The Acer Swift 7 2019 is a flagship Ultrabook that is so thin and light it makes other slimline laptops feel positively chunky. Last year’s model was already the thinnest laptop in the world, and the latest version continues that winning streak.
Seriously – it’s not often that when we unpack a new laptop to review, we immediately pass it around the office for people to feel, but the Acer Swift 7 2019 is so thin and light that you really need to hold it to fully appreciate what Acer has achieved here.
However, while making an incredibly thin and light laptop is certainly impressive, last year’s model proves that laptops need more than a svelte design to win over customers. In our review of the previous model, we loved the size and weight, but there were a few too many compromises made.
However, this year’s model looks like it could fix a lot of the issues we had with last year’s offering. If it does – then Acer really will have a hit on its hands.
Here is the Acer Swift 7 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 1.5GHz Intel Core i7-8500Y (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 4.2GHz)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 8GB LPDDR3
Screen: 14-inch, Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) CineCrystal IPS touch display
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), headset jack
Connectivity: Intel Wireless-AC 9260 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Camera: HD (720p) webcam with dual microphones
Weight: 1.96 pounds (0.89kg)
Size: 12.48 x 7.55 x 0.39 inches (31.7 x 19.2 x 0.99cm; W x D x H)
Price and availability
As a flagship Ultrabook that boasts some of the most recent mobile tech in an astoundingly thin body, you should prepare yourself for a high price tag – and it’s a doozy at $1,699.99 (about £1,300, AU$2,400).
For that price, the Swift 7 comes with 8GB of DDR3 memory and a 256GB PCIe SSD, alongside an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8500Y processor and a 14-inch, Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) touchscreen.
Now, that is a very high price that’s much more expensive than its rivals such as the Dell XPS 13, Asus ZenBook 3 and even the 13-inch MacBook Pro. These are some of the best laptops in the world, so Acer will need to pull out all the stops with the Swift 7 (2019) to compete.
While it’s undoubtedly a high price, it is at least no more expensive than the Swift 7 of 2018 – which means you get upgraded components and a refreshed design without paying extra. However, as we noted in our review of the 2018 model, the high price tag wasn’t fully justified. Sure, it’s the thinnest laptop on the market, but how much are you willing to pay to shave off a few millimetres and grams?
By far the biggest selling point of the Acer Swift 7 is the incredibly slim and light design. Now, you may think your current laptop is thin and light, but we can guarantee it’s not going to be as slimline as the new Acer Swift 7. This device is seriously slim, and you really need to see (and feel) this laptop to truly appreciate it.
At just 12.51 inches (317.9mm) wide and 7.53 inches (191.5mm) deep, Acer has somehow managed to reduce the depth by almost 20%. However, it is slightly thicker than last year’s model at 0.39 inches (9.95mm) – but that’s still impressively slim.
Acer has managed to reduce the overall size of this year’s Swift 7 by making the bezel that surrounds the screen as thin as possible, which brings the laptop’s screen-to-body ratio to an impressive 92%.
This means Acer has removed the webcam from the top of the screen. It doesn’t mean the webcam has been ditched altogether, though, as it’s been moved to the lower half of the device.
On the top-left corner of the bottom of the Swift 7, just above the keyboard, you’ll see a small rectangle. Press it down and the webcam will pop up. It’s a pretty good way to minimise the size of the Swift 7 without completely losing the webcam.
The webcam itself is a 720p affair with super high dynamic range (SHDR) imaging. So, it doesn’t feel like there’s been much compromise with the repositioning of the camera when it comes to hardware – and it looks pretty good when used to video call. However, the position does mean it records in a rather unflattering angle, looking up rather than straight at you.
This is an angle many people don’t like – we’re not fans. There was enough of an outcry when Dell moved the webcam of the XPS 13 to a similar position that the company eventually changed it back.
So, you’ll need to think how important the angle of the webcam is to you. If you do a lot of video calls and you’re not a fan of people peering up your nostrils, then this may be a reason to not get the new Swift 7. However, for many other people, this may be a reasonable trade-off to get such a small laptop.
One thing we noticed, is that if you press the camera down during a video call, the webcam doesn’t turn off. Instead, it just shows a darkened screen while the camera still records. So, while it does give you some privacy, we’d rather the camera turn off completely.
Because of the slim design, there’s not much room for ports, so the Acer Swift 7 only comes with two USB-C ports on the right-hand side, and an audio jack port on the left. It’s understandable that ports are going to be sacrificed to keep the size of the laptop down, and USB-C is at least pretty versatile as ports go – and they can double up as a charging port as well.
It’s also a nice touch that Acer has included a USB-C adapter which includes a standard USB port, USB-C and HDMI port. Its compact enough to carry around with you, and we like the fact that it’s included for free, when many of the Swift 7’s competitors don’t bother.
One issue we did have is that by placing both USB-C ports on the right-hand side of the laptop, it means you don’t have a choice of where to plug in the charger. This can make it a bit awkward if the power adapter is plugged in to a socket on the other side.
Going back to the screen, it’s touch-enabled with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 to protect it. The full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution is a bit on the low-end these days, especially considering the price. However, you could argue that you don’t need much higher resolution on a compact 14-inch screen.
It also meets 100% of the sRGB color gamut, which means colors are both vibrant and accurate. The screen is also pretty bright at 400 nits, and the touchscreen is nice and responsive.
Keyboard and trackpad
Due to the size of the Acer Swift 7, the keyboard isn’t the largest, but most of the keys are a decent size that don’t feel too difficult to hit, even if you’re a speedy typer. However, there are a few keys, such as Esc and Caps Lock, which have been shrunk to fit in the Swift 7’s diminutive size, and these can be more difficult to use.
The thinness of the Swift 7 also means that key travel – which is the amount of distance the keys sink when pressed – is very shallow. This means they don’t feel as tactile as other keyboards, and it might take some getting used to – especially if you’re coming from a desktop PC. However, like the lack of ports and repositioned webcam, these are all sacrifices made to get such an impressively-thin laptop.
The trackpad has also been improved over last year’s model. One of our biggest complaints about the 2018 Swift 7 model was the clickless trackpad – which essentially meant you could only tap on the trackpad, not press it down to replicate a mouse click.
While this allowed Acer to shave off even more thickness from the Swift 7 2018, it meant the trackpad lacked any form of physical feedback when clicking and selecting items in Windows 10. It also made selecting something, then scrolling with the trackpad – just as you would when dragging and dropping files – much more difficult.
So, we’re pleased that the trackpad of the Swift 7 2019 brings back the click. It makes it much more comfortable and easier to use, and while it means this year’s model is slightly thicker than last year’s, we think this is definitely the right move by Acer.
Image credits: TechRadar