Most multimedia laptops are available with a 15-inch screen these days, yet some users won’t mind somewhat sacrificing portability to some extent in order to get a device with a larger display.
If that’s you, the Acer Aspire V17 Nitro is one of the better computers that fit these requirements, a well built notebook with modern hardware and an excellent 17.3-inch matte screen a laptop than can handle work, as well as fun.
We got to spend some time with the latest build of this series, the VN7-593G Black Edition model released early into 2017. On a first look, this new model is much like the previous 17-inch Nitros that we reviewed in the past, yet it gets a few updates under the hood, with Kaby Lake quad-core processors, DDR4 RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics and a larger battery.
The article below will take you through all the nits and bits of the Aspire V17 Nitro Vn7-593G, so you’ll know where it excels and where it falls short before committing on buying one.
Specs as reviewed
||Acer Aspire Nitro V17 VN7-793G – Black Edition
||17.3 inch, 3840 x 2160 px, IPS, non-touch, matte
||Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ CPU
||Intel HD 630 + Nvidia GT 1060 4GB
||16 GB DDR4
||256 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
||422 mm or 16.61” (w) x 298 mm or 11.73” (d) x 25 mm or 0.98” (h)
||6.85 lbs (3.11 kg)
||red backlit keyboard, webcam
Our test model is one of the best specked versions of this laptop, yet Acer offers it in multiple hardware configurations and with at least two screen options. We’ll talk about the different models below.
A 15-inch variant is also available, with the exact same internal specs, but a more compact and lighter body, and you can read all about it in this review of the Aspire V15 Nitro VN7-593G.
On the outside, the Nitro V17 is pretty much a larger version of the 15-inch model we discussed about here, so I’m not going to get in depth on the build quality and choice of materials again.
In few words though, this is a really well build laptop with sober aesthetics, and that I believe is one of its main selling points, as most other devices with similar specs get “gaming designs”, with sharp angles and all sorts of flashy elements.
The V17 Nitro is also quite practical to use in daily use, with a spacious palm-rest, no sharp corners or edges and an easy to adjust screen that can be lifted with a single hand. The black plastic and metal used for the surfaces does show smudges and fingerprints easily though, so you’ll have a pretty hard time keeping this thing clean.
The V17 is also fairly heavy and large, at roughly 12” in width and 17” in height, yet still rather slim for this class (.98″). It’s also a little heavier than the previous VN7-792G model, but that’s because Acer put a larger battery inside, which is a trade-off most potential users will be happy with.
Even the IO is identical to what you get on the 15-inch Nitro, with five USB slots (2 x USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0 Type A , plus one USB 3.1 Type C – Thunderbolt 3). There’s also a full-size HDMI 2.0 connector, a LAN port, a card-reader, a Kensington lock and separated jacks for the microphone and headphones (SPDIF). That’s solid connectivity; my only complaint is with the placement of these ports on the right edge, which pretty much means that if you’ll use peripherals you’ll have to accept the clutter of cables in the area where most users would keep their mouse. On top of these, the PSU plug is also placed on the right edge.
The laptop’s underbelly houses air-intake grills, as well as the speakers and four grippy rubber feet which make sure this computer won’t slide on your desk. Hot air is blown out through the grills on the back edge, away from the user.
There is however one feature the Aspire V17s offer that the V15s don’t, the Tobii eye-tracking system, which is optional on the laptop, but equipped on our unit. This technology is meant to offer an alternative control method in Windows programs and games, by tracking eye positions and gaze points. In order to do that, an IR sensor and a camera are integrated just beneath the laptop’s screen. The technology works, albeit with a slight delay, and according to Tobii is supported by a few dozen existing games.
The Tobii eye-tracking system
Whether it’s actually useful in games is a completely different matter. I gave it a try, but for me it felt mostly as a gimmick, but keep in mind I’m quite reluctant to change, so you might feel otherwise. I do think this kind of technology can make life easier for people with disabilities in certain applications, but I doubt it’s something a gamer won’t be able to live with, or even desire to use on a regular basis. There’s a short clip below explaining more about how this works and how it’s supposedly helping in games.
Bottom point, I guess this Tobii system is nice to have on a laptop, but it’s not something I would pay extra for. From the looks of it, Acer pretty much includes it with the higher end configurations of the V17 Nitro, so you’ll end up with it anyway if you opt for one of those.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard and trackpad on the V17 Nitro are also identical to the ones on the VN15, and you’ll find my in-depth impression on them here.
In summary though, if you’re into short-stroke and ultra-quiet keyboards, you’ll probably like this one a lot. I did. Those used to keys which travel deeper into the frame will have a hard time getting used to it though.
As for the trackpad, it feels nice and performs well, but it’s a plastic surface and not as smooth and responsive as some of the glass options out there. There’s a fingerprint sensor integrated in the top left corner and makes logging into Windows a much simpler chore.
