Acer Swift 5 Review: an ultraportable, durable and powerful

Acer Swift 5 Review – Acer Swift 5, In Acer’s large family of laptops, there are the Aspire for the home, the Swift and Spin for nomads and the Nitro / Predator for gamers.

It is the nomads who are in the spotlight here, with the new version of the Swift 5, freshly in our hands and which did it all lightly. A small kilo in the box, we thought it was empty.

Acer has assured us that it is on its shoulders that rest the hope of making a difference in the ever-growing jungle of ultraportable PCs.

This Swift 5 and its 14-inch Full HD touch screen are positioned at less than $ 1696 and this is precisely where the bulk of the battle – commercial – has been raging for two years now.

We said it in the preamble, to get out of the game, the Swift 5 is firstly betting on its weight. Barely 1 kilo on the scale, it’s wonderful for all nomads who walk around with their work tool all day.

In hand, the magnesium alloy used to design the case inspires confidence. However, it is a little less rigid on the palm rests than on the back of the screen.

 

Acer Swift 5 Color is the other element

That must make the difference on the shelf, alongside other ultraportables. There, we are already more reserved by the choices made by Acer. Black, silver and white can get boring, we agree. But, the brand tries to seduce us with a rather particular shade.

It’s a sort of glittery gray / green, which gives the machine a little mineral look. Why not. On the other hand, there is a lack of taste in the color which should cut through and give the machine some flair. Acer opts for champagne pink.

It is applied to various clearly visible parts of the Swift 5, such as the logo that adorns the cover, the signage of the connectors, the screen printing of the keyboard keys or even any hinge of the screen. A hinge which, moreover, is not round but square. It has small runners, protrudes quite a bit from the back of the case, and there’s a good reason for that.

The photo above shows it well: the square hinge is thick and serves to raise the inner plate of the machine when you deploy the 14 inch slab. Thanks to this small lifting mechanism, more fresh air is forced into the bowels of the machine. This will prevent the motor from overheating and the fans from turning on for nothing or very loudly. And it works!

 

The ventilation

Noise rises to 35.4 dB when the machine is overloaded. The bowels do not heat up excessively and are well ventilated; no component is required to lower the canopy when stressing the machine (no throttling observed after 15 minutes of appalling stress).

Besides, the thermometer doesn’t climb well to the top either. The mercury tops out at 35.3 ° C on the keyboard, 32.1 ° C on the palm rests (it’s limit-limit) and 43.8 ° C under the machine. Good thermal and acoustic performance for this Swift 5: it therefore collects good points.

This integrated “jack-up” should also make the long and tedious typing sessions that your working days may cause more comfortable.

When the screen is extended beyond approximately 60 °, the inner tray begins to tilt towards you. Your hands will therefore be less flat but slightly brought back towards you when you are in the typing position. Your wrists and joints will only get better.

Since we are talking about typing, a word on the keyboard. It is backlit (only one intensity) and offers a little special sensations at the start.

It is neither soft nor hard, it is an in-between. The noise produced by the small mechanisms is muffled: the bullies who hit the keys hard have the impression of having become reasonable. Awesome !

 

Regret that the piano top is slightly domed

This can be seen with the naked eye, as soon as you take the machine from the front and position the touchpad at eye level, horizontally.

More annoying, you feel these slight changes of inclination as soon as you run your finger along the keys. The edges of some are more flush with the support or sunken than others. The closer your fingers get to the central letters.

The touchpad, for its part, offers a fairly rigid gliding surface but it gives the impression of fighting against the wind when you have to move the cursor on the screen quickly, even with full sensitivity.

Clicks are not straightforward and sometimes have a hard time responding. For the continuation of our tests, we quickly opted for an external mouse.

 

Full format sockets, a charging interface that is still proprietary

Although we took it, we were able to connect our field mouse without any problem. The Swift 5 may be thin (2.12 cm), Acer has managed to keep full frame shots. The photo below shows the left side of the device.

We see an HDMI video output, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 socket capable of recharging a device even when the laptop is on standby or off, as well as a Thunderbolt 4 socket . On the right side are a second USB 3.2 socket and the jack socket.

There was one thing, however, that crumpled us and made us pull out the red card. Acer continues to use its proprietary AC charger to recharge the machine battery.

Why ?! Opting for a USB Type-C solution like many of its competitors , is it that difficult? The Swift 5 does not consume so much that it needs to be equipped with a high capacity charger: 67.1 watts maximum according to our power meter.

In addition, opting for this type of connector makes life easier for users. First, because it can be placed at the end of a cable in a block resembling a large power outlet, then because it is easier to find replacement chargers when you forget your own.

Or that that of the machine breaks down. Finally, because this power source makes it possible to recharge more and more everyday electronic devices.

 

A good 14-inch touch screen that wears the mask

The side edges of the 14 inch screen are very thin, the top one is already a bit thicker, and the last one at the bottom of the screen is the widest in the frame. We are far from what Razer manages to do on its Book 13 , for example, and it’s a shame, it’s so much prettier.

To be in step with the times (that of the pandemic), the 14-inch touchscreen of the Swift 5 has a small feature. As the photo below shows very well, it is treated against microbes and other germs that may remain after particularly sustained use of the touch screen.

This will not exempt you from cleaning it well, regularly, just like the keyboard for that matter, but, at least, Acer tries to make sure that nasty viruses do not lodge, warm, on the screen of your machine.

Such a treatment would probably not have been mandatory if Acer had not equipped the Swift 5 with a touch screen. Equipment that is not essential here: the Swift 5 is classic in shape. Using it with your fingertips is not mandatory, unlike a hybrid for example.

In addition, opting for a touch interface requires the use of a shiny protective glass. That of the Swift loves reflections like many of her cronies. To eliminate them, you often have to play with the tilt of the screen. When that is not enough, it is by increasing the brightness gauge that the problem is solved. Fortunately, Acer has bet on a panel that has pixels.

 

Under the hood, Intel’s Lake Tiger spirit roars

Acer has always made a point of adopting the latest Intel standards. The Swift 5 is therefore compatible with the EVO certification of the father of Core processors , which guarantees you start-ups at full speed, very fast Wi-Fi connections, autonomy that must reach 9 hours in video

The EVO machines all have a latest generation Intel Core processor on board, the 11th generation Intel Tiger Lake or Core . This is the case with the Swift 5 which uses the Core i7-1165G7.

It is well endowed with cores (4 physical / 8 threads), in power (2.8 GHz or 4.7 GHz in Turbo) and, also, in part 3D. The most complex version of the Iris Xe , the most advanced integrated graphics controller for Core, which takes care of the display and generation of polygons in games.

So no, no big AAA on the Swift 5! It is not in its strings. But, relying on the 16 GB of LPDDR4x memory soldered to the motherboard and the good speeds offered by the 512 GB of SSDs, running a game between two meetings or videoconferences, a little game on the machine can easily be considered, made.

As long as you take it easy on the levels of detail in more recent titles, the Swift 5 is cooperative. On the old ones, you can let go a little more, but keep in mind that the Xe is not a dedicated 3D card.

A small player, but above all a hard worker, the Acer Swift 5 has a lot of fun when it comes to running all the office apps, image editing and even video editing. The analytical tests we gave it are clear: it defends as well as the Razer Book 13, the Dell XPS 13 in 4 of the 5 PC Mark 10 tests .

 

On battery, it offers a slightly better than average autonomy

Like any good self-respecting ultraportable, the Swift 5 must be able to accompany you, all day long without you needing to burden yourself with its charger. Good news, it is.

He was able to stay functional for over 10.45 hours while undergoing our versatile autonomy test. The current average is at 9:56 a.m. so it is above it.

It is not as enduring as the last Dell XPS 13 (11:31) or the champion of the long-distance race, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and its M1 chip (16:57) but still holds up well.

Submitted to our 1080p streaming video playback test, again, it climbs above average – estimated at just over 8 hours – with a score of 9:35. two machines above which outclass it and remain at the gates of our ranking of the five most enduring ultraportable computers of the moment . But it is nonetheless an excellent machine for doing almost everything.

 

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