The push to make the thinnest, lightest, most portable laptop is proving fruitful. Case in point: the Acer Swift 7.
According to Acer, the Swift 7 is the thinnest notebook PC in the world. When closed, it wouldn’t be impossible to mistake it for a tablet with a keyboard attached, only thinner. At least, that’s the case with my tried-and-true iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard Cover combo.
While there’s more to a laptop than its size, let’s start there.
The Swift 7 doesn’t have a tapered design, where it’s thicker in the back and slowly gets thinner towards the front where the trackpad is. Some manufacturers use this design technique to claim an unrealistic number for the thinness of their laptops.
From back to front, the Acer Swift 7 measures 0.39 inches thick. To put that in perspective, the recently announced MacBook Pro – which Apple hailed as a design challenge and accomplishment all in one – is 0.59 inches thick.
The similarly priced and spec’d 12-inch MacBook is also thicker than the Swift 7, measuring 0.52 inches at its thickest spot.
It’s impressive to think about how portable laptops have become over the last few years. As I was testing the Swift 7, I carried it around for a couple days in my backpack. On more than one occasion, I had to stop and open my bag to make sure I didn’t leave it in Starbucks or at home.
It’s incredibly light at 2.49 pounds. In other words, a downright portable computer.
On the right side of the Swift 7 there are two USB-C 3.1 ports and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. On the opposite side – nothing. Not a SD card slot, not an USB-C, not a full-sized USB-A or any other ports.
You get two USB-C ports and you’re going to have to learn to deal with it. Both USB-C ports can be used for charging and power. Only one of the ports offers Display-Port support over USB-C.
With all of the heckling Apple is getting for going all-in on USB-C, forcing users to carry around a separate bag full of dongles, it’s clear the transition away from traditional USB-A ports on laptops is going to be painful for all involved.
And yet, it’s a necessary change.
So yeah, you’re going to need a bunch of dongles to connect to legacy devices (unless you buy new USB-C cables). If you’re not comfortable with leaping into the future of USB-C, the Swift 7 might not be for you.
It’ll get the (basic) job done
The Swift 7 has a 13.3 inch HD non-touch display, a feature that’s become increasingly rare for a Windows laptop. I’ve stated before I’m not a fan of touchscreen PC’s, so I didn’t miss the ability to touch and interact with content on the screen.
There’s only one configuration available for the $1,099 laptop. It includes an 1.2GHz Intel Core i5, 256GB SSD for storage and 8GB of RAM.
Those specs translate to a machine that’s good for basic computing tasks, with the occasional video or photo editing. For the majority of users, it’s fast enough.
In my use I found it powerful enough to run Chrome with a dozen tabs active, Slack, Mail, Calendar, and a few other random apps without any pause or hiccups. Truth be told, I probably could have pushed it harder than I did, but I didn’t need to in my daily use.
Acer claims battery life of just under nine hours, but I’d put it at a more realistic 7 to 8 hours depending on what you’re doing and how hard you’re pushing the processor. I was able to sit in a Starbucks for several hours without fear of the battery getting low.
Where’d my cursor go?
I truly enjoyed using the Swift 7, with one exception: The trackpad. More specifically, the placement of the trackpad.
While resting my palms below the keyboard, using a proper typing technique taught to me years ago, while resting my thumbs on the space bar, I constantly hit the trackpad with the palm of my hand. What ends up happening as I type away, is the cursor jumps across the page or screen.
It’s annoying, to say the least. Thankfully, there’s a button to disable the trackpad in the row of function keys.
At the end of the day, the Swift 7 provides a smooth experience in a tiny package. It’s very portable, but doesn’t pack a ton of computing power when compared to more expensive laptops. But that’s to be expected.
It’s priced $200 lower than the MacBook with similar specs and a larger display to boot.
If you’re on a tight budget and portability is of the utmost importance, the Swift 7 is worthy of your attention. Just keep in mind, you’re also going to need some new cables and a few dongles.