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Acer Swift X (AMD) review


At 3.31 pounds, the Acer Swift X (starting at $ 849.99; $ 1,099.99 based on testing) is five ounces too heavy to be an ultraportable, and it’s not a gaming laptop. despite having a fairly gaming-worthy Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU. Instead, it’s a 14-inch laptop that offers one of the best price / performance ratios you can find, assuming you can find it, because Acer has already announced a higher-resolution heir with a 16:10 screen aspect rather than 16: 9. report. But the Swift X seen here is worth looking for if you want enough power in a near ultraportable.

Ryzen Up! Four, six or eight cores

The base $ 849.99 model of the Swift X sports a six-core AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor and GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, as well as a Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixel) non-touch IPS display. Our $ 1,099.99 test model (SFX14-41G-R1S6) upgrades to AMD’s 1.9GHz (4.4GHz turbo) eight-core Ryzen 7 5800U chip and the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti from AMD. 4 GB, plus 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB NVMe SSD. Buyers who insist on Intel inside can choose from several quad-core units, ranging from $ 999.99 for a Core i5-11320H to $ 1,279.99 for a Core i7-11390H.

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Acer Swift X (AMD) right angle

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Clad in aluminum (in a shade dubbed “Safari Gold”) with a chrome Acer logo on the lid, the laptop measures 0.7 by 12.7 by 8.4 inches, about the same as others. 14-inch slimlines like the VAIO SX14 and the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8, though they’re lighter (around 2.5 pounds each). There is a slight flex if you grip the corners of the screen or tap the keyboard, which tilts slightly for a comfortable typing angle when you open the cover.

The screen’s top and side bezels are nicely thin; the webcam in the top frame does not have a safety shutter, although one of the top row function keys mutes the system microphone. A small rectangular (rather than square) fingerprint reader under the keyboard lets you bypass passwords with Windows Hello. An Amazon Alexa sticker joins the usual AMD and Nvidia labels on the palm rest.

Acer Swift X (AMD) left ports

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The left edge of the laptop contains two USB 3.2 ports, one type A and one type C, along with an HDMI video output and power connector. A second USB-A port, audio jack, and security cable lock notch are on the right. Acer forgot an SD or microSD card slot.

Acer Swift X (AMD) right ports

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Small keys

The backlit keyboard is a mixed bag. Some keys like Enter and Right Shift are almost huge, but the cursor arrow keys are stuck with Page Up and Page Down – the latter two serve as both Home and End with the Fn key – and quite small. The top row keys including Esc, Delete, and the brightness and volume controls are also small.

The keyboard has a shallow wooden typing feel that isn’t exactly uncomfortable but isn’t crisp or responsive either. The buttonless touchpad is smooth; it slides and taps smoothly, and its lower half clicks easily, but its upper half is stiff and unstable.

Acer Swift X Keyboard (AMD)

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The 14-inch non-touch screen is bright enough, if not dazzling, with good contrast. Viewing angles are relatively wide, and white backgrounds are crisp instead of grayish or dull. But, alas, the colors don’t pop – they’re reasonably well saturated but not rich or vivid. The fine details are crisp enough for a 1080p panel.

The webcam has the fuzzy and inexpensive 720p resolution typical of a modern consumer laptop; it captures pale and fairly colorful images with a lot of noise or static. The speakers at the bottom of the Swift produce a relatively smooth and fairly clear sound; there is no bass and you can barely make out the overlapping tracks. DTS Audio software offers presets for music, movies, and games, as well as an equalizer with boosted treble, vocals, and presumed bass.

Front view of the Acer Swift X (AMD)

(Photo: Molly Flores)

A quick access utility provides anti-blue light screen adjustment and normal, quiet, and performance cooling modes. (We used the latter for our benchmark tests, but didn’t notice any loud fans.) Acer Care Center offers software updates, as well as tune-up and recovery options.

