Hands on: Acer Nitro 17 review: a true budget gaming laptop option with solid specs

The Acer Nitro 17 is a great budget gaming laptop option

What is a hands on review?
black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The Acer Nitro 17 is a refresh of Acer's budget-minded gaming laptops with updated specs and a keyboard featuring the brand new Microsoft Copilot key. Though its design is pretty basic, the RGB-lit keyboard gives it an aesthetically pleasing look, while performance should be nicely boosted thanks to the current-gen components it's equipped with.


  • +

    Great current-gen specs

  • +

    Solid large display

  • +

    Excellent port selection

  • +

    Very budget friendly


  • -

    Very heavy

  • -

    Mostly bland aesthetic

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

If the Helios Neo 16 is the more affordable desktop replacement gaming laptop, then the Acer Nitro 17 is the definitive budget option from Acer. The Nitro brand has always balanced great specs with a reasonable price point and 2024's Nitro 17 refresh is no different, putting it squarely on track to be one of the best cheap gaming laptops, if not one of the best gaming laptops of this year, to boot.

It's great to see plenty of affordable gaming laptops, which are sorely needed in this space as some can cost well into the thousands. Hopefully, any benchmarks in the near future will showcase how much this refresh has improved on performance.

Acer Nitro 17: Price and availability

The Acer Nitro 17 will be launching in the US in January 2024, with its price starting at $1,249.99 (around £980 / AU$1,860). Out of all of Acer's gaming laptop offerings, this is easily the most budget option, even beating out the Helios Neo 16.

There's no official word yet on launches outside the US - especially the UK and Australia - but we'll most likely see releases in other regions later in 2024.

Acer Nitro 17: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Acer Nitro 17 specs
Display17.3-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1440), 160Hz
CPUUp to Intel Core 7 14700HX
GraphicsUp to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
RAMUp to 32GB DDR5
StorageUp to 2TB PCIe 4 SSD in RAID 0
Port selection2x Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C port, 1x Ethernet port, 1x power port, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack, 3x USB Type-A, 1x microSD reader, 1x Kensington port
Weight3.2 kg (7.05 lbs)
Dimensions15.76 x 11.55 x 1.14 inches; 400.2 x 293.25 x 28.9 mm (WxDxH)

Acer Nitro 17: Design

Unlike the Helios Neo 16 and Helios 18, the Acer Nitro 17 has a much simpler design, a plain black laptop with only the logo on the lid. A bit boring but considering the cheaper list price, a design choice that's entirely necessary.

The keyboard keys have that clear-ish border around them, which lets the RGB lighting shine through, a nice aesthetic touch that doesn't skyrocket the price. It also features a dedicated Microsoft Copilot key on the keyboard, one of Acer's first laptops to have such, allowing users to access Windows' AI features.

The port selection is fantastic and features plenty of USB Type-C and A ports, an Ethernet port, microSD, a combo jack, and more. Considering the price, it's quite the boon considering that more expensive gaming laptops will routinely miss at least one of these ports.

One of the only drawbacks is the weight and size of the laptop, which puts it squarely into desktop replacement territory. A bit strange since the specs don't allow for configurations for the Intel Core i9 or Nvidia RTX 4090, and yet this bad boy is a little over seven pounds. But considering that you get such a large screen in return, it's a trade-off that plenty of budget-minded gamers would be willing to accept.

Acer Nitro 17: Performance

black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

The Acer Nitro 17 refresh means that its specs have gotten some spiffy upgrades, including a 14th-Gen Intel Core CPU and an Nvidia RTX 4000-series GPU, up to an Intel Core 7 14700HX and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060, respectively. Though we don't have any benchmark test results to determine just how well these updated specs will translate into solid gaming performance.

Judging by the performance results of the previous Acer Nitro 17 (2023) and the Acer Nitro 5 (2022) with weaker components, the Nitro 17 (2024) with its current-gen parts should be able to handle just about any of the best PC games at max settings with little issue.

Acer Nitro 17: Early verdict

black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

Though the jury's still out on performance due to a lack of benchmark test results, the Acer Nitro 17 should be able to handle any AAA game at high and maxed-out settings thanks to the upgraded specs. Combined with its budget pricing and you have a gaming laptop that's almost guaranteed to appeal to those looking for a more affordable desktop replacement.

Acer continues the trend of the Nitro being one of the best values in the gaming laptop market, and I hope to see reviews reflect that once it launches later on in January 2024.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.