The 14-inch ultraportable notebook PCs used to be the mainstream choice for busy road warriors, but in recent years, the focus has shifted towards 16-inch laptops. To be fair, a 16-inch laptop offers a larger viewing real estate and the expectation is that the larger footprint also means a bulkier machine that is not too portable to carry around with. Thankfully, laptop manufacturers are now competing to see who can produce the lightest 16-inch notebook, and it looks like Acer is ahead of the pack with their latest Acer Swift Edge.
The Acer Swift Edge touts itself to be the world’s lightest 16-inch laptop with 4K OLED display and it has the right to be, weighing at just 1.17kg. Designed to meet the creativity and productivity demands of today’s business professionals, our review unit measures 360 x 243 x 12.95mm and incorporates a durable magnesium-aluminium alloy chassis. The rear of the display is clean and sleek with just the small company’s logo and while the laptop sports a pale blue finish, this is actually the Flax White version according to Acer; the other colour option is Olivine Black.
The Swift Edge has a 16-inch 4K OLED (3840×2400) display at 16:10 aspect ratio, thin bezels and features 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut support, 0.2ms response time and 500 nits brightness. Needless to say, pictures and videos look vivid even when we viewed them anytime during the day. There are 10 levels of brightness you can adjust accordingly if you happen to find the display too glaring to look at. The built-in web camera and microphones are on the bezel above the display for your Zoom video meetings. Our review unit is equipped with AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U octa-core processor, 16GB LPDDR5 memory, 1TB SSD storage and features Wi-Fi 6E wireless and Bluetooth connectivity.
Below the screen sits the full-sized keyboard, a rectangular touchpad and spacious palm rests. The backlit keyboard buttons are evenly spaced but the top row of ESC, Function keys and power button are half the size of the normal button. To access the Function keys (F1, F2 to F12), you need to press and hold the Fn key next to the CTRL before pressing the corresponding F1 keys. This means that if you want to execute ALT+F4 shortcut to close an active window, you will need to press ALT+Fn+F4 instead. The power button is also a fingerprint reader which you can use to register as one of the log-in options via Windows 11 settings, though you may want to be careful to just swipe your finger instead of depressing too hard. While the touchpad provides control of the onscreen cursor, it also supports various convenient finger gestures such as two-finger press to perform a right-click, two-finger pinch to zoom in or zoom out a photograph or document and three-finger press to activate Search Windows.
In terms of connectors, the Swift Edge has a 3.5mm audio headphone/microphone and a USB type-A port on the right, while on the left are two USB Type-C ports with DC-in, HDMI and USB type-A ports. The built-in speakers are located at the base and that is probably why audio sounded muffled even when we turned up the volume. Audio quality was also average with the lack of bass. However, the preinstalled DTS processing software, if you choose to turn it on, would help the audio sound better. The DTS software is designed to optimize your audio experience, be it for listening to music, watching movie or gaming. Alternatively, you can also rely on Bluetooth or cabled headphones for better audio enjoyment.
On testing, the Swift Edge scored an overall 4910 (8,801 for essentials, 6,277 for productivity, and 5,814 for digital content creation) in the PCMark 10 Professional benchmark tests, which shows that it can run most office applications without a stutter. The Acer also managed a score of 19,279 on 3DMark Night Raid, 5,250 on 3DMark Fire Strike and 2,170 on Time Spy. While it is not designed as a gaming laptop, the Swift Edge does allow for some 3D gaming at low visual settings. On a full charge, the Acer laptop lasted 8 hours 4 minutes on the PCMark battery life test, before it fizzled. On typical office usage, it should last more than half a day before you need to find a power point to plug in the power adapter.
The Acer Swift Edge (SFA16-41) is retailing at $2,598 and comes with a two years warranty. According to Acer, the model with the AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 6650U hexa-core processor starts from $2,298.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
The Acer Swift Edge is a very lightweight laptop that would appeal to mobile professionals who want a larger 16-inch display.
Aesthetics - 8.5/10
Build Quality - 9/10
Performance - 8.5/10
Value - 8.5/10
Geek Satisfaction - 9/10