The Acer Swift 5 has more screen, less bezel

The Acer Swift 5 has more screen, less bezel
With the latest Intel Core i7 processor inside, the Swift is up there with the best ultrabooks in terms of computing hardware.
PHOTO: Acer

Acer's tagline for the Swift 5 ultrabook - go smaller, see more - is entirely accurate, even if it rolls off the tongue rather awkwardly.

What Acer is trying to say is that the Swift packs a 14-inch screen in a 13-inch notebook form factor.

The laptop certainly feels as light as a standard 13-inch ultrabook. It weighs around 1.4kg and is just under 15mm thick.

To reduce the Swift's footprint, Acer has narrowed the screen bezel to around 8mm on the left and right sides while the top bezel is just thick enough to fit the Web camera.

But compared with more expensive ultrabooks with unibody metal chassis, the Swift feels a bit flimsy, especially the lid.

To be fair, the hinge holding the lid feels strong, though a picky laptop user may be disappointed that you cannot open the laptop lid with just one hand.

The 14-inch screen does not support touch.

It is also reflective, though this becomes less of an issue when you increase the screen brightness to close to its maximum.

Viewing angles are very wide, thanks to the display's use of in-plane switching technology.

With a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution, the screen has adequate pixels for its size.

The keyboard does not feel as shallow as I had expected from the laptop's thin body.

But there is almost no resistance from the mushy keys when typing.

At the top left corner of the touchpad is a fingerprint sensor, which can be used to sign in to Windows 10.

The fingerprint reader worked fast during my test, but its location reduces the effective area of the touchpad slightly.

I was pleasantly surprised that, despite the Swift's thin profile, Acer has managed to keep the SD card slot.

There are just three USB ports altogether, including one USB Type-C port.

Those with the latest wireless routers may also be excited to know that the Acer Swift 5 is one of the few laptops in the market to support the MU-MIMO feature that could lead to faster wireless performance with a compatible router.

As usual, Acer has preloaded an excessive number of its proprietary apps, as well as third-party ones like Candy Crush Soda Saga.

Most of these apps add little value.

For instance, the Acer Power Button app is a simple control panel showing four options - turn off the display, sleep, hibernate and shut down.

I cannot imagine anyone needing a dedicated app for such tasks.

There are also shortcuts that are basically paid advertisements for the likes of Amazon, Agoda, eBay and Lazada.

With the latest Intel Core i7 processor inside, the Swift is up there with the best ultrabooks in terms of computing hardware.

It scored 2,918 in the PCMark 8 Home benchmark, which tests basic computing tasks like Web browsing and video playback, which is slightly higher than the Asus ZenBook 3 (2,786).

The Swift clocked just shy of 7hr in our video-loop battery test.

This is similar to the Asus ZenBook 3, which uses an identical Intel processor.

TECH SPECS

PRICE: $1,798

PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-7500U (2.7GHz)

GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 620

RAM: 8GB

SCREEN SIZE: 14 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card reader, audio jack

BATTERY: 54 watt-hour

RATING

FEATURES: 4/5

DESIGN: 4/5

PERFORMANCE: 4/5

VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

OVERALL: 4/5

Verdict: This well-rounded ultrabook impresses with its excellent battery life and is reasonably priced, too. But it is bloated with unnecessary apps.

vinchang@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 28, 2016.
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