When Acer announced the Swift 7 last Q3 2016, they slapped the PC industry by making it the thinnest laptop in the world at only 9.98cm think. For such a thin and light device that now incorporates only USB-Type C ports, what power and productivity it can give to you?
But first here are the specifications of the Acer Swift 7
Processor: Intel Core i5-7Y54 1.20GHz Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.20GHz) Memory: 8GB LPDDR3 (Non-Expandable) Storage: 256GB Solid State Drive (Non-Expandable) Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics Wireless: Bluetooth 4.1 + WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2.4 & 5GHz Display: 13.3″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS Panel Speakers: Dual speakers with Dolby Digital Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit To be honest, I’m currently using a Core i7 powered ultrabook (ZenBook UX305LA) but I was still intrigued by how thin and light the Swift 7 is. It made our current ultrabook to feel a lot heavier, not to mention ugly in a few perspectives.
Acer picked a full metal gold and black finish tone for the Swift 7 and it’s the only color option available. Gold laptops now are now appearing to be normal, but we love the combination of black and gold with the Swift 7 which the gold color isn’t too bright nor pale, perfect for even for both genders to use. On the lid (A Panel) is a very gold Acer logo at the center with a full metal panel, a bit to the top is a plastic strip for the wireless signal reception but it’s made of black materials so it isn’t obvious at far. Opening the lid welcomes you to an all-gold keyboard panel (C-Panel), keys are lowered a few to avoid touching the screen. Keyboard travel distance is a bit short due to the thinness of the device but still tactile for an ultrabook standard. If you tried keyboards like from flip keyboard of the Microsoft Surface, this one has better travel distance and responsiveness. Keyboard keys are generally good, but we are a bit baffled with the approach of ACER to mimic Apple by having direct commands to the function key rows. This means closing an app needs pressing fn + F4 + alt instead of the traditional Alt + F4. In our experience, the command keys are less likely to be used that the function keys, so we find this a bit annoying and unfortunately there isn’t a way to reverse it. The large touchpad shaped in a 16:10 ratio can be seen at the bottom part of the keyboard, its size is relatively proportional to the screen making it easy to use. Gestures are fairly accurate and clicks are crunchy as needed. We encountered a few ghost touches similar to our review with the ASUS G752VS where out palm is recognized in some parts of the touchpad mimicing ghost touches. The screen (B Panel) is a 13.3″ IPS Panel Full HD display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. While the screen really thin, we are glad it can still resist some warping in our bending test making it more assured that it’s durable. But since the screen is now made of glass, you will think its touchscreen, where we failed miserably as we also tried to touch the screen to shame in several occasions. Colors are good and fairly accurate, brightness can be adjusted to the highest which can withstand average sunlight and to the dimmest where it can be comfortable when all lights are out. At the bottom (D panel) is a huge strip of stickers for the device, including the localized NTC panel sticker which is required for any device imported with wireless connections. The two speaker grills can be found at each end of the device, while four rubber feet protects the laptop from scratches. The hinge of the Swift 7 is rather clever by occupying space on the top portion of the laptop, this saves space and adds nice look when completely open. What we liked is that the hinges don’t add any bulk as it makes the laptop completely flat when closed. Although as early as now, we will honestly tell you that the laptop is IMPOSSIBLE (yes all caps) to open in one hand. This is contrary to Acer’s commercial for the Swift 7 where it was seen opened with one finger, but this is nowhere near to our attempts as the hinge is really just too strong for the body’s lightweight chassis. On the left is a small lock mechanism while on the right are the 3.5mm audio jack and two USB Type-C ports (one for charging) which are just USB 3.1 and not thunderbolt. We felt that Acer could have added more ports such as an SD card reader on the left or even just MicroSD would have been okay. Side corners and edges of the Swift 7 though are a bit sharp, just in case you’ve accidentally hit someone while traveling it might leave a mark. We understand that it’s to add impression to the thinness of the device, but we wished Acer kinda soften out the edges to prevent any unwanted accidents. Overall weight at 1.1kg is really light for a 13.3″ laptop, we noticed a big difference in our bag as it shed almost 700g in our everyday carry. Furthermore, the solid yet glimmering matte finish on the Swift 7 adds a premium to its design, hands down it’s one of the eye-catching yet simply designed laptops we have seen in a while. Note: You might see that I included mentions of A,B,C,D Panels which indicates which part of the laptop are we pertaining to. This is a brand internal language to quickly reference a part of a laptop, especially for service centers.
