If you want a laptop computer that’s not simply mild, however amongst the lightest of the mild, you’re searching for the 14-inch Acer Swift 5. At simply 2.31 kilos, it’s a type of units that messes together with your thoughts. When I decide it up, I really feel like I should be holding a hole chassis. When I put it in my backpack, I spend the day worrying that I may need left it at house.
Sure, there are lighter laptops on the market — Asus’ Expertbook B9450, LG’s Gram 13, Acer’s Swift 7, Samsung’s Galaxy Book S, and Dynabook’s Portege X30L-G all weigh a bit much less — however a few of these fashions are both considerably dearer than the Swift 5 or a step down in efficiency. If you’re searching for a real-deal processor for a mainstream shopper viewers, the Swift 5 is about the lightest you possibly can go.
The mannequin I examined, priced at $1,299.99, is a stable all-arounder with out an excessive amount of to criticize and never an excessive amount of to gush about. Its standout characteristic is its weight and the performance-per-pound that it presents. Of course, for a lot of college students, distant employees, and frequent vacationers, that might justifiably be a deciding issue.
Acer Swift 5 design
The very first thing you could discover when taking a look at this Swift 5 is its uncommon shade. Our unit is a darkish bluish-green hue known as “mist green,” a brand new shade for the Swift line. Acer says it’s meant to convey a “restful, balanced lifestyle”; whereas I’m undecided I fairly see that, I do admire that it’s barely totally different from the infinite black and grey laptops you’ll see on the market.
The distinctive end additionally features a new “silver-ion antimicrobial agent,” which Acer says will assist to kill lingering micro organism. I’m undecided how many individuals are catching ailments from their laptops to start with, however I suppose it might probably’t damage.
The display screen bezels have shrunk from final yr’s Swift 5 design, giving the show a extra trendy look. In specific, a big backside bezel that used to carry a flashy Acer brand is gone. (That brand is now at the prime of the keyboard deck.) Last yr’s mannequin had an 86.4 p.c screen-to-body ratio, whereas this yr’s clocks in at 90 p.c. The display screen can be brighter than its predecessor’s (321 nits as examined, to final yr’s 300 nits) with nice colours and distinction, although its 16:9 side ratio is a bit cramped.
The Swift additionally supplies good connectivity for such a skinny system (it’s simply 0.59 inches thick). You get one USB 3.2 Gen 2 (supporting Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort, and charging), two USB 3.2 Gen 1, one HDMI 2.0, one mixture audio jack, and Acer’s AC port. It can be good to have an SD slot or a second USB-C, however that’s a passing grade.
Elsewhere, the Swift 5 supplies a easy and correct touchpad in addition to a stable keyboard with comfy keys. I hit my commonplace typing speeds and didn’t make a single error on my typical typing take a look at, which has by no means occurred to me earlier than. For authentication, there’s a dependable and quick fingerprint reader beneath the arrow keys.
The solely actual draw back of the Swift’s skinny and light-weight construct is that it feels a tad flimsy. There is a little bit of flex in the display screen and a few very noticeable flex in the keyboard. I wouldn’t say all of it feels low cost — the construct is clearly a step up from finances fare like the Swift 3 — however it is going to appear and feel plasticky subsequent to dearer ultraportables like the Dell XPS 13.
Acer Swift 5 efficiency
The largest information about this new Swift 5 is its brand-new Tiger Lake processor, the quad-core Core i7-1165G7. With this chip come a variety of new options, together with Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, and Iris Xe built-in graphics.
The Swift can be licensed via Evo, Intel’s verification program for Tiger Lake methods. To earn an Evo badge, a laptop computer has to offer quite a lot of advantages like one-second wake time, 9 hours of battery life with real-world use, and dependable efficiency. Not each Evo-certified system I’ve examined has hit these marks in my testing, however the Swift 5 definitely got here shut.
In addition to the processor, the $1,299.99 system consists of 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. There’s additionally a $999.99 base mannequin obtainable, together with a Core i5-1135G7 (additionally with Xe graphics), 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Either of those fashions is a tremendous buy, however people who don’t want their Swift to do something graphically intensive ought to in all probability be simply tremendous with the $999 configuration. Reviews have proven that the Core i5-1135G7 usually matches and typically outperforms the Core i7-1165G7 in CPU-intensive duties. Some different wonderful laptops with comparable portability advantages additionally fall between the $999 and the $1,299 value factors, making the $1,299 mannequin a considerably more durable promote. Asus’ 2.49-pound, 0.54-inch ZenBook 14 with equal specs is simply $1,099.
You’re not compromising horsepower for this manner issue. The Swift 5 is the quickest Tiger Lake laptop computer I’ve reviewed up to now (other than a really high-clocked reference design), although it’s not fairly on the degree of some latest AMD Ryzen merchandise. I definitely by no means observed any slowdowns or errors in my day-to-day work. And whereas this isn’t a laptop computer you’d purchase for gaming, Iris Xe graphics are ok to run some lighter fare.
The backside of the chassis bought heat throughout an intense day of Chrome multitasking, downloading and updating, picture modifying, Zoom calls, Spotify streaming, and Netflix watching, but it surely was by no means uncomfortable to the touch. I usually heard the followers whereas the Swift was in Performance Mode, in addition to a really occasional coil whine, however swapping to Silent Mode eradicated each of these. (You can simply toggle between cooling profiles with Fn+F.)
And battery life was a pleasing shock. I averaged eight hours and 5 minutes of steady multitasking (round 200 nits of brightness) on this model — an enormous step up from the six hours I bought out of final yr’s Swift 5. Battery life additionally improved considerably after I removed some applications that got here loaded onto this machine, together with ExpressVPN, Amazon (which is pinned to the taskbar), and Norton. It solely takes a couple of minutes to dump all of those applications, however contemplating that this laptop computer prices over $1,000, it’s nonetheless irritating that Acer is loading it with finances crapware.
The ultimate factor I’ll focus on is videoconferencing software program since that’s necessary performance for a lot of cellular professionals. The outcomes listed below are combined. The excellent news is that the Swift 5 now helps AI-enhanced background noise suppression and Wi-Fi 6. Those are tough to check, however I did do a variety of Zoom calls on the Swift 5, and no one had bother listening to me.
In less-good information, the 720p webcam is pretty grainy. (It’s not ok to help Windows Hello.) The twin stereo audio system additionally ship a few of the weakest audio I’ve heard from a laptop computer — bass in music was fairly skinny. The Swift does come loaded with DTS Audio Processing, which lets you swap between preset profiles for music, films, and video games, and to tweak equalizer settings your self. There’s no profile particular to videoconferencing.
Inside its skinny and light-weight exterior, the 2021 Acer Swift 5 is a midrange laptop computer via and thru. There are compromises however no disasters. Most elements of it (the keyboard, the touchpad, the display screen, the connectivity, the battery life) are simply tremendous. Others (the webcam, the audio, the bloatware) are underwhelming however serviceable.
If these elements are what you care most about, you may get comparable high quality for much less cash in Acer’s Swift 3 or Aspire 5, Asus’ ZenBook 14, HP’s Envy x360 13, and loads of extra inexpensive machines. If you’re paying a premium for this Swift 5 configuration, you’re paying for the exceptionally light-weight construct. The transportable chassis — and the energy Acer has packed into that transportable chassis — is the place the Swift 5 is at the prime of its class.