Acer Swift 5 Review: Laptop Born in the Era of Quarantine

By: Alex Chub | 08.02.2021, 21:43

The Acer Swift 5 is a functional, convenient and lightweight laptop that is easy to carry with you every day. It is well assembled, looks solid and not too flashy. At the same time, it has a vital bonus in today's environment in the form of antibacterial coating of the entire casing and screen. The rest is also very good: fresh efficient hardware, a nice touch screen with a pretty good brightness margin and a decent set of interfaces, both wired and wireless. Including Type-C with Thunderbolt 4 support, Power Delivery and Display Port, as well as Wi-Fi 6. Among the minor complaints it is worth mentioning a weak audio system. Of course, despite the new hardware, this is a laptop for office tasks. And if you need to work with graphics or play games, for the same price there are better gaming models that are suitable for these purposes.

Acer Swift 5 Acer Swift 5
Ultra-compact laptop with a 14-inch IPS display, quad-core Intel 11th generation Tiger Lake mobile processor with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD storage. Antibacterial coated case.
Read Verified Customer Reviews

6 reasons to buy Acer Swift 5:

  • Compact body and light weight;
  • Nice screen;
  • High performance (by ultrabook standards);
  • Type-C with Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery and Display Port support; and the availability of Wi-Fi 6;
  • Efficient cooling system;
  • Antibacterial body coating.

2 reasons not to buy the Acer Swift 5:

  • You need a more a laptop for gaming and/or graphics work;
  • Rather weak speakers.

What's in the package?

Acer Swift 5 comes in a traditional inconspicuous box with a minimum of printing and stickers with the necessary technical information. Inside, the set is also minimal: a laptop, a 65W power supply, a power cable and documentation.

Acer Swift 5 SF514-55TA (NX.A6SEU.00C) Technical Specification

Screen

14 inches, 1920x1080, IPS, touchscreen, Gorilla Glass

Dimensions

318.9х207х14.95 mm

Weight

1.05 kg

Operation system

64-bit Microsoft Windows 10

Precessor

Intel Core i7-1165G7, 4 cores, 8 threads, 1.2/2.8-4.7 GHz, 10 nm SuperFin Tiger Lake

RAM

16 GB LPDDR4X 4266 MHz

Graphics

Intel Iris Xe

Storage

SSD 512 GB NVMe PCIe 3.0

Networking

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (Wi-Fi 6), 2,4 и 5 ГГц, Bluetooth 5.0

Ports

2xUSB 3.2, HDMI, Thunderbolt 4 (Type-C, Power Delivery, Display Port), 3.5mm combo audio, Kensington Lock

Camera

yes, HD

Battery

4-cell, 56Wh

Extras

Full body anti-bacterial coating

Acer Swift 5 Built and Appearance

Acer Swift 5 has been in production for several years and you can see the general design continuity. It is still a compact, 14-inch laptop, weighing just about 1 kg. This was achieved by using a magnesium-lithium alloy for the top and bottom lid, as well as a magnesium-aluminum alloy for the palm rest area. Previous models were available in dark blue. The current Acer Swift 5 got a new dark green design.

Another important and particularly relevant innovation these days is the use of antibacterial coating based on silver ions. Both coated and uncoated configurations are available. As the official information says, the coating has a certification of BPR and EPA and provides a stable [3 log (>99.9%)] reduction of bacterial count according to the research protocol JIS Z 2801 and ISO 2219. This coating is applied to the entire body of the laptop, including the hinges, keyboard, fingerprint scanner, and even the legs on the bottom cover. Its screen, too, is protected by Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass. Of course, such measures will not fully protect against all bacteria, but they will not be redundant either. You can distinguish the configuration with antibacterial coating by the letters TA at the end of the model number.

The lid of the laptop has a matte finish and almost does not collect fingerprints. There are few decorative elements: only the golden Acer logo in the middle.

The thickness of the laptop is 14.9 mm. There aren't many ports, but everything you need is present. On the right side you will find a 3.5mm audio combo jack, USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, a Kensington Lock socket and LED indicators:

On the left side there is a power supply jack, full-size HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A (with external device charging) and Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 with Thunderbolt 4, Display port and Power Delivery support. You can use a third-party 65W Type-C power supply instead of the included power supply with a proprietary connector:

On the back there is a wide solid hinge with the range name engraved on it. Acer has this decorative feature in almost all of its laptops:

At the front there is a small notch to lift the lid, it is slightly shifted to the left together with the touchpad.

According to Acer, the screen takes up about 90% of the body area. The bezels are visually very thin indeed, including the upper one. Nevertheless, the webcam and microphones are in their usual place.

On the bottom, there are cooling system cold air intake vents, four rubberized feet for good grip, and a reset button in the aperture.

The laptop looks quite modest and versatile, while being well assembled. The only thing worth knowing is that the magnesium alloys with lithium and aluminum do not look like the usual metal. The surfaces feel more like good-quality plastic.

