Acer Swift 7 review

The world’s thinnest laptop is back for another go

Acer Swift 7

Our Verdict

Acer has revamped the Swift 7 with an improved design. It is the thinnest and lightest Intel-based laptop we've ever tested, but it comes with a few too many compromises.

For

  • Lovely new design
  • Touchpad is improved
  • Impressively light

Against

  • So expensive
  • Webcam position isn't great
  • Mediocre performance

The Acer Swift 7 2019 is a flagship Ultrabook that is so lean and light it makes other slimline laptops feel positively clunky. Last year’s version was already the thinnest laptop in the world, and the latest model continues that winning streak.

Seriously – it’s pretty rare that when we unbox a new laptop to review, we immediately pass it around the office for people to feel, but the Acer Swift 7 2019 is so sleek and light that you really need to get your hands on it to fully appreciate what Acer has achieved here.

However, while making an unbelievably thin and light laptop is certainly impressive, last year’s model proves that laptops need more than just a sleek design to win over customers. In our review of the previous model, we loved the size and weight, but it just came with too many compromises.

However, this year’s model looks like it could rectify a lot of the problems we had with last year’s edition. If it does – then Acer really will have a hit on its hands.

Acer Swift 7 closed

The Acer Swift 7 really is impressively thin

(Image credit: Future)
Spec Sheet

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’s equipped with some of the latest mobile tech in an exceptionally thin body, you should prepare yourself to spend a pretty penny – 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 quite a price tag that’s much higher 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 put it all on the line with the Swift 7 (2019) to compete.

While it undoubtedly comes with a high price, it is at least no more expensive than the Swift 7 of 2018 – which means you get upgraded internals and a refreshed design without paying extra. However, as we noted in our review of the 2018 model, the high price tag wasn’t completely justified. Sure, it’s the thinnest laptop on the market, but how much are you willing to spend to shave off a few milliliters and grams?

Back of the Acer Swift 7

Once again, Acer has come up with a lovely design

(Image credit: Future)

Design

Far and away the biggest selling point of the Acer Swift 7 is the spectacularly thin and light design. Now, you may think your current device is thin and light, but we can guarantee it won’t be as svelte as the new Acer Swift 7. This device is seriously lean, and you really need to see (and feel) this laptop to truly understand it.

At just 12.51 inches (317.9mm) wide and 7.53 inches (191.5mm) deep, Acer has somehow been able to reduce the depth by almost 20%. However, it is slightly thicker than last year’s iteration at 0.39 inches (9.95mm) – but that’s still impressively thin.

Acer has somehow reduced the overall size of this year’s Swift 7 by making the bezel that bordering the screen as trim as possible, which brings the laptop’s screen-to-body ratio to an impressive 92%.

Acer Swift 7 display

The bezels are incredibly thin

(Image credit: Future)

This means Acer has removed the webcam from the top of the screen. It doesn’t mean the webcam has been completely discarded, 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, sits a small rectangle. Push it down and the webcam will pop up. It’s a pretty good way to reduce the size of the Swift 7 without completely losing the webcam.

The webcam itself is a 720p offering with super high dynamic range (SHDR) imaging. So, it doesn’t seem 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, its positioning does mean it records in a rather unflattering angle, looking up rather than straight at you.

This isn’t an angle many people 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 moved it back.

The Acer Swift 7's webcam

The webcam pops up from above the keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

So, you’ll have to consider 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 nose, then this may be a reason to avoid the new Swift 7. However, for many other people, this may be a reasonable trade-off to get such a compact 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 sleek design, there’s not much space 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 left behind 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.

The ports of the Acer Swift 7

As you'd imagine on a laptop this thin, ports are limited

(Image credit: Future)

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 small 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 follow suit.

One issue we had is that by putting both USB-C ports on the right-hand side of the laptop, 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.

In regards 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 in regards to 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 fairly bright at 400 nits, and the touchscreen is nice and responsive.

Acer Swift 7 keyboard

The keyboard is small, but not too uncomfortable to use

(Image credit: Future)

Keyboard and trackpad

Due to the size of the Acer Swift 7, the keyboard isn’t the biggest, but most of the keys are a decent size that don’t feel too difficult to hit, even if you’re a fast 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 a little harder to use.

The slimness 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 compromises made to get such an impressively-thin laptop.

Acer Swift 7 trackpad

Thankfully, the trackpad has been improved with the 2019 model

(Image credit: Future)

The trackpad has also been refined over last year’s model. One of our biggest issues 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 kind 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 harder.

So, we’re pleased that the trackpad of the Swift 7 2019 brings back the click. It makes it much more comfortable and much 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