At the beginning of October, Acer added the new Acer Swift Edge to its range of Swift laptops. Weighing in at 1.17 kg, it’s the world’s lightest 16-inch notebook, and its design has received two accolades from RedDot and Good Design. It really is exceptionally slim and light, and has a massive screen size, plus a brilliant WQUGA resolution OLED display, good office performance and support for all the latest technologies. Let’s see what the Acer Swift Edge is all about and who might be interested in it.
Acer Swift Edge specifications
- Display: 16″, OLED, WQUGA (3840×2400), 60Hz, 16:10 aspect ratio, DCI-P3 100%, True Black HDR 500 certification, TÜV Rheinland, brightness 500 nits (peak), viewing angles over 170°
- Operating system: Windows 11 Pro
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 6600U, 6 cores (up to 2.9GHz, up to 4.5GHz in Boost mode), 12 threads, 6nm
- Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics
- RAM: 8GB, LPDDR5
- Storage: 1TB PCIe Gen4 SSD
- Interfaces: Wi-Fi 6E (2.4GHz + 5GHz + 6GHz) 2×2 MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 5.2
- Camera: 1080p (60fps) with TNR noise reduction
- Ports: 2×USB 3.2 Type-A, 1×HDMI, 2×USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1, 1×3.5mm
- Audio Combination Jack, Kensington Lock
- Audio: DTS, dual noise-canceling microphone
- Battery: 54Wh, 65W charger
- Material: aluminum-magnesium alloy
- Dimensions: 35.67×24.23×1.30 cm
- Weight: 1.17 kg
Positioning and price
The Acer Swift is a series of lifestyle ultrabooks, well adapted for office and hybrid work. Most of the lineup features 14-inch devices, so the Swift Edge stands out for its screen size, as does the Swift X and a few other 16-inch variants. But apart from the screen size, the Acer Swift Edge has a few other trumps up its sleeve. For example, the presence of an OLED matrix instead of the typical IPS, and the title of the world’s lightest notebook with a 16-inch diagonal.
The Acer Swift Edge is a test model, which has simplified the specifications compared to the versions that are available on the market. That’s why the prices are based on the versions that can be found on sale. So, a modification with Ryzen 7 6800U, with integrated graphics, 16GB RAM and 1TB of storage will cost from $1807. That’s not so cheap. What do we get for the money?
As mentioned above, the review features a test sample, so the packaging and equipment is basic – the box contains the laptop itself, as well as a 65W charger. And for the review this is more than enough.
Acer Swift Edge design
The appearance of the Acer Swift Edge is one of the notebook’s highlights, so there’s plenty to say about it.
Let me start by saying that the laptop that came in for review has an unusual colour – blue-grey. In contrast to the main body, the back cover has a beautiful golden cast, which can be seen at different viewing angles. It looks very nice. However, there is no such effect inside the device and on the back. The texture of the coating is matte and slightly rough, so that no traces of use are visible on the case.
The second thing that can’t be overlooked is the slightly unnatural lightness of the laptop. Looking at a 16-inch device there’s no way you’d expect it to weigh just over 1kg, so the wow effect is really there. Especially when you compare the Acer Swift Edge to the Acer Swift 3, its 14-inch ‘neighbour’ in the series, which weighs 1.25kg. According to the manufacturer, the trick lies in the use of a special aluminium-magnesium alloy, which is twice as strong but 20% lighter than conventional aluminium.
Back to the design. The cover features just a neat brand logo and a pair of tiny silicone feet on the bottom edge. These support the lid when the notebook is open.
At the rear you’ll find a double grille for the cooling system, a pair of grilles on either side for the audio system, and four legs that lift the notebook above the surface for air intake.
Upon opening the laptop, the first thing you see is the large screen with thin bezels around it. The official website says that the display takes up 92% of the panel. There’s a neat camera window above the screen, and three openings on the sides for microphones and a light sensor.
Below that are the keyboard, touchpad and a cooling grille that runs along the entire keyboard. On the rear end, incidentally, there are also openings through which hot air escapes. In the top right corner you’ll notice DTS, which indicates the device’s support for audio technology, and below that is the small name of the Swift series of notebooks.
Under the touchpad there is a neat ‘step’ which is needed for easier opening. By the way, you can open the laptop with one hand without any problems, because it uses quite soft, but clear hinges, and the device itself, although light, is well balanced in terms of weight. You shouldn’t open the laptop by the corners though – you might notice some twisting of the cover when you open it. This isn’t surprising, given the really slim casing, so it’s best to open in the centre. The laptop itself is beautifully assembled, all the parts fit perfectly and there are no issues here at all.
As for ports, on the left we have a pair of USB Type-C 4 (with Power Delivery and DisplayPort), USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 and HDMI 2.1. On the right, there’s a 3.5mm combination connector, another USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, a pair of LED indicators and a Kensington Lock.
Acer Swift Edge display
The screen on the Acer Swift Edge is really impressive. To start with, there aren’t many models on the market with 16-inch OLEDs with 4K resolution or higher. And the Edge has just that. So here we have, firstly, a big, and secondly, a contrasting screen with lush colour reproduction and wide viewing angles. It’s a beauty.
Matrix resolution is 3840×2400, aspect ratio is 16:10, peak brightness is at 500 nits, and the refresh rate of the Acer Swift Edge is standard (60Hz). In addition, the DCI-P3 colour space is 100% covered, with True Black HDR 500 and TÜV Rheinland certification indicating reduced eye-damaging blue radiation.
