Acer unleashes AI-powered MacBook Air rivals with new Intel Core Ultra technology

Acer Swift Go 14 on a table being used
(Image credit: Acer)

To coincide with the launch of Intel’s new Core Ultra laptop processors, Acer has announced two overhauled laptops that, the company claims, make full use of the artificial intelligence (AI) features of Intel’s new chips (and Windows 11).

Intel’s new Core Ultra chips are made up of the processor, Intel Arc graphics and a new neural processing unit (NPU). The latter takes the workload for AI tasks off the CPU, so it can keep laptops performing well while also offering cutting-edge AI features – such as the ones Microsoft continues to add to Windows 11.

The first laptop is the Acer Swift Go 14 – a thin and light laptop aimed at students, professionals and creators. It has a stunning 1440p OLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, 1.32kg weight and an aluminum chassis that’s 14.9mm thick – and comes with a touchpad made from recycled ocean-bound plastic, continuing Acer’s commitment to becoming a greener company, following its event in Dubai during COP 28. We got some brief time with the new laptop ahead of CES 2024, and were impressed with the screen quality and thin, light and solid build of the laptop.

Acer is clearly pitching this as a rival to the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), which is certainly brave, considering that Apple's machine sits atop our best laptops guide.

Acer Swift Go 14 on a table being used

(Image credit: Acer)

The new Swift Go 14 can be fitted with up to a new Intel Core Ultra 7-155H, and as an Intel Evo-certified laptop, it means it offers instant wake-up times, fast charging and long battery life (Acer claims up to 12.5 hours).

With the Intel AI Boost feature of the Intel Ultra Core H Series processor, the Acer Swift Go 14 should be able to handle AI tasks, such as using the new Copilot feature of Windows 11, with relative ease. 

Acer has also included its own AI-powered tools, Acer PurifiedVoice and Acer PurifiedView, which use artificial intelligence to reduce background noise and improve audio and video quality when making video calls.

The laptop also comes with a dedicated key on the keyboard for ‘AcerSense’, which brings up software for managing the laptop’s performance.

It’ll be available in the US from January 2024, starting at $799.99. In the UK, you’ll have to wait a bit longer, and it’ll start at £899. We don’t currently have Australian pricing and availability.

Acer Predator Triton Neo 16 with sci-fi inspired background

(Image credit: Acer)

Gaming laptops get some love as well

Acer also announced the new Predator Triton Neo 16, a gaming laptop that again features new Intel Core Ultra processors, along with Nvidia RTX 40 series laptop GPUs.

The screen is a 3.2K 16-incher, with 165Hz refresh rates for fast and responsive gameplay. The display is also Calman-verified, so creatives can be sure that it displays colors accurately. Although the Acer Predator Triton Neo 16 is primarily a gaming laptop, it has a subdued design which means you wouldn’t feel embarrassed taking it out in an office, and that makes it a great laptop for creatives (you can use Nvidia’s Studio Drivers to make maximum use out of the GPU’s creative abilities, too).

It comes with up to an RTX 4070 GPU, which is more than enough to play modern PC games with, and Acer has worked hard to ensure that the Predator Triton Neo 16 is thin and portable, but also able to run games without overheating thanks to an advanced thermal solution.

We got our hands on a pre-production unit, so while we weren’t able to see how well the laptop performs, we got a good idea of how stylish, thin and light the laptop looks. If Acer pulls this off, it could be a very desirable gaming and creative laptop indeed.

It’ll be out in the US from March 2024, starting at a tempting $1,499.99. In the UK, it’ll come out a bit earlier – February – and will start at £1,499. Again, we don’t have Australian availability and pricing yet.

Acer clearly believes that the AI features introduced with Intel’s new laptop CPUs, combined with its own tools and those found in Windows 11, will be the next step in the evolution of laptops. Will it be enough to buck the recent downward trend in laptop sales? We’ll likely find out next year.

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Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.