When the Acer Swift 7 was revealed at CES 2018, it was billed as the ‘world’s thinnest laptop’, while still packing a larger 14-inch display and keeping the svelte design. However, the Acer Swift 7 2018 sacrificed too much to retain its thin laptop title.
For instance, the Acer Swift 7 uses a unique touchpad solution that doesn’t click – either physically or haptically, like the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Acer made this compromise to retain thinness, but it wasn’t worth it. Luckily, Acer fixed this weird design choice in the Acer Swift 2019.
But, it wasn’t just the trackpad. Acer also compromised on the processor in the Swift 7, choosing to go with an old, fanless 7th-generation Intel Core Y-series processor that sees it lag behind the best Ultrabooks. And, while it’s a beautiful device, and even features built-in LTE compatibility, it’s hard to recommend when there are so many better laptops out there.
The Acer Swift 7 comes in just a single configuration, calling for $1,699 (about £1,280, AU$2,275) in an all black or black on gold color option. This will get you everything listed to the right, including a fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello login, as well as an LTE modem and eSIM built in.
However, the HP Spectre 13 is just a sixth of an inch thicker than the Acer Swift 7, and features a more powerful Intel Kaby Lake Refresh Core i7 Ultrabook-class CPU, with directly comparable storage and memory. All, while costing less at $1,399 (about £1,055, AU$1,873). However, the Spectre 13’s display is about an inch smaller, but it can be configured with 16GB of RAM and a larger SSD than the Acer Swift 7 for just 10 bucks more.
The latest 12-inch MacBook from Apple measures slightly thicker at 0.52 inches, and would cost 50 bucks or quid less to match the Acer laptop on memory and storage and provide a sharper display, though it’s missing biometric login and some screen real estate.
Then, there’s the Huawei MateBook X Pro, a 14-inch laptop that’ll set you back just $1,499 (about £1,130, AU$2,000) that completely destroys the Acer Swift 7 from a value perspective. It’s not quite as thin or light, but it’s not that far off for offering twice the RAM and storage as well as a stronger Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU and a more powerful CPU – oh, and not to mention, a far sharper display at 3,000 x 2,000 pixels.
At this point, the Acer Swift 7 just has an unhealthy obsession with connectivity, thinness and mobility – much to the detriment of everything else. You might be able to find some deals that help the Acer Swift 7 carve a decent niche – but it probably won’t be enough.
Acer has clearly developed this laptop with thinness, lightness and portability in mind. The Acer Swift 7’s weight comes in at just 2.6 pounds, and it measures just 0.35 inches (8.98mm) thin.
Now, this laptop is beautiful, encased in this all-black, brushed aluminum unibody chassis with two sturdy hinges holding the display in place. Acer’s latest Swift 7 is certainly one of the most luxurious feeling laptops we’ve ever used. Even the screen bezels and trackpad are wrapped in chrome bands – as is the fingerprint reader.
Luckily, the keyboard on the Acer Swift 7 2018 is backlit and feels great to type on – even with the very shallow travel. Turning up the feedback force helps a lot here. However, we can’t say the same for the trackpad.
Acer decided to completely eliminate the clicking functionality from the trackpad in the name of landmark thinness. So, you’re left with tap to click as the only means of interacting with Windows 10 – barring connecting an external mouse.
This clickless trackpad greatly reduced the speed at which we were able to navigate through Windows 10, preventing us from moving the cursor with our index finger and clicking on items with our thumb, like many laptop users are used to.
Before going for the Acer Swift 7, you should really consider how important the trackpad experience is to you before picking it up – it’s something you’ll be stuck with for the life of the notebook. We definitely weren’t into it, and you may not be, either.
We could go on all day about this weird design choice, but just know this omission brings a serious learning curve or leveling of expectations. Even though we’re huge tap to click fans, we found using the Acer Swift 7 to be a bit painful without being able to click at all. Without it, moving and resizing windows requires precise double taps, which gets tedious fast.
Acer has at least gone great lengths to improve the Swift 7 multimedia experience, but those pursuits have produced new drawbacks of their own. Now, the touchscreen is 14 inches on the diagonal, thanks to far more narrow bezels.
The IPS screen makes colors absolutely pop and offers up wide viewing angles for sharing content, which could come in handy when pushing the display down 180 degrees. Movies and still photos look vibrant and crisp through the CineCrystal LED display.
However, Acer appears to have been forced to move the webcam to beneath the display in order to reduce the side bezel width. Of course, we’re no less miffed by this on the Acer Swift 7 than we’ve been with that of the Dell XPS 13: centered but beneath the display rather than above it.
We’ve seen Ultrabooks achieve similarly thin bezels with normally positioned webcams, so there’s really little excuse here.
When it comes to audio, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s poor coming from the Acer Swift 7’s thin frame. The laptop’s design leaves room for only the smallest audio drivers that fire from the bottom of its base, leaving you with tinny and thin sound in movies and music. Just be grateful that Acer didn’t kill the headphone jack in making the world’s thinnest laptop.
For costing as much as it does, the Acer Swift 7 specs and performance aren’t quite what we’d expect. The Intel processor inside this laptop has two major factors working against it when it comes to performance – it’s 7th-generation chip that’s been easily outclassed by the 8th generation, and it’s Y-series chip – one designed for low-power, fanless devices.
While there’s nothing wrong with such a processor, the problem is that this laptop’s key competitors in this price range aren’t that much thicker and heavier for using full-blown Intel U-series processors … and are so much more better off for it.
As you can see by the benchmarks, the Swift 7 is outclassed by the Spectre 13 in every performance-based benchmark – and that laptop is merely six-tenths of an inch thicker (and actually a hair lighter). This is largely because the HP laptop uses an 8th-generation, U-series full-fat Intel processor to the Swift 7’s older, lower-power chip.
You can see the same story play out across comparisons, where the Huawei option especially outpaces the Swift 7 with its dedicated graphics. Even the 12-inch MacBook produced similar performance numbers with a weaker Intel m3 processor from the same generation, likely on account of how much more Apple can tune its computer hardware to the software.