(Pocket-lint) - It was in the middle of 2021 when Acer amped up its Swift range with an 'X' model - a 14-inch laptop with Nvidia RTX graphics under the hood. Towards the end of the year a larger 16-inch model was revealed, which has speedily been followed up with this: the Swift X 16 (codename SFX16-52G), complete with 12th Gen Intel Core P processor and Intel Arc discrete graphics. It's all-new, but is it all good?
Design & Display
- 16-inch IPS LCD panel, 16:10 aspect ratio, 1920 x 1200 resolution, 400 nits brightness
- Ports: 2x USB-A, 2x USB-C (Thunderbolt 4), 1x HDMI, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
- Dimensions: 356.3 x 239.7 x 17.9mm / Weight: 1.7kg
- Full-size backlit keyboard with Numpad
- Windows 11 Home
- Full HD webcam
Acer is rather good at balancing specification to price, delivering a lot of hardware at a not-so-elevated price point. The Swift X 16 will retail from £1,099 in the UK when it goes on sale in April 2022.
In typical fashion, however, that does mean some corner-cutting when it comes to overall quality. First impressions of the Swift X 16's body is that it feels rather plasticky (it's not, though, it's an all-metal chassis); the trackpad really doesn't feel all that great in use; and there are some specific choices to which you'll want to pay particular attention.
Principally it's the screen where you'll want to make the savvy choice: this 16:10 aspect ratio panel is a more elongated format than the 16:9 panel of before, but it's available in two resolutions - WQXGA (2560x1600) or WUXGA (1920x1200) - and we've got the lower-resolution offering on review here.
As it's a large panel the detail isn't as refined as you might want, so our advice would be look to the higher-resolution option to avoid seeing too many 'jaggies'. That said, the screen is bright and colourful, delivering a big window to your work. That Acer has done a good job in keeping the edge bezel to a minimum further enhances this feeling of scale.
Indeed, this second launch Swift X 16 is slightly smaller and lighter than the initial 16-inch model, with a weight around the 1.7kg mark ensuring it's large yet still relatively portable for a device of this type.
Performance & Battery
- Intel Arc Graphics
- 12th Gen Intel Core P
- Up to 16GB LPDDR5 RAM
- Up to 1TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD
- 52Whr battery
- Wi-Fi 6E
What really sets this machine apart from earlier models is what's under the hood. With Intel's 12th Gen processor on board - it's Core P here, featuring "up to 14 cores (six P cores & eight E cores)" according to Acer - along with Intel's discrete graphics, Intel Arc.
It's the first laptop that we've seen with Intel Arc on board, so what does it mean? Think of the power here as sitting somewhere in the region of Nvidia RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 and you've got plenty of capability on tap. It's good enough for gaming and video editing, put it that way - which goes to make the Swift X 16 seem all the more affordable when you consider just how pricey some laptops with this architecture inside can set you back.
Acer says this machine has dual fans to bring in more air, helping to aid cooling and avoid fan noise, along with an air inlet keyboard to stop the surface overheating when you're tapping away. Clever.
Elsewhere there's the option for up to 16GB LPDDR5 RAM, one-upping the LPDDR4 of previous generations, along with fast SSD storage, and top-tier Wi-Fi 6E to play nice with your super-fast router (if you have one).
The battery is only 52Whr, though, which is part of the reason for this laptop being relatively lightweight all things considered. How well that will last in this configuration we don't have conclusive evidence just yet: but 25% battery told us it would last for just 30 minutes when streaming YouTube full-screen. As this is a pre-production sample we're going to hope that's not representative of what will be possible from the final consumer machine.
If you're looking for a big screen and big power but without the typically big price tag, then Acer's Swift X 16 (SFX16-52G) is an interesting take on a top-drawer Intel configuration, including 12th Gen Core processor and as one of the first machines with Intel Arc discrete graphics.
There are questions over the Swift X 16's battery life, though, and we wouldn't advise going with the lower-resolution panel at this 16-inch scale. But pick the higher-resolution panel, get your configuration correct, and it should be one highly-capable machine for creatives and gamers who don't have a giant budget.