The Aspire Nitro has been one of my favorite lines of mid-range multimedia laptops in the last few years and in this article we’re going to talk about the 15-inch version of the early 2017 update, the Aspire Nitro V15 VN7-593G Black Edition.
It builds from the models released in 2014 and 2015, from whom it inherits its design lines and overall build, the keyboard or the screen options. It’s improved in a few important places though, as this newer model gets a larger battery and a more diversified IO, among others, alongside the updated hardware inside: Kaby Lake Core HQ processors, DDR4 memory and Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics.
The V15 Nitro swims in competitive waters though, where it has to beat big fishes from Asus, MSI, Lenovo or Dell. This post will tell you if it has what it takes to be a good buy, as well as where it falls short.
Specs as reviewed
||Acer Aspire Nitro V15 VN7-593G – Black Edition
||15.6 inch, 3840 x 2160 px, IPS, non-touch, matte
||Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ CPU
||Intel HD 630 + Nvidia GT 1060 4GB
||32 GB DDR4
||512 GB SSD (M.2 SATA) + 1 TB 5400 rpm HDD (2.5″)
||Gigabit LAN, Wireless AC , Bluetooth 4.1
||2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.1(Thunderbolt 3), HDMI, mic/earphone, SD card reader, LAN, Kensington Lock
||390 mm or 15.35” (w) x 263 mm or 10.35” (d) x 23 mm or 0.9” (h)
||5.53 lbs (2.51 kg)
||red backlit keyboard, webcam
In a segment where most other manufacturers push “gaming” design with all sorts of sharp edges, weird geometrics and colorful accents, the Aspire V15 Nitro remains a breath of “old air”. And that’s what I actually like about it and what I expect others to as well: its design is sober, with black and silver elements, and its lines are simple and serious. It’s odd these are aspects I would come to actually emphasize in a laptop review, but well, times are a’changing.
Acer uses mostly black plastic for the outer shell of the V15 Nitro, with a soft rubberized finishing on the underbelly and a more textured one for the lid cover. Both feel nice to touch and offer good grip, but at the same time show smudges easily. The interior is a fingerprint magnet as well, as it’s a dark piece of brushed aluminum, so you’ll have a hard time keeping this clean. The only change of pace from the dark scheme is the part on the laptop’s back, with the hinges and air exhausts, made from a silver piece of hard plastic. The name “Aspire V Nitro” is engraved on this piece, a special characteristic of the Nitro line and one that Acer liked so much that they also put it on their newer Aspire VX series.
Build wise, this notebook is properly made, with little to no flex in the keyboard deck or the lid, and a solid feel to it when grabbed and lifted. Almost nothing bends or squeaks, which is quite surprising from a machine mostly made out of plastic. The V15 Nitro does have quite some heft to it, as it’s a fairly large and heavy 15-incher, weighing 5.5 lbs – 2.5 kilos (a .25 increase from the previous generation, mostly due to the larger battery). On the other hand, it is a little thinner than most other laptops in the segment, but even so, portability is not where it stands out.
Practicality on the other hand, could be. For instance, there are no sharp edges or corners on this thing, so it’s comfortable to grab and carry around. It’s also comfortable to type on, since the front lip is blunt and doesn’t raise too much from the desk. Another aspect I appreciate is the fact that the screen can be easily raised with a single hand, and yet the hinges are stiff enough to hold it in place and allow it to lean back to about 155 degrees. I’d still prefer a screen that would be able to go back flat, especially since the hinge’s design would easily allow it in this case, but it’s still a better angle than many other laptops offer right now.
As for the IO, a few things have changed from the previous generation. Most important ports are still unfortunately on the right edge, where you’ll find 2 x USB 3.0 connectors, the HDMI output, the Thunderbolt 3 port and the LAN adapter, so if you’re planning on using a mouse and you’re a righty, tough luck, you’ll have cables in your way. On the left though there are now 2 x USB 2.0 slots (from the single one on the VN7-592G model), the card-reader and separated mic and SPDIF jacks, alongside some discrete status LEDs. Well done on putting these here and making sure they’re never in the way or too bright.
Speaking of lights, this V15 still gets a light bar positioned just on top of the keyboard, but it’s tied to the keyboard’s back-lightning though, so it’s not always lit like with the older models. In other words, it’s lit when the key’s illumination is active, and stuff off when it’s not. Normally, I’m not into these kind of glowy elements, but this light bar is subtle and actually looks quite cool on this laptop, as it matches the red color of the keys.
