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[In-depth Comparison] Lenovo Legion Y540 vs Acer Nitro 5 2019 (AN515-54) – Y540 offers much better comfort during load and wins the match

What is the end result when you mixed these words – decent price, gaming laptop, 144Hz panel, and high FPS? One of the possible results is Lenovo Legion Y540 and Acer Nitro 5 2019. These devices are trying to impress us with price tags that aren’t too scary for the regular buyer, high refresh rate displays, and backlit keyboards.

Of course, there are some compromises here and there because of the lower prices but that’s normal – you can’t expect the same quality materials and top-notch hardware as the high-end laptops (for example – Acer Predator Helios 700).

Sometimes the manufacturers can do the “trick” and they are able to release affordable laptops like the Y540 and AN515-54 configured with powerful 6-cores CPUs and mid-range graphics cards – in our case, it’s the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti which is the fastest non-RTX Turing GPU> It is able to produce decent FPS results without breaking the bank while searching for a new notebook.

OK, let’s see what these two buddies are capable of.

Read our in-depth reviews here:
Lenovo Legion Y540: Detailed review
Acer Nitro 5 2019: Detailed review

Lenovo Legion Y540 configurations:

Acer Nitro 5 2019 configurations:

Contents

Design and construction

Both laptops are entirely made of plastic. The good news is that they don’t look and feel cheap when you’re holding them in your hands. The design of the Y540 is more traditional (and boring as well because a lot of other Lenovo laptops feature the same design) and clean unlike the Acer Nitro 5 that screams in your face “I’m a gaming laptop”. Interestingly enough, the two laptops have exactly the same profile thickness and weight – 25.9 mm and 2.30 kg. This is a bit too heavy for our likings and almost 26 mm thickness is on the high side too. You’re definitely going to sense the presence of a machine like that in your bag if you have to carry it with you somewhere outside of your home.

You can open the lid with a single hand on both of them. The lids themselves aren’t too bendable but if you aren’t careful some flexes can be observed.

Nothing more to say here, if we have to make a quick summarize – a bit heavy, thick, and plastic laptops that don’t look cheap at all.

Lenovo Legion Y540
Acer Nitro 5 2019

Our contenders are equipped with good backlit keyboard units. They both have big keycaps (the Y540 ones are a bit bigger) that are very comfortable for both typing and gaming, the travel is decent and the feedback is clicky. These keyboards have NumPads and full-sized arrow keys (but the Acer’s are crowded with other keys that are placed too close around them) – if you tend to play racing games you’re going to love these keys.

The same story with the touchpads – ether of the notebooks is fitted with a good unit that is fast and accurate.

Lenovo Legion Y540
Acer Nitro 5 2019

Another similarity – opening the bottom panel is easy because you have to remove 11 Phillips-head screws no matter the device, and that’s all. At least the cooling solutions are different (what a surprise).

The Y540 has three thick heat pipes – one shared between and CPU and GPU and two dedicated ones for the processor and video card.  You can spot two fans and two large cooling plates. Sadly – only one M2 slot.

Lenovo Legion Y540
Acer Nitro 5 2019

The cooling solution of Acer Nitro 5 is shifted almost on the left side of the device (if it’s placed on your desk then it’ll be on the right side). It has two fans, that are close to each other, two common cooling heat pipe for both CPU and GPU (one thick and one thin) and one narrow that is dedicated to the GPU only. There is one big plate above the video card for cooling the VRAM and VRMs. Additionally, you’ll find two NVMe slots with RAID support.

HeightWeight
Lenovo Legion Y54025.9 mm (1.02″)2.30 kg (5.1 lbs)
Acer Nitro 5 201925.9 mm (1.02″)2.30 kg (5.1 lbs)

Let’s see if the two laptops have the usual number of needed ports for a gaming device.

