King of skinny laptops

The Acer Swift 7 is the first notebook whose thickness is under the 1cm mark.
Photo: ACER

The Acer Swift 7 is the latest frontrunner in the ongoing race among laptop manufacturers to craft the thinnest laptop.

At 9.98mm thick, the Acer Swift 7 dethrones the HP Spectre, which measures 10.4mm. The Swift also becomes the first notebook to go under the 1cm mark.

Sporting dual tones of gold and black, the Swift even looks like the Spectre, though the former is less ostentatious with its matte finish.

Both laptops are fingerprint magnets. The Swift's black lid and bottom were covered by fingerprint smudges within a few hours of usage.

Unlike the Spectre, which has its ports at the rear, the Swift's two USB Type-C ports, as well as the audio jack, are located at the side. This is more convenient, especially in the dark. Acer has helpfully included two dongles, one to connect the Swift to a display via HDMI, and the other to a full-size USB Type-A device like a flash drive.

The Swift is charged via its USB Type-C port. This is convenient for laptop reviewers, as I can use the same charger for different laptops, like you'd use the same USB charger for most smartphones and tablets. Everyone else would probably enjoy this convenience in a couple of years when all laptops shift to USB Type-C for charging.

Given its slim profile, I was not surprised that the Swift's keyboard feels shallow with little key travel. But the lack of a keyboard backlight is inconvenient. It is also unexpected, especially as the Spectre has this feature.

The touchpad is much wider than usual, but the extra width is not a game changer. However, it does support native Windows 10 gestures like swiping downwards with three fingers to show the Desktop.

Acer says the Swift's non-touchscreen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which is better at surviving drops than before. The display itself has a standard 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution, but the colours look lively, even when viewing the screen from the sides.

The Swift uses the latest seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor. Despite the i7 branding, this chip is not the standard 15W i7 processor found in most ultrabooks, but an ultra-low-power version rated at 4.5W and formerly known by the Core M moniker.

As a result, the PCMark 8 Home score for the Swift is 2,312 compared with 2,786 on the Asus ZenBook 3, which has a standard Intel Core i7-7500U processor.

To be fair, the Swift's CPU is able to ramp up impressively to 3.6GHz when required, though it may not stay very long at this elevated speed because it may overheat. After all, this chip does not have a cooling fan, which also means the Swift runs silently.

Mainstream users who are using the Swift for Web browsing, watching videos and editing documents will have no issue with its performance.

With an uptime of 6hr 10min in our video-loop battery test, the Swift has decent battery life.

However, this is 10 minutes short of the HP Spectre's.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $1,998

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-7Y75 (1.3GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 615

    RAM: 8GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 13.3 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C, audio jack

    BATTERY: 42 watt-hour

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

• Verdict: The Acer Swift 7 sacrifices some computing power for greater portability and an ultra-thin, lightweight body.


This article was first published on December 21, 2016.
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