acer’s-swift-5-(late-2020)-puts-the-‘ultra’-in-‘ultraportable’

The Acer Swift 5 on a table in front of two house plants, open and angled to the left. The screen displays a green, blue, and white background.

Acer’s most current Swift 5 might be the slickest Swift yet.

A lightweight laptop that doesn’t cut too many corners

If you require a laptop computer that’s not simply light, however amongst the lightest of the light, you’re looking for the 14- inch Acer Swift 5. At just 2.31 pounds, it’s one of those gadgets that messes with your mind. When I select it up, I seem like I should be holding a hollow chassis. When I put it in my knapsack, I invest the day stressing that I might have left it at home.

Sure, there are lighter laptops out there– Asus’ Expertbook B9450, LG’s Gram 13, Acer’s Swift 7, Samsung’s Galaxy Book S, and Dynabook’s Portege X30 L-G all weigh a bit less– however a few of these designs are either considerably more expensive than the Swift 5 or a step down in performance. If you’re trying to find a real-deal processor for a traditional customer audience, the Swift 5 is about the lightest you can go.

The model I checked, priced at $1,299

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The back of the Acer Swift 5, angled to the left side.

Acer calls the color “a nourishing, plant-based color.”

Acer Swift 5 design

The first thing you might notice when looking at this Swift 5 is its unusual color. Our unit is a dark bluish-green shade called “mist green,” a new shade for the Swift line.

The unique surface likewise consists of a brand-new “silver-ion antimicrobial representative,” which Acer states will assist to kill lingering bacteria. I’m not exactly sure how many individuals are catching diseases from their laptop computers to start with, however I suppose it can’t injure.

The screen bezels have avoided last year’s Swift 5 design, giving the display a more modern-day look. In particular, a big bottom bezel that used to hold a flashy Acer logo is gone. (That logo design is now at the top of the keyboard deck.) In 2015’s design had an 86.4 percent screen-to-body ratio, while this year’s clocks in at 90 percent. The screen is also brighter than its predecessor’s (321 nits as tested, to in 2015’s 300 nits) with fantastic colors and contrast, though its 16:9 element ratio is a bit confined.

The Swift also offers great connectivity for such a thin device (it’s just 0.59 inches thick). You get one USB 3.2 Gen 2 (supporting Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort, and charging), 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1, one HDMI 2.0, one mix audio jack, and Acer’s Air Conditioner port. It would be nice to have an SD slot or a second USB-C, but that’s a passing grade.

Elsewhere, the Swift 5 supplies a smooth and precise touchpad along with a solid keyboard with comfortable secrets. I struck my basic typing speeds and didn’t make a single error on my normal typing test, which has actually never occurred to me prior to. For authentication, there’s a reliable and quick fingerprint reader listed below the arrow secrets.

The only genuine drawback of the Swift’s thin and light build is that it feels a little bit flimsy. There is a bit of flex in the screen and some very obvious flex in the keyboard. I wouldn’t say it all feels low-cost — the build is clearly an action up from budget fare like the Swift 3– but it will feel and look plasticky beside more pricey ultraportables like the Dell XPS 13.

The Acer Swift 5 keyboard from above.

The keyboard is backlit, too!

Acer Swift 5 performance

The biggest news about this brand-new Swift 5 is its brand-new Tiger Lake processor, the quad-core Core i7-1165 G7. With this chip come a number of brand-new features, consisting of Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, and Iris Xe integrated graphics.

The Swift is likewise licensed through Evo, Intel’s verification program for Tiger Lake systems. Not every Evo-certified system I’ve checked has hit those marks in my testing, however the Swift 5 certainly came close.

Either of these models is a fine purchase, but folks who don’t need their Swift to do anything graphically extensive should probably be just fine with the $999 setup. Some other outstanding laptop computers with comparable mobility advantages likewise fall in between the $999 and the $1,299 cost points, making the $1,299 model a rather harder sell.

You’re not jeopardizing horse power for this form element. The Swift 5 is the fastest Tiger Lake laptop computer I have actually evaluated up until now (apart from an extremely high-clocked referral style), though it’s not quite on the level of some current AMD Ryzen items. I definitely never observed any slowdowns or errors in my daily work. And while this isn’t a laptop computer you ‘d buy for video gaming, Iris Xe graphics are good enough to run some lighter fare.

The bottom of the chassis got warm during an extreme day of Chrome multitasking, downloading and updating, image modifying, Zoom calls, Spotify streaming, and Netflix seeing, however it was never ever unpleasant to touch. I typically heard the fans while the Swift remained in Performance Mode, as well as an extremely periodic coil whine, but swapping to Quiet Mode removed both of those. (You can quickly toggle between cooling profiles with Fn+ F.)

The Acer Swift 5 lid, closed, seen from above.

The seeing angle depends on 179 degrees.

And battery life was an enjoyable surprise. I averaged eight hours and five minutes of continuous multitasking (around 200 nits of brightness) on this version– a huge step up from the six hours I got out of in 2015’s Swift 5. Battery life likewise enhanced significantly after I got rid of some programs that came crammed onto this machine, consisting of ExpressVPN, Amazon (which is pinned to the taskbar), and Norton. It only takes a couple of minutes to dispose all of these programs, but thinking about that this laptop computer costs over $1,000, it’s still irritating that Acer is loading it with spending plan crapware.

The great news is that the Swift 5 now supports AI-enhanced background sound suppression and Wi-Fi 6. Those are difficult to test, however I did do a number of Zoom calls on the Swift 5, and nobody had problem hearing me.

In less-good news, the 720 p web cam is fairly grainy. (It’s not good enough to support Windows Hey there.) The dual stereo speakers likewise provide some of the weakest audio I have actually heard from a laptop– bass in music was rather thin. The Swift does come filled with DTS Audio Processing, which enables you to switch between pre-programmed profiles for music, films, and games, and to fine-tune equalizer settings yourself. There’s no profile specific to videoconferencing.

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The Acer Swift 5 open, seen from the front. The screen depicts a green, blue, and white background.

The Swift 5 consists of double copper heat pipelines, and a fold-under hinge offers additional airflow.

Inside its thin and light exterior, the 2021 Acer Swift 5 is a midrange laptop through and through.

If these factors are what you care most about, you can get similar quality for less money in Acer’s Swift 3 or Aspire 5, Asus’ ZenBook 14, HP’s Envy x36013, and plenty of more inexpensive makers. If you’re paying a premium for this Swift 5 setup, you’re spending for the incredibly light-weight develop. The portable chassis– and the power Acer has actually packed into that portable chassis– is where the Swift 5 is at the top of its class.

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