All three sides of the Y540 are populated with ports. There are two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports (one on either side) and an audio jack on the left. However, most of the ports are placed on the backside which may look a bit uncomfortable to some people (but helps you better organize your cables) – we have a USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 2) port (with Thunderbolt 3 support), a Mini DisplayPort, USB Type-A 3.1 Gen. ( 1), an HDMI connector, and an Ethernet port.

Lenovo Legion Y540

Acer Nitro 5 2019

Unlike the Y540, Acer Nitro 5 has normally-placed ports on both sides of the laptop. A look to the left – an RJ-45 connector, HDMI 2.0 port, USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 1), and two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1). On the other side are placed a USB Type-A 2.0 and a headphone jack.

Yep, ports-wise, the Y540 is undoubtedly better.

Display

In this comparison, the Y540 and Acer Nitro 5 share a lot of similarities and we’ll continue with their displays. Just look at the model numbers of the panels – BOE NV156FHM-N4G for the Y540 and BOE NV156FHM-N4K for the AN515-54. These almost-identical panels have 1080p resolution and 144Hz refresh rate. As most of the IPS displays, the viewing angles are comfortable and contrast ratios are excellent – 1160:1 for Y540 and 1230:1 for Acer Nitro 5.

BOE NV156FHM-N4G
BOE NV156FHM-N4K

When it comes to color coverage, we measured 94% of sRGB for the BOE NV156FHM-N4G (Lenovo) and 90% for BOE NV156FHM-N4K (Acer).

BOE NV156FHM-N4G
BOE NV156FHM-N4K

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work.

Below you can compare the score of the Lenovo display and the Acer’s too – both with already applied “Gaming and Web design” profile. With our profile, the two panels are suitable for color-sensitive work because their average dE values are way below 2.0.

BOE NV156FHM-N4G
BOE NV156FHM-N4K

One of the most important things about a display is its safety towards the user. These displays don’t use PWM for brightness regulation and you can use them for prolonged periods of time.

BOE NV156FHM-N4G
BOE NV156FHM-N4K

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa. We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time of 8.6 ms for the Lenovo panel and 10.5 ms for the Acer display. No matter which one you’ll choose we can assure you that they both will offer fast response times alongside 144Hz refresh rates – you can feel the difference even while browsing the Web (between a standard 60Hz panel with moderate-to-slow response time and one of these fast 144Hz displays).

BOE NV156FHM-N4G
BOE NV156FHM-N4K

Our display profiles

Here at LaptopMedia, we create a set of custom-tailored profiles for every notebook we review. They boost the productivity of display and reduce negative effects such as blue light emissions and PWM. You can read more about them here.

Buy our profiles from here:

15.6”, Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 144 Hz, IPS (BOE NV156FHM-N4G): Buy our profiles

15.6”, Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 144 Hz, IPS (BOE NV156FHM-N4K): Buy our profiles

Specs sheet comparison

More information about Intel Core i7-9750H and its position in our Top CPU Ranking you can find HERE.

More information about Intel Core i7-8750H and its position in our Top CPU Ranking you can find HERE.

More information about the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (Laptop) and its place in our Top GPU Ranking you can find HERE.

Battery

Some words about the battery life of the laptops. The Lenovo Legion Y540 has a 57Wh battery unit. Weirdly, we measured 2 hours and a half of Web browsing and 3 hours of videos. This is not even a mediocre result.

The Acer Nitro 5 2019 proves to Y540 that the problem isn’t in the small battery pack and the fast 144Hz display. The AN515-54 has almost the same battery size as its competitor – 58.75Wh but the life it offers is really long. We were able to squeeze over 8 hours of Web browsing and almost the same time for watching videos from it. Great jobs Acer, this is a good optimization.

Hardware and Gaming tests

Our test devices are equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H (Y540) and a Core i7-8750H (AN515-54). By the way, keep in mind the Acer Nitro 5 can be configured with i7-9750H too. The latter is a refreshed i7-8750H with 2.60 GHz – 4.50 GHz base and boost frequencies and 12MB cache size. The i7-8750H has lower frequencies of 2.20 GHz – 4.10 GHz and a 9MB cache size. Both CPUs are 14nm Coffee Lake chips with 45W TDP.

