How light does your laptop have to be and how much do you want to sacrifice to save weight? Acer has decided to test where the answers to these questions lie, such as the new Swift 7, a 14-inch laptop weighing only 890 g and only 9.95 mm thick. Yes, it's thinner and lighter than some magazines. It is far from the 4kg + laptops that were normal a few years ago, and will even stand out from today's 1-2kg ultrabooks. It not only relieves back pain, but is also a real style statement.
All of this has been accomplished with considerable technical effort, but the end result is not for everyone. We are reviewing the Acer Swift 7 SF714-52T that has been priced at Rs. 1,39,990 in India to find out exactly who should buy it and who shouldn't. Read on to find out what to expect if you decide to get rid of the crowd.
Acer Swift 7 SF714-52T design
The most important thing about the design of the Swift 7 is of course how slim and light it is. After vomiting a couple of times, we had to find out if it was too thin. We were pleasantly surprised at how stiff the lid is – according to Acer, magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum alloys were used, which give it strength without weighing it down. The screen didn't warp at all when we tried to bend the lid, which is remarkable.
The Swift 7 is available in two colors: white and black. Our black unit had a matte finish that looks very elegant, and there are no eye-catching flourishes anywhere. The lines are clear and the overall design is minimalistic. The lid and the lower half are both made of metal.
The hinge is pretty hard and you need one hand to keep the base stable while the other opens the lid, or you can just pull the whole laptop back. On the inside you can see that the screen takes up almost the entire surface and has only the thinnest edges. This is a glossy, 14-inch touch-sensitive panel, and we were very impressed with how Acer managed to build it into such a small laptop.
Since there is no space for a webcam above the screen, it was converted into a popup module on the keyboard deck below. You'll also notice the on / off switch to the left of the keyboard, although it doesn't look like it because it's built into a fingerprint sensor. The placement is unusual, but exceptionally left-handers are happy.
Keyboard usability is often compromised when laptops are slimmed down, and Acer is no stranger to awkward layouts. The Swift 7 completely dispenses with an Fn key row, inserts the Esc key into the number row and uses Fn key combinations not only for the missing keys, but also for their alternative uses such as switching WLAN and adjusting the backlighting of the keyboard , Even PrintScrn was downgraded to a combo.
The arrow keys are compressed vertically, but at least a little wide so that your fingers can rest. The space for the Del key has been worked out from the back keypad, and the tilde being distributed is next to the Caps Lock key.
Professional users who rely on many keyboard shortcuts will be very frustrated. Touch recorders will of course also have to deal with many mistakes and accidents. Still, this layout isn't as bad as some of the compromises we've seen with much larger laptops.
There is not much space for your wrists since the keyboard has been pulled forward. We felt that the area to the right of the trackpad gets quite warm when the Swift 7 is charging and when a heavy program or test is run, which is unfortunate.
The trackpad is also relatively short, but Acer has tried to compensate for this by making it extra wide. It has a physical click mechanism and Windows 10's multi-finger gestures work fine. Overall, usability is a challenge, but we've got used to it over time.
However, the webcam is a disaster. We opened it and got a look at our neck and nothing else. The angle is not adjustable and you have to hold this laptop up like a tablet if you want to be seen by someone else. The image quality is pretty bad too, and the plastic pop-up mechanism felt a little cheap. We hate it when laptops do without a webcam, but in this case it might have been better to have none at all.
In terms of connectivity, we expected nothing more than the two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports on the right and the 3.5 mm audio port on the left. Acer has at least one dongle with an HDMI and USB port and a Type-C port in the scope of delivery. Keep in mind that this laptop is so narrow that Type-C adapters won't fit when lying flat on a table. On the bottom of the laptop there is a channel for the drainage of liquid and a reset button.
The included 45W charger is fairly small and light, but you could get away with a smaller one if you didn't need to charge quickly. One of the two Thunderbolt ports is occupied when this laptop is charged.
Acer Swift 7 SF714-52T specifications and software
Predictably, Acer chose Intel's low-performance offering, the core family of the Y series. Formerly known as Core M, these processors can be operated without a fan and have a TDP power of only 5 W for heat dissipation, but are not very heavy lifters. The Swift 7 uses Intel's top model from the 8thth Gen Amber Lake-Y series, which is the Core i7-8500Y. This is still just a dual-core CPU with hyper-threading, a base speed of 1.5 GHz and a turbo speed of 4.2 GHz.
