A luxury laptop

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(Pocket-lint) – The Acer Swift 5 makes a good first impression with a thoughtful design and a solid luxury feel. It is equipped with a 12th generation Intel i7 processor and should therefore perform very well.

But its high price gives it serious competition from the Dell XPS 13 and Apple MacBook Air.

Can this little Acer machine stand up to some of the best sellers out there? We put it to the test and here’s what we found.

Our quick review

The Acer Swift 5 is a great all-around computer with a great design. If you want to work on the go without sacrificing style or connectivity, this is the machine for you.

Performance is great across the board, the keyboard feels great to type on, and the webcam is great.

Battery life is decent and the fast and compact charger makes it very easy to live with.

There are a few weak points, notably speaker performance and the amount of bloatware, but these will be more important to some users than others.

At this price point, there are plenty of good options to choose from, but none quite as luxurious as the Swift 5.

Acer Swift 5 (2022): review: A luxury laptop

4.5 stars – Pocket-lint is recommended

To

  • Nice design
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Compact and portable
  • Large selection of ports
  • Solid performance.
Against

  • Annoyingly redundant software
  • Quite expensive
  • Speakers for improvement.

Design

  • Dimensions: 309.8 x 213.36 x 14.98 mm
  • Weight: 1.2 kg
  • Housing made of aerospace grade aluminum

The Acer Swift 5 stands out with its brushed gold finish and unique dark blue color. It looks and feels extremely luxurious. The chassis is made of aluminum and feels cool to the touch, while the screen is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass.

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Pocket lintAcer Swift 5: image review 9

It’s compact and fairly light, making it suitable for frequent travelers, but it’s a bit thicker than most 2022 high-end ultrabooks, which we were very happy to see. On the left side, you have a USB-A port, a full-size HDMI port and two Thunderbolt 4 ports. On the right, you’ll find another USB-A port, as well as a 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack and a Kensington lock port.

The keyboard is pretty unremarkable, but it’s comfortable to type on, with a stiff grid and good key travel. The color-keyed lettering is attractive enough, but it’s hard to see in low light, and the backlighting doesn’t help much. The backlight doesn’t help much. It seems that the light goes more towards the trackpad than the key legends.

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A fingerprint scanner sits on the power button and works reliably, although we have to admit it took us a while to find it during initial setup. We’re not big fans of the power button placement, as it can be easy to accidentally hit it when aiming for the delete key, but it’s a minor (and common) issue.

The trackpad is made of recycled plastic from the sea and looks almost exactly like a glass trackpad. It glides well and is moderate in size. The click requires a little more force than we’re used to, but overall it’s pretty good.

Screen, speakers and webcam

  • 14-inch IPS touchscreen, 2560 x 1600 resolution
  • 16:10 aspect ratio, 425 nits, 100% sRGB
  • Two down-firing stereo speakers
  • 1080p 60 fps webcam with noise reduction

The screen has a 16:10 ratio with very thin bezels. At this price point, it would have been nice to see an OLED panel, but since it could reduce battery life, the IPS screen might be the wiser choice. Either way, we weren’t left behind when it came to image quality, the screen offers good contrast, full sRGB coverage and vivid colors.

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Being a touchscreen, it is made of glass, which improves contrast levels and adds to the premium look and feel. However, glare can be a little distracting at times, and the 425-nit peak brightness can struggle to compete outdoors on sunny days.

The speakers have decent clarity and stereo separation, but lack low frequencies, as is the case with many laptops. They also can’t be very loud and you’ll struggle to hear things properly in a noisy environment. They face downwards, but luckily they are not muffled when you use the Swift 5 on your lap.

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We were impressed with the 1080p webcam and think it outperforms many of its competitors. It has amazing details and natural colors, making it more than suitable for video conferencing without the need for additional equipment. It also handles backlighting well and has a surprising dynamic range. We were a little disappointed by the lack of Windows Hello facial recognition, but the fingerprint reader is fast enough as long as you remember to use it.

Performance and battery

  • Intel Core i7 1260P, 12 cores, up to 4.7 GHz
  • 16 GB LPDDR5 and 1 TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
  • 56 Wh battery, 65W USB-C charger included

In daily use, the Acer Swift 5 is a solid performer, and we never encountered any problems with our typical work tasks, playing video or using Photoshop. We even managed to edit some 4K 120fps footage in Adobe Premiere Pro and were impressed with the smooth playback and rendering speed.

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The Swift 5 isn’t designed for gaming, but if you fancy a little gaming session, it can handle most games on lower settings. We found that GTA V playable at 1080P on low settings but only at 30fps. Less demanding titles, such as CSGOworks fine on the machine.

One thing we didn’t like about Swift 5 was the amount of bloatware that came pre-installed. Everything from Norton antivirus and CyberLink software to Spotify and Firefox is loaded on the laptop. It’s easy enough to remove software you don’t want, but on a high-end device like this, don’t bother.

Battery life is respectable, and if you’re just surfing the web and doing light productivity tasks, you can expect around 9-10 hours of battery life on a charge. Of course, this number will be much lower if you are doing something intense like video editing or gaming.

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We’re always happy to see USB-C charging, and even happier to see a nice compact charger included in the box. It’s a 65W fast charger, so you get about four hours of extra battery life from just 30 minutes of charging. In addition, you can use it to quickly charge your phone when needed.

To sum up

If you want a laptop that looks good and can handle serious work, the Acer Swift 5 might be the laptop for you. It is compact, well built and easy to live with. There are a few flaws, but it’s a solid all-rounder in many ways.

Written by Luke Baker. Edited by Verity Burns.

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