Acer Swift 5 & Swift 3 Hands-On: Incredibly Light Productivity Laptops
September 6, 2019 Andrew Cheng

Unveiled to the world just a couple of days ago, we managed to spend some time with the brand new Acer Swift 5 and Swift 3 productivity laptops here in Malaysia. Out of the two products, the Swift 5 is definitely the more impressive one here. After all, it weighs only 990g.

Although there’s no word yet on the local availability of these two laptops, I absolutely can’t wait for the Swift 5 to arrive in Malaysia; especially if it’s priced competitively.

Let’s start with the specifications of both laptops. The Swift 5 is powered by Intel’s latest 10th generation Ice Lake chips, with the highest configuration being the Core i7-1065G7 processor. In the GPU side of things, this laptop can either be equipped with an Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU, or Intel’s integrated Iris Pro Graphics.

Other specifications of the Swift 5 include a 14-inch 1080p IPS touch display, up to 512GB of SSD storage, a fingerprint reader, and up to 12.5 hours of battery life. Although Acer did not reveal the RAM capacity of this laptop, it should be able to accommodate up to 16GB of RAM.

As for the Swift 3, most of its hardware are similar to the Swift 5, including the processor, GPU, display size, SSD capacity, and battery life. The differences lie in the weight and thickness of the laptop, which are 1.19kg and 15.95mm respectively. Besides that, it also has a slightly bigger footprint.

Now that we’ve got the specifications out of the way, let’s talk about the Swift 5 itself. As mentioned, it weighs only 990g, making it a ridiculously light laptop. In fact, just lifting it up feels very unreal; it’s unbelievable how a laptop as light as this has a fast processor and dedicated GPU.

On top of that, the Swift 5 is also a relatively thin laptop, measuring 14.95mm thin. Despite its slim chassis, it still comes with a good selection of ports. These include a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support, two full-size USB-A connections, and an HDMI output.

The Swift 3, on the other hand, is not quite as lightweight as the Swift 5. But tipping the scales at 1.19kg, it is still reasonably light. Its connectivity options are also similar to the latter.

When it comes to display quality, the 14-inch IPS screens on the Swift 5 and Swift 3 look identical to my eyes. Viewing angles are good, colours look vibrant, and they can get reasonably bright too. The only real difference is the absence of a touch display on the Swift 3. Nonetheless, the screen bezels on the two laptops are similarly minimal, lending to a sleek, modern-looking design.

Although I didn’t manage to really get a feel for the performance levels of both laptops, they should be more than capable to provide a good user experience. Intel’s Ice Lake processors are fast enough for most productivity tasks, and the MX250 GPU will be able to run certain games well.

And then we have two important hardware of a productivity laptop: the keyboard and trackpad. Between the two laptops, the Swift 5 has better input devices. The keyboard has decent amount of travel to not feel shallow, and I like the tactility of the keys.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the Swift 3. Not only does the keyboard feel shallow with minimal key travel, I’m not a fan of the gritty finish on the keys. It doesn’t feel “cheap,” per se, but the keyboard definitely lacks the same level of polish as the Swift 5.

Same goes for the Swift 3’s trackpad: while it can track my fingers pretty accurately, the trackpad itself…doesn’t feel particularly well-built. It has a bit of play – almost like it’s loose – and the clicking sensation isn’t as “full” as I would’ve hoped; it has a hollow feel.

It’s a different story for the Swift 5, thankfully. Its trackpad is a lot more robust, and it seems to be a little bit more accurate than the Swift 3’s trackpad. However, this may be a placebo effect purely because of the trackpad’s better build quality.

The Acer Swift 5 and Swift 3 are the best iterations of their respective series yet, especially with the former. Next to its predecessor, it’s almost as if the new Swift 5 is from a different series, which is a really good thing. Not only is it sleeker, it also has a smaller footprint, making it more portable.

If you’re planning to get a polished, lightweight, and slim productivity laptop, consider to put a hold on your purchase until the Swift 5 and Swift 3 are available locally. Acer Malaysia did not reveal exactly when – or if, for that matter – the two laptops will be launched here, but there’s a good chance they’ll arrive here in the near future.

After all, Acer has a strong presence right here in Malaysia, and most of its products do make it here eventually. For now, the Swift 5 and Swift 3 will only be available in EMEA regions sometime this month. Pricing wise, the Swift 5 retails from $900 (about RM 3,760), while the Swift 3 starts from $700 (approximately RM2,925).