Acer has pushed all the boundaries of laptop design in all directions between the lightweight Swift 5 and the monstrous Predator Helios 700. Now it is improving on a laptop we fell in love with last year: the Swift 7. This year, just like its predecessors, the Swift 7 has an impossibly thin chassis that you want to show to all your friends. And while portability is the main highlight of the Swift 7, this attractive laptop also offers a beautiful 14-inch screen and a surprisingly long battery life. As expected, compromises were to be made to fit everything into such a slim chassis, with the most significant disappointments, such as overwhelming performance, weak speakers, and an unflattering webcam. Nevertheless, Swift 7 is one of the best laptops available for people looking for an ultraportable machine. This is our Acer Swift 7 Review.
Acer Swift 7 Review – Design
Manufacturers bragged about how their laptops were comparable to the size of a traditional notebook. Acer can better compare its latest flagship with sheets of paper. I can go on about the incredible slenderness of the Swift 7, but this is a case of “You have to see it yourself to believe it.” A better comparison can be made between the Swift 7 and a modern smartphone; The new Pixel 4XL from Google and the Apple iPhone 11 Pro are both 0.3 inches thick. Add a thick cover to those phones, and they can even be above Swift 7.
The Swift 7 is not only thin, but it is also super compact. This is due to the virtually borderless screen, which gives the laptop a screen/body ratio of 92%. In addition to these absurd dimensions, the Swift 7 has a royal aesthetic that does not try to do too much. The lid of the laptop has a simple gold-colored Acer logo that is mirrored on the deck. On the inside of the laptop, you will find an on/off button that also serves as a fingerprint sensor and a pop-up webcam.
Acer promises that the “micro-arc oxidation” finish on the laptop lid will prevent scratches, which is a relief because, in our experience, magnesium alloy shows more traces than aluminum. Double Thunderbolt 3 ports on the right-hand side of the Swift 7 are all you get on this super-thin laptop. At least you can charge the laptop and another device at the same time, which you couldn’t do on the now-retired 12-inch MacBook from Apple.
Keyboard and TouchPad
I had some problems typing this review on the illuminated keyboard of the Swift 7. I don’t mind how the keys feel. Yes, they are incredibly superficial, and I regularly have a low point, but the keys are well spread, somewhat clicky, and have that nice audible “snap.” My problem with the keyboard is the unconventional layout. My fingers repeatedly pressed the delete key instead of the backspace key next to it. If only those keys had been turned, I would not have had so many problems.
Also, the shortcut keys don’t get their row, so I had to hold down the Fn key and the up arrow to increase the volume and use Fn + E to extend my display to a monitor. Worst of all, there is no mute key. The old Swift 7 was a nightmare to use because the touchpad had no buttons or haptic feedback. Now with left and right-clicked buttons, the new 5.5 x 2-inch touchpad is a comprehensive improvement over the original version.
But there are still problems. The touchpad is easy to brush with your palm because of how difficult the surface is. That would not be a problem with excellent palm rejection, but there is no such thing on the Swift 7; my palms accidentally pushed my cursor sufficiently over the screen so that I wanted to throw the Swift 7 out of the window. The surface also occasionally recorded a pinch gesture instead of a two-finger slide when I tried to use the Windows 10 touchpad gestures.
Acer Swift 7 Review – Display
I enjoyed watching videos and surfing the internet on the 14-inch 1080p touchscreen of the Swift 7. Thin bezels caught my eyes in the wide panel, which greeted me with fairly vivid colors and decent brightness. When I watched a trailer of Jumanji: The Next Level, Kevin Hart’s saturated red scarf stood out against the lush green jungle. The screen-captured enough details to see individual strands of white hair in Danny DeVito’s beard and the vicious fangs of an angry mandrill whose face had natural blue and red hues.
The only thing that ruined my viewing experience was the office lights that reflected against the glossy panel of the Swift 7. I found the touchscreen of the Swift 7 very responsive. Given my problems with the laptop’s touchpad (see above), I was more than happy to use the touchscreen as my primary way to navigate the internet.
According to our colorimeter, the screen of the Swift 7 covers 105% of the sRGB color range, making it less lively than the panels on the Gram 14 2-in-1 (128%), the ZenBook 14 UX433 (121%) and the premium laptop on average (130%) but more colorful than the screen of the Apple MacBook Air (100%).
Conversely, the screen of Swift 7 reached 293 nits, making it brighter than the panels on the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (253 nits) and the Asus ZenBook 14 (217 nits), but dimmer than the display of the Apple MacBook Air (343 nits). The average premium laptop category (346 nits) has a brighter screen than all these devices.