The 13.3″ IPS Full HD panel is bright, it’s vivid enough for indoor usage and a bit fair for outdoor usage. Colors are accurate and no visible ghosting or any stuttering was experienced during our test. The screen is ideal for work, entertainment and casual gaming on the side.
The speakers, on the other hand, are really good, the dual speakers powered by Dolby Digital is one of the loudest and clear sounding speakers we have heard on a laptop. By the size of the Swift 7, we were amazed by the volume it produced even playing games like LOL or Dota 2 was enough for personal entertainment. It sound was just right, it wasn’t trying to be a boom box but rather a professional stereo for 2-3 persons near the laptop.
The Swift 7 is using a fan-less Intel Core i5-7Y54 at 1.2Ghz with 8GB RAM and 256GB SATA III SSD. For our everyday tasks of writing articles, playing light Dota 2 or LOL, Microsoft Office, surfing the web with average 10-15 tabs and casual Photoshop was pretty ample enough to be accommodated by the system.
Although, when it loads big applications like Dota 2, Photoshop and even Adobe premiere, it starts to struggle on the graphics side making everything slow to load. Especially when Google Chrome’s RAM eating browser is running in the background, we have to close it first before proceeding with any games.
Now we kinda expected this especially with the fanless Intel Core i5 processor, but it seems the processing power is okay but lacking more of graphics processing. Unfortunately, the Swift 7 doesn’t have any external graphics as a solution so you’re left with what you have.
As the system is also in hard-work, you’ll notice the right portion of the laptop heating up around the keys J-L or 7-0 rows in the keyboard. Due to this, placing the laptop in your lap will lead to uncomfortable heat and sometimes the sensation of mild burns. So when you are doing intense applications, we suggest you do it on a table.
Just remember that we are in the Philippines, a tropical country that is exposed to more heat exposure and not to mention moisture and humidity. So those “Cooling” technology of laptop manufacturers aren’t designed for tropical countries like ours.
World of dongles
The Swift 7 has two USB Type-C dongles for HDMI and USB Female for regular USB devices, fortunately, we are glad there are two USB Type-C ports as compared to one port in other similar thin laptops.
Although, Acer’s implementation of the USB Type-C dongles could have still improved by making it a multi-hub. The point of customers to transition to such a thin laptop is for the portability, Acer could have at least went to the extra mile by providing a hub bundled with all the ports missed out like USB, HDMI and SD Card Reader.
In our experience, our USB Type-C adapter was always used either for transferring files or using the gaming mouse we have. But you can only choose one, so we use the trackpad when transferring files which are quite inconvenient.
With the premium branding of the Swift 7, an effort to improve the power brick would have also been a nice gesture. We just felt that Acer made a beautiful laptop and ignored everything else. We aren’t being complainers here, but for a laptop more than 60k and experiencing Apple…it’s hard not to compare.
Acer endorses the Swift 7 up to 9 hours of battery life. In our experience, we were able to max out 6 hours of battery life with moderate brightness on the screen doing office, blogging and video playback via Youtube. Perhaps the 9 hours was achieved through video watching (internal memory) and minimal screen brightness, but still 6 hours is a good battery life for a laptop today.
The Acer Swift 7 is indeed a premium laptop that is ideal for anyone that needs an everyday device for casual work, browsing, light graphics editing and good looks on the side. But any further than what is mentioned, you might need to look for another device that can cater to your demands.
For Php64,990 the Swift 7’s 256GB SSD is ample enough for several apps and storing your files. If you don’t mind the multiple dongle setups to use your current devices, then we suggest the Acer Swift 7. Yes, as a first generation device we need to do some compromises but it’s still good that Acer approached a more affordable method as even as it might be the thinnest, it is not the most expensive.
Our suggestion is to buy a sleeve for the laptop and why not include a Bluetooth mouse as well so you don’t have to use the USB Type-C adapter for a mouse.
What we love
- Sleed and super thin design
- 2 USB Type-C Ports with Dongle
- Relatively long battery life
What we don’t like
- Charger and Dongles could improve more
- No backlit for keyboard
- Body has sharp edges