The Acer Swift 1 ($ 329) offers executive aspect of the Dell XPS 13 or the LG Gram 13 for a fraction of the price, with status-symbol functions under the guidance of a true 13.3-inch in-plane switching (IPS) with a Full HD resolution. If you’ve already flirted and sighed on an 11.6-inch Dinky screen or a 1366-by-768-pixel screen or shabby colors or viewing angles, the only screen made of a Swift is worth seeing. This is the choice of our new publisher for ultraportables budget.
What is the catch? Although the Pentium N4200 processor, Acer’s top performance compared to our previous top choice, the Dell Inspiron 3000 11 (3162) at $ 179.99 at Dell, does not match any for Intel’s higher-class processors like the Core i3, not to mention the Core i5 or i7. And its memory (4 GB) and storage (64 GB flash memory) are so modest that it is a class Chromebook. You’ll want to choose to install new applications and back up your data files to an SD card – or rely on Office 365 Personal’s one-year annual subscription, which includes 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage. But as a travelling partner for productivity work or as a note-taker for a conference room or amphitheatre, the Swift 1 is in its element. As long as you do not ask for workstation applications or demanding games, it’s a spectacular value.
Thin metal, not a solid plastic
Available in several flavors and 13.3 14 inches (our test unit is the 13.3-inch model SF113-31-P5CK), the Preste looks venerable Apple MacBook Air a rounded, silver corner, about a hundred times more business than the colorful plastic of machines such as the Dell 3162 or the HP Stream 11-y010nr. Measuring 0.6 by 12.6 by 9.9 inches (HWD), it corresponds more or less to the MacBook Air, with a larger footprint than the XPS 13 (0.6 by 12 by 7.9 inches). With 2.87 pound is half a pound heavier than ultra-light Ultrabooks, such as the Acer Swift 7 stablemate, but the limbo programs under the three-pound line that mark mat-only models like the Lenovo ThinkPad X270.
The build quality is solid, with virtually no bend when you take the corners of the screen and none on the keyboard, and the connectivity is of the highest class: on the left side of the system are a lock, a USB 2.0 port and a SD (not microSD) card slot, while on the right are an HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, an audio connection and a USB-C-no Thunderbolt 3, but again, it’s a computer $ 329 laptop. The AC adapter is a small plug with its own connector (not USB-C). Bluetooth and 802.11ac Wi-Fi are standard.
The sound of the speakers that are mounted at the bottom is slightly cut, not particularly loud, even if it is mounted at 100% volume and the lead vocals on our MP3s are flattened. Swift 1 may prefer to talk about music; a sticker on the palm rest proves that it is certified for audio conferences via Skype for Business (and indeed, the webcam delivers images above average, very clear and well focused). The Start menu is full of commercial links for eBay, Priceline, Netflix, Amazon, WildTangent and others.
A screen to see
The 1080p screen does not really give you super thick viewing angles due to reflections, but you can absolutely switch to neutral (or invite a few colleagues to view a presentation) while enjoying the view from the vantage points. turned nematic panel (TN) pale and spooky. The IPS technology makes the screen bright and bright, with vivid colors and sufficient brightness as long as you stick to two or three backlight settings. The contrast is excellent, even for something as banal as long black and white word processing sessions. YouTube and Netflix videos look sharp.
The resolution of 1920 by 1080 is the other big advantage on cheap screens. The fine details are clear; Windows icons and other screen elements have been shown to be readable even after setting the default operating system zoom of 150 to 125% ready to use. Image editing is a pleasure. Even our bifocal eyes could see solitaire cards and mahjong tiles.
The keyboard allows reasonably fast typing; the journey is, not surprisingly, superficial, but the feeling is light and lively. Our only complaint is in the lower right corner, where the medium-sized cursor arrows are grouped with the medium-sized Page Up and Page Down keys (the last two pairs with the Fn key for Home and End). The six are so small and narrow that accurate punching requires a fingertip precision; we found that the cursor went backward with Ctrl + Left Arrow, a normal matt key to the right of an average key, more trouble than it was worth. The touchpad without button glides smoothly and takes just the right amount of pressure to produce a soft click.
A desk assistant, no barbecue
The Pentium N4200 is an economical CPU with an impressive number of cores (four) and a bit impressive clock speed (1.1 GHz, although it can accelerate to 2.5 GHz for short bursts). It includes integrated Intel HD 505 graphics and is associated here with 4 GB DDR3L memory and 64 GB SanDisk eMMC Flash – with less than 40 GB free after Windows and Office are installed, you do not want to add any disk pigs. Acer offers an identical Swift 1 model with 128 GB of flash, but the price of $ 70 seems to be a reason to buy an SD card.
The Acer has barely passed the 2,000 point mark (1,934 points) in our productivity test PCMark 8. Since then, we regularly describe machines such as the HP Stream $ 189.99 at Amazon and the Lenovo Miix 320 at $ 287.49 at Amazon Detachable, which runs around the level of 1500 points, sufficient for Microsoft Office 365 or Google Office, it is clear that the Swift 1 is perfect for the taste of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Perhaps most impressive was his performance in our multimedia benchmarks such as Adobe Photoshop, where Acers beat 7 minutes and 45 seconds beat the Miix (5:49) and the Stream (2:35). Although you still need patience, this makes the powerful applications viable (although, despite the handbrake test of less than five minutes, we do not recommend the Swift 1 for video editing).
Not feasible in our opinion 3D games – our benchmarks for 3DMark, Heaven and Valley showed how poorly low-end processors with integrated graphic images do when they undergo a visual test. The only system in our charts to manage double-digit frame rates with modest quality settings was our low-cost, full-sized laptop, Acer’s Acer Aspire E $ 349.99, which gives you a more powerful Core i3 CPU (and plenty of storage) for just $ 20 more than the Swift 1 – but if you’ve read this so far, you probably know if you want an ultrabook or a desktop replacement.
The Swift 1 can be called as a sprinter, but it took as a marathon runner in our battery life test, the time of 12 hours and 48 minutes was the Inspiron 3162 (10:05) and the Stream 11 (8:36) .
A good-looking, well-founded bargain-hunting
If you have not noticed yet, the Acer Swift 1 $ 288.99 at Amazon is a milestone – an ultra-thin and light mix of productivity and style that costs less than a third that Apple is still charging for the MacBook Air. (OK, the Air has twice as much memory and storage space, but it also has that outdated 1,440-on-900 screen.) Unless your budget is the best at $ 200, you owe it to yourself to have our new favorite entry- level ultraportable view.