As usual there are plenty of new and exciting laptops at CES 2018, with Acer’s updated Swift 7 one of the most interesting of the lot. It’s the world’s thinnest laptop, beating its own record with a few upgrades thrown in for good measure.
Acer said: “Building on the engineering breakthroughs from the previous generation, the new Swift 7 steps up the game with an even slimmer chassis, powerful performance and always-on 4G LTE connectivity for professionals on the go.”
Price and release date
Many products at CES will never reach the market, but we already know that the new Swift 7 (SF714-51T) will be available in Europe starting in April.
Pricing will start at £1,599/$1,699 – that’s a fair bit more than its predecessor, which was available for less than £1,000.
Design and build
As you might expect, design is the key element here. The Swift 7 was already extremely thin at just 10.16mm but the firm has managed to shave the chassis down to 8.98mm.
That’s pretty mind blowing really, especially when you consider it means the Swift 7 is actually thinner than a number of recent and new smartphones. Colour us impressed.
A thin profile also equates to a lightweight product and the Swift 7 is a true featherweight at around 1.2kg – the previous model was 1.12kg. This is because of a few things but mainly the addition of a touchscreen.
So it’s thin and light but it also looks the part with Acer doing a great job of making it stylish and sleek. It’s partly down to the tin profile but also some small touched like a beveled edge on the aluminium body.
That aluminium uni-body is smooth to touch and also gives the Swift 7 plenty of rigidity. Something that a lot of thin laptops don’t have, making them feel wobbly and cheap.
It might not come in handy very often, but the screen can fold back 180 degrees from the shut position. That means it’s not a 2-in-1 but is certainly flexible, we just can’t think of many situations where the screen needs to be flat on a desk.
However, there are some downsides to having such a thin design and that starts with ports. You won’t find any traditional USB ports here and certainly nothing like HDMI or Ethernet.
Instead, you’ll find a pair of USB-C ports, headphone jack and on the other side is a power button and a nano-SIM slot.
Acer does tell us some adapters will be included though, potentially one for HDMI and one for Ethernet.
The other issue is the keyboard as really, the best experience requires lots of space. The keyboard is backlit and there’s some travel, but not much. Depending on what you’re used to, the change could take some acclimation.
Specs and features
It’s a shame that despite being a few hundred pounds more expensive, the Swift 7 for 2018 comes with a 7th-generation Intel processor. We’d expect 8th-gen now they have been announced and available for a while.
That said, it is a Core i7 chip which is an upgrade from the Core i5 in the previous Swift 7. There won’t be various different configurations of the laptop so you’ll have to be happy with 256GB of storage and 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM. We’d expect a little more at this price point really.
There are upgrades in other areas though which do somewhat account for the price rise. For starters, the screen is larger at 14in – up from 13.3in within the same size frame.
So bezels are smaller and the Full HD IPS display is now touch sensitive, which these days we find far more useful than when laptops first started getting touch.
During our hands-on time, the display showed good colour, brightness and was also responsive.
The webcam has been moved to below the screen to allow for the size jump and Acer has also added a fingerprint scanner to the left of the keyboard for Windows Hello log in.
Earlier we mentioned the nanoSIM slot but there’s also an embedded eSIM. Acer says the Swift 7 ships with a Transatel profile provisioned with up to 1GB of free data valid for one month in 48 countries, including the UK.
4G LTE connectibity on a laptop will be extremely handy for some users and the Swift 7 also has 802.11ac Wi-Fi with a 2×2 MIMO antenna at the bottom of the lid.
Acer claims battery life at a decent 10 hours, via Mobile Mark 2014. That’s more than its predecessor and impressive when you consider how little room there is for the battery is a laptop this thin.