In late summer of 2016 Acer also decided to participate in the prestigious race for the thinnest laptop. The thickness of Acer Swift 7 is only 9.98 mm, the manufacturer refers to the advantages of performance and battery life. The laptop entered our test lab, which allows us to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Acer Swift 7.
Acer does not give a special freedom of choice. In Russia, only one configuration is available, but it is aimed at the mass market. Therefore, there is nothing exotic in the set of components, although the slim body still introduces its limitations.
But to pay for the Acer Swift 7 will have a pretty decent. In Europe, the version of SF713-51-M2SB (NX.GK6EV.001) will cost 1.299 euros.
To some extent, the price justifies the choice of colors. Many laptops on the market have a simple gray or silver color, but Acer Swift 7 you can chose a combination of golden and black shades. There are no other colors. Of course, golden color is a matter of taste, but Acer skillfully played on the contrast of the two colors. The display cover and the frame are black, the main body is golden. With the exception of the display surface, the matte surface, which emphasizes a feeling of high quality.
The same goes for design. But here everything depends on the perspective, from different angles Acer Swift 7 looks different. From the top, the laptop seems rather modest due to clean edges and corners, on the sides it becomes more elegant due to the curved profile. In the open state, attention is drawn to the display hinges with an angular projection in the center. At first, the laptop seems like an awkward mixture of different forms, but it’s quite pleasant to work with it, and Acer managed to create an original design.
As for the choice of materials, Acer used mainly aluminum. Only some parts of the body are made of plastic. The display, like the frame is protected by Gorilla Glass, so you can count on a certain mechanical strength. In fact, the display cover is slightly distortible twisting, but we found nothing critical. The main body is more durable, it no longer lends itself to deformation, even if you make an effort. The hinges securely hold the display cover in place, even jerks can not move it. But the tight cover in pair with the small weight leads to that it is hardly possible to open the laptop with one hand. Dimensions are 324.6 x 229.6 x 10.0 mm, weight – 1.1 kg. In this case, the display cover is better not to deflect strongly back, at the maximum opening angle, Acer Swift 7 loses stability and can tip over.
The lower part of the case can be removed easily, and ten ten-screw screws must be loosened. You can then replace the SSD or WLAN module.
After the restart of the MacBook two years have passed, but users are still arguing about how many interfaces are required for a modern compact laptop. The reason is simple: despite the continued distribution of the USB Type C standard, many users still connect peripherals and accessories with the old interface.
But Acer still decided to take a chance. Acer Swift 7 only has two USB Type C ports. In both cases, the USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface is supported, and Thunderbolt 3 support is not available. But, at least, through the left port of the two you can output a signal DisplayPort. Acer makes an adapter with the laptop, which allows you to connect Type A devices to the Type C port. There is also a 3.5 mm audio jack for connecting the headset, but there is no memory card slot. There is enough space left for the interfaces on the left panel, but Acer decided to take all the ports to the right panel.
Support for wireless networks is more traditional. In addition to WLAN 802.11ac in the 2×2 MU-MIMO configuration, the Acer Swift 7 also supports Bluetooth 4.0. The speakers located below provide a sufficiently high volume without distortion, although the low frequencies are almost completely absent. Surround sound in the tests, we did not notice, despite promises Acer. Web-camera also does not stand out. In conditions of sufficient illumination, it gives good quality, but when the lighting deteriorates, noise quickly appears.
At the first acquaintance with the laptop, you pay attention to a large touchpad. The format of 140 x 65 mm is not quite common, but you quickly get used to it. The finger slides over the surface well, in our tests, recognition problems did not arise. Built-in buttons provide sufficient movement, the trigger point is probed well. But the buttons are not separated from each other.
For a compact notebook, Acer chose the Core m processor, which is not surprising. Still, achieving a thickness of 10 mm with active cooling is problematic. The Acer Switch Alpha 12 with a full Core i5 processor and passive cooling has a thickness of only 9.5 mm, but it only accommodates a tablet without a connected keyboard. In any case, the choice of the processor in Acer Swift 7 leaves aside scripts when high CPU performance is required.
