Product Reviews

Review: Acer Swift 7

Acer says its latest ultrabook, the Swift 7, offers “unprecedented portability.” The basis for this claim? A laptop that is 12mm thick at its widest point and under 10mm thick if you ignore the rubber feet.

That is thin! How thin? It’s thinner than an Apple MacBook Air (18mm) and thinner than the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (15mm with keyboard). At 10mm, it flirts with the thickness of many tablets, and is even thinner than some models on the market.

Acer manages to squeeze quite a bit into this centimeter-thick, 2.5-pound shell, though its specs are far from the stratosphere. The CPU is the low-power, lower-end version of the seventh-generation “Kaby Lake” Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM is onboard, and a 256GB SSD is standard. The 13.3-inch screen offers 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution. Altogether, it pretty much amounts to a “bare minimum” configuration today.

AcerSwift7_2.jpg

WIRED

If portability’s your bag, it really is hard to beat the Swift 7. This is easily the thinnest and lightest laptop in the 13.3-inch category that I’ve seen to date, and there doesn’t seem to be much fat left to trim. The keyboard has just enough give and the keys are spaced far enough apart to make touch typing reasonably easy, and the touchpad is enormous and responsive. The Swift 7 didn’t devour my benchmarks—and it crashed on more than a couple of them—but considering the fairly low-end specs on the machine, it managed to turn in better than expected performance.

TIRED

If there’s a glaring hole in the Swift 7’s design, it’s in the realm of connectivity. The Swift features two USB-C ports, side by side on the right edge of the laptop. And that’s it. One of these ports is designed to be used for charging, but it can be used as a peripheral port if needed. Still, in most environments, that’s really going to leave most people with just one open port.

The good news is that a single USB-C port can handle a big workload, but Acer weirdly includes a pair of dongles in the box; one USB-C to standard USB, and one USB-C to HDMI. This is marginally helpful—if you don’t mind disconnecting your external monitor to plug in a thumbdrive. Why not include a better adapter that offers, say, an HDMI port and four standard USB ports, so users can actually plug more than one thing into their laptop at a time? Given the steep $1,100 price tag for the machine, buyers may rightly feel they’ve shelled out enough up front.

Other complaints may seem minor, but are still worth noting. Foremost, the Swift 7 is also missing a touchscreen. (You only miss it when it’s gone!) And under load, portions of the chassis can get scorchingly hot—particularly the bit directly above the keyboard. Finally, while the four-and-a-half-hour battery life isn’t appalling, it’s a lot less than the “up to 9 hours” Acer promises.

But did I mention how thin and light it is?

RATING

6/10 – Solid with some issues.

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