Acer is one of the worst offenders when it comes to preloading systems with commercial apps and bloatware, and the Swift X has a truckload. Windows 10 Home and Norton Security Ultra are fine, but you also get Amazon, Booking.com, Disney +, Dropbox, Evernote, ExpressVPN, Figleaf, GoTrust ID, Planet9 Link, PhotoDirector, PowerDirector, and a handful of Random Salad card sets. For a semi-premium unit like the Swift X, that’s just too much cleaning required.

Swift X review: 14 inches multiplied by five

For our benchmark graphics, we compared the Acer Swift X to four other 14-inch laptops. Two, the VAIO SX14 and Acer’s Swift 3X, are primarily aimed at consumers. The other two, the Dell Latitude 7420 and the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8, are more expensive business notebooks. You can see their basic specs in the table below.

Productivity tests

UL’s leading PCMark 10 benchmark simulates a variety of real-world productivity and content creation workflows to measure overall performance of office tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and video conferencing . We also run the PCMark 10 Full System Drive test to assess a laptop’s load time and storage throughput.

Three benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to assess a PC’s suitability for CPU-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 uses that company’s Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates popular applications ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the HandBrake 1.4 open source video transcoder to convert a 12 minute video clip from 4K resolution to 1080p resolution (lower times are better).

Our latest productivity test is PugetBench for Photoshop from Puget Systems, which uses version 22 of Creative Cloud from Adobe’s popular image editor to assess a PC’s performance for content creation and multimedia applications. This is an automated extension that performs a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks, from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image to applying masks, gradients. and filters.

All five laptops easily erased PCMark 10’s 4,000 points that indicate excellent productivity for Microsoft Office or Google Workspace, but the Swift X’s eight-core Ryzen chip topped our processor tests. It also overtook the VAIO in Photoshop.

Graphics tests

We test the graphics of Windows PCs with two 3DMark DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL, Night Raid (more modest, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming platforms with GPUs) discrete).

We’re also running two tests from the GFXBench 5 cross-platform GPU benchmark, which emphasizes both low-level routines such as texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering. The 1440p tests Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase, rendered offscreen to accommodate different display resolutions, exercise graphics, and compute shaders using the OpenGL programming interface and hardware tessellation, respectively. The more frames per second (fps) the better.

No surprise here: The only entry with a discrete GPU, the GeForce-powered Swift X moved away from the integrated graphics of other lightweights. The RTX 3050 Ti isn’t near the top of Nvidia’s offerings, but it’s by far the most gaming-ready silicon in this bunch.

Battery and display tests

We test the battery life of laptops by playing a locally stored 720p video file (the open source Blender movie Tears of steel) with 50% screen brightness and 100% audio volume. We make sure the battery is fully charged before testing, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlight turned off.

We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite sensor and monitor calibration software to measure the color saturation of a laptop screen – what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color ranges or palettes is on the screen can display – and its 50% and its maximum brightness in nits (candelas per square meter).

The Swift X had the second shortest battery life in the bunch, but will easily get you through a full day of work or school as well as a Netflix night. None of the screens on these laptops can match the quality of a mobile workstation or digital content creation PC, but all are more than enough for everyday applications.

Should we wait for the new edition?

As mentioned, the Acer Swift X 2022 (with model numbers starting with SFX14-51G instead of this device’s SFX14-41G) is a different design with a sharper screen of 2240 x 1440 pixels; it’s also slightly lighter at 3.09 pounds. That makes it tempting, but it’ll likely cost more than the AMD-based Swift X here.

Rear view of the Acer Swift X (AMD)

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The latter fills a sort of niche with neither fish nor poultry – it’s a bit heavier than an ultraportable and doesn’t fit into a full-fledged gaming rig or workstation – but that’s a compromise. fast at a reasonable price. The Swift X doesn’t deserve Editor’s Choice honors, but it certainly does have its attractions, if you need a little more power (CPU and GPU) for the money in a mainstream machine.

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