Given the screen technology and the high resolution, the display performs well with all kinds of content. Of course, it is better to evaluate its capabilities on multimedia – watching films or videos, playing games, image processing and the like. Colours here are saturated and contrasty, the brightness level for the room is remarkable. Also – a big screen is a big screen – I compare it with my 14″ and, to be honest, I like the 16″ much better.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Acer Swift Edge keyboard is island-type, backlit and housed in a small recess in the case. Of all the buttons, only the power button stands out – it’s mechanical and has a distinctive clicking sound when pressed. It may also contain a fingerprint scanner, but the review sample does not include one.
There is no num-block, although there is plenty of space on the sides of the keyboard and, theoretically, it could be used for the numeric key block. But then, you would probably have to sacrifice the thickness of the case, because there would be less space for connectors. Well, it would also affect the weight of the device, and we are talking about the lightest 16″ laptop here. So we have exactly the design that was intended for this large and lightweight device.
The touchpad is large and easy to use. It has a slippery coating that contrasts with the rough surface of the case. As always, there are mechanical buttons along the bottom edge on the left and right, duplicating the mouse. And it’s also claimed that the touchpad has an antimicrobial coating and is resistant to moisture. Unfortunately, exactly how moisture-resistant it is is not specified. There are no problems with the keyboard and the touchpad, because they are quite standard and, as a consequence, familiar and comfortable.
What’s inside the Acer Swift Edge
The review version offers the AMD Ryzen 5 6600U 6-core processor with a maximum clock speed of 2.9GHz, but in Boost mode it overclocks to 4.5GHz. The processor is 12-threaded and made according to 6 nm process technology, and it is complemented by an integrated AMD Radeon Graphics chip. This variant also gets 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM (there are versions with 16GB RAM as well) and a pair of 512GB PCIe Gen4 SSDs, which gives us a total of 1TB.
Wireless connectivity is represented by tri-band Wi-Fi 6E (2.4GHz + 5GHz + 6GHz) 2×2 MU-MIMO and Bluetooth 5.2. In addition, Microsoft Pluton is provided inside, which is responsible for data security at an even more advanced level.
The cooling system here is quite quiet and efficient. During load tests, when the stuffing is well overclocked, you can hear the coolers working, but the noise is very moderate, it does not interfere. Under load, the keyboard area gets a little hot, but it’s not critical.
The Acer Swift Edge is primarily adapted for office use – surfing, working calls, basic graphics, word processing, spreadsheets and other less demanding programs. It handles these things perfectly. The gorgeous screen makes watching movies and TV shows a pleasure in itself. Even though the device isn’t geared for gaming, you can play games on it in your spare time. For instance, 3DMark shows that Acer Swift Edge in GTA V on Ultra in Full HD will render more than 145 fps, while in 4K you can get less than 20 fps. Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t run at all in 4K, and at 1080p it’s down to 30 fps. So you can play relatively old “toys” here even on decent graphics settings. Well, and for more recent and more demanding games “office” laptop is not the best solution.
Camera, sound and microphones
The office-oriented character of the notebook requires it to have everything you need for video conferencing and communication. For example, the Swift Edge has a pretty good Full HD webcam, which is capable of recording at 60 fps. There is also a TNR noise reduction feature, which will greatly improve the image in low light conditions. Voice quality is handled by a pair of microphones with intelligent ambient noise reduction.
The audio system consists of two speakers that are located symmetrically on the underside of the notebook. However, the design is such that when listening to music on the table, the sound doesn’t seem to come from underneath the notebook, but as if it were coming from the keyboard. It’s as if the entire base of the laptop becomes a single loudspeaker, reproducing the sound. As for the sound itself, it’s crisp, clear and quite pleasant, great for watching videos, movies and communicating. But there is no volume, so it certainly won’t be enough for demanding users or audiophiles.
The Acer Swift Edge gets a 54Wh battery that charges at 65W. According to the manufacturer, one charge is enough for 10.5 hours of video viewing or 8 hours of surfing, and the MobileMark 2018 test, made by Acer engineers, shows a result of 7.5 hours. In practice, the result is still more modest.
For example, watching 4K video at 80% brightness “eats up” 20% of the charge in an hour. With normal usage (surfing, messengers, working with documents, etc.) at the same brightness level, it doesn’t spend much less. On average, to get battery life above 5 hours, you have to reduce the brightness and load on the laptop. Of course, a large screen consumes a lot of power, even when it comes to energy-efficient OLEDs. This could be counterbalanced by more battery capacity, but that would interfere with the concept of creating a lightweight laptop with a 16-inch display. So you’ll have to work on the laptop with repeated runs between power sockets.
The Acer Swift Edge looks interesting. The laptop flaunts a great and aesthetically pleasing design, with its lightness and thinness playing a major role. The assembly is excellent and the quality of the materials is pleasing. The display is another advantage, because the 16-inch OLED screen here is unbeatable. Content makers will definitely benefit from it.
As far as performance is concerned, it’s adequate and fully in keeping with the positioning of the laptop. The device is perfectly adapted for office workload, unpretentious work with graphics, and some games will “go” on it. However, you should not rely on serious rendering, work with 3D and voracious graphics software – the hardware will not pull it off. Which is a shame, because that’s what the screen seems to be designed for. The Swift Edge also has a weakness in terms of battery life.
Understandably, the limitations (both in terms of hardware and battery capacity) were the price Acer paid to create the lightest 16-inch notebook ever. But this was also reflected in the cost. In my opinion, while there’s not much competition among 16-inch OLED devices, the Acer Swift Edge’s price tag isn’t the most balanced. However, those looking for a beautiful and lightweight laptop with a large, impressive screen, and still on a budget should like the Swift Edge. In other cases, what it offers for its price might not seem enough.