The touchscreen has a Full HD resolution and runs with the Intel UHD Graphics 615 GPU integrated into the CPU. Note that other premium compact laptops offer 4K screens with HDR, but the Swift 7 does not. Windows 10 scaling was set at 150 percent. This is fine if you use touch a lot. However, we would reduce this for everyday use.
Our test device has 8 GB of RAM, although we believe that a computer in this premium class should have at least 16 GB, especially since it cannot be updated. The 512 GB SSD also appears to be soldered. In fact, nothing can be serviced or upgraded by the user, and no other variants with more memory or RAM are available in India. The battery capacity is 31.9 Wh and Acer specifies 11.5 hours of runtime. You also get Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth 5, and stereo speakers. There is no card slot and not even a Kensington security slot.
You get Windows 10 Pro with some preinstalled programs. There are Cyberlinks PhotoDirector and PowerDirector that could come in handy, but there is also Norton Security that kept getting on our nerves to pay for a subscription. Acer Collection S is an app store that offers advertised content, while Care Center shows you system information and lets you diagnose and update drivers.
Acer Swift 7 SF714-52T performance
As expected, the Core i7 sticker doesn't mean much as the CPU in this laptop is still a fanless, low-power model that doesn't really cope with high loads. Fundamental actions like opening the start menu were sluggish overall, and loading apps took a little longer than we would have liked. However, you won't notice as much for everyday use and it's not pronounced enough to get frustrating.
If you stick to everyday tasks like surfing the Internet, using office applications and basic communication, as well as streaming HD video, you can do well. We had a bit of trouble with high-resolution photo editing and wouldn't even try anything heavy as video or creative work.
Our real benchmarks also showed where the Acer Swift 7 hits the wall – compressing a 3.24 GB folder with various files took a whopping 10 minutes and 5 seconds, which is more than twice as long as a standard budget laptop , Converting a 1.3 GB AVI file to H.265 took 5 minutes and 19 seconds, which is also much longer than average. These are not inappropriate scenarios for the average computer user, especially for someone who works while traveling.
With regard to the overall system benchmarks, PCMark 10 awarded 2,133 and 1,850 points in its standard and extended runs. The single-core and multi-core tests of the Cinebench R20 gave only 193 and 306 points, respectively. It took POVRay 12 minutes and 11 seconds to complete its internal benchmark. All of these numbers are far below what most popular and ultra-portable laptops can do.
The 3DMark graphics benchmark scored 2,258 points in the Night Raid DX12 scene and 762 points in Fire Strike. We tried to launch the relatively old version of Rise of the Tomb Raider, but even at the lowest settings and lower resolution, it looked like a single-image slideshow. The integrated graphics functions of the Core i7-8500Y are just too weak for anything but simple casual games.
The screen is bright and comfortable, though not as sharp as the 4K options you get for some other ultra-portable laptops at this price. The speakers are thin and barely enough for more than notification sounds. We felt that the right palm rest got too warm when we did something intense.
One area in which the Acer Swift 7 performed well was battery life. This is the advantage of the energy-saving CPU. With one battery charge, we were able to use this laptop for almost 8 hours. The Battery Eater Pro drainage test lasted an impressive 3 hours and 33 minutes. The included charger is relatively small, and you should be able to use a third-party type C charger that complies with the USB power standard. However, we were unable to test this ourselves.
So all these compromises are worth it, the Acer Swift 7 is actually a useful machine, and you should pay Rs. 1.39.990 for? Most of our answers are no, with some restrictions. Sure, it's lighter and more work-friendly than even an iPad Pro with a keyboard case, but do we really have to lose so much weight and give up so much?
Similarly expensive alternatives like the superb Dell XPS 13, the HP Specter x360 13, and even the LG Gram series (which we haven't tested yet) are not much heavier, but still offer significantly more mainstream performance and more practical designs. They have more usable keyboards and webcams, better flexibility, and still weigh very little. They keep your shoulder pain under control and do not require drastic adjustments.
Still, the Swift 7 may make sense if you want the feeling of freedom with a device that weighs so incredibly little, but has a large screen and the full functionality of Windows 10 on the way to work on the fly Economy class or juggling with many other things in your pockets. If that sounds good, you should consider whether you can adapt to the keyboard layout and live with the limited CPU. We just don't want anyone to have to use this laptop for their work all the time.