Acer Swift 7 hands-on review

LAS VEGAS: TAIWANESE LAPTOP FLOGGER Acer took to CES this year to unveil its latest and greatest clamshell device, a refreshed version of the Swift 7, which is supposedly now the “world’s thinnest laptop” (as well as being one of the most expensive).

Running Intel’s older 7th-gen Core processor as opposed to the newer and more efficient 8th-gen chip, the Acer Swift 7 still boasts some rather impressive internals despite its super skinny frame.

But how does its performance and design fare in reality? We got some hands-on time with the new Swift 7 at the Intel booth at CES to find out if the skinny mini is really worth the price.

The previous Acer Swift 7 was no by no means chunky, but the new version has been trimmed down to a mere 8.98mm thick, prompting Acer to claim it as the most slender ultraportable laptop in town. And how nice this feature is. It’s unimaginably skinny, and as a result, it’s super light, weighing just 1.65kg.

Despite being so slim, the Swift 7’s all aluminium chassis also gives it a good solid appearance, making it a pleasure to fondle. Although somehow it does still lack that truly premium feel that you usually get in, say, Asus ZenBook devices. Nevertheless, it’s an impressive machine and is likely to turn heads if you were showing it off in Starbucks while pretending to write your imminent romantic novel. 

While on the related subject of flexible positioning, Acer’s latest beast has one of those hinges that almost every laptop has these days; of the 360-degree variety. This means you can *surprise surprise* flip the screen all the way around and turn it into a “tablet”, which we can gaurantee you will never use in this way while in your possession. 

With a 14in full HD display, which is a step up from the 13.5in panel of its predecessor, the Swift 7 boasts a 1080p touch screen, which isn’t really anything special, but did appear crisp and bright in our time with it, even in the brightly-lit environment of the demo area.

While colours appear natural, we felt they lacked a little in contrast and don’t ‘pop’ as much as they do on some of the rival Asus models for instance, despite the display’s glossy finish. And that’s another problem; the lack of a matte finish means it picks up a lot of reflections, which can get irritating.

Despite a relatively small travel, the keyboard feels good to hit with your finger ends, with well-spaced keys that make typing rather fluid. The large trackpad below it supports Windows 10 gestures and provides a smooth and responsive experience. Knocking out a few sentences seemed pleasant enough, so we think it will be good to type on for lengthier periods, too.

The Swift 7 manages to fit in a solid specification despite its tiny frame. Rather disappointingly, though, the laptop has a 7th-generation Kaby Lake Core i7 processor rather than the new Coffee Lake chips, not that the older chips are particular slouches when it comes to performance.

Alongside the CPUs, the Swift 7 has 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM and a 265GB PCIe SSD; all in all pretty decent, if not remarkable. Nevertheless, in our tests, the Swift 7 proved very responsive to our commands, opening apps in a flash. However, we would need longer with the device to see how well it fares with more intensive applications and benchmarking software.

One interesting feature of the Swift 7 is the presence of support for nano-SIMs and 4G LTE connectivity, which shows that Acer sees potential customers of this machine as those who like to work from coffee shops and flaunt their new laptops off.

First impressions
Overall, Acer’s Swift 7 is an impressive bit of kit. It’s got some pretty decent specs for such a tiny and lightweight device, but those who were hoping to take advantage of Intel’s most efficient chips yet might be best holding off before splurging on the Swift 7. Especially considering it’ll retail for a rather ridiculous starting price of $1,699, which is around £1,250. Ouch. µ 

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