The Acer Swift 5 is an incredibly sleek and stylish laptop, and one I was immediately impressed by when I opened the box. With a refreshing navy blue body and rose-gold accents, it's definitely fashion-forward.
But it's more than just a pretty face. It's genuinely great for everyday and business use.
The Acer Swift 5 has all the glamour of a luxury machine, minus the exorbitant price tag. There are two models of the Swift 5 laptop, with the $1,499 version housing basic Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The $1,999 version boasts Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The version provided to us for review was the $1,499 version.
It should be noted that the Acer Swift 5 is built for what you'd expect — light busywork. If you're looking to use it for gaming or CPU-intensive processes, you're in for a rough time.
I briefly flirted with the idea of playing newly released RPG Disco Elysium on it, a game that wasn't overtly performance-heavy. It installed just fine, but crashed immediately on start-up and never got past the main memory. Presumably, you're not looking at the Swift 5 for gaming, in which case, great! You can handily ignore this warning.
The Acer Swift 5 might not be great for any kind of gaming, but if you're looking at it for increasing your workflow and productivity, it's the perfect business companion. It's also extremely light, which is great when you're carrying around a briefcase, backpack or handbag to and from work every day. It weighs just under 1kg, and definitely feels it, too. The first time I picked up the Swift 5, I geed up to expect the full weight of the heavy laptops I'm used to, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's supremely light and portable, make it easy and breezy to carry to and from work.
That breeziness extends to its everyday performance. It's quick on start-up and runs pleasantly through work tasks and had zero issues with overheating.
During my time with the laptop, I didn't encounter any lag that wasn't to do with pre-historic internet speeds. Sure, the innards a bit basic and it's not the most powerful rocket on the market, but it does pretty well for itself and serves its purpose well. It also features very satisfying keys that aren't too mushy or click-clacky. They have a nice, satisfying and bouncy push that feels similar to Mac keys.
As for the battery life, it's claimed that it can achieve up to 12.5 hours of battery life on 'day-to-night productivity', while we can assume to mean simple work tasks like word processing. To test this, the laptop underwent a battery rundown test that involved reducing the brightness to 50 per cent and having the Swift 5 stream Stan for as long as possible on a single charge.
In actuality it lasted about half the time quoted - 6 hours and 4 minutes. Of course, you're not likely to be using it to stream all day. During the review period I used it for about 2-3 hours a day for work, general browsing and a small about of Netflix watching. I only had to charge it once every 3 days, which is much closer to Acer's battery estimation.
So in that respect, if you're in need of a light steed for a work trip or even longer days in the office, the Swift 5 should serve you fairly well, just bring your charger with you just in case.
But behold, the competition
So, how does it stack up? Well, there's plenty of other laptops, chromebooks and tablets on the market that are directly competing with the Acer Swift 5 for work productivity, but none nearly as stylish in my opinion. There's the MSI Prestige range, which starts at $1,699 (but was on sale for $1,359 at the time of writing) and boasts an i7 processor, GeForce MX150 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
This one is a bit of a chunker and far less pretty to look at, but has more robust specs for those in need of greater processing power.
There's also the Acer Spin 5, a $1,398 2-in-1 with similar specs — it houses an i5 processor and 8GB of RAM alongside a hefty 256GB SSD. It also measures in at 13.3-inches and offers easy touch support for more involved work productivity. Whether the cheaper 2-in-1 is more appealing will depend on your work circumstances and needs.
The Acer Swift 5 also contends with the $1,699 13.5-inch and $1,999 15-inch Surface Laptop 3s, which you can read about below:
The 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 might be one of the most portable 15-inch devices I’ve ever used. It’s thin, it weighs just 1kg, it has a big 15-inch display, and somehow it manages to be pretty powerful to boot. I’ve rarely used a laptop this big that feels so small when transported from home to office, or even just around the house. It’s absolutely excellent. It’s also the first premium device in years to rely on an AMD processor instead of an Intel one. AMD and Intel have both made a very big deal about this partnership, and having used the Surface Laptop 3 for almost a week, I understand their enthusiasm.
Here, it'll depend on your sizing preference and processing needs. Both iterations are priced similarly to the Acer Swift 5, but also house greater specs. The 13.5-inch version even has a 10th-generation Intel Ice Lake CPU inside it, making it a more than worthy contender.
It is, however, priced cheaper than the $1,799 13-inch HP Envy 13, which houses a Core i5, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD much like the $1,499 Swift 5. So while it's beaten out by a lot of the higher specced and reasonably priced competition, it is still fairly competitive in its price tier.
Should you buy it?
The main deciding factor in purchasing the Acer Swift 5 is likely to be a combination of the price tag, size requirements and working needs. Those looking for a cheap and handy work solution might even consider something like the $1,229 iPad Pro or $779 iPad Air when deciding their tools of the trade.
The Acer Swift 5 is a basic, but reliable machine. It's just that it faces some fearsome rivals in a market that are very competitively priced.
The Acer Swift 5 is gorgeous. It's well built and houses fitting specs for an on-the-go portable laptop. I'm just not sure that's enough to differentiate it from the rest of the market.