s a 60Hz 1080p panel as well but its response time is significantly slower, its brightness is lacking, and its colors are less vivid and accurate. In addition, the screen doesn’t have FreeSync so do expect some tearing and stuttering. The Acer Nitro 5’s display is definitely its weakest point but this isn’t too surprising given its affordability. It does get the job done though so that should be good enough for beginners. Needless to say, experienced gamers who are used to the 144Hz experience should steer clear of this laptop.

Performance

The HP Pavilion Gaming 15 boasts of impressive performance but the Acer Nitro 5 isn’t too far behind.

HP Pavilion vs Acer Nitro 5 performance
Both the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 (left) and the Acer Nitro 5 (right) have good thermal performance.

With the Ryzen 5 4600H as its CPU and the NVIDIA GTX 1650 as its GPU, the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 is one of the best gaming laptops you can get your hands on in its price range. Its impressive Cinebench CPU performance scores are a testament to this. Plus, it’s able to get more out of the GTX 1650 compared to other entry-level models as seen through its high refresh rates. If you’re worried about overheating, you don’t have to stress because great thermal performance is another thing that the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 can brag about. Thanks to the Ryzen 5 4600H’s efficiency, temperatures are able to stay low even with an all-core load.

As for the Acer Nitro 5 which runs on the six-core AMD Ryzen CPU and the NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU, its performance is not bad at all for its price tag. While you do have to turn down your settings to medium level while you’re playing AAA games, you should be able to enjoy maximum settings when you’re playing less taxing titles. In terms of Cinebench performance, it’s able to achieve scores that are expected from more expensive Intel i7 laptops so that’s pretty impressive. As for thermal performance, the Acer Nitro 5’s hardware isn’t very powerful so nothing really gets too hot while you’re gaming.

Battery

The Acer Nitro 5 has a more impressive battery life than the HP Pavilion Gaming 15.

HP Pavilion vs Acer Nitro 5 battery
The HP Pavilion Gaming 15 (top) has a 3-cell battery while the Acer Nitro 5 (bottom) has 4 cells.

Equipped with a 52-Watt Hour battery, you can enjoy pretty long gaming sessions with the HP Pavilion Gaming 15. In addition, there are a couple of things you can do to prolong its battery life such as turning on battery saver mode, lowering display brightness, and disabling background apps. When you’re low on juice, the 150-Watt adapter it comes with does a good job of recharging the laptop fast. However, we have to give this round to the Acer Nitro 5. It can do around 10 hours when put to the YouTube playback test which definitely exceeds expectations.

Verdict

The HP Pavilion Gaming 15 wins against the Acer Nitro 5 for having a better design, screen display, and CPU performance.

The HP Pavilion Gaming 15 and the Acer Nitro 5 are both considered budget gaming laptops but don’t let this label fool you because these models are able to provide an impressive gaming experience. However, the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 is the winner in our book for a couple of reasons. Not only is its CPU performance one of the best in its price range, but its design elements are well-thought-out and its screen is brighter, more vibrant, and has a better refresh rate. We find that there’s less cutting of corners with the HP Pavilion Gaming 15, making it the better purchase for gamers out there who are on a tight budget.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Which one has a better screen display, the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 or the Acer Nitro 5?

The HP Pavilion Gaming 15 has a better screen display than the Acer Nitro 5. It’s brighter, has more accurate and vibrant colors, has wider viewing angles, and has a better refresh rate.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which one has better gaming performance, the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 or the Acer Nitro 5?

As seen from their Cinebench CPU scores, both the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 and the Acer Nitro 5 deliver impressive gaming performance for their low price points. Both models have good thermal performance as well so you don’t have to worry about overheating while you’re gaming.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which one has better battery life, the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 or the Acer Nitro 5?

The Acer Nitro 5‘s battery life trumps that of the HP Pavilion Gaming 15. The Acer Nitro 5 can last up to 10 hours when put to the YouTube test which goes beyond expectations of a budget gaming laptop.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which one should you buy, the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 or the Acer Nitro 5?

The HP Pavilion Gaming 15 is able to tick off more boxes than the Acer Nitro 5. Not only is its CPU performance one of the best in its price range, but its design elements are well-thought-out and its screen is brighter, more vibrant, and has a better refresh rate.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.