This review is of the 2017 Acer Swift 7 model. To see our impressions of the latest version, check out our new hands-on review of the 2018 Acer Swift 7.
Since the arrival of the 12-inch MacBook, Apple’s rivals have responded in kind with enough super thin laptops to practically create a new subcategory. It’s one that we like to call ultra-thin, ultra-luxurious Ultrabooks, and the Acer Swift 7 wants to bring that experience to more people.
Acer largely nails the attempt, with a 13-inch gorgeous device wrapped in black and gold aluminum that’s not much thicker than an iPad with a sharp, colorful screen and extra USB-C port. But, corners cut in battery life and other premium niceties stand to hold the Swift 7 back from dominating any “best-of” lists.
Price and availability
There is only one version of the Swift 7 that’s available right now online through Amazon and other retailers for $1,099 or £999 (about AU$1,449). That premium nets you one of the latest Intel Core i5 processors paired with 8GB of memory and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) behind a 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS display.
In some ways, what you’re getting here is well worth the cost, what with the Swift being an absolutely gorgeous device. In others, like the omission of keyboard backlighting and less-than-stellar battery life, it’s a less attractive proposition.
Here is the Acer Swift 7 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core i5-7Y54 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 3.2GHz)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
RAM: 8GB LPDDR3
Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS LED
Storage: 256GB SATA SSD
Ports: 2 x USB-C (USB 3.1), headset jack
Connectivity: IEEE 802.11ac (2.4 & 5GHz; MU-MIMO); Bluetooth 4.1
Camera: 720p HD webcam with dual array digital microphones
Weight: 2.48 pounds (1.12kg)
Size: 11.98 x 7.88 x 0.33 – 0.6 inches (325 x 228.6x 10.16mm; W x D x H)
The Acer Swift 7 embodies the idea of “sleekness” to the enth degree. Its black, anodized aluminum screen lid could almost disappear on a coffee table.
It’s just too bad it’s heavier than both of them at 2.48 pounds or 1.12kg.
The impressively slim Swift 7 offers a color scheme Acer hopes will appeal to a crowd both understated and ostentatious at the same time: a black lid paired with a golden, anodized aluminum keyboard deck and base. Always cool to the touch at the palm rest, the keyboard feels a bit squishier than we like, but has enough force feedback to help compensate.
Unfortunately, the keyboard here is not backlit. For over a grand, we’ve come to expect keyboard backlighting to come standard. And, considering Acer managed to get away with a smartphone-sized, 2,770mAh battery inside, we think it could’ve been included.
One check in the “pro” category here is the oversized trackpad, which makes navigating via gestures much more comfortable and easy. Also, since this trackpad uses Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad software, palm rejection is on point and controllable right within the operating system’s mouse settings.
Regardless, the Swift’s chassis is gorgeous and sharp – both literally and figuratively. (We feel as if you could cut food with those edges.) Plus, to make up for the down-firing speakers, the included Dolby Audio works to enhance sound to great effect, especially during meetings.
Meet the anti-MacBook
While it’s not the only one, Acer can’t seem to resist butting heads with its ultimate rival, Apple, head on. Look at even how the Swift 7 is specced out at just one option. The low-frequency, 1.2GHz Intel Core i5 processor is just a smidge above that of the 1.1GHz Intel Core m-series processors inside the MacBook.
To further the point, the Swift 7’s starting RAM and storage are identical to the MacBook’s and, while the resolution isn’t as sharp nor does it offer keyboard backlighting, Acer serves up a second USB-C port. If you look at the MacBook and think you don’t quite need that sharp of a screen or you need more ports, who is there waiting for you?
We’ve made our point, but how does that angle shake out for Acer?
First reviewed February 2017