There are no ports on the notebook’s front and or rear edges, and the rear is mostly occupied by the intake and exhaust air grills. There are some more intake cuts on the belly, as well as large cuts for the four speakers inside, plus 4 grippy rubber feet with two extra support bumps in the middle. There is however no easy way to access the internals on this machine, but we’ll get to that later.
Keyboard and trackpad
If you’re into short stroke keyboards, you’ll probably like the one on this V15 Nitro a lot. I do, because while the keys have a limited travel of 1.2 mm, their click and feedback is quite nice, not shallow as on the Dell XPS laptops. As a result, I was able to type fast and accurate on this keyboard, without much accommodation time required, and that puts it high on my list of preferences.
The keys are also backlit and due to the short travel, very quiet. There are not multiple illumination levels though, so you can either have the back-lightning ON or OFF, and the existing option is not very bright either, but will do fine in most conditions.
I do have a few nits with the layout though. The power button is integrated as the top right key, which I can live with, but the Num Pad and the arrow keys are cramped, plus the Up key and the right Shift are bound together, as well as the Enter and \ key. I don’t use the right Shift key often, but I can imagine how annoying this implementation can be to someone who does.
Also, I must stress that this keyboard might not be for everyone and if you’re used to longer stroke presses and firmer clicks, chances are you’ll struggle here. If you’re coming from an ultra-portable though, you’ll probably love it.
The trackpad lies beneath the Space key and it’s well sized and slightly recessed into the frame. It feels nice, smooth, yet this is a plastic trackpad so it’s not as slidy as some fo the glass surfaces available these days.
It performs well though and I didn’t run into any peculiarities with swipes, taps or gestures. Physical clicks are perhaps a little too firm and there’s that hollow sound characteristic to such plastic surfaces when tapped firmer, but I’d be really nitpicking if I’d complain about these minor details.
As a side note, most versions of the V15 Nitro will integrate a fingerprint-reader in the top-left corner of the trackpad. Ours came without it, but we tested the fingerprint sensor on the 17-inch Aspire Nitro and it works just as it should.
Acer offers the V15 Nitro with two screen options, both with 15.6-inch matte IPS panels, but with FHD or UHD resolutions. We got to test the latter and it’s overall a pretty good screen, yet it’s not the 100 Adobe RGB panel we’ve seen on the previous V15 VN7-592G model, it’s a more down-to-earth model. That means the panel is not a selling point for graphics professionals anymore, yet it’s cheaper and requires less energy to run, which in the end will make it appealing to more potential buyers.
Anyway, the UHD panel is made by Chi Mei and offers 78% coverage of the AdobeRGB spectrum, 320 nits max brightness and 1000:1 contrast, plus excellent viewing angles. That makes it a really solid pick for a multimedia computer like this one, especially once you address the slight blue tint and skewed colors by loading the calibrated profile available here.
More technical details are available below.
- Panel HardwareID: Chi Mei CMN15E1 (N156DCE-GA1);
- Coverage: 100% sRGB, 74% NTSC, 78% AdobeRGB;
- Measured gamma: 2.2;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 322 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1030:1;
- White point: 7100 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.31 cd/m2;
- Average DeltaE: 1.44 uncalibrated, 0.85 calibrated.
Most configurations of the V15 Nitro will be paired with the FHD resolution display, a cheaper option with some impact on battery life, as well as an option better suited for the hardware inside the laptop if you’re planning on playing a lot of games on it. More about that in the next section.
Hardware and performance
Our test model came in one of the high-end configurations Acer offer for the V15 Nitro line, with a Core i7-7700HQ processor, 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics with 6 GB of VRAM and dual storage: a 512 GB M.2 SATA SDD and a 2 TB 5400 rpm 2.5″ HDD.
This laptop supports PCIe M.2 drives, so that would be the only major upgrade you might want to perform on such a configuration, although you could also replace that noisy HDD with an SSD. Upgrades on the Nitros have been difficult in the past, yet Acer actually redesigned the internals of this newer series.
In order to get in you have to start by popping the chromed ornament beneath the screen, the one with the Aspire V Nitro engraving. Just grab and pull, it will snap out. There are no screws beneath, like on the older Nitro models. Then, just turn the laptop upside down and unscrew all the Philips screws that hold the back panel in place (they are all the same size). Next, with the help of a plastic card or pry tool, separate the back from the inner chassis, preferably starting from the laptop’s left side. The components are attached to this inner chassis frame behind the keyboard, and the plastic bottom can be taken completely out of the way. You’ll probably struggle popping out the part around the USB Type-C port, but keep trying, and also make sure you take out that piece of plastic that covers the SD card slot.
