Acer Swift 1 is an excellent laptop value. While the latest model doesn’t have the same vivid display as last year’s edition, the new Swift 1 makes up for its disappointing panel with long battery life, a snappy keyboard and a surprisingly good webcam. There are plenty of competent laptops at this low price, and the Swift 1 is one of the best.
The Swift 1 doesn’t look like a budget laptop. This sleek notebook sports a smooth gray lid that’s interrupted only by a centered reflective-silver Acer logo. Upon opening the lid, you’ll find a large touchpad and a fingerprint sensor underneath a black keyboard that contrasts well with the laptop’s gray deck. The overall design is undoubtedly conservative, even plain, but there is a certain classiness about its simplicity.
The Swift not only looks great, but it also feels more expensive than it really is. The notebook’s solid aluminum chassis is made of a higher quality material than what we’ve come to expect in this price range. However, build quality is a mixed bag.
The Swift 1 not only looks great, but it also feels more expensive than it really is.
The display hinge is tight and rotates smoothly when you fold the screen back flat, and the keyboard didn’t flex when I applied heavy pressure to its center.
On the flip side, the lid bounced like a trampoline when I applied even the lightest of touches to it. More concerning is that the edges of the laptop extend beyond the bottom panel, forming a lip around the chassis. The rough edges dug into my hands every time I carried the device. I also wish the Swift 1’s plastic bezels were thinner and made of glass.
At 2.9 pounds and 12.7 x 9.0 x 0.6 inches, the Swift 1 is slim and lightweight for a 14-inch laptop.
You shouldn’t have any problems connecting your peripherals to the Acer Swift 1.
Positioned on the left edge of the laptop are two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C input, an HDMI and a DC-in connector for power.
Photographers can upload photos via the SD card slot, which is positioned on the right side of the laptop, next to a headphone/mic jack and a USB 2.0 port. There is also a Kensington lock for protecting your laptop when you’re out in public or in the office.
Keyboard and Touchpad
With travel of 1.1 millimeters (1.5 to 2 mm is preferred), the keyboard on the Swift 1 isn’t the most comfortable. But the snappy keys, which require 65 grams of actuation force, responded swiftly to my typing.
The Swift 1’s keyboard also didn’t flex when I banged on its center, which is a problem we frequently encounter on budget laptops. The appropriately spaced keys were snappy, with a hint of resistance providing nice feedback without feeling stiff. The top row keys are very small, so I had to be extra careful not to press the power key, which is next to the delete key.
I typed at a blistering 123 words per minute with an accuracy of 94 percent on the 10fastfingers.com typing test. That is faster than my 119 wpm minute average, although that achievement is offset by a slightly higher error rate than my typical 5 percent.
Reminiscent of the trackpad on a MacBook, the Swift 1 flaunts an abnormally large 4.1 x 3.0-inch touchpad. The smooth surface executed a series of Windows 10 gestures, including pinch-to-zoom and a three-finger swipe to switch windows, without any issues.
A good webcam was the last thing I was expecting from a budget laptop, and yet, the 720p lens on the Swift 1 is surprisingly capable. The selfie cam produced a sharp, color-accurate image when I snapped a photo of myself. I could make out individual strands of hair in my beard and the tone of my dark-red shirt was spot-on. As expected, there was a bit of visual noise in the image, but I’ve seen much worse from webcams on premium laptops.
Low power means low heat. The Swift 1 remained at a comfortable temperature throughout our testing, even after we played a 15-minute HD video. Under that workload, the touchpad stayed at 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the center of the keyboard raised to only 84.5 degrees. We often see the underside of laptops become worryingly hot, but the Swift’s bottom panel topped out at just 89.5 degrees, below our 95-degree comfort threshold.