The 17-inch display is another aspect that sets this laptop apart from most others and should put it on your list. Potential buyers would get to choose between two panel options, both matte, but one with FHD resolution and standard color gamut (~75 AdobeRGB) and another with UHD resolution an wide-gamut coverage (100% AdobeRGB).
We got to test the latter and it’s spectacular in terms of color reproduction, while the brightness and contrast are good as well. At around 330 nits according to our Spyder 4, the panel is bright enough for most environments, just don’t take it outside in direct sunshine.
More technical details are available below.
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUO109B (B173ZAN01);
- Coverage: 100% sRGB, 98% NTSC, 100% AdobeRGB;
- Measured gamma: 2.3;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 329 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 630:1;
- White point: 6800 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.52 cd/m2;
- Average DeltaE: 2.09 uncalibrated, 1.00 calibrated.
The color reproduction is what makes this particular panel option interesting for those of you that would require a wide-gamut screen for your work, for photographers or graphics artists. It’s true the rich colors also make movies and games more popping, but I don’t necessarily think that’s enough to justify paying premium for it.
You probably have a color-meter already if you plan to get this laptop for work, but in case you don’t you can find our calibrated profile here, which addresses the slightly skewed gamma and minimal blue tint.
The FHD screen option could be however the smarter pick for many potential users, especially those who plan to run games on the V17 Nitro and value battery life, as the UHD panel is power-hungry and the hardware inside the laptop isn’t really meant for UHD gaming anyway. We’ll get in depth on this in the next section.
Hardware, performance and upgrade options
Our test model comes in one of the better hardware configurations available for the V17 Nitro, with a Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics with 8 GB of VRAM and hybrid storage: a 256 GB M.2 NVMe SSD and a 1 TB 5400 rpm HDD.
There’s not much to upgrade on such a configuration, other than replacing the spinning drive with an SSD in order to get rid of its noise and adding more RAM (for a maximum of 32 GB). But if you decide to go for one of the lower-end versions, you should know that upgrading this machine is a lot easier now than with the previous 17-inch Nitros.
First you’ll need to pop-up the piece of plastic that covers the Tobii system, you just grab and pull it till it snaps out. There’s a screw here that you’ll need to take care of, visible in one of the pics below. Next, flip the laptop upside down and unscrew all the screws that hold the back panel in place. Keep in mind they are not all the same size, so make sure you note where each came from. With these screws out of the way, you can start separating the plastic bottom from the main-deck, starting from one side and working your way on with a plastic card or pry-tool. Make sure you take out the piece of plastic protecting the SD card-reader and gently snap the back of the laptop and the parts around the USB 3.1 port, but in the end the back panel should come off fairly easily.
The laptop’s components are placed on the mainframe, beneath the palm-rest and keyboard deck. Once inside, you’ll get easy access to the storage drives, the two RAM slots and the Wireless module. You’ll also notice the redrawn design, which leaves room for a larger battery, as well as the ample cooling system and the four speakers grouped in pairs on each side of the battery.
Performance wise, our test model flies. I haven’t noticed any sluggishness or performance drops, not even with the most demanding tasks, and everyday chores are a breeze for this kind of hardware. There’s some bloatware preinstalled that you should take care of, but that aside, there’s little stopping this machine.
I’ve added some benchmark results below.
- 3DMark 11: P11708;
- 3DMark 13: Sky Driver –13528, Fire Strike – 9350, Time Spy – 3464;
- PCMark 08: Home Conventional – 2957;
- Geekbench 3 32-bit: Single-Core: 3681, Multi-core: 13929;
- Geekbench 4 64-bit: Single-Core: 4479, Multi-core: 14398;
- CineBench 11.5: OpenGL 59.92 fps, CPU 7.85 pts, CPU Single Core 1.70 pts;
- CineBench R15: OpenGL 86.00 fps, CPU 723 cb, CPU Single Core 152cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 167.42 fps, Pass 2 – 42.28 fps;
- x264 HD Benchmark 5.1 64-bit: Pass 1 – 74.68 fps, Pass 2 – 14.98 fps.
I’ve also tested a few games. The GTX 1060 chip will handle most recent titles at FHD resolution and Ultra details, yet with some you’ll have to reduce details in order to get a smooth 60 fps experience. There’s no GSync here to help with tearing either.
UHD gaming on the other hand is problematic. Older games will run fine, but some of the latest releases will struggle even with lower details. That’s why I’m advising against the UHD screen option if you plan to get this primarily for gaming, as you’ll end up running games in 1080p anyway and they’re not even going to look perfectly sharp, as the screen won’t run at its native resolution.
|Shadow of Mordor
|Total War: Attila
|Need For Speed Most Wanted
Gaming on battery is rather limited, with the CPU and GPU running at lower than stock frequencies, and as a result Need For Speed: Most Wanted only averages about 19 fps in this case with UHD Medium settings.