Once inside, you’ll notice the CPU/GPU and cooling solution, the two RAM slots, the M.2 SSD slot and the 2.5″ storage bay, as well as the Wi-Fi chip which is also replaceable. You’ll also notice the interior has been redrawn in order to accommodate a larger battery, which is an excellent novelty.
Performance wise, the V15 Nitro behaves pretty much flawlessly with daily activities and can handle multitasking, video content and more demanding apps as well. There are no traces of throttling or any other issues with daily use, and I’ve also ran some benchmarks if you’re interested in hard numbers.
However, do keep in mind there’s some bloatware preinstalled, albeit not as much as on other Acer laptops, but you’ll want to get rid of it or perform a clean Windows install to get the best experience.
- 3DMark 11: P12357;
- 3DMark 13: Sky Driver – 22653, Fire Strike – 9691, Time Spy – 3654;
- PCMark 08: Home Conventional – 3057;
- Geekbench 3 32-bit: Single-Core: 3681, Multi-core: 13929;
- Geekbench 4 64-bit: Single-Core: 4479, Multi-core: 14398;
- CineBench 11.5: OpenGL 64.18 fps, CPU 8.18 pts, CPU Single Core 1.75 pts;
- CineBench R15: OpenGL 93.62 fps, CPU 741 cb, CPU Single Core 157 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 172.05 fps, Pass 2 – 46.11 fps;
- x264 HD Benchmark 5.1 64-bit: Pass 1 – 77.35 fps, Pass 2 – 16.54 fps.
This notebook can also handle games, but mostly as long as you switch the resolution to 1920 x 1080 px, if you want to run recent titles with high details. Some older games will run fine at the native UHD resolution as well, but in this case you might have to cut off many of the graphics details in order to get playable frame rates. And even that might not be possible with some titles, as the Nvidia GTX 1060 chip is just not meant for UHD gaming. That Thunderbolt 3 port could come in handy here though, allowing you to hook up some external graphics like the Razer Core.
|Shadow of Mordor
|Total War: Attila
|Need For Speed Most Wanted
The excellent news on the other hand is the hardware performs well in all these games and demanding activities, without any performance loses and frequency drops, despite the fact that this laptop is quite thin for its class and purpose.
Gaming on battery isn’t as powerful though, as the GPU’s and especially the CPU work at a lower than stock frequency in this case. As a result, Need For Speed:Most Wanted only averages 19 fps on UHD Medium settings while on battery.
Also, since the VN7-593G might also be available with Nvidia 1050 Ti in some regions, I suggest reading this article to find out what to expect from that kind of configuration in terms of gaming.
Throttling does occur in stress tests with both the CPU and GPU pushed to their limits, as you can see in the pictures below, but you’re not going to run into this kind of behavior with real-life activities.
Emissions (noise, heat), Connectivity and speakers
There are two fans inside this laptop and they are almost never inactive, as they start spinning even with the most basic of tasks (moving the cursor, launching the browser, watching a movie). They’re barely audible with daily use though and can be easily covered by the speakers if you’re watching a clip or having some music running in the background. You’ll hear them when typing or browsing in a quiet place, like I am right now, but I guess it’s not realistic to except a fanless experience from this kind of hardware anyway.
Still, I found surprising that these fans are not individually controlled , as both the CPU and GPU fans kick in at the same time. Most others designs will only spin the CPU fan with daily tasks and program the GPU fan to jump in when the dedicated chip would be in use.
On top of that, Acer implements this technology called Dust Defender on their laptops, which periodically spins the blades the other way around to push dust out through the intake grills. This causes a particular rattling of the blades that I personally find quite annoying.
Anyway, the HDD is another noise source, which can be addressed if you decide to replace it with an SSD, but I also noticed some coil whining. I can’t tell if you’ll get this with all units, only some or perhaps just my test model, but I’d reckon the second option is correct. This is definitely something that can ruin the experience for some though, so keep in mind to look for it if you decide to get one of these machines.
The fans will spin faster with high loads, with top noise levels measured at around 44 dB at head level with a basic iPhone app. That’s about normal for the class I’d say, not something the speakers will totally cover, but something a good pair of headphones will have no trouble dealing with.
Noise aside, the V15 Nitro runs cool with daily use, yet certain parts of its chassis can get hot with gaming, but the temperatures reached are not at all uncommon for this kind of laptop. See the pictures below for more details.
