Acer’s Swift 5 (late 2020) puts the ‘ultra’ in ‘ultraportable’

In the event you want a laptop computer that’s not simply mild, however amongst the lightest of the mild, you’re on the lookout for the 14-inch Acer Swift 5. At simply 2.31 kilos, it’s a kind of gadgets that messes along with your thoughts. After I choose it up, I really feel like I should be holding a hole chassis. After I put it in my backpack, I spend the day worrying that I may need left it at dwelling.

Positive, there are lighter laptops on the market — , LG’s Gram 13, Acer’s , Samsung’s Galaxy Guide S, and Dynabook’s Portege X30L-G all weigh a bit much less — however a few of these fashions are both considerably costlier than the Swift 5 or a step down in efficiency. In the event you’re on the lookout for a real-deal processor for a mainstream client viewers, the Swift 5 is about the lightest you’ll be able to go.

The mannequin I examined, priced at $1,299.99, is a strong 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 affords. After all, for a lot of college students, distant staff, and frequent vacationers, that might justifiably be a deciding issue.

The very first thing you could discover when taking a look at this Swift 5 is its uncommon colour. Our unit is a darkish bluish-green hue referred to as “mist inexperienced,” a brand new shade for the Swift line. Acer says it’s meant to convey a “restful, balanced life-style”; whereas I’m unsure I fairly see that, I do recognize 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 unsure how many individuals are catching illnesses from their laptops to start with, however I suppose it may well’t damage.

The display bezels have shrunk from design, giving the show a extra fashionable look. Specifically, 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.) Final 12 months’s mannequin had an 86.4 p.c screen-to-body ratio, whereas this 12 months’s clocks in at 90 p.c. The display can be brighter than its predecessor’s (321 nits as examined, to final 12 months’s 300 nits) with nice colours and distinction, although its 16:9 side ratio is a bit cramped.

The Swift additionally offers good connectivity for such a skinny gadget (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 could be good to have an SD slot or a second USB-C, however that’s a passing grade.

Elsewhere, the Swift 5 offers a easy and correct touchpad in addition to a strong keyboard with snug keys. I hit my customary typing speeds and didn’t make a single error on my standard 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 one actual draw back of the Swift’s skinny and light-weight construct is that it feels a tad flimsy. There’s a little bit of flex in the display 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 price range fare like the Swift 3 — however it’s going to look and feel plasticky subsequent to costlier ultraportables like the Dell XPS 13.

The most important information about this new Swift 5 is its brand-new Tiger Lake processor, the quad-core Core i7-1165G7. With this chip come various new options, together with Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, and Iris Xe built-in graphics.

The Swift can be licensed by way of Evo, Intel’s verification program for Tiger Lake programs. To earn an Evo badge, a laptop computer has to supply 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 actually got here shut.

Along with the processor, the $1,299.99 system contains 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. There’s additionally a accessible, together with a Core i5-1135G7 (additionally with Xe graphics), 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Both of those fashions is a positive buy, however of us who don’t want their Swift to do something graphically intensive ought to most likely be simply positive with the $999 configuration. Opinions have proven that the Core i5-1135G7 the Core i7-1165G7 in CPU-intensive duties. Another wonderful laptops with comparable portability advantages additionally fall between the $999 and the $1,299 worth factors, making the $1,299 mannequin a considerably more durable promote. Asus’ 2.49-pound, 0.54-inch with equal specs is simply $1,099.

You’re not compromising horsepower for this way issue. The Swift 5 is the quickest Tiger Lake laptop computer I’ve reviewed to date (aside from ), although it’s not fairly on the stage of some current . I actually by no means seen 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 underside of the chassis acquired heat throughout an intense day of Chrome multitasking, downloading and updating, picture modifying, Zoom calls, Spotify streaming, and Netflix watching, however it was by no means uncomfortable to the touch. I typically heard the followers whereas the Swift was in Efficiency Mode, in addition to a really occasional coil whine, however swapping to Silent Mode eradicated each of these. (You possibly 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 — a giant step up from the six hours I acquired out of final 12 months’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 price range crapware.

The ultimate factor I’ll talk about is videoconferencing software program since that’s necessary performance for a lot of cellular professionals. The outcomes listed here are blended. The excellent news is that the Swift 5 now helps AI-enhanced background noise suppression and Wi-Fi 6. These are tough to check, however I did do various 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 Home windows Good day.) 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, motion pictures, 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 by way of and thru. There are compromises however no disasters. Most elements of it (the keyboard, the touchpad, the display, the connectivity, the battery life) are simply positive. Others (the webcam, the audio, the bloatware) are underwhelming however serviceable.

If these components are what you care most about, you will get comparable high quality for much less cash in Acer’s or , Asus’ ZenBook 14, HP’s 13, and loads of extra reasonably priced machines. In the event you’re paying a premium for this Swift 5 configuration, you’re paying for the exceptionally light-weight construct. The moveable chassis — and the energy Acer has packed into that moveable chassis — is the place the Swift 5 is at the prime of its class.

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