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Acer’s Nitro 5 – The best bang for a gamer’s buck

Acer’s latest Nitro 5 surprised us: a sub-R20k laptop with insane graphics and processing abilities. BRYAN TURNER reviewed it.

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Nitro, otherwise known as the “budget” gaming range from Acer, has added another strong contender to its line-up: the Nitro 5. We put budget in quotation marks because, while it is less expensive than other gaming laptops, it feels and acts like the opposite of budget – the build is sturdy and premium, while the internals are really decently spec’d for gaming.

The Nitro 5 is an all-polycarbonate plastic laptop with sharp edges, making it sturdy enough for taking around. While we didn’t drop it, it looks like it could take a few knocks and still be fine. It comes in at 25mm thick and weighing 2.3kg, so pretty thick at first glance. It features a red grill on the back that’s reminiscent of the Predator series, but remains distinctly its own brand. The red theme follows on to the rest of the laptop, and it features a red-backlit keyboard. While many would scoff at an all-plastic design, it does help in taking the laptop apart for future upgrades, something to consider in an ever-improving gaming market.

The thickness is to account for all the cooling goodness within the laptop. Gaming, video editing and other process-intensive work require a whole lot of cooling, and the Nitro 5 can comfortably sit on one’s lap at max capacity and not overheat.

It houses a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 that can be spec’d with up to 4GB of graphics memory. When I discovered this, I started to ask myself: “Wait, the cooling system plus a GTX 1650? How is it so thin?” On top of this, Acer didn’t cut corners with the built-in display, which is a full HD IPS LED panel. It reads well from many different angles, which was perfect for showing a group of people some content.

We tested Rise of the Tomb Raider at 1080p, with the GTX 1650, and set the game to its “very high” preset graphics settings. The game’s frame counter was used. It hovered between 65 and 70 frames per second (fps) with 10 minutes of gameplay, which is really good compared to other laptops that are a few thousand Rand more expensive and perform the same.

The processor is a 6-Core 9th Generation Intel Core i7 CPU (i7-9750H), which provides snappy performance. We noted a start-up time from shutdown to desktop of 10 seconds. This was made possible by a combination of the fast processor and solid-state drive in the computer. It also makes opening programmes lightning fast.

The keyboard is one of my favourite aspects of this computer. Acer is known for a deep key travel that feels stable, which is ultimately what every gamer wants from their machine, short of the keyboard being mechanical. The WASD arrow keys have been done proper justice – they are big and let out a bit more backlight than the others. This is a huge ergonomic win for gamers.

Now for the trackpad. The off-centre trackpad placement feels a bit weird, even though it’s in line with the space bar. It lends itself to having one’s left palm lean on it, which makes it feel like it’s in the way. That said, the trackpad’s quality is fine but, obviously, not for gaming.

The laptop’s battery is 58.75 Wh, which may seem like it’s on the low side, but it powered through an 8 hour workday on a single charge. If the brightness is turned all the way up, that changes it to more of a 5 hour workday. We played Doom Eternal for about 2 and a half hours before we needed to charge it.

The computer’s sound was pretty good across various scenarios.

It will be available from under R20 000 in its 512GB SSD + 8GB RAM configuration, putting it way below other gaming brands with similar specs.

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Online marketers embrace Google Data Studio

With the massive volumes of data made available to online marketers, those who are staying ahead of the game are using cutting-edge solutions.

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Online marketers are being bombarded with massive volumes of data and are struggling to make sense of it all. To make smarter decisions, they require cutting-edge solutions that provide valuable insights and reports.

Google Ads and Google Analytics both have enough data to keep one busy for days and makes it difficult to share simple reports with management. Google Data Studio is a data visualisation tool that enables one to turn raw data into detailed and digestible reports. It pulls information from data collection platforms and centralises it in a single dashboard.

Bluegrass Digital CEO Nick Durrant points to Google Data Studio as the perfect solution. “It’s an easy-to-use free reporting and data visualisation tool that can help explain complex pieces of data. It can help marketing teams save time and money by creating and sharing reports in a matter of minutes.”

“The usability and versatility of Google Data Studio helps marketers make faster decisions and achieve better results. It pulls data from up to 12 different sources, including Google Analytics and Google Ads, and combines them into a shareable, easy modifiable and easy-to-read report,” he explains.

Digital marketing and advertising data can become overwhelming useful and fast to access with the Google Data Studio platform, it offers widgets, charts, graphs and maps to visualise one’s data. Google Data Studio has plenty of features and is compatible with several data sources including third-party services like Twitter, Facebook, MailChimp, Salesforce, and MySQL.

“By consolidating all this information in one dashboard, you’ll be able to gain valuable insights into your operations, finances, and marketing campaigns. Google Data Studio is fully customisable, it allows you design reports from scratch or use pre-packaged templates. You can then drag and drop widgets, graphs, charts and data onto your dashboard,” he adds.

More importantly, Google Data Studio offers interactive real-time reports, the reports are dynamic. This means when one adds information to a data source, it automatically updates the reports. One can also filter reports based on date, time or any other parameters to get the metrics one needs.

Google Data Studio is as easy as using Google Docs, it offers seamless collaboration. To share reports, one merely needs to send a link and give co-workers permission to comment and edit the report. It is also cloud-based so users can access reports from any device anywhere, anytime.

Durrant says the best of all is it’s free. “It’s a no-brainer, Google Data Studio and all its robust reporting features come at no cost. It is a total game-changer, we use it to create live, interactive reports for our clients. Google Data Studio is constantly getting feature updates and support from Google, it will help turn reporting from being a lengthy, tedious task to a quick and easy one.”

Visit the next page to read about the latest updates to the platform.

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Fitbit Versa 2: Ideal gift for your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is about the heart, and the Fitbit Versa 2 can help users keep their hearts healthy with motivation to exercise.

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Exercise and a good diet are the only way to stay healthy. Staying healthy means living longer, and who wouldn’t want to be around their Valentine for longer? Thankfully, the Fitbit Versa 2 is here to help with both.

It features a swimproof design, and includes innovative sleep features like Sleep Score and smart wake, and is packed with advanced health, fitness, and smart features to help users stay on track of their fitness goals. 

For added convenience, the smartwatch has an on-device microphone, which enables the Amazon Alexa smartwatch experience, along with a Spotify app that allows users to control their music and podcasts, and Fitbit Pay on all models. 

Coupled with thousands of apps and clock faces and a bright display with an optional always-on mode, it’s a 24/7 health and wellness companion – now with 5+ days battery life.

Versa 2 is available in black with a carbon case, petal with a copper rose aluminium case, emerald with a copper rose aluminium case, Bordeaux with a copper rose aluminium case and stone with a mist grey case. 

Versa 2 Special Edition is available in navy and pink with a copper rose aluminium case and smoke with a mist grey case.
Versa 2 is now available in stores such as; Cape Union Mart, Dion Wired, Dischem, eBucks Store, Incredible Connection, Takealot, Sportsmans Warehouse, Totalsports and Superbalist for R3,999 for the standard edition and R4,999 for the special edition.

Arthur Goldstuck has fallen in love with his Versa 2. Look out for his review of the device soon.

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