Acer Swift X review: Enter the fast lane

(Pocket-lint) – Acer is entering the fast lane with its Swift line, by introducing the discreet looking Swift X – but it packs a punch, as it includes discrete graphics in the form of Nvidia’s RTX 3050 or 3050Ti under the hood.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen Acer step towards a more graphically powerful Swift laptop – the Swift 3X dabbled in that area with Intel Iris Xe graphics – but the Swift X really looks to step things up a notch. So does it all add up?

Design & Display

  • 14-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS LCD panel
    • 300 nits brightness, 100% sRGB gamut
  • Aluminium chassis: Blue, Gold, Pink colours
  • Integrated fingerprint scanner
  • Weight: 1.4kgs (3lbs)
  • Thickness: 17.9mm

It’s worth noting that the Acer Swift X isn’t a crazy-expensive laptop, with the entry model starting at under four figures (it’s £899 in the UK, due for July launch). That’s important to consider when weighing up the overall aesthetics and build of this laptop.

Pocket-lintAcer Swift X review photo 14

Visually speaking we think the Swift X has got the X factor – especially with the soft blue finish of the aluminium lid, as you can see in our pictures – with some nice flourishes ensuring it looks the part.

But in terms of actual build, it’s fairly typical of what we’ve often said about the Swift series: there are some details that lack the same veracity. The screen bezel, for example, has a plasticky look and feel to it.

So you’re not getting full-on rigid metal build throughout, as you would in, say, a MacBook Air. But the Acer is less money. And it’s much, much more powerful. Which establishes its whole point really.

Pocket-lintAcer Swift X review photo 19

There’s plenty of other features, too, including a Windows Hello camera for face unlock, or you can use the integrated fingerprint scanner for that instead. The scanner’s position is a little out on its own, but at least it doesn’t use up any of the trackpad space.

Typing is comfortable, there’s backlighting, while the trackpad is well coated for finger gliding motion. No qualms here.

As for the screen, it’s a 14-inch panel, which in 2021 is the current go-to scale that many makers – and, indeed, customers – are reaching out to buy. It’s a good balance of scale and portability – given the whole laptop is under 18mm thick with that discrete GPU inside is impressive – without going to especially high-end levels in terms of specification.

Pocket-lintAcer Swift X review photo 5

The resolution, at Full HD, is ample and should help assist battery life to push that bit further too. Brightness is cited at 300 nits, which is hardly going to rock your world, but should be enough to counter reflections whether inside or outside.

Performance

  • Nvidia RTX 3050 / 3050Ti discrete graphics // AMD Ryzen 5000 / 7000 processors
  • Ports: 1x USB-C, 2x USB-A, 1x HDMI, 1x 3.5mm headphons jack
  • Thermal system: Fans (0.3mm blades), dual copper heat pipes
  • Cited battery life: Up to 14 hours
  • Wi-Fi 6 connectivity

But the real reason to consider the Swift X is the power within. This is a discreet looking creators laptop, really, that you could use for work, design, gaming – all manner of things.

Pocket-lintAcer Swift X review photo 27

Under the hood there’s AMD’s Ryzen 5000 processor paired with Nvidia’s RTX 3050 GPU at the entry point. For under four-figures that’s decent. The step-up model brings AMD Ryzen 7000 and Nvidia RTX 3050Ti into play, pushing the price over the four-figure mark (£1199 in the UK), but still being a very reasonable purchase all considered.

Because there’s a discrete GPU under the hood, cooling is necessary, with rear fan vents tucked away enough as to not be overtly prominent, yet still functional enough to kick in when needed. There’s a whole fan and copper pipe thermal cooling system to aid keeping everything in check too.

In terms of ports the Swift X has quite a number – including USB-A, USB-C and even HDMI out – but it’s here where this laptop is a little lacking. We’re surprised there’s just the one USB-C port, for example, and there’s no nod to Thunderbolt speeds from what we can see either.

Pocket-lintAcer Swift X review photo 10

Connectivity wise there’s Wi-Fi 6 for decent speeds while on a network, but don’t anticipate a mobile 5G option within this range. It’s more about desk surfing than it is connected on-the-go use.

First Impressions

The Swift X helps Acer’s middle-range laptops enter the fast lane thanks to discrete graphics being on board. The entry-level model bags Nvidia RTX 3050 for under a four-figure asking price.

It’s a shame there’s not more ports (or more diverse ones) – it’s just the one USB-C here – and some aspects of the build, such as the plastic screen bezel, could be a little better. But, elsewhere, the colourful lid options and aluminium frame ensure an overall quality.

So if you’re looking for a portable yet discreet-looking laptop with big power but without a big price tag, the Acer Swift X ought to have plenty to offer.

Writing by Mike Lowe.





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