How comfortable to use the laptop?

The Acer Swift 5's hinge allows you to open the laptop to about 135°, with the back of the work surface slightly elevated above the desk for better air circulation. The lid locks nicely into position. But the hinge turned out to be still a little tight: the laptop did not open with one hand.

The keyboard layout does not have any non-standard features. The upper row of F1-F12, PrntScr, Pause, Delete/Insert has a reduced height and ends with the power button. The Shift buttons are long. The block of arrows is also with reduced height buttons. It is not separated from the main block, and next to the Up arrow are PgUp and PgDown, they are combined with Home and End via Fn. Under the arrow block there is a fingerprint scanner. Despite its small size, it works accurately and very quickly.

The keys are quite comfortable to use: this applies both to their standard size and key spacing, and to their quite convenient, informative stroke. There is key backlighting. The only little thing I didn't like was the yellow engraving: in the darkness it is illuminated somewhat worse than the usual white one.

The touchpad is medium-sized, it has no distinctive features. The sensitivity is sufficient, the coating is quite comfy. When using it, you don't want to connect a mouse, but better touch pads also exist.

How good is Acer Swift 5 screen?

Acer Swift 5 has a 14-inch touch screen. Perhaps in the future there will be configurations without a touch screen, but for now it's the only one. Here is an IPS panel with the usual resolution of 1920x1080. On initial impressions it is very high quality with typical for good IPS displays maximum viewing angles, agreeable color rendering and a decent reserve of brightness. The only thing to keep in mind: the protective glass glare. Although indoors it is difficult to consider this as a problem.

The colorimeter showed that the maximum brightness is 313.481 cd/m², the brightness of the black field is 0.332 cd/m2, and the static contrast ratio is 944:1. The screen is also calibrated quite well: the color gamut is close to the sRGB color space. There is a very small overabundance of blue and the picture a little goes into the cold shades. But it is not critical at all.

Performance, battery life, and sound

The new Acer Swift 5 has the current 11th generation Intel Tiger Lake processors. We got a configuration with the Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor. It is made with an improved 10nm SuperFin process, includes four cores on the Willow Cove architecture and supports Hyper Threading 8 threads. Base clock speeds range from 1.2 to 2.8GHz, depending on TDP (12 to 28W). Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.7GHz for single core and 4.2GHz for all cores. The Intel Iris Xe integrated video accelerator, responsible for the graphics, which includes 96 execution units, and the maximum frequency can reach 1300 MHz. There are also configurations with GeForce MX series. The RAM in our configuration is 16GB LPDDR4X 4266 MHz. There's dual-band Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi 6 support, Bluetooth 5.0 and a Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port up to 40Gbps.

Acer Swift 5 shows very impressive results in performance tests (in its ultrabook category), as far as processing power is concerned. With the graphical component, of course, things are not so good: after all, it is the integrated graphics. But it should be noted that Intel Iris Xe is indeed much better than previous integrated Intel solutions and can easily compete with GeForce MX cards.

 The drive is a 512GB M.2 SSD with PCIe 3.0 interface from SK Hynix in the mid-price segment.

The drive is not top-of-the-line, but it has a very impressive speed.

The cooling system has one fan and two D6 copper tubes. As the stress test showed, the cooling system performs perfectly: at the beginning of the test the temperature of the internals rises to about 80°, after the cooling system adapting it stays at 60°. Certainly, no trotting is involved. Cooling system operation can be heard only in silent conditions at home, in the office the fan noise is lost at all.

The Acer Swift 5 with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics is by no means a gaming solution, but you can play some games on it. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor felt pretty good in native resolution with medium graphics settings and worked at an average of a little over 50 FPS, sometimes slipping down to 48 FPS. With Quake Champions things were a little worse. Acceptable FPS with FullHD is possible only on minimal graphics settings: 50-55 FPS. But the picture quality in this case makes my eyes bleeding.

The built-in stereo system made me not too happy. Yes, you can watch movies and videos from a short distance, but no more. The volume level is rather poor, and the quality is weak. However, this is typical for most ultraportable models.

The laptop is powered by a three-cell battery of 56Wh. There is support for fast charging, and they promise up to 15 hours of work. In real conditions this figure is not achieved. But in office mode with a steady Wi-Fi connection, a browser with a bunch of tabs, some photoshop and a comfortable brightness, the laptop worked for a little over 8 hours.

3 things to know about Acer Swift 5:

  • Acer Swift 5 is a slim, compact and lightweight laptop weighing about 1 kg;
  • Full body antibacterial coating for some laptop versions;
  • A very high performance hardware (by ultraportable models standards).

Acer Swift 5 Acer Swift 5
Ultra-compact laptop with a 14-inch IPS display, quad-core Intel 11th generation Tiger Lake mobile processor with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD storage. Antibacterial coated case.
Read Verified Customer Reviews

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