*Daily Use – 1080p Youtube clip in EDGE for 30 minutes
*Load – playing Need for Speed Most Wanted for 30 minutes
Connectivity wise there’s Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth and Wireless AC on this laptop. I mostly used it on wireless and the Qualcomm solution performed really well near the router and well-enough at 30 feet with walls in between. Not much to add here, other than the fact that Acer did a good job with the Wi-Fi on this laptop and that I didn’t run into any issues or drops during my time with it. That’s an improvement from last year’s model that came with poor Intel 7265 wireless module, or improper drivers.
There are four speakers on this laptop, paired in two groups and placed on the underbelly. They’re fairly loud (85 dB at head-level) and sound nice, but make sure the Dolby App is running in the background, it does make a whole of a difference. As a novelty for the 2017 model, Acer implemented separated mic and SPDIF jacks, which those of you using headphones will probably appreciate.
As for the webcam, well, it’s placed on top of the screen, but is not the best performer, as indoor pics are especially grainy and dark, as you can see above.
Most users complained of the poor battery life offered by the previous V15 Nitro, but luckily that’s not such a big issue with this model.
Acer actually squeezed a much larger 69 Wh battery inside (52 Wh on the older models) and replaced the wide-gamut UHD panel with a more economic alternative, and as a result that’s what you should expect from the VN5-593G:
- 13.4 W (~5 h of use) – very light browsing and text editing in Google Drive, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14.3 W (~4 h 45 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Internet Explorer, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 10.4 W (~6 h 30 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen .mkv video in the Movie app, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 11.8 W (~5 h 45 min of use) – 4K fullscreen .mkv video in the Movie app, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 18.5 W (~3 h 45 min of use) – heavy browsing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 50.0 W (~1 h 20 min of use) – gaming, High Performance Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON.
Expect the FHD versions of this laptop to run more efficiently.
This laptop comes with a fairly compact 180 Wh power brick and a full charge takes at least 2 hour and 30 minutes.
Price and availability
The 2017 V15 Nitro is competitively priced as well.
In the US it starts at $1249 for a configuration with a Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16 GB of RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060 6 GB graphics, a FHD IPS screen and a 1 TB HDD. There’s no SSD included, but you can fairly easily add one if you want to.
In Europe the base model starts at around 1299 EUR for a Core i5-7300HQ processor with 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, while the high-end version gets the UHD screen, Core i7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD for around 1700 EUR.
Follow this link for up-to-date configurations and prices at time you’re reading this article.
In most regions the V15 Nitro is somewhat more affordable than most of its rivals at the time of this post (late March 2017), like the MSI GE62 Apache Pro or the Asus ROG GL502VM, but that’s mostly because those include an SSD with all configurations. That’s why when you draw the line and add the upgrades, the Aspire V15 Nitro will cost you just about the same as the competition. As of June 2017 there is however a more affordable option out there, the Acer Predator Helios 300 we reviewed here, which comes with a poorer screen and smaller battery though. The Lenovo Legion Y720 is also an option, with the same screen as the Helios 300, but a 60 Wh battery and a better built (albeit heavier) chassis.
Keep in mind that 1050Ti versions of this laptop might also be available in your region, with prices starting at around $1100.
Even if the price is not something that sets this laptop apart from the crowd, it does have other aces down its sleeves, as shown in this review.
I do think this is one of the best multimedia notebooks available with modern hardware and Nvidia 1060 graphics right now, especially if portability and lightweight are not your main concern (in which case you should check out the more expensive MSI GS63 line, as well as the Gigabyte Aero 15 series).
Potential buyers would get a well built laptop with simple looks, very good screen options, proper IO, solid performance, plus above average battery life and audio quality. The keyboard with its short stroke keys might steer some away, but at the same time will delight those who appreciate such keyboards, but that aside, there’s very little wrong that I can say about this test device.
The Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition is one of the better 15-inch multimedia laptops of the moment
Unfortunately, quality control might ruin it for some of you. Even I ran into this issue on my test unit, which is not uncommon on Acer laptops, plus if you’ll read reviews of the previous generation you’ll see some buyers complaining (here or here) about their machines failing after months of use.
That is however the cost of having competitively priced laptops these days and quality control is an issue with most mid-level manufacturers, not just with these Acers. Most people will get properly working devices, yet some will draw the short stick. Buying your’s from a well known store that offers proper post-sale services and support, as well as buying extended warranty, are in my opinion the only way to protect ourselves from such inconveniences. They might happen, but at least someone will take care of the issue with little fuss on your end.
Anyway, enough ranting, that’s about it for this post, but let me know what you think about the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro VN7-593G Black Edition in the comments section below and get in touch if you have any questions or anything to add to the article.
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