Technology

Acer Swift 7 review: thinness above all else demands many compromises

Valentina Palladino

The technology industry is obsessed with mass sanitation, and Acer is no exception. The company views the new Swift 7 as the thinnest laptop in the world, measuring 8.98 mm thick at its widest point. Designed for professionals and frequent flyers, this year's Swift 7 attempts to beat its competitors by being ultra-thin and correcting some of the problems encountered in its older models as lacking touch screen, keyboard backlight and PCIe SSD storage.

However, as devices thin, they often have to sacrifice performance, battery life, and other important features. This raises the question: what is the optimal balance between extreme thinness and power? In the end, it depends on each user and their individual needs. Acer's Swift 7 makes concessions that those who value performance will not appreciate it, but it's in the name of thinness – and some choices give priority to that priority.

Appearance

The Acer Swift 7 is perhaps incredibly thin, but it does not feel fragile. Its weight of 1.18 kg (2.6 pounds) almost betrays its finesse because I expected the device to be much lighter than it actually is. But it's not too heavy and its weight and dimensions should make it pretty easy to carry.

Specifications in brief: Acer Swift 7 2018 (as revised)
Screen
14 inch 1920 × 1080 IPS touch screen
BONE
Windows 10 Home
CPU
Intel Core i7-7Y54
RAM
LPDDR3 8 GB
GPU
Intel HD Graphics 615
Storage room
256GB NVMe PCIe SSD
Networking
4G LTE (nano SIM and eSIM), Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 4.1
The ports
2 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1, nano SIM card slot
Cut
12.91 x 9.33 x 0.35 inches (328 x 237 x 8.98 mm)
Weight
2.6 pounds (1.2 kg)
Drums
Li-ion battery 35.2 Wh 4580 mAh 7.7 V 2 cells
guarantee
One year
Starting price
$ 1,699
Revised price
$ 1,699
Other advantages
720p Webcam, Fingerprint Reader, Dolby Audio Premium

You have to look at the profile of the device to really appreciate how slim the Swift 7 is. It is just wide enough to include its ports in the back corners: two USB-C 3.1 ports and a headphone jack are located on the left side, while the nano SIM card slot and the power button are located on the side law.

I would have liked that Acer integrates at least one Thunderbolt 3 port – and unfortunately, in a device of this size, Acer would not have been able to include a USB-A port at all. But his slender profile is striking and I felt like a heavy paperweight when I was carrying the camera. I also like the black finish to obsidian because it does not retain a lot of fingerprints or smudges.

But the Swift 7 is bigger than I expected with a device like this. Most OEMs defend their 13-inch laptops as the best options for lean and light, while 15-inch laptops are reserved for those who are willing to sacrifice their size and weight for the benefit of power. The Swift 7 is between these two sizes with its 14 inch FHD IPS touch screen, so my brain took a little longer to adapt to the larger footprint of the device.

While the newly narrowed bezel creates a more immersive screen experience, I wish that Acer has improved the quality of the display. This HDD panel is as bold and bright as any other 1920×1080 resolution display and responds to touch, but most competing devices in the same price range have QHD or UHD displays. Admittedly, most of us do not need a 4K display, but this option has become ubiquitous on most ultrabooks and many have adopted QHD panels as standard. The Swift 7 price of $ 1,699 should have included a QHD panel at a minimum.

The bottom panel located under the screen is the widest and contains the webcam of the device. Yes, Acer fired a Dell and blocked the webcam in a place that will give you the most unflattering angle when you chat on video. I did not like this position of the webcam on the XPS 13 and that of the Swift 7 either. Although I like thin screens, both because they allow the screen to become the star of the show and that they demonstrate the prowess in the industrial design of OEMs , making the top executive so thin that there is no room left for a webcam is a disconcerting decision. me.

There is an argument in favor of the complete removal of the webcam: some people rarely use it on their laptop. I would not see this completely, but I could see that it was an optional feature that would wish those who take a lot of videoconferencing calls. But placing it underneath the screen goes against the lens of a webcam, especially on a laptop that is not a flexible 2-in-1 computer .

Built-in LTE technology makes Swift 7 stand out from the crowd of ultra-portables, though it may not last. LTE connectivity is more prevalent on removable tablets and tablets, but HP has recently announced that it will offer an LTE version of its Specter x360 13 . With the slow adoption of eSIM, we could see more ultrabooks offer optional LTE in the future.

In the case of Swift 7, it comes standard with an integrated eSIM and a nano SIM card slot. Acer is associated with Transatel / Ubigi to provide services to the device's MIS, which offers daily, weekly and monthly packages, depending on the region. Users can insert their own nano SIM cards into the Swift 7 to use the service of other cellular service providers.

I am fortunate enough to live in a region endowed (largely) with a reliable public Wi-Fi network in cafes, restaurants, libraries, public parks and parks. other places. If I work outside of my home, I have many options to connect to. However, not everyone has this luxury and some find themselves working more often at a distance. LTE allows users to connect almost anywhere, making it a useful additional feature for a device as portable as Swift 7.

The Acer Swift 7. 2018


Valentina Palladino

Acer calls it the world's thinnest notebook, with a thickness of 8.98 mm.


Valentina Palladino

The Swift 7 (left) next to an Acer Chromebook (right).


Valentina Palladino

It contains only two USB-C ports, including Thunderbolt 3.


Valentina Palladino

The power button is next to the nano SIM card slot, one of two ways to get LTE service on the device.


