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Hands on: Acer Swift 7 (2019) review

Acer has gone and practically reinvented its Swift 7 laptop at CES 2019, and the changes are just about all gravy. From a new, unique design with a four-sided narrow display bezel to its incredible light weight, the Swift 7 of 2019 and 2018 are now like night and day.

Thanks to a brand-new kind of screen bezel, this laptop looks unlike anything we’ve seen since the time of netbooks. This laptop isn’t just lighter than before, but also physically smaller than most other laptops with a 14-inch screen.

That said, all of this style comes at a steep asking price on the consumer, not to mention the price of losing the webcam in its proper position. Such is the cost of originality, we guess, but is the new Swift 7 worth looking at for your next general use laptop?

Acer Swift 7 (2019)

Price and availability

It appears that Acer will be selling just two configurations of the Swift 7, the entry-level version of which will go for the same $1,699 or €1,799 (about £1,330, AU$2,380) as last year’s model when it becomes available this May in the US and in Europe this April. 

For that price, the Swift 7 will contain 8GB of DDR3 memory and a 256GB PCIe SSD. Either the memory and storage – or both – can be doubled for a currently undisclosed price.

Otherwise, both models will come housing an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8500Y processor driving a 14-inch, Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) touchscreen as well as a fingerprint reader embedded into the power button. Likewise, two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack are included on all configurations.

This is quite a premium for what’s inside, admittedly, and we’re told that Acer intends to pitch this more as a fashion accessory that happens to be a laptop than a straight mobile computing device – oddly enough. Regardless, what Acer has accomplished here is frankly remarkable.

Acer Swift 7 (2019)

Design and display

Again, the Acer Swift 7 of 2018 and 2019 may as well be night and day, with Acer changing just about everything regarding the chassis design year over year. And, frankly, it’s all for the better save for one design choice.

First, it’s important to note just how much smaller this Swift 7 is compared to last year’s model. While it’s narrowly thicker than the previous model at 0.39 inches (9.95mm), this year, the Swift 7 measures just 12.51 inches (317.9mm) wide and 7.53 inches (191.5mm) deep – that’s an almost 20% reduction in depth.

How did Acer achieve this? By employing a four-sided narrow display bezel that brings the laptop’s screen-to-body ratio to an impressive 92%. However, Acer had to get clever again to achieve this without losing the webcam.

So, the Acer Swift 7 now has a pop-up HDR webcam that hides within the keyboard deck, beneath and left-of-center of the display. Not only is it a nose cam, but it’s pushed off to the left. The fact that it needs to be popped up for use is an inherent privacy feature, but it’s not going to be very flattering in video meetings.

That said, we have to appreciate the sacrifice here, as it simply makes for such a rad look and feel to this laptop. It’s as if the netbook has been reborn in a beautiful magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis – and with actually decent parts inside.

As for the keyboard, we find the travel to be surprisingly deep for a laptop that’s merely 0.39 inches (9.95mm) thin and weighs a miniscule 1.96 pounds (890g). The keys offer some forceful feedback as well, making for an excellent keyboard in spite of its size. Just know that a few minor key positions that you might be used to have moved a bit.

The touchpad has been addressed as well year over year, with this model at last bringing back the click function. That was well worth losing four tenths of an inch of thinness.

As for the display, it’s full of vibrant and accurate color via meeting 100% of the sRGB color gamut, which comes through a just-fine Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution. The touch response is also plenty snappy, and the screen shines brightly at up to 300 nits.

Acer Swift 7 (2019)

Performance

Because the Acer Swift 7 is so darn thin, it has no choice but to use Intel’s lower-power Y-series Core i7 processor. With that, expect performance comparable to that of the new MacBook Air, which also uses a Y-series Intel processor.

That said, expect the Swift 7 to plow through almost all general computing tasks, but when you get to gaming and hardcore media editing and rendering, you’ll likely see this laptop struggle. The two included Thunderbolt 3 ports could make up for this with an external graphics card housing, or eGPU, which Thunderbolt 3 supports.

However, Acer promises up to 10 hours of battery life from the Swift 7, which would put it in line with the vast majority of laptops using this processor.

Acer Swift 7 (2019)

Early verdict

Acer has improved upon last year’s model in almost every way with the new Swift 7, crafting a truly unique Ultrabook with a clever design. Of course, this is a luxury computing device focused on fashion-forward folks, which is an odd angle to begin with.

Regardless, this is one of the most interesting and thoughtful flagship designs we’ve seen from Acer in a while, which helps soften the blows of a nose cam and the steep price.

We’re so glad to see the Acer Swift 7 return to form in 2019, and in such a new form at that. This is definitely one Ultrabook we’re excited to give a full review.

Check out all of TechRadar’s CES 2019 coverage. We’re live in Las Vegas to bring you all the breaking tech news and launches, plus hands-on reviews of everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets.





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