Whether you store headphones or connect many computer speakers, do yourself a favor and don’t use the built-in speakers of the Swift 7 as your primary way to listen to music. The silent and shrill loudspeakers of the laptop call the intercom in an old New York City subway. The hollow, distant vocals and anemic bass in “Dark Fantasy” by Kanye West reminded me of the old Apple earplugs that my teenager blew out when I listened too loudly to frightened, punk-point music. Yes, I am exaggerating a bit – these speakers do it in no time – but seriously, Swift 7 owners must also be headphone owners.
You can forget the best PC games on Swift 7. The integrated Intel UHD 615 graphics, in combination with Intel’s Y-series chips, cannot go much further than playing online games and loading web animations or videos. The Swift 7 proved so much by playing the racing game Dirt 3 at a measly 18 frames per second, well below our playability threshold of 30 fps and far behind what the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (51 fps), the Asus ZenBook 14 UX433, was (45 fps) and the category average of premium laptops (61 fps). The Swift 7 scored a 49,402 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test, which is about half that of the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (87,220), the Asus ZenBook 14 (87,446) and the premium laptop category average (90,663).
Acer Swift 7 Review – Performance
To make such a thin design possible, Acer has equipped the Swift 7 with a low-power Y-series CPU. In particular, the Intel Core i7-8500Y. Given the energy-efficient chip, I expected the Swift 7 to slow down during my practical tests, but the laptop pulled along without too much hassle. I noticed a short skipping when animations were loaded on a significant web page, but otherwise, I had no problems surfing the web, even with 15 Google Chrome tabs open and four 1080p video streams in the background. That said, don’t expect the Swift 7 to deliver the same performance as larger laptops that pack U-series or H-series processors.
The Swift 7 scored 6,374 on the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, which is less than half of what the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (15,943, Core i7-8565U) and the category average of premium laptops (15,581) achieved. The Swift 7 was also crushed by the Asus ZenBook 14 (11,804, Core i7-8565U) and even fell behind on the Apple MacBook Air (7,880, Core i5-8210Y).
Fortunately, the Swift 7 returned to our hard drive test, thanks to its relatively fast 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. It took the Acer Swift 7 just 12 seconds to duplicate 4.96 GB of multimedia data for a transfer rate of 424.1 megabytes per second. That is faster than the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (391 MBps, 512GB M.2 SATA SSD) but not as fast as the Asus ZenBook 14 (508 MBps, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD) or the premium laptop average (504.6 MBps). Apple’s hard drives, such as those in the MacBook Air (1,011 MBps, 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD), are just crazy fast.
The powerful Y-series CPU of the Swift 7 should have a thin, fanless design, but Intel did not seem to think that someone would become so thin. We played a 15-minute 1080p video on YouTube to see how well the Swift 7 handles the heat problem. While the touchpad warmed up to only 85 degrees, Fahrenheit and the bottom panel registered 98 degrees, the top of the deck (just above the keyboard) reached a 108-degree. The heat was noticeable during daily use. I have reflexed my fingers several times from the deck of the laptop because of how hot the Swift 7 became while I was surfing the internet or streaming videos.
I am impressed by the battery life of the Swift 7. Not that the battery life of the laptop on our battery test (where continuous web surfing via Wi-Fi takes place at 150 nits) of 8 hours and 56 minutes breaks all records; I just never guessed that such a thin device could last a whole day for a fee. The Swift 7 even beat the Asus ZenBook 14 (8:37), the Apple MacBook Air (8:51) and the premium laptop category average (8:15), also if it was only a few minutes. That said, other ultra-portable laptops, such as the LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (11:28), have more endurance.
Price and Configuration Options
Acer sells a few different configurations of the Swift 7. Our basic model of $1,699 (in black) is equipped with an Intel Core i7-8500Y CPU, 16 GB RAM, and an SSD of 512 GB. A white version costs $50 more. Business users may want the $1,899 edition of the Swift 7, which has the same specifications, but you upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro. But we recommend that you do that yourself to save some money.
Acer Swift 7 Review – Conclusion
The Swift 7 is not a gimmick; it is a reliable notebook with a beautiful screen, a premium design, and a surprisingly long battery life. But don’t let me mislead you, the wafer-thin chassis is the reason you have to buy the Swift 7 instead of another ultra-portable laptop. Remove its thinness, and Swift 7 loses much of its appeal. That’s because the company had to make several compromises to achieve design performance, including packing the Swift 7 with a low-power processor, a tricky keyboard and touchpad, and a practically unusable webcam.
The incredibly thin Swift 7 from Acer is an excellent laptop, even if corners were cut in the name of portability.
- Thin and lightweight
- Elegant design
- Gorgeous 14-inch display
- Surprisingly long battery life
- Frustrating keyboard layout
- Practically unusable webcam
- Runs warm
- Weak speakers