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Review: Acer’s Swift 5 is an affordable ultralight with notable sacrifices

Acer Swift 5
Enlarge / Acer’s 2022 Swift 5 laptop.

Scharon Harding

Specs at a glance: Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56T-797T)
Screen 14-inch 2560×1600 60 Hz IPS touchscreen
OS Windows 11 Home
CPU Intel Core i7-1260P
Storage 1 TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
GPU Intel Iris Xe (integrated)
Networking Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 2x USB-C (Thunderbolt 4), 2x USB-A (3.2 Gen 1), 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x 3.5 mm jack
Size 12.22 x 8.4 x 0.59 inches
(310.5 x 213.3 x 14.95 mm)
Weight 2.65 lbs (1.2 kg)
Battery 56 Whr
Warranty 1 year
Price (MSRP) $1,500

The Acer Swift 5 ($1,500 MSRP) may not be your dream ultralight laptop, but it’s not a bad one. You won’t squeeze the most performance out of the Swift, and its touchpad still bothers me after weeks of use. But with perks like a good port selection and a strong keyboard, the laptop is worth a look if you want to save some money. Even though there are some compromises, it’s a decent option with a lower price tag than similarly specced alternatives.

Colorful design

The Swift 5 is priced lower than other ultralights with 12th Gen CPUs, a fact that is apparent when you hold it. According to Acer, the chassis is made from 6053 aluminum alloy with a 75 HV hardness and anodization to fight degradation (its gold accents are double-anodized). But instead of a luxurious metallic-like finish, like Lenovo’s Yoga 9i carries, it looks and feels like lightweight plastic that can still fall victim to scratches.

Subtle texturing helps the design, though, and prevents the laptop from feeling too slippery during use. The keyboard showed subtle flex when I typed aggressively, and that flexing became more apparent when I pressed down on the keyboard.

Despite those shortcomings, the Swift 5 doesn’t look bad. It comes in a forest green with gold accents (Acer told me that there may be a blue option eventually). The green finish showed a subtly sparkly finish, and the deep coloring and brushed finish of the gold sides looked particularly attractive. If you’re sick of gray, silver, and black laptops, the Swift 5 provides a refreshing look.

The spine props up the top of the keyboard.
Enlarge / The spine props up the top of the keyboard.

Scharon Harding

The Swift’s decorative spine is more about form than function, though. I would prefer to be able to push the laptop’s screen back far enough to make it level with the keyboard, but that’s not possible. This may not be an issue for some buyers, but it prevented me from using the laptop on the couch or on my lap at max comfort. Since it’s an ultralight laptop weighing just 2.65 lbs, more flexibility would make sense.

This is as far back as the top goes.
Enlarge / This is as far back as the top goes.

Scharon Harding

One place Acer didn’t skimp is port selection, especially when you compare the Swift 5 to the many laptops skipping anything but USB-C these days. The Swift 5 has two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left side, including one for charging, plus an HDMI 2.1 port and USB-A on the left. The right side has another USB-A port, a headphone jack, and a Kensington lock.

A small note: There are two lights on the side of the laptop representing battery and power. I found their colored lights (one of which is always on) mildly distracting in dark rooms or when using the laptop plugged into my TV for entertainment.

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