Acer Swift X packs AMD Ryzen 5000 CPU, RTX 3050 Ti GPU — Is this the perfect college laptop?

Acer unveiled today the Swift X, a 14-inch laptop that taps AMD for its processing speeds and Nvidia for its gaming prowess. This newest clamshell model in the popular Swift series is the first with discrete graphics, and yet, the chassis remains at a relatively lightweight 3.1 pounds. It is an interesting hybrid that blends an ultra-portable frame with enough performance oomph for more than your basic computing tasks.

We will see how the Swift X compares to the likes of the HP Envy 14 and Asus ZenBook 14 when we receive a review unit in the coming weeks. From what we know about the Acer laptop, it could provide customers with the best of both worlds; a portable chassis and enough power to play some of the latest games.

Acer Swift X price and availability

The Swift X (SFX14-41G) will be available starting in June for $899. In Europe, it will be released in the summer for €899. And in China, the Swift X will go on sale for RMB 6,499 in Q3 2021.

Acer Swift X design

The Swift X has a simple metal design available in various colors; based on the images, there is a pink, gold and gray option. Keeping with the typical Swift aesthetic, the Swift X has a simple, unassuming appearance. There is a chrome Acer logo on the front and the color of the lid extends onto the hinge. Making logging in easier is a fingerprint sensor on the right side of the deck (sorry, no word on an IR camera yet).

From what we can see in the images, the Swift X uses a lift hinge, which means the back of the deck raises when the lid is open and the laptop sits on the bottom edge of the lid. This should allow for better cooling and a more comfortable typing experience, and could even improve the dual speakers.

The notebook has thin display bezels, resulting in a screen-to-body ratio of 85.7%. This draws your eyes toward the panel and helps keep the footprint to a minimum. To that end, at 12.7 x 8.4 x 0.7 inches and 3.1 pounds, the Swift X is a bit chunky but lightweight for a 14-inch laptop.

That extra thickness allows for a generous selection of ports. On the left side are a USB Type-C port, an HDMI, a USB Type-A input and a power jack. On the right are a second USB-A port, a lock slot and a headphone/mic jack next to power and battery indicators.

Acer Swift X display

Flaunting a 14-inch, 1080p display, the Swift X gives you more real estate than the many 13-inch laptops on the market. However, some might bemoan the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio Acer went with instead of a taller 16:10 or 4:3 orientation.

We haven’t seen the screen in person so we can’t comment on its picture quality. We can say that Acer promises a decent 300 nits of brightness, 100% sRGB color gamut coverage, and viewing angles of up to 170 degrees. Crucially, the panel comes with Acer BlueLightShield technology to reduce eye strain.

Acer Swift X performance and graphics

Two enemies make one powerful laptop. AMD and Nvidia are pausing their feud to give the Swift X some serious muscle.

Acer tapped AMD for the processor, opting for the latest Ryzen 5 5600U and Ryzen 7 5800U processors. We’ve seen very promising benchmarks from these AMD chips, and while they fall just short of Apple M1 speeds, they put up a serious fight against the latest from Intel and tend to enable long battery life. That CPU can be paired with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and up to a 1TB SSD.

But wait, there are more goodies hiding beneath the hood. Instead of using integrated graphics (yawn), the Swift X is equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU. We haven’t tested this chip yet but Nvidia promises the 3050 Ti can play a wide range of modern games at 60 frames per second with DLSS on and graphics set to Medium. If that’s true, the Swift X could be the best college laptop for those who need something that can both work and game.

On the connectivity side of things, you get Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 support.

Acer Swift X battery life

Discrete GPU means poor battery life, right? Maybe not this time. Acer promises 17 hours of runtime from the Swift X’s 59Whr battery. I don’t expect to see that level of endurance in our Laptop Mag Battery Test, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get up to 10 hours, which would be excellent for any laptop with a respectable GPU.

Outlook

The Acer Swift X could be an excellent laptop for college students or those who need a powerful notebook that can game but won’t break the bank. There is a lot to like here. For one, the $899 starting price undercuts other laptops in this class that don’t offer discrete graphics. And the combination of AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs and Nvidia RTX 30 graphics means the Swift X could outperform its portable rivals while delivering good battery life.

But enough with these “what ifs.” Yes, the Swift X has caught our attention as a unique addition to the crowded ultra-portable space, but we won’t know if it’ll win our hearts until we’ve used it ourselves. We’re looking forward to reviewing Acer’s latest model when a unit becomes available in the coming days or weeks.

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