The Kaby Lake generation of Core m processors has certain limitations, on which Intel tries not to focus attention. Only the chips of the Core m3 line retained the former name, and the Core m5 and Core m7 models were renamed to Core i5 and Core i7. Of course, the name of the model retains the letter Y, but less knowledgeable customers can easily confuse different categories of processors.
Acer chose the Core i5-7Y54 processor. Like other CPU Core m, it contains two physical cores with Hyper-Threading support, 4 MB of L3 cache are available. The base frequency of Intel indicates a level of 1.2 GHz. The maximum Turbo frequency is 3.2 GHz. The processor, like all Kaby Lake chips, is manufactured using a 14-nm process technology. Also, the processor integrates the graphics core HD Graphics 615 with 24 EU executive units and clock frequencies from 300 to 950 MHz. TDP is about 4.5 W, but the heat distribution is distributed to the GPU and CPU, as before. The configuration of the cache and memory has not changed. Acer equipped the Acer Swift 7 8 GB of RAM LPDDR3. However, the processor still does not support DDR4.
The transition of Core m from the Skylake architecture to Kaby Lake did not bring any tangible performance benefits. Core i5-7Y54 in Acer Swift 7 provides CPU and GPU below average performance. In the tests Cinebench 11 and 15, we got 2.41 and 218 points, with a single-threaded load – 1.31 and 115 points. In tests of everyday performance PCMark 7 and 8, the laptop was in the middle of the rating.
The reason lies in the SSD drive with a capacity of 256 GB. Acer chose the Lite On model with a 6 Gb / s SATA connection. By reading and writing it provides performance up to 470 and 401 MB / s, which is below the usual level. However, this is only noticeable when transferring large files. In everyday scenarios, office work, viewing web pages and mail serious shortcomings are not traced.
In such scenarios, Core m is not noticeable. Just the strong side of the processor are everyday scenarios. With short-term peak loads (launching applications, opening files, etc.), the clock speeds increase, the performance roughly corresponds to Core i5 class U processors. The fact that we have a trimmed processor in front of us will only be visible if high performance is required for a period of time , Exceeding several seconds. Then all the shortcomings of the thermal package of only 4.5 W will be visible. The lack of performance is felt when working with photos and video editing, when archiving and unpacking files, and in many other scenarios. Often even a browser with several open tabs becomes too difficult for the system.
The reason is simple: for a few seconds Core i5-7Y54 can exceed the calculated TDP, working at high clock speeds. In our tests, the peak power consumption of the CPU Package Power was about 15 watts. But if the high load lasts longer, and the count goes to seconds, not minutes, the processor has problems, it resets the frequency to almost the base level. Under full load, the CPU in the Acer Swift 7 laptop worked only 600 MHz, and the GPU – at 400 MHz. So throttling is clearly visible.
But Acer does not have problems with overheating of a thin laptop. Even after a long period of full load, the Core i5-7Y54 processor did not reach 60 ° C, remaining relatively cold. On average, the temperatures of the lower and upper surfaces of the body were 30 ° C and 33 ° C. Peak temperatures reached 40 ° C and 43 ° C. At low loads, the temperatures were slightly lower, we obtained an average level of 28 ° C and 32 ° C (top and bottom), the maximum value being 38 ° C and 40 ° C.
Compared with similar notebooks, it is noticeable that Acer Swift 7 can not evenly distribute heat throughout the bottom of the case. However, the temperatures do not reach a critical level.
Finally, thanks to passive cooling, the notebook runs noiselessly. We did not detect the whistle of the chokes in the laptop.
