Acer Swift 5 (2021), analysis and opinion

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

Acer has been developing a line of ultraportables with a price contained since its Swift range for some years now. In this analysis, we focus on the new Acer Swift 5 of 2021 that comes equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor of 11th generation.

Acer Swift 5 offers an extremely lightweight and compact solution to work in mobility, but without giving up luxuries like a comfortable keyboard and a 14-inch display.

The 2021 Swift 5 isn't the only rooster in this chicken coop and you'll have to deal with rivals as tough as the Dell XPS or Asus Zenbooks. Therefore, Acer uses its ace on the sleeve adjusting the price to the maximum.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

Portability on all four sides

I must admit that when I opened the box where the Acer Swift 5 came, my first thoughts were aimed at its size and weight.

The same reaction had everyone who saw me with the laptop in their hands, and the comment became more effusive when I opened it to show the size of the screen that was hiding behind that compact body.

That reaction is not unexpected for Acer, as it is noticeable that this laptop has been designed with portability as the highest priority maintaining a design that retains the same lines as its predecessors.

Acer has managed to keep the weight of this laptop at bay at the psychological limit of the kilo of weight. Specifically at 1.05 kg. To do this they have had to take advantage of metallurgical engineering using metal alloys such as aluminum-lithium and magnesium-aluminum which provides the lightness of the former and the robustness of the second.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

Even knowing that it is an aluminum alloy, its touch does not convey that metallic feel and its textured finish makes it feel more like a quality plastic than like a metal casing.

The brand has been demarcated from the traditional finishes of black or silver laptops and opts for elegant Mist Green finishes, such as the unit Acer has sent us for this analysis, and a gold finish called Safari Gold.

As we have mentioned, the unit that we have on our hands is the one that has a dark green finish that, according to the light, looks more grayish or greenish. This finish is combined with gold details such as the part of the hinge on which you can read the name of the laptop range, as well as the brightly finished Acer logo that stands out on the laptop cover.

Acer has also wanted to contribute its grain of sand to health protection at a time when sanitary precautions are the order of the day with a silver ion-based antimicrobial coating throughout the laptop housings, as well as on rubber legs.

If we turn the laptop around we find the intake area of fresh air under which the fan is located, as well as the four rubber legs that guarantee good support preventing the laptop from slipping.

At the ends closest to the user are the stereo speakers in a discreet curve that subtly separates them from the table to facilitate audio output by bouncing it off the table.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

When you open the lid the hinge pivots by lifting the base of the laptop to improve cooling, while slightly tilting the keyboard to improve ergonomics.

Making this gesture reveals one of the secrets of this laptop to manage to mount a 14-inch screen on a slightly larger body of a DIN A4 folio: really narrow frames around the screen.

Despite having a profile of only 14.9 mm, the Acer Swift 5 has not given up unreleased connectivity on a productivity laptop in 2021. On the right side, we find a Kensington safety anchor, two status LEDs for battery charging and operation, as well as a USB 3.2 type A and a mixed 3.5mm jack for headphones and external microphone.

On the opposite side are the proprietary charging port, an HDMI port, second USB 3.2 Type-A, and a USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 4 support with charging functions via a 65W USB Power Delivery charger.

When it comes to wireless connectivity, the Acer Swift 5 also comes equipped with the latest support for dual-band 6 WiFi networks (2.4 and 5 GHz) and Bluetooth 5.1.

We've missed the presence of an SD card reader that could make this laptop an excellent choice for photographers and video content creators.

However, we prefer that they have saved it rather than take up space with a microSD reader that is totally useless for such creators.

The Acer Swift 5 is a laptop that surprises with its dimensions and weight and invites you to put it in the backpack to enjoy it in mobility without noticing that you carry it in your bag or backpack.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

One of the best-used screens, but a faltering sound

The screen of the Acer Swift 5 takes a starring role in the story opens the cover of the laptop by the excellent use of space, which leaves narrow frames of just 3 mm on the sides, 6 mm in a top frame where the HD webcam and a pair of microphones are located.

The lower edge, where all the display connectors and antennas are usually located, also has a more compact size than usual with a 10 mm frame.

It is an IPS touchpad with Corning Gorilla Glass protection with a diagonal of 14 inches and 16:9 format that, judging by the low presence of footprints after a work session, must include an oleophobic layer.

The layer of protection provided by Corning and the touch capabilities force to include a glossy finish on the screen, so the lights and reflections can interfere with the correct display of the contents on the screen.

Luckily, the display also has a low reflection rate, so it is not difficult to find a suitable inclination thanks to the flexibility of the hinge that is articulated up to 140o to free the screen from all those reflections and brightness of lights. Especially indoors.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

The screen resolution is Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) and delivers a brightness of 340 nits. We find it a suitable combination for this screen size, although that level of brightness can fall somewhat short outdoors and forces us to look for slightly darker places to work comfortably and with some precision in the colors.

When ambient light is not a problem, the display offers very sharp images with very well-defined colors that, despite being a compact format designed for mobility, allows you to edit video and photography delivering a very well-calibrated color.

We have not achieved the same satisfaction with the integrated sound system. The audio doesn't have too much power and delivers a fairly flat sound that doesn't affect the bass.

The pair of speakers offer good sound quality at medium volume levels when watching series or movies thanks to DTS support, leaving some dialogues clear, but gradually the volume is forced at levels above 70%, the treble begins to distort.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

Intel Evo comes true and pulls out muscle with 4K

Small, but a bully. With that simplicity, we could define in three words the essence of this laptop in terms of power.

The Acer Swift 5 is an 11th generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor made of 10nm SuperFin lithography with 4 cores and 8 running threads. This processor operates at a 2.80 GHz base frequency, scaling up to 4.7 GHz when required to the maximum. Acer has sent us a drive with 16 GB of LPDDR4 RAM at 2,333 MHz.

Intel has certified this configuration with its Intel Evo seal that proves the solvency of this laptop in its quality, speed, mobility, and power. The processor comes with an Integrated Intel Iris Xe GPU.

During the duration of the Acer Swift 5 test, we have used it as the main computer in our daily day when creating texts like this one that you are reading, revealing RAW files of the photos that illustrate this analysis, or editing videos with DaVinci Resolve.

These integrated graphics feature amazing performance that has seamlessly supported 4K video encoding without presenting too many problems or power-steering performance.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

The truth is that, in terms of power, the Acer Swift 5 has seemed to us a perfect choice as a laptop for content creators who need to travel very light thanks to the good performance offered by the Intel Iris Xe GPU that mounts this computer.

Comparing the results of the synthetic tests obtained by this generation of Intel processors, with the previous models, shows the increase in performance that we mentioned and that allows the laptop to operate freely in tasks as demanding as video editing.

The generous amount of RAM that this model mount makes possible a very fluid operation with which we have been able to use all kinds of programs and applications.

  Acer Swift 5 Asus ZenBook Flip S LG Ultra Huawei MateBook 14 (2020) AMD
Processor | RAM Intel Core i7-1165G7 | 16 GB Intel Core i7-1165G7 | 16 GB Core i7-10510U | 16 GB AMD Ryzen 5 4600H | 16 GB
Geekbench 4 Single 6,339 points 5,765 points 3,361 points 5,244 points
Geekbench 4 Multi 20,314 points 13,710 points 8,658 points 17,553 points
Geekbench 5 Single 1,534 points 1,230 points 622 points 678 points
Geekbench 5 Multi 5,822 points 4,189 points 2,217 points 4,230 points
PC Mark10 4,651 points 3,070 points 2,637 points 3,480 points
Cinebench R15 CPU | OpenGL 992 CB | 105.98 fps 763 CB | 80.81 fps 387 CB | 74.36 fps 1,123 points | 58.44 fps
Cinebench R20 CPU 2,288 points - 821 points -

However, without demanding too much at the graphic level, because although its integrated Intel Iris Xe GPU defends itself frankly well with design and photography applications, we also can't ask for great gaming performance. It's not a laptop designed for it, but some occasional game does support it.

It is worth noting the good behavior of the cooling system of the Acer Swift 5 that we are analyzing and the good balance that achieves between temperature and loudness, although it is sufficient for the user to press the Fn+F key combination to change the cooling profile making it more discreet or more efficient.

In our experience, the best results have been obtained leaving this medium intensity adjustment so that the laptop adjusts the speed and loudness of the cooling system. A loudness that, even at full power, does not attract attention in a quiet room like that of a library.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

It is true that by tightening the nuts a little in very intensive tasks over a long period of time we have managed to bring it closer to dangerous temperature limits without too much effort.

For example, our readings have detected a dangerous approach to the 100oC that the processor manufacturer marks as the maximum working temperature while rendering a 4K video with DaVinci Resolve.

That is, although the processor and its GPU have clearly demonstrated good performance in this regard, the temperature increase gives away that it is not a laptop designed to withstand large workloads sustained for a long time, but for timely use in mobility that can well get you out of trouble when you are out of the office or at home.

In daily use, and with automatic cooling adjustment, the laptop has been kept at an average of 50oC. The perfectly comfortable and safe temperature for such a laptop, and with an almost imperceptible sound level.

  Acer Swift 5 Asus ZenBook Flip S LG Ultra Huawei MateBook 14 (2020) AMD
Sequential reading 1,782.14 MB/s 3,340.4 MB/s 2,617.07 MB/s 3,411.86 MB/s
Sequential writing 1,082.93 MB/s 2,147.76 MB/s 2,410.27 MB/s 2,706.23 MB/s

Another aspect that we also liked is that it has not mattered what happened under the case of the Acer Swift 5, which at no time have we noticed a significant temperature increase at the top of the keyboard, maintaining the comfort of use.

The Acer Swift 5 we're analyzing mounts a 512GB M.2 SSD with SK Hynix-signed NMVe interface. We are not even by far the fastest unit on the market, with a read rate of 1,782.14 MB/s and 1,082.93 MB/s of writing.

 

The storage space comes on a single drive without any partition between the drive hosting the operating system and the user's data, which leaves the user in a more vulnerable situation.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

However, it is something that each user can solve by creating a partition in the storage himself. Still, we would have liked that this configuration to already come from the factory as a setting that not all users would know how to make and it is a layer of protection in case of data loss.

The Acer Swift 5 comes with a factory-installed version of Windows 10 Pro in which, in addition to the usual Windows programs, the brand has added some additional applications such as Booking, Express VPN, Evernote, Dropbox, or GeoTrust.

There are also some exclusive services for Acer users such as Planet9, the Acer game portal, or CyberLink apps for photo and video editing.

In general, we find more bloatware than we would like to find, although it is also true that all these applications can be uninstalled more or less easily.

What we did like and a lot is to find a fingerprint reader that allows you to log in quickly and safely, even more so as it is a laptop especially well equipped for mobility.

In this way, the data it contains inside is protected by a combination of encryption and biometric recognition of the user to prevent unauthorized access in case of loss or theft.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

Good keyboard sensations that are lost with the touchpad

We can consider that the experience of using the Acer Swift 5 keyboard has been good in terms of the sensations that its use transmits during long working days writing on it.

For availability issues, the brand could not provide us with a unit with a keyboard layout that will reach the stores of our country, so the experience of use is not exactly the same because the keys will not be in the same place.

However, it gives us a rather approximate idea of the sensations transmitted by this keyboard which, despite the compact size of the case, consists of keys large enough to be comfortable to use.

Also, Acer has maintained a good distance between keys, so that it is not necessary to stretch your hands too much to move around the keyboard and we found it appropriate both the pressing distance and the pressure necessary to operate each key, thus achieving less fatigue after spending several hours typing.

The keyboard integrates a fairly Spartan backlight system in which you can only choose two lighting positions: off or on.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

The good sensations obtained with the keyboard contrast with those we have experienced with the touchpad.

The panel is slightly shifted to the left for use with one hand while keeping the other on the keyboard. It takes advantage of the limited space that is available on the wrist rest, but offers a textured touch similar to that of the entire housing that does not help the movement of fingers around its surface prevents a good response in Windows 10 multitouch gestures.

On the other hand, the touchpad press is somewhat hard, and sometimes it is difficult to get the necessary precision in certain tasks.

A relaxed workday, which is cut quite a under pressure

Autonomy is a very important factor to consider for an ultraportable of the likes of the Acer Swift 5. In this case, the manufacturer promises up to 17 hours of use on a single charge.

As you can imagine, these figures have been obtained under very specific conditions that rarely occur in real life, so we have made our own real-use tests using the computer as the main computer with days that include keeping the laptop connected to a WiFi network, several hours of document editing, some quick photo retouching, mail management, and web browsing.

With this scenario, we have obtained a real use of about 7 and a half hours, but when we have tightened the nuts editing and rendering 4K video, the consumption has soared in the same proportion as its power, lowering the usage time to just under 2 hours of autonomy.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

Obviously, other more restrictive measures can be taken to get a few more hours of real-time scratching than we've ever obtained, but we consider that the chosen scenario will be the most common to enjoy the full potential of the laptop without supporting usage restrictions.

The unit we are analyzing mounts a 56 Wh battery, nothing more for such a lightweight and compact laptop, and we consider that it offers good autonomy achieving a good balance between performance and energy consumption thanks to a very well-adjusted processor that only claims its extra dose of energy when the workload requires it.

To recover its power the Acer Swift 5 includes a proprietary charger that delivers a power of 65 W and will need about 80 minutes to complete 100% of its charge, although in about 31 minutes it will have 50% of its capacity.

Portability no longer involves giving up anything and this laptop is proof of it

We play the last bars of the analysis of this Acer Swift 5, a laptop that has surprised us since minute one by its dimensions in the first instance, and by its excellent performance when you put it to use it.

It seems impossible that Acer has managed to optimize both space and weight to get a laptop so light and compact as to fit easily in any backpack or bag to carry it all day without penalizing its weight.

On the other hand, we have been surprised how well taken advantage of the screen and keyboard, allowing us to work comfortably from anywhere without compromising productivity.

Acer Swift 5 (2021), análisis y opinión

We have also found it positive that, although the trend of brands is to minimize the number of connectors present in these ultraportables, Acer has decided to maintain a good variety of connections that provide versatility and reduce the luggage of accessories that the user will need in their day to day.

In contrast, the alloys used in the housings and their finish make it feel not like metal but like plastic, which reduces the feeling of being in front of a premium laptop.

On the other hand, despite having a very good color calibration and sharpness level, the Acer Swift 5's display stays a little short of outdoor brightness, and the corning Gorilla Glass that protects the touchscreen also doesn't do much to improve the viewing experience in full sun.

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