Acer Swift 5 Quick Review: Excellent Lightweight Productivity Laptop
March 21, 2020 Andrew Cheng

Lightweight, premium productivity laptops usually don’t come cheap, but the Acer Swift 5 is the exception here. Not only does it weigh only 990g – that’s ridiculously light – it’s also a relatively affordable laptop that offers good value for money, sleek design, and decent performance.

While it doesn’t particularly excel in any one area, the Swift 5 does everything just right in a very portable and lightweight chassis, and that makes it a pretty darn attractive laptop.

What It Is

Display14-inch FHD IPS touch-enabled (1920 x 1080)
ProcessorIntel Core i5-1035G1 quad-core (1.0GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, 6MB cache)
GPUNvidia GeForce MX250 2GB GDDR5 VRAM
Storage512GB PCIe SSD
CameraHD resolution
Dimensions318.7 x 210.5 x 14.95 mm
AudioBottom-firing stereo speakers
Ports1x USB 3.1 Type-C (Thunderbolt 3)
1x USB 3.1 Type-A
1x USB 2.0 Type-A
PriceRM3,699 (Core i5), RM3,999 (Core i5, MX250), RM4,699 (Core i7, Iris Plus Graphics, 16GB RAM)

There are three variants of the Swift 5 for the Malaysian market, and the one in this review is the RM3,999 Core i5 model with an MX250 dedicated GPU. In my opinion, this is the variant to get if you want the best mix of processing power and graphics performance, given that the other two variants don’t have any dedicated graphics card.

Overall, the Swift 5 is a well-equipped productivity laptop. The Core i5-1035G1 processor is more than enough for most productivity tasks, the MX250 is good enough for some light gaming, and with a 14.95mm chassis, this is without a doubt a slim notebook. You should be able to slide it into your backpack effortlessly.

The Good Stuff

Of course, one of the best reasons to get the Swift 5 has to be for its ridiculously lightweight nature. As mentioned, it weighs merely 990g, and it feels very surreal every time I pick up this 14-inch laptop. Needless to say, I can barely feel the weight of the Swift 5 when I’m carrying it around in my backpack.

Besides that, this is quite a sleek-looking laptop too, and I especially like the Moonstone White colourway pictured here. The thin bezels surrounding the Swift 5’s 14-inch display also give it a modern aesthetic, though I do wish the bottom bezel was a tad smaller to further reduce the footprint of this laptop.

Display quality of the Swift 5’s 14-inch 1080p IPS panel is quite good as well. It can get bright enough for comfortable use outdoors, the matte finish helps to minimise glare, and I appreciate the fact that this is a touch-enabled screen. Usually, laptops with a touchscreen come with glossy panels.

Throughout my time with the Swift 5, I never encountered any performance-related issue. Granted, I only did light photo editing, a ton of web browsing, and word processing with this machine, but that’s really the usage scenario of a laptop in this segment. It’d be unrealistic to expect the Core i5-1035G1 and MX250 combo to handle heavy video editing or intensive gaming.

That being said, you can do some gaming on the Swift 5, provided it’s not too graphically demanding. With the right graphics settings, I managed to get over 60fps in Diablo III. Even with maxed out settings, the MX250 can churn out over 30fps – that is a very playable frame rate.

If there’s any hardware that a productivity laptop absolutely need to excel in, it would be the keyboard. In the case of the Swift 5, its keyboard is reasonably good. It’s not the best keyboard I’ve ever used on a laptop, but the keys do have enough travel to not feel shallow. The tactility of the keyboard is good too, which make for a comfortable typing experience.

And then we have the Swift 5’s battery life. Acer’s quoted battery life for this laptop is up to 12.5 hours, but in my testing, I only managed to get seven to eight hours of use on a single charge. This isn’t exactly fantastic battery life, but it is not terrible by any means either. To get this level of battery life, I set the power mode to power saver with the screen dimmed to a comfortable brightness.

Overall, these qualities make the Swift 5 a joy to use as my daily driver, but it does have its fair share of shortcomings.

The Bad Stuff

While the Swift 5’s keyboard is pleasant to use, I can’t say the same for the trackpad. It’s accurate enough when I’m using it to surf the web and what not, but it’s not quite as sensitive as I would’ve liked, especially when I need to do more precise selections. If the trackpad was a little bit more responsive to my inputs, it would be a lot more pleasant to use.

Aside from that, the Swift 5’s selection of ports are not super great either. Not only does it lack any form of card reader – it doesn’t even have a microSD card slot – it also has only one USB-C connection that isn’t even accessible when you’re charging the laptop. Thankfully, it still offers two USB-A ports, so it’s not too bad.

Is It Worth It?

Retailing from only RM3,699, the Acer Swift 5 is notably more affordable than other productivity laptops while offering an incredibly lightweight chassis, a generous 512GB SSD storage, and a sleek-looking design. If you want some extra graphics performance, I highly recommend this RM3,999 option, which adds on an MX250 dedicated GPU for only RM300 more.

At these price points, the Swift 5 is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a lightweight productivity laptop that offers great value for money. Despite its finicky trackpad and limited connectivity options, you’d be hard-pressed to find for a better alternative in this price range. This is especially true if you want a laptop as lightweight as the Swift 5.

After all, there are only a handful of 14-inch laptops that weigh below 1kg, and the Swift 5 is the most affordable one you can find in the Malaysian market now.