Valentina Palladino

It integrates an eSIM, allowing users to connect to the Transatel cellular service.


Valentina Palladino

It has a 14-inch FHD touch screen, although I expected a better display in a device at this price.


Valentina Palladino

The raised hinges allow the Swift 7 to stay flat at 180 degrees.


Valentina Palladino

The keyboard is comfortable to use, but the touchpad does not click and you have to get used to it.


Valentina Palladino

The fingerprint reader is your only form of Windows Hello bioemtric authentication.


Valentina Palladino

The webcam is almost useless because it is below the screen on the lower bezel.


Valentina Palladino

Keyboard and trackpad

Acer has put a standard size keyboard on the Swift 7, so there is not much to notice here. The chiclet style keys are simple, comfortable and not too noisy for typing. Plus, you have plenty of room in the palm of your hand to rest your hands when you type. Acer has also added a backlight under the keyboard, unlike previous Swift 7 models, which will make it easier to work in dimly lit environments.

I would like Acer to include a full line of Fn keys. All Function commands are present, but they are combined with other keys. I like having dedicated volume and brightness control buttons, but these are not included in the Swift 7. Instead, the arrow keys change the brightness and volume when you press the key. Fn.

On the left side of the keys, next to the left tab key, is the fingerprint reader that works with Windows Hello. Given the location of the webcam, Acer has not included an infrared camera on this device. I used to see fingerprint readers either at the top of the keyboard or on one of the palm stands, so this choice seemed odd to me. It works as expected, though, and I guess it will be especially convenient for left-handed users.

The Precision glass touch pad is smooth and perfect for Windows gestures such as pinching to zoom. However, this trackpad does not have physical click capability and only supports light taps as clicks. Even with the end of my time with the Swift 7, I was still not used to his trackpad. I much prefer the visible or hidden buttons that I can press, which are either under the trackpad or under the touchpad of the chassis. The mechanism of Acer has made it much more difficult to use the trackpad to select or copy text. I relied on the touch screen to do this kind of thing most of the time, which I found so strange on a laptop that is not convertible.

Performance

The Swift 7 runs on a 7th generation Core i7-7Y54 processor with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. We compared the Swift 7 to devices with similar designs and processors, both the 7th generation and the Y series. The Y series processor of this laptop allows it to be fanless, run on less of energy and offer instant performance in a slim frame. I have not encountered any problem using the Swift 7 as a main laptop for a few days. However, I did not need to edit photos in Photoshop or do anything more laborious than a Web job in Edge or Chrome.

While the Y Series processor has its advantages when an OEM lens is formed rather than working, the $ 1,699 price of the Swift 7 suggests that it should be more powerful than it is. it is really. It was surpassed by most of the machines we compared in our reference charts, and it has no chance compared to ultrabooks such as the HP Specter 13 (our reading unit was working on a Core i7- 8850U processor, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of storage and cost $ 1,399.

Battery Life

Acer has inserted a stack of two cells inside the Swift 7, which measures only 3.2 mm in thickness, and provides the notebook with a reasonable amount of juice. The Swift 7 took an average of 590 minutes, just under 10 hours, in our Wi-Fi battery test. Our WebGL test lasted 530 minutes, just under nine hours. That's not bad, considering the size of the Swift 7, but it probably could have lasted an hour or two more if Acer had not opted for thinness above all else. While the Swift 7 beat most of the competition on our intensive graphics test, devices such as the XPS 13 and Specter 13 lasted longer on our Wi-Fi test.

Too thin (and expensive) for his own good

The Acer Swift 7 has the potential to be a solid option for those who are constantly on the move. Acer has accomplished a lot in the design of the laptop, and its slim profile will inspire the lust of many people. Its two LTE options will address those who need connectivity all the time, but end up constantly in unfamiliar environments. This is the feature that could convince some to buy the Swift 7. The company has also corrected some of the big problems of the previous Swift 7. by adding a keyboard backlight, touch screen and PCIe storage.

The new Swift 7 is certainly a better device than its predecessor, but that does not mean that it stands up well to competing devices. This is where the finesse betrays: Acer sacrificed performance to reach this level of slender, but it would be nice if the laptop was not sold at a price of $ 1,699. OEMs consistently compromise performance when designing portability rather than power, but the final price usually reflects that sacrifice. The Swift 7 is too expensive for what it is. Acer must either endow the Swift 7 with a newer and more powerful processor (which would probably reduce the title of the "thinnest laptop in the world"), or lower the price from $ 300 to $ 400.

The dual LTE connectivity makes the Swift 7 unique, and these are the most intrigued by this feature that may want to seriously consider the Swift 7. However, there are other LTE-compatible devices including the upcoming HP Spectrum x360 13, which starts at $ 1,149, so that the thin and light association, still connected, can be found elsewhere. People who absolutely do not need a thinnest notebook ever should consider more affordable and more powerful options like the 999 XPS 13 on $ 1,200 Specter 13 or the $ 1,200 Lenovo C930 2 in 1 .

The good

Slim and attractive design.
LTE connectivity via nano SIM and eSIM support.
Fingerprint reader for Windows Hello.
Backlit Keyboard.
Now includes PCIe storage.
Decent battery life.

The bad

No love at first sight 3.
Delivered only with an FHD display.
Webcam positioned under the screen.
The trackpad does not click physically.
Y series low power processor

The Ugly

Too expensive for what it is.

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