Compared to the V15 Nitro, the 17-inch version runs a little cooler, quieter and throttles less in stress tests with the CPU and GPU at full-load (details in the pics down below). Neither version throttles in everyday use though, so this aspect shouldn’t have an influence when choosing between the two lines.
Emissions (noise, heat), Connectivity and speakers
The fan-noise levels are not going to separate the two either, as both the 15 and 17 inch models run moderately loud with standard use. Yes, the V17’s fans are a 1-2 dB quieter at full load, but you’re not going to feel these differences in everyday use.
What matters most is that the fans inside the laptop are active all the time and they don’t seem to be controlled individually, so both start spinning pretty much after boot-up. Their noise is audible in a quiet environment (37-38 dB at head level with daily use), especially since they tend to occasionally ramp up with no good reason, but is easily covered by the speakers when watching a movie or having some music running in the background. The fans also integrate Acer’s Dust Defender technology, which means they’ll spin the other way at given intervals, and that causes an annoying rattle when it happens.
The mechanical HDD is a noise source as well, but that can be addressed. The good news is I haven’t noticed any coil whining on this model, an annoying aspect of the reviewed 15-inch model, but that doesn’t mean whining can’t be an issue on some of the final retail units if you accidentally draw the short stick.
As for temperatures, while both Nitro models run cool with daily use, the 17-inch variant keeps cooler with serious loads too, with the chromed plastic part around the exhausts reaching lower temperatures than on the smaller variant.
*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 QCA6174 module and MiMo antennae system inside do a pretty good job. The system was capable of maxing my Internet connection while in close proximity of the router, and while the speeds dropped significantly at 30 feet and 2 walls in between (and the signal strength to 3 out of 4 bars), I never ran into any stuttering or buffering like with the previous V17 model.
This computer also gets a fairly good speaker system, with four speakers grouped in two pairs. They’re placed on the underbelly, but that doesn’t have a major impact on the audio quality and volume, which are both average to good: up to 85 dB at head level, good mids and even some bass. Just make sure the Dolby App is active in the background, which actually makes a big difference on what gets out of those speakers.
There’s also a webcam at the top of the screen with flanking microphones, but there’s really nothing special about it. The camera quality is actually quite mediocre and pixelated in dim environments, but should do fine in a well lit room.
There’s a 69 Wh battery inside the 2017 version of the V17 Nitro and that improves what you can expect from it in terms of battery life in comparison to last year’s model, which only came with a 52 Wh battery.
Still, the UHD screen is power hungry and takes its toll, so as a result, here’s what you’ll get:
- 19.1 W (~3 h 35 min of use) – very light browsing and text editing in Google Drive, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 19.0 W (~3 h 35 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Internet Explorer, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 15.2 W (~4 h 30 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen .mkv video in the Movie app, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 17.4 W (~4 h of use) – 4K fullscreen .mkv video in the Movie app, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 22.6 W (~3 h 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 roughly 25% longer runtimes in most of these cases if you’ll opt for the more efficient FHD screen option.
This laptop comes with a rather compact 180 Wh power brick, and a full charge takes at least 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Price and availability
The Acer Aspire V17 Nitro is not yet available in the US at the time of this update, but it should be in the near future and start at around $1300 for a Core i7 configuration with Nvidia 1060 graphics.
In Europe the base configurations start at 1400 EUR and include a Core i7-7700HQ processor, the Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics chip, 8 GB of RAM, a 1 TB HDD and the FHD screen. The high end versions sell for around 2000 EUR and include the UHD wide-gamut screen, the Tobii Eye tracking system, 32 GB of RAM and a 512 GB NVMe SSD.
This laptop is also available with a Core i5-7300HQ processor and Nvidia GT 1050 Ti graphics, in case you do want such a 17-incher but the budget won’t allow to reach for the higher-end specks. This one sells for around 1100 EUR.
These are some of the options and prices available at the time of the post, but they can change in the future so make sure to follow this link for up-to-date configurations and prices at the time you’re reading the article.
I was pretty pleased with the Aspire V17 Nitro before and this iteration improves on its predecessor in performance, thermals and battery life, so there’s no surprise I’m even more fond of this 2017 update.
It’s a well built machine with an excellent screen, a nice keyboard, good IO, modern hardware specs and fairly nice speakers. Just keep in mind that the keyboard might not cater to those not used to low-travel keys and the UHD screen option is both expensive and power hungry. On top of that, if you’re getting this for gaming, make sure you adjust your expectations according to what the Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics chip can offer: solid FHD performance, yet limited UHD capabilities.
The Nitro V17 is not without competition, so if you’re interested in such a 17-incher you should also have a look at the more portable MSI GS73 Stealth Pro, the HP Omen 17 or the Asus N753 once available, the updated version of the Asus N752 series, each with its share of pros and cons.
This wraps up our review of the Acer Aspire Nitro V17 VN7-793G Black Edition. The comments section below is open for any discussions though, so get in touch if you have anything to add to our impressions or any questions regarding this device or other similar ones.
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