Acer Swift 7 Review: A Thin, Sleek, Kaby Lake Powered Ultrabook

The Acer Swift 7 Kaby Lake-Powered Ultrabook

Acer has consistently expanded and refined its mobile product offerings, to include everything from affordable mainstream notebooks, to sleek ultrabooks that use premium materials. The veteran PC maker has developed a sense of style and is putting real effort into creating thin, functional laptops, that also happen to look good. The Swift 7 is one of the thinnest laptops on the market, and it has some interesting hardware squeezed inside, too. But going ultra-thin often results with performance or functionality compromises, so we were taken aback that Acer dubbed its thinnest laptop “Swift.” We brought one in to see just how fast (and how fun) this Kaby Lake-powered laptop really is.

Acer’s Swift 7 is just 0.39 inches "thick", but it faces serious competition from systems that are only a few millimeters thicker. We recently checked out the Asus ZenBook 3, another ultra-thin laptop (0.47 inches) sporting a Kaby Lake processor. HP is also going thin with its Spectre (0.41 inches) system and Dell recently refreshed its vaunted XPS 13 ultrabook (0.6 inches at its thickest) with Kaby Lake, as well. Given that so many similarly-sized laptops are available, the Swift needs to have more to offer than simply being the thinnest laptop. With that in mind, let’s take a look under the hood…

acer swift 7 01

Acer Swift 7
Specifications & Features
Processor 7th Gen. Intel Core i5-7Y54 Dual-Core 1.2GHz (Max 3.2GHz) 4MB Cache
OS Windows Home 64-bit
13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Non-Touch Display, Acer BluelightShield
Graphics Intel Graphics HD 615
Storage 8GB LPDDR3
Memory 256GB SSD
Audio x2 Speakers; Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater, Acer TrueHarmony
Camera 1280x720, Supports HDR
Networking 802.11ac with 2x2 MU-MIMO; Bluetooth 4.0
Ports: Left
Security Lock Slot
Ports: Right
x2 USB 3.1 Type-C 
Keyboard Island-Style Keys; Precision Touchpad
Battery 4-Cell 2770 mAh Li-Ion
Extras USB 3.1 Type-C to HDMI adapter; USB 3.1 Type-C to USB 3.0 Adapter 
Weight 2.48 Pounds
Dimensions 12.78 x 9.04 x 0.39 Inches
Warranty 1-Year Parts and Labor
Price $999.99+ - Find It At Amazon

The Swift 7 sports a 13.3-inch screen, which hits the sweet spot for many ultrabook users. It keeps the system portable without making for too cramped a display. The display’s resolution is 1920 x 1080, which may seem unexciting in a world of 4K displays, but it is a solid choice for a laptop like the Swift. Acer opted for an IPS panel too, which gives the display excellent viewing angles. You won’t need to sit right in front of the Swift 7 to enjoy a movie, which is something that will be appreciated by anyone who has owned an inexpensive laptop.

Intel’s seventh generation processors, originally codenamed Kaby Lake, launched this fall, right in time for the holiday shopping season. The Swift 7 sports an Intel Core i5-7Y54, which is a dual core CPU that features a 4MB cache and Turbos from its 1.2GHz up to 3.2GHz. The on-board Intel HD Graphics 615 ought to give the Swift some respectable graphics muscle for machine in this class as well. Still, we’re seeing beefier CPUs in some of the systems that are a little thicker (and, in some cases, pricier) than the Swift 7, with the XPS 13 being a good example. The XPS 13 we recently tested featured a much more powerful Intel Core i7-7500U Kaby Lake processor.

acer swift 7 02

Acer squeezed 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD into the Swift 7, along with a decent camera that supports high dynamic range (HDR) photos. The Swift 7 doesn’t have room for an Ethernet jack (or many other ports, sadly), but it features 802.11ac with MU-MIMO to ensure you can connect to wireless networks at fast speeds.

The most surprising of the Swift 7’s features turned out to be the ones that aren’t there. The Swift 7 has only two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and a headset jack, much like the new MacBook Pro. And given the strong feelings of MacBook users about Apple’s decision to use only Type-C ports, it seems likely that the Swift 7’s lack of port variety will put off some would-be buyers. Acer puts HDMI and USB 3.0 dongles in the Swift 7’s box, which are handy, but we doubt it will be enough to satisfy everyone.

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