From the very beginning of notebook tests on Core m processors, we noticed an unpleasant trend. If active cooling is not required, then the housing can be made thinner. Almost all manufacturers went to such a step, but at the same time they reduced the battery capacity. Previously, the typical battery capacity of 13-inch notebooks was 50 Wh, but now it has dropped to 40 or 35 Wh. Of course, the power consumption of the processor also decreased. But in many cases, the manufacturers overdid it, so among the ten longest-lived laptops in our test lab, it’s hard to find a model for Core m.
Nevertheless, optimization of the entire system is much more important than installing a more economical processor. And it is not so much theoretical specifications as the energy consumption of the system in everyday scenarios that are important. It should be noted that Acer installed a fairly capacious battery, despite the compact body. Inside, a battery with a capacity of 42.6 W · h is used, which is more than many other 13-inch notebooks on the Core m.
Under an intense load, the laptop lasted almost three and a half hours, under a light load, we got eleven hours. In office scenarios, the laptop lasted about seven hours. Of course, in our ranking of similar indicators is enough for the position in the top half or third of the list, but you should consider the size and weight of Acer Swift 7, as well as the battery capacity.
Charges the laptop through the USB Type C jack, and you can use either of the two. However, the complete power supply does not support the USB-PD standard, its power is 45W. However, it is enough to charge the battery even under full load. The maximum power consumption of Acer Swift 7 under stress load was 17 W, in idle mode the laptop consumed slightly more than 5 W.
Acer equipped new laptop with a very decent display. With a diagonal of 13.3 “, we get a resolution of 1.920 x 1.080 pixels, which is enough for a high level of detail in the picture.With the IPS panel, which was produced by Chi Mei from the test laptop, we get wide viewing angles. It is covered in good color coverage (sRGB 91%, AdobeRGB 60%), but also in good color temperature the white point by default, on average it was just above 6.800 K, the deviation from the ideal level (6.500 K) is comparatively small. Only for n Ryam comparison.
Because of the glossy coating, the display is not very well read in bright lighting conditions. And the maximum backlight brightness of 362 cd / m² can not always compensate for this. However, to work indoors or in cloudy weather on the street, brightness is enough. We also note the excellent contrast of 1.272: 1, as well as the uniformity of the backlighting of 90%; In the lower third of the display, the backlight was slightly darker.
Unfortunately, due to the only configuration on the market, you will have to forget about the options with a higher resolution panel or touch screen.
With the Acer Swift 7 laptop, a good compromise has been achieved between performance, battery life, size and quality. Than not every laptop on Core m can boast. The slim body is made on the conscience, the design can be called successful, and the place in the bag such a laptop will take a little – the thickness does not exceed 10 mm. But you still get good input devices, as well as a display with a quality above average. Thanks to the relatively large battery and economical components, the laptop runs for a long time in an autonomous mode. Which is particularly encouraging given the low performance of some competitors. If you like to work in silence, you will certainly appreciate the passive cooling system, with no overheating of the components.
But there are some remarks. First, we note that there are only two USB Type C ports. Of course, they provide high bandwidth, an external display can be connected through one of the ports. But support for Thunderbolt 3 is missing. In addition, at least one Type A port would not be superfluous. Many users still connect peripherals with a Type A interface, they can not do without an adapter – one Acer has added to the Acer Swift 7 package. Secondly, it upsets the CPU throttling under heavy load. Of course, this problem is not unique to this model, but we are used to associating Intel with high performance. What you do not get in this case. For office applications and similar performance scenarios, more than enough. Thirdly, disappointing lack of keyboard backlighting. What for the price of a laptop is quite strange. It’s not entirely clear why Acer decided to do without lighting. Thin construction of the hull is not a hindrance.
If you need a compact and light notebook that you plan to use for office applications and similar scenarios, then pay attention to Acer Swift 7. There are not that many worthy competitors in the market. You can note a slightly thicker HP EliteBook Folio G1 at a price of 1.150 euros in a comparable configuration, as well as Specter 13 with a full-fledged Core-i processor, which will cost 1,050 euros. If you are not interested in the Windows operating system, you can take a MacBook, although it will be slightly more expensive than Acer Swift 7 with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD.