In a world where laptops often look like carbon copies between brands and model ranges, it's not always in the visual aspect that innovation can be found. Sure, the Acer Swift 5 looks snazzy in its blue and gold finish, but its real selling point is its lightweight design.
At just 970g the Swift 5 doesn't necessarily sound that light, but upon picking up this 14-inch model it was clear to us that Acer's claim of it being lightest in its size category wasn't just a case of headline-grabbing antics. The Swift 5 genuinely feels so light it's hard to believe it's not made of plastic.
Acer Swift 5 review: Design
- Weights just 970g
- Metal alloy design
- Integrated fingerprint scanner
- 14-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display
- Touchscreen control
But this isn't a plastic laptop. Instead its comprised of magnesium-lithium alloys on the top and bottom cover, and magnesium alloys for extra strength in the palm rest area. It feels comfortable to type on and there's no flex in the body - which we were expecting at first, given how featherweight the device feels.
That said, the trim bezel around the edge of the 14-inch Full HD display does appear far more plasticky in its construction. Something's got to give at this kind of weight. And the screen resolution isn't exactly dazzling - you'll need to look to the Swift 7 for anything higher resolution.
Typing is comfortable, the trackpad well positioned and there's even a small-scale fingerprint scanner to the side of the keys for biometric login to Windows 10. We rather like how the key colours follow suit with the rest of the blue and gold trim, especially when the backlight is illuminated. It's elegant rather than trashy.
Despite being so lightweight, Acer hasn't opted to make the Swift 5 excessively thin. We think that's a good thing as it results in two full-size USB 3.0 ports, plus a full-size HDMI, alongside one USB Type-C slot to ensure the device has its foot firmly in the future too.
Acer Swift 5 review: Performance
- Intel Core i7 processor
- MIMO 2x2 802.11ac
- 8-hour battery life claims
- Acer TrueHarmony with Dolby Audio Premium
Besides, some ultra-mad-thin laptops with powerful processors only hurt themselves in terms of battery life and fan noise, because excessively small spaces aren't ideal for high-end chipsets. And the Swift 5 houses an Intel Core i7, which didn't cause any unnecessary fan action to kick-in when we were playing around with the machine - something that can't be said for the Lenovo Yoga 910, for example.
Acer claims eight hours of battery life per charge from the Swift 5, which sounds reasonable, but might be a stretch with such a powerful processor under the hood. We often think a Core i5 is the perfect balance for on-the-go use - as we used in the Acer Swift 3, which lasted for around seven and a half hours per charge. Still, with only a Full HD screen and ample space for components within the Swift 5's design, that claim could be on the money.
Other top-end features for on-the-go users included 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, meaning the fastest connections possible. Ideal for work or play.
With a striking design aesthetic and ultra-lightweight build, the Acer Swift 5 is an even more captivating proposition than it may appear. It's genuinely so lightweight for a 14-inch laptop that it's hard to believe it's not built from metal - which, by and large, it is.
Ample power, ports for both now and the future, top-end features like a fingerprint scanner and speedy Wi-Fi further add to the list of positives. If the battery life lasts for as long as Acer is claiming in conjunction with an Intel Core i7 processor then, well, Acer has a hit on its hands.