Acer Swift 7

IT’S THE WORLD’S THINNEST LAP­TOP, BUT CAN IT STAND UP TO ITS SLIGHTLY THICKER COM­PETI­TORS WHERE IT COUNTS?

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ DAN GAR­DINER ]

TAI­WANESE PC-MAKER ACER re­vealed a cou­ple of rather at­trac­tive por­ta­ble sis­ter PCs at the end of last year — one a lap­top, the other a 2-in-1. We pre­vi­ously looked at the lat­ter — the Spin 7 — in our Fe­bru­ary is­sue (see page 15) and this Swift is ba­si­cally cut from the same cloth, al­beit to a much slim­mer form. This is of­fi­cially the world’s thinnest lap­top, squeez­ing in at just un­der a cen­time­tre thick (9.98mm) and weigh­ing 1.12kg. So is the at­trac­tion just phys­i­cal, or does the Swift have the brains to back up that body?

A glance at the spec sheet shows that Acer has cer­tainly taken a good stab at it. There’s a Core i7 chip pow­er­ing the show, com­bined with a 13.3-inch LED-backit 1080p dis­play, 256GB SSD and 8GB of mem­ory. And de­spite those sat­is­fy­ing specs, it comes in at just $1,700 — a lower-than-av­er­age price for a pre­mium ultrabook, which, in Aus­tralia, has crept up to around the $2,000 mark. Also grat­i­fy­ing is the fact that all the in­ter­nal hard­ware is pas­sively cooled, so there are no fans and is, there­fore, com­pletely silent in operation.

The in­puts, too, work agree­ably in use. While the track­pad is al­most com­i­cally wide, it’s pleas­ingly sharp and re­spon­sive, and per­forms well, as does the chi­clet key­board, al­though the lat­ter isn’t back­lit — the body is pre­sum­ably too thin for Acer to have been able to fit the key mech­a­nism as well as an LED.

As with all th­ese su­per-slim lap­tops, the ports on of­fer are lim­ited, how­ever. Here, that means you get just two USB 3.1 Type-C sock­ets at the back of the right edge — one of which dou­bles as the charg­ing port — plus a 3.5mm head­set I/O. Acer has thrown a small don­gle in the box that’ll adapt one of those Type-C ports to the more tra­di­tional Type-A, so you can whip that out when needed (which for the next few years, at least, is likely to be fre­quent).

On the sur­face, then, that all sounds like a lit­tle lap­top that makes few com­pro­mises, but there has been at least a lit­tle bit of sac­ri­fice of func­tion to ac­co­mo­date form. This isn’t as good as Dell’s XPS 13 in terms of bat­tery life or horse­power, for ex­am­ple — al­though in fair­ness, the Dell is twice as thick and an ex­tra 160g or so heav­ier, com­ing in at 1.3kg vs the Swift’s 1.12kg. And while the Swift doesn’t match the XPS’s class-lead­ing bat­tery life of around 6–7 hours, it still man­ages an ac­cept­able 4–5 hours in the same mixed-task home/of­fice work­loads, and is a bit un­der 6 hours for watch­ing 1080p movies.

Some­thing we’ve pointed out be­fore, but that’s worth re­it­er­at­ing is that In­tel’s re-branded its low-power ‘Core M’ chips with this seventh-gen­er­a­tion Core (aka Kaby Lake) chips. That means that, de­spite the name, the Core i7 used here isn’t re­ally the same as what you’ll find in, say, ASUS’s ZenBook 3 or the Dell XPS 13 — the give­away is the ‘Y’ in its model iden­ti­fier (i7-7Y75), meaning it’s fru­gal in terms of power use, but it also runs at a lower clock speed and can’t reach the same per­for­mance lev­els as its ‘stan­dard’ mo­bile Core i7 coun­ter­parts.

How much of an im­pact that ac­tu­ally makes will de­pend on your com­put­ing needs. The Swift mainly falls over when it comes to tasks like video en­cod­ing, high-res mul­ti­me­dia work and heavy mul­ti­task­ing (ei­ther in the sense that you have lots of apps or browser tabs open, or just a few more-de­mand­ing ones). That said, if you’re just do­ing gen­eral day-to­day com­put­ing (surf­ing the web, work­ing with doc­u­ments and spread­sheets watch­ing videos, a lit­tle light gam­ing), then the Swift holds up more than ad­e­quately.

So while this isn’t an ultrabook for ev­ery­one, for most, it should suit per­fectly fine — and it cer­tainly makes up for some of the pro­cess­ing short­fall with its out­stand­ing porta­bil­ity. Def­i­nitely one worth con­sid­er­ing if you’re look­ing for a thin, light lap­top that still de­liv­ers the goods.

ON THE SUR­FACE, THAT ALL SOUNDS LIKE A LIT­TLE LAP­TOP THAT MAKES FEW COM­PRO­MISES, BUT THERE HAS BEEN AT LEAST A LIT­TLE BIT OF SAC­RI­FICE OF FUNC­TION TO AC­CO­MO­DATE FORM.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.