Ultralight notebooks are no longer mystical creatures that we can hardly ever see once in a lifetime; They have become a relatively common product in a market that has always wanted more portability.
But that does not mean that, from time to time, the sector is not capable of surprising us from time to time. The race to get the finest laptop possible is not going to end; And that, despite the incredible progress that has been made in this direction.
The golden age of ultrabooks
There are two decisive factors in the fact that we are increasingly seeing thinner laptops. On the one hand, hardware is more efficient than ever; especially, the latest Intel CPUs offer a great balance between power and TDP (the heat generated).
Second, manufacturers have become bolder in designing the interior of their notebooks, with outrageous methods of expelling heat; many times, no fan required, as if it were a tablet or a smartphone.
For all these reasons we say that it is difficult to be surprised when they offer us to try an ultralight laptop (or ultrabook, as Intel wants us to call them). But again, that doesn’t mean they don’t get it. As for example, with the new Swift 7 from Acer.
Technical characteristics of the Acer Swift 7 (tested unit)
- Processor Intel Core i7-7Y75 dual core four wire.
- Base speed 1.30 GHz.
- Turbo speed 3.60 GHz.
- 4 MB Smart Cache.
- 4.5W TDP.
- RAM 8 GB LPDDR3 Dual-Channel.
- Storage 256GB NVMe SSD.
- Graph Integrated Intel HD Graphics 615.
- Size 14 inches.
- Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels.
- IPS technology.
- 16: 9 aspect ratio.
- 170 degree viewing angle.
- Sound with Dolby Audio Premium and Acer TrueHarmony with two speakers.
- Webcam 720p resolution with HDR.
- 4G / LTE up to 50 Mbps upload and 450 Mbps download.
- WiFi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac.
- Ports Two USB 3.1 USB-C type, capable of charging and compatible with DisplayPort.
- Privacy Fingerprint reader compatible with Windows Hello.
- Battery 35.2 Wh. Lifespan of up to 10 hours according to MobileMark 2014 and 11 hours in video playback.
Acer Swift 7, the world’s thinnest laptop
The Acer Swift 7 is the thinnest notebook in the world, with a thickness of just 8.98 mm; We do not know how long this honor will last, but what we are clear about is that, at the moment, it is the best example of what is possible right now in this sector. But let’s not anticipate events.
The Swift 7 was presented in late 2017, hype and cymbal, as part of the new generation of Acer notebooks; And months later, it is still as impressive as the first day. Just take it out of the box and notice the 1.2 kg weight, you know it’s something special; you can pick it up as easily as if it were a tablet, except that it is much more.
An important detail is that it does not give the feeling of being fragile, one of the sacrifices that ultrabooks usually accept; aluminum chassis It gives us the security of taking it with one hand and doing what we want without fear. As proof of this robustness, with the laptop open the screen does not shake when we type, even with force; and we can take the open laptop and move it from side to side and the screen will stay in place.
By cons, the negative point is that the screen cannot be opened with just one hand; the hinges are not designed for that and we will need both hands to hold the bottom of the laptop while we open it.
A neat and elegant exterior, without going overboard
Otherwise, the Acer Swift 7 gives a very good feeling when we take it. At times, it’s like taking air, but the texture of the case helps That does not mean throwing the laptop at the slightest movement.
Matte black is the undisputed protagonist, with small chrome details throughout the device. As for example, the Acer logo, which highlights how right between the sea of black is the back cover. The choice of color personally seems flawless to me; not to mention that matte doesn’t appeal as much to fingerprints as glossy finishes.
Another detail that breaks this harmony is a line, of a lighter gray color and that is immediately apparent. It is necessary to ensure coverage of the 4G / LTE antenna built into the Swift 7; On the right side of the laptop we find a slot to put our SIM card. In this way, with the Swift 7 we can get an Internet connection anywhere, without having to search for a Wi-Fi network.
The sacrifices of an ultrathin laptop
When we pick up the Swift 7 and start messing around with it, we realize very quickly what we have to pay to enjoy such a technical achievement. I speak, of course, of the lack of ports.
The Swift 7 adds to the fashion of depend on only one type of connector: USB-C; and above, we only have two, and on the same left side. We have little to say about the choice of connector; it is undeniable that USB-C, or Type-C, has honorably earned its place in our lives. It is not for less, considering that it is the first USB that we can connect as we want.
Of course, the real reason it is present in Swift 7 is its versatility. From a single USB-C connector we can do many things, such as charging the laptop. The interesting thing comes when we use any of the many adapters on the market, which allow us to get all kinds of ports; from Ethernet, Displayport, HDMI, or various types of USB.
Yes, this is one of those laptops that scream for an adapter to get the most out of its ports. And yes, that means carrying another pileup on you.
Do not blame Acer for this decision. If they really wanted to create the world’s thinnest laptop, they couldn’t afford to put in ports like Ethernet; even HDMI is great compared to USB-C. Sooner or later, we will have to accept that USB-C is not the future, but the present, and I’m not just talking about ultralight laptops.
