Acer Swift X 14 review: fast but not long-lasting

Acer Swift X 14 front view showing display and keyboard deck.

Acer Swift X 14

MSRP $1,500.00

“The Acer Swift X 14 provides the performance and display quality that creators crave, but its battery life is sub-par.”

Pros

  • Excellent productivity performance
  • Surprisingly good creative performance
  • Decent gaming performance
  • Outstanding OLED display
  • Good keyboard and mouse

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Lid and keyboard deck are too flexible

Acer revised its Swift X 14, upping the display size to 14.5 inches, updating to Intel 13th-gen CPUs, and refreshing the thermal design for (theoretically) better performance. To be sure you’re getting the newest model, look for the Swift X 14 SFX14-71G designation.

This laptop could really use a facelift, but it keeps intact the standard Acer Swift aesthetics. The pedestrian design could be forgiven if it’s fast enough, which is exactly what the Acer Swift X 14 seeks to be. Throw in a spectacular OLED display and an affordable price and you have a solid laptop for creatives and students, even if the battery life remains a weakness.

Specs and configurations

  Acer Swift X 14
Dimensions 12.71 inches x 8.98 inches x 0.70 inches
Weight 3.42 pounds
Processor Intel Core i5-13500H
Intel Core i7-13700H
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050
RAM 16GB
Display 14.5-inch 16:10 WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS, 120Hz
14.5-inch 16:10 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED, 120Hz
Storage 512GB SSD
1GB SSD
Touch No
Ports 2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x microSD card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 1080p
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 76 watt-hours
Price $1,050+

Acer sells two configurations of the Swift X 14. The entry-level model, priced at $1,050, comes with a Core i5-13500H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, and a 14.5-inch WQXGA IPS display. My review machine costs $1,500 for a Core i7-13700H, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an RTX 4050, and a 14.5-inch 2.8K OLED display. That ranges from midrange to premium pricing, with specifications to match.

Surprisingly good creative performance

Acer Swift X 14 rear view showing lid and logo.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Acer’s goal with the Swift X 14 is to provide a laptop that can meet the needs of both demanding productