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Acer Swift 7 review

The world’s thinnest laptop is back for another go

Acer Swift 7
(Image: © Future)
Benchmarks

Here’s how the Acer Swift 7 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Sky Diver: 2,446; Fire Strike: 652; Time Spy: 254
Cinebench CPU: 154 points; Graphics: 21.12 fps
GeekBench 4: 3,126 (single-core); 5,900 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,301 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 4 hours and 5 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 5 hours and 1 minute

We found the performance of the 2018 model of the Acer Swift 7 to be underwhelming considering its asking price, so we had hoped to see a marked improvement on the Acer Swift 2019. On paper, there’s a little performance increase. Last year’s model came with the 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-7Y75 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 3.6GHz) processor, while this year’s version has a more updated 1.5GHz Intel Core i7-8500Y (dual-core 4MB cache, up to 4.2GHz).

That should in theory give the 2019 model a performance bump over its predecessor, especially when under load, as its boost clock is higher. However, this is still a low-powered Intel chip, so you should check your expectations in terms of performance.

Acer’s choice of chips, obviously, is limited due to the thinness of the laptop – plus its fanless design. So, the Acer Swift 7 does run completely silently, which is nice, but it does mean the hardware it runs on has to be quite constrained so as to not produce too much heat.

The integrated GPU gets a slight bump up to Intel UHD Graphics 615, and the storage space is doubled to 512GB SSD. However, the RAM is the same at 8GB of LPDDR3.

Acer Swift 7 closed

Performance is compromised by the thin design

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re expecting a big change in performance with this year’s model from last year’s, then you’re going to be disappointed. Benchmark results are around the same – if not a tad lower in some respects, which is a bit weird.

This is not a laptop you are going to be gaming or running intensive tasks on, like video editing, for example. However, for typical day-to-day tasks like browsing the web, writing Word documents and streaming movies, the Acer Swift 7 2019 will do the job sufficiently. The question is, when paying $1,699 (about £1,300, AU$2,400), is merely ‘adequate’ good enough?

The issue is, there are many other laptops for that kind of money that will blow the Acer Swift 7 out of the water in performance. For example, the new Dell XPS 13 is one of our top picks for the best laptop in the world at the moment thanks to its excellent performance and build quality, and it’s more affordable than the Acer Swift 7. The stylish HP Spectre Folio is another remarkable laptop that’s cheaper than the Swift 7.

Of course, neither of these laptops are as slim and light as the Swift 7. So, you have to consider whether the alluring thin design of the Swift 7 is worth the impact to performance and high price tag. For some people, it will be. For others, it won’t. It’s also worth considering that while the likes of the XPS 13 and Spectre Folio aren’t quite as thin as the Swift 7, they aren’t much thicker or heavier.

Acer Swift 7

Battery life of the Swift 7 isn't brilliant

(Image credit: Future)

Battery life

Having such a slim design also has battery implications. The Acer Swift 7 (2019) doesn’t have room for power-guzzling internals, nor does it have room for a big battery.

In our battery benchmark, which runs a looped 1080p video at 50% brightness, the Swift 7 lasted for five hours and one minute. With a bit of careful adjusting, this will last you through most of your workday. However, it’s definitely not the longest battery life we’ve seen – and it’s a glaring downgrade from last year’s model, which achieved over eight hours.

In the PC Mark 8 battery test, which replicates more intense and demanding workloads such as web browsing and video calling, the Swift 7 2019 lasted just over four hours. Not the best results we’ve come across. It means that if you’re considering utilizing the laptop for reasonably intensive tasks, then you’ll want to make sure you’ll need to stay close to a power socket.

Once again, it feels like the Swift 7 is making concessions to keep its chassis as thin and light as possible. You’ll need to think about whether or not giving up a few hours of battery life is worth it.

Verdict

Like last year’s model, the Acer Swift 7 (2019) leaves us torn. The thin and light design is simply stunning, and anyone who holds this laptop will truly be awestruck with its feathery weight. In this respect, it is simply peerless If you’re after the most portable laptop that delivers decent performance, then you’ll get a lot out of this laptop.

However, this supremely slim design comes at a cost. First, there’s the financial one –  the Acer Swift 7 (2019) sets you back far more than other laptops that offer comparable performance. For its asking price, you can get a much more powerful – and longer lasting when it comes to battery life – laptop, albeit less svelte.

The internals and battery life have also been compromised for the sake of thinness. What this boils down to is this: if you value the thin and light design more than anything else – and have the budget for it – then the Acer Swift 7 (2019) is an easy choice. You won’t find a thin and light laptop that can match it in that regard.

However, for everyone else, there are other choices out there that offer better value for the money and even better performance.