For all this, it is understandable that we do not have many things to say about the sides of the laptop. On one side we have the two USB-C ports; and on the other the SIM slot and the power button (which protrudes just enough to find it without having to look).
The desolation continues on the other faces of the laptop. There is absolutely nothing of interest, and ironically, that’s what’s interesting. Normally we can discover a lot of a laptop just by looking over it; The buttons, ports, and cooling slots speak of design decisions much better than a press release.
However, with the Swift 7, for the first time in a long time I have been left blank. Because there is absolutely nothing worth mentioning on either side. Not even cooling slots.
Yes, in a decision that many would call risky, Swift 7’s aluminum chassis line never breaks. There are no fans that blow hot air anywhere. Saying it takes your breath away is an understatement, but is it a good decision?
because it is not necessary
The key is that the Swift 7 doesn’t really need additional cooling. Much of the blame lies with the processor chosen in the tested model, an Intel Core i7-7Y75. A seventh generation model (and not the eighth one introduced this year) that focuses on offering impressive thermal efficiency, staying at 4.5 W.
Acer is betting that with such a low TDP and proper interior design there is no need to use fans. And you know what? That he is right. Aida64 stability tests gave very good results; After several minutes of charging, temperatures stabilized at around 70-75 degrees (in this hot summer). But most important of all is that there was no throttling, that technique that consists of reducing the frequency of the processor when a critical temperature is reached.
Therefore, the Swift 7 is capable of staying at temperatures more than acceptable for long periods of charge, without compromising power. And all that, without a single slot; and of course without any noise
What is certain is that the aluminum chassis warmed up its own, both during tests and during normal use. The area above the keyboard is especially hot, as well as the bottom of the device; a heat that can be transferred to the keys, especially at the top and right. Typing during heavy workloads can make you notice it, but not to the point of being annoying.
Exceptional vivid colors and blacks thanks to the IPS display
The screen of the Swift 7 is 14 inches and resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels. Compared to that of other high-end models, it lags behind in terms of resolution; but it is more than enough for its size. At fourteen inches you really are not going to see the pixels with this resolution. In addition, thanks to this it is possible to save on battery.
In addition, it is more important that the screen has a clear and quality image, and in this sense we did not find fault with the Swift 7. Uses IPS technology, so colors are vivid, whether we are watching a movie or enjoying our photos; is a outstanding choice from Acer. Blacks are especially notable; Enjoying movies is very easy with a screen like this.
Instead, there are other aspects in which it can be improved; like for example the edges. Although Acer has worked to reduce them, they are still very present; perhaps they collide more than they should when compared to the rest of the laptop design. Of course they are not annoying, but they are not the best on the market either; Especially noticeable is the bottom edge, where we see the Acer logo again, which is especially large.
A webcam at the bottom, as fashion dictates
Below we find the webcam, compatible with HDR. Yes, the webcam is located below the screen, and not at the top as we are used to. It is an increasingly popular position among manufacturers who want to remove top edges; and at the same time it is hated by many users.
Although it seems like a minor change, it makes a big difference in perspective; the camera records us from belowSo if we are on a video call the other person will never feel that we are looking at your face.
A perspective in which we can count the other person’s nose hairs is not very pleasant; but since the webcam is not something we use constantly, you probably don’t mind. The thing is, most of the industry is already taking that position, so be prepared if you don’t like it.
A very improvable sound
Earlier we explained how the entire chassis of the Swift 7 is pristine, flawless. There is an exception, the speakers, which occupy separate gaps at the bottom of the chassis.
Yes, unfortunately Acer has not found a better place for the speakers, and that affects the sound. Although the Swift 7 boasts technologies like Acer’s Dolby Audio Premium and TrueHarmony, the sound is clearly compromised by its weakest point, the speakers.
Being normally glued to the table or support on which we use it, the sound drowns and is not pleasant at all; But even when we pick up the laptop, the speakers have little impact, even at maximum volume.
Stable but somewhat limited hinges
The screen is also multi-touch touchscreen; so we can make gestures on the screen instead of using the trackpad or a mouse. It can come in handy for very specific situations, but most of the time we will forget that the screen is tactile.
This is a somewhat more unnecessary addition to a laptop like this; especially since we are not facing a convertible that we can use as a tablet. And is that the hinges only allow open the laptop to about 170 degrees.
The hinges are, curiously, the element that collides the most aesthetically speaking. Due to its design, the screen appears to float on the laptop; Unlike other models, the separation between the screen and the laptop base is remarkable. It is a detail that frustrates some and is harmless to others.
We forget all that as soon as we take the open laptop, for example, to change it. The stability of the hinges is not lacking even in the worst situations; We will never see the screen shake in normal use.
As part of this mechanism, even with the laptop closed we can see part of the base of the laptop; It is in this area where we have the status lights of the laptop, to indicate that the laptop is on or charging. It is a position designed so that they remain visible when we open the laptop. Some manufacturers prefer to place them on the sides, but really in this position it does not bother.
One of my favorite details is the word SWIFT, which is hidden in this same area, but that we can only see at certain angles.
A keyboard that could have been much worse
In addition to ports, one of the first things I noticed when I first tried Swift 7 was the keyboard; This is usually one of the worst parts of this type of ultra-thin notebooks.
Surprisingly the keys give the feeling that they have a certain path; not the best I’ve had on a laptop, of course. But that in so little space Acer has managed to offer that feeling, it is quite an achievement.
Unfortunately, despite everything, it is not something that can be endured for a long time. The soft feeling that affects many of these models is still present. The size of the keys could be greater, and the distance between them, smaller. But despite everything, it says a lot about the market situation that can say that it could be worse.
Especially since Acer has allowed itself the luxury of including backlight; By default it is activated only when we use the keyboard, and it is only a white light. But it is backlight, which is already more than we could expect.
The trackpad, on the other hand, is large and generous; It is very nice to use, and I never felt that I was running out of space to move the cursor. On the contrary, it is not one that can be clicked, as if it were a mouse; so we rely exclusively on gestures and keyboard shortcuts if we don’t connect a mouse. At least the latter will be easy with the built-in Bluetooth 4.1 connection.
Another element that we might not expect is the fingerprint reader, present to the left of the keyboard. Of course, it is compatible with Windows Hello to log in quickly and safely.
Power that does not surprise us, but it is enough
Let’s go back to the Intel Core i7-7Y75; With its two cores and four wires, at a basic frequency of 1.30 GHz and turbo of 3.60 GHz, we cannot say that its speed will make us dizzy. It is a processor designed specifically for this type of ultrabooks, and it does its job more than correctly.
That means, along with the included 8GB of LPDDR3 memory, performance is acceptable. Whether we are surfing the Internet, working in Office, or making some adjustments to an image editing program, the Swift 7 is capable of anything.
Of course, we can’t expect it to do it as fast as triple-thick computers; But we should not think that only for this reason the Swift 7 lacks power, because it is not. For most uses, you should have no problems.
The key, of course, is what happens when we ask for more. And in that case, you may be disappointed. Especially since the i7 is the high-end of this laptop; We can also achieve this with a Core i5-7Y54 that is even more limited.
Don’t expect to play the latest titles in Swift 7 either. It doesn’t have a dedicated graph; And the HD 615 that comes integrated with the processor is just enough to use the desktop, watch movies, and run less demanding 3D applications. You can play, of course, but only old titles or that are not very demanding; games like Fortnite (with the graphics at low and lowering the resolution), DOTA 2 or similar can be ideal for
The Swift 7 experience is generally good. There are no problems in doing the same as we would in any other laptop, and in that sense, extreme reduction in thickness does not affect the use too much; that’s the most important thing. However, those who ask their teams for more may soon encounter a wall, which they would not expect on laptops starting at around 1,000.
The good thing about all this is that, despite its minimal thickness, the Swift 7 is able to offer us long work sessions.
Integrated battery is 35.2 Wh; And when I say integrated, unfortunately that means that we cannot easily remove it. We will have to remove the screws from the bottom cover and risk breaking something inside.
At least Acer has made sure that it is a good battery, and that the hardware takes advantage of it correctly; Acer boasts 10 hours of battery in benchmarks, although in our actual use experience (stress tests included) it has turned out to be between six to eight hours, depending on what we were doing. In normal use, you should be able to endure a working day without problems.
Achieving that in less than 9mm thickness and with an x86 processor is nothing short of praise.
Acer Swift 7, sacrifices worthwhile
Having said all this, is a Swift 7 worth it?
The big problem that we can find is that the power / price ratio is not exactly the best From the market; And that can be decisive when choosing a laptop. Once we reach certain prices, the user expects a certain chord power; Unfortunately, that power is not present in the Swift 7, even in the most expensive model.
But let’s be honest. If you are considering buying the thinnest laptop in the world, it is not because you want maximum power; It is not because you want to play or edit video. It is because you want something light, manageable, and why not say it, something that arouses envy. AND Swift 7 is all those things and more.
I can’t help but think that the future of laptops goes through models like the Swift 7. Technology may not yet have reached the point where we can have an ultra-thin and ultra-powerful laptop; but we are getting closer.
It seems that there is no going back. The problems that have always been associated with ultrabooks have been solved or are no longer. The lack of ports is a good example, thanks to the versatility of USB-C; Simply, more and more people use USB-C devices or have accepted the use of adapters.
The Acer Swift 7 has had to suffer many sacrifices to get where it is. But I can’t help but think it was worth it.
Unlike the first ultrabooks a few years ago, when I use the Swift 7 I no longer think about what I’m missing; I think about how much I am enjoying it, about the great advances that have been made and that I have no doubts about creating a school.