Coupled with its stunning matte black aluminium exterior and gold inner surface, Acer has produced a masterpiece of design. But does its slender design hamper its performance?
The Acer Swift 7 is a 13.3in laptop that is ridiculously thin. It isn’t the quickest but if you’re not looking to do anything intensive and want a thin, elegant computer, the Swift 7 delivers in spades.
Oddly, it costs just as much as the excellent Acer Switch 5 but has a lot more style. If processing speed isn’t a priority and slim, light laptops are your thing, get the Swift 7 – it’s great for the money.
Acer Swift 7 SF713-51 13.3-Inch Notebook - (Black/Gold) (Intel Core i5-7Y54 Processor, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SDD, Windows 10)
Design and build quality
The first thing I noticed when I first picked up the laptop was its excellent build quality. Looking very similar to the HP Spectre 13, its black aluminium exterior and gold finish lend the Swift a premium, high-end feel. Acer’s attention to detail is superb, with a chamfered aluminium frame around the trackpad and Gorilla Glass 5 topping the Full HD IPS display adding a small touch of luxury.
At 9.98mm thick with lid closed it’s among the thinnest laptops in its class, and it’s also fairly light at 1.1kg. The Dell XPS 13 is 15mm thick, while the Spectre 13 gets closer at 10.4mm. Despite the design, though, Acer hasn’t compromised on build quality. Due to its aluminium body, the laptop is sturdy and doesn’t suffer from any flex when you manhandle it.
Unfortunately, its design does have one limitation: it picks up fingerprints rather too easily for my liking and if you have sweaty fingers the Swift’s chassis will be a mess of smudges before you know it.
In terms of connectivity, Acer has opted for two USB 3.1 Type-C ports which are used for charging, hooking up an external display and transferring data. These do not, however, support Thunderbolt 3, which means you’ll be restricted to 5Gbits/sec data transfer speeds. At the side, there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Swift 7’s keyboard feels a little mushy, with the key switches providing an unsatisfying feel when typing. Surprisingly, there’s no backlighting, which means non-touch-typists will have difficulty typing in dim conditions.
The trackpad, on the other hand, is excellent. Its large surface area makes navigation and Windows 10 gestures easy to perform. The left and right click buttons also provide satisfyingly clicky feedback.
To power the Swift 7, Acer has opted for a 7th generation Intel Core i5-7Y54 processor and 8GB of RAM. This is effectively a rebranded Core M series chip, which means it’s a low-power chip designed for use in slim-light machines like this.
Acer Swift 7 benchmark table
That also means slower performance than the U-series mobile processors this. Put into numbers, it scored only 29 in the benchmark test, although this is faster than the Huawei MateBook E’s score of 24. The cheaper Swift 5 and Swift 3 achieved a score of 45 and 32 respectively
Acer Swift 7 battery life
Battery life was more impressive, however, with the Swift 7 achieving 7hrs 6mins in the Gadgets UK battery test – that’s not as good as the new Surface Pro, for instance, but it’s above average for its class and should get you through most of a working day.
Price and competition
The Swift 7 can be found for around £867 on Amazon UK. It comes in only one configuration in the UK: with an Intel Core i5-7Y54 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SDD.
It isn’t short of competitors, with the the stylish 13.3in HP Spectre 13 at around £1,250, which has an Intel Core i7-6500U and the 2-in-1 Acer Switch 5 Surface Pro lookalike that costs around £1300 and gives you an Intel Core i5-7200U, 256GB storage and a 12in display.
There’s also the Microsoft Surface Laptop at £1,200 with an Intel Core i5-7200U, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.
Also see: Best UK Laptops 2017
Acer Swift 7 Review: Verdict
The Acer Swift is a gloriously slim laptop. It might not be the fastest portable on the block, but it’s amazingly slim, very light and the price is lower than a lot of the ultraportable competition.
Add in a fantastic trackpad, attractive design, and above-average battery life, it’s an excellent, affordable alternative to the raft of £1,000-plus machines that seem to be, increasingly, the norm these days.