As for the video cards – on both sides, you’ll find the GTX 1660 Ti.

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Lenovo Legion Y540124 fps68 fps43 fps
Acer Nitro 5 2019127 fps (+2%)72 fps (+6%)47 fps (+9%)

 

Far Cry 5Full HD, Normal (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Lenovo Legion Y54096 fps89 fps84 fps
Acer Nitro 5 2019101 fps (+5%)94 fps (+6%)88 fps (+5%)

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Lenovo Legion Y540109 fps63 fps42 fps
Acer Nitro 5 2019125 fps (+15%)66 fps (+5%)44 fps (+5%)

 

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Lenovo Legion Y54076 fps67 fps44 fps
Acer Nitro 5 201981 fps (+7%)72 fps (+7%)47 fps (+7%)

 

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
Lenovo Legion Y54075 fps73 fps47 fps
Acer Nitro 5 201984 fps (+12%)79 fps (+8%)50 fps (+6%)

No matter its refreshed CPU, our test unit of Lenovo Legion Y540 shows a bit lower FPS results.

Temperatures

Real-life GPU temperatures

NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti (Laptop)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
Lenovo Legion Y5401761 MHz @ 76°C1752 MHz @ 82°C
Acer Nitro 5 20191660 MHz @ 78°C1635 MHz @ 84°C

The GTX 1660 Ti in the Lenovo Legion Y540 is both a bit cooler and boosts over 100MHz more than the one in the Acer Nitro 5 2019 (after 30 minutes of gameplay).

Gaming comfort

In terms of comfort during load, neither of these two is perfect. Let’s start with the Y540 – 50°C shell temperature isn’t a joke but at least the hot spot is away from the WASD area. The heat is always there and you are going to feel it sooner or later. The device produces moderate to high noise levels.

Lenovo Legion Y540
Acer Nitro 5 2019

Man, that Acer Nitro 5 2019, what a barbeque maker it is – you can put some beacon between keys “6” and “7” and after a couple of minutes it’ll be cooked because the temperatures in that area reach 64°C! Really interesting, the cooling of this machine isn’t bad at all but maybe there is some serious design flaw that causes that kind of heating up.

Verdict

So, we just compared two plastic gaming devices that are affordable at the same time. The good side of them is that they both have blazing fast displays that are PWM-free, have high contrast ratios, and accurate colors. As we already mentioned, our test devices share a lot of similar features – the same weight and thickness, good backlit keyboards, accurate touchpads, easily removable bottom panel (with the same amount of screws – 11), and almost the same panels. Of course, both of these devices can be configured with the same hardware – you can go up to i7-9750H and RTX 2060.

No matter the hardware, the cooling of the Lenovo Legion Y540 is just better. We just discussed it in the previous section. Despite it has the same GPU as the Nitro 5 and it boosts higher while working cooler, it somehow achieved a worse performance – well, that is some kind of magic. Nevertheless, the laptop is snappy all the time, it’s rich in ports, and it offers much better comfort during gameplay.

The Acer Nitro 5 2019 (AN515-54) lost the game because of the scorching surface temperature – you can’t play a game normally when some of your fingers are “on fire”. Too bad, aside from that the device isn’t bad at all. It has a really good battery life for a gaming laptop with 144Hz display and you can configure it (or upgrade it) with two fast NVMe drives.

Today’s winner is the Lenovo Legion Y540 because it’s completely usable under load while the Acer Nitro 5 2019 enables you to cook eggs on its surface.

Read our in-depth reviews here:
Lenovo Legion Y540: Detailed review
Acer Nitro 5 2019: Detailed review



Why choose Lenovo Legion Y540?

  • Better comfort under load
  • Rich in ports
  • Cooler GPU that boosts much higher




Why choose Acer Nitro 5 2019?

  • Two NVMe ports with RAID support
  • Long battery life


Lenovo Legion Y540 configurations:

Acer Nitro 5 2019 configurations: