The Acer Swift 5 is a thin and lightweight 14 inch laptop, but what sacrifices have to be made for this level of portability? I’ll help you decide if this laptop is worth considering in this detailed review! For the specs mine has an Intel 10th gen Ice Lake i7-1065G7 quad core processor, which has Intel Iris Plus graphics, there’s no discrete GPU here.
There’s 16gb of LPDDR4X memory in dual channel, a 512gb NVMe M.2 SSD, and a 14” 1080p IPS touchscreen. There’s WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 for network connectivity, however it’s far too thin for an ethernet port.
The Swift 5 has a matte blue finish on top with gold Acer logo in the center. The interior has the same blue finish, and the keys have a similar gold. Overall the laptop felt pretty sturdy due to the metal build, and all corners and edges were rounded and smooth.
The weight is impressive, it comes in under a kilogram, or less than 2.1 pounds. With the small 65 watt power brick and cables for charging this rises to 1.2kg, so quite lightweight for travel. It’s on the smaller side for a 14 inch machine and is also quite thin.
This makes it a portable package, and means that the screen bezels are just 6mm on the sides. Despite the smaller bezels, the 720p camera is found above the display, no Windows Hello support though. The camera and microphone are both pretty average and typing on the keyboard isn’t too obtrusive.
The keyboard has white backlighting which illuminates all keys and secondary key functions. The brightness can be adjusted between two levels or turned off completely by using the F8 key. I found the keyboard good to type with, however I wasn’t personally a fan of the small arrow keys, and as the power button is right above the backspace key you’ll probably want to change the settings in Windows so that a mispress doesn’t put it to sleep, which is the default.
Here’s how typing sounds to give you an idea of what to expect. The rear of the laptop raises up a little bit when you open the lid, which gives the keyboard an ever so slight incline. We can see on the back there are just a couple of rubber feet which come into contact with the desk, and with that combined with the super low weight I found that it very easy to slide around on a flat surface, despite the rubber feet underneath.
There was some keyboard flex while pushing down hard, some would be due to the lift design as there are less contact points between it and the desk, however I never had an issue with this during normal use.
Screen flex also seemed pretty average, but it was hard to try and bend it without the machine sliding around for the reason just discussed. The precision touchpad clicks down anywhere and worked well, I thought the size was decent considering the available space.
There’s a small fingerprint scanner to the right just below the arrow keys, I tried adding different fingers multiple times but never got it to properly recognize my fingers during the setup process, so I wasn’t able to test it out.
The 14” 1080p IPS touchscreen worked fine and the screen didn’t tilt back when pressing on it. I’ve measured colour gamut with the Spyder 5, and got 99% of sRGB, 70% of NTSC, and 76% of AdobeRGB.
At 100% brightness I measured 316 nits in the center with a 890:1 contrast ratio, so fair results, about average brightness and above average colours. Backlight bleed was minimal in this worst case scenario, I never had any issues when viewing darker content, but this will vary between laptop and panel.
On the left from the back there’s the power input, HDMI output, the version wasn’t specified however I confirmed I could use a 4K monitor at 60Hz so it’s probably 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, and a USB 3.
1 Gen2 Type-C port supporting DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3, and I confirmed Type-C charging works too. On the right from the front there’s a 3.5mm audio combo jack, USB 2.0 Type-A port, status LEDs and Kensington lock.
There’s nothing on the back other than some subtle swift branding, while the front just has a groove to help you open the lid. Fingerprints and dirt show up on the matte finish, both on the interior and lid, however as a smooth surface it’s easy to clean.
Underneath just has some air ventilation towards the back. Getting inside was very easy, just remove 11 TR5 screws and the bottom panel comes right off. Inside we’ve got the battery down the front, single M.
2 storage drive to the right of that, WiFi card right in the middle, and single fan and heat pipe for cooling, we’ll check thermals shortly. It’s worth noting the memory is soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded, so you need to buy it with what you need.
The speakers are found towards the front left and right corners, I thought they sounded pretty decent considering the size of the laptop, not amazing but definitely above average for a laptop. They got loud enough at maximum volume, and the latencymon results looked good.
The Swift 5 is powered by a 4 cell 56wh battery. Despite not being that large, it lasted for almost 7 and a half hours when just watching YouTube with the screen on 50% brightness and keyboard lighting off, a great result when compared to others I’ve tested.
I didn’t bother testing the usual game I use for battery life though due to the Iris graphics. Thermal testing was completed with an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately Hardware Info didn’t report details regarding the Iris graphics, so I’ve just got CPU temperatures while running my usual Aida64 CPU stress test and Heaven GPU benchmark, and this represents a worst case heavy load.
The CPU temperature at idle was good, and even under this heavy load it was still fine, no thermal throttling. The clock speeds look low, however the i7-1065G7 operates at 1.3GHz base clock with a 15W TDP.
The 3.9GHz speed listed on the spec sheet is only for brief single core turbo boosts. I don’t have undervolting results, as even a small -0.05v undervolt was unstable. Here’s what the CPU performance was looking like in Cinebnech.
All of these are quad core CPUs, however the top two have much higher power limits and are larger machines, so better performance is expected. This is only the second time I’ve had a laptop with this CPU, however it was performing better than the Razer Blade Stealth 13 with same processor – granted that one does also have higher powered Nvidia GTX 1650 Max-Q graphics.
As for the areas where you’ll actually be touching, it was well below the usual 30 degrees Celsius I usually see at idle. Even with the CPU and GPU stress test going, it’s in the mid 30s on the keyboard, so hardly even warm, absolutely no issues at all.
Let’s have a listen to fan noise. It was completely silent at idle, and then with the stress tests running it was still extremely quiet, I’ve had gaming laptops that idle louder than this for comparison.
All things considered, there were no issues with the thermal performance at all. CPU temperatures didn’t get hot as the CPU is capped to a 15 watt limit under heavy load, and this is being reached. This results in a system that’s cool to the touch even when you’re hitting it hard, with that single fan hardly making much noise at all.
Although definitely not a gaming laptop, the Intel Iris graphics should still be capable of some lightweight gaming, so let’s see how well it holds up. I’ve tested these games at 900p with the lowest settings available.
Dota 2 was easily playable without issue, Overwatch felt a bit stuttery, and the CS:GO results were lower, so those two would probably benefit more from a lower 720p resolution. You can still play less demanding esports titles at lower settings on the Intel graphics, just be prepared to drop the resolution.
I’ve used Adobe Premiere to export one of my laptop review videos at 4K. This is the first laptop I’ve had that only has the Intel Iris graphics, so I don’t really have much else in a similar league to fairly compare it to.
As a result, the Swift 5 is in last place out of the machines I’ve recently tested due to not having discrete graphics. I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the 512gb NVMe M.2 SSD, and the speeds were respectable.
For updated pricing check the links in the description, as prices will change over time. At the time of recording, you can get the Acer Swift 5 for just over $1000 USD, however this one has half the memory of the one I tested, I couldn’t find a 16gb model on Amazon or Newegg.
The i5 model is also available for $900 USD. Here in Australia, the same spec I’ve tested seems to go for $2000 AUD, however it’s currently on sale for $300 less, while the i5 model typically goes for $500 less, but it’s on sale too.
With all of that in mind, let’s conclude by going through the good and bad aspects of the 10th gen Acer Swift 5 laptop. Overall I thought the build quality was decent when you consider the smaller form factor.
Yes it does have some flex if you go out of your way to try and bend it, but it’s perfectly adequate during normal use and feels quite sturdy. Even for a 14 inch laptop, the Swift 5 is on the smaller side, and at less than 1 kilogram, the weight is impressive if portability is your priority.
As you’d expect though, this does mean there’s less performance on offer compared to other larger options at this price point. This does however mean that it doesn’t get hot, it ran cool and quiet even under worst case stress test.
That said I thought the CPU performance was fair, but tasks that would benefit from discrete graphics such as video exporting were slower, but that’s part of the trade off with such a slim machine. The Iris graphics are an improvement over what Intel had before, however at this time they’re still below what we’d see from a dedicated Nvidia solution.
I suspect that wasn’t possible here due to the smaller footprint of the Swift 5, and other laptops around the same weight only make use of the Intel graphics too. Another downside of smaller laptops like this is a lack of upgradeability, you can only change the WiFi card or single storage slot.
Memory is soldered to the motherboard, so you’ll need to buy with that in mind as you can’t upgrade later. The touchscreen was decent with above average colour gamut and average brightness. The keyboard and touchpad worked well, it was shame that I wasn’t able to test the fingerprint scanner though, hopefully it’s just some issue with my specific unit or fingers.
Considering the size, there’s a decent range of I/O, though USB 2.0 in 2020 seems suboptimal. The Type-C port with DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3, and Type-C charging in particular was nice to have. The battery life was also quite good, again considering the size of both the machine and battery, but I suppose that’s expected when there’s no discrete graphics.
With the Swift 5, you’re absolutely paying extra to have such a thin, light and portable laptop. Some people, myself included, are happy to pay this price though, even if there are better performing options for less money if they come at the expense of heavier and thicker profiles.
I think the Swift 5 would be a good option for a business user that travels frequently with a laptop, but doesn’t need discrete graphics power. Let me know what you thought about the 10th gen Acer Swift 5 laptop down in the comments, and if you’re new to the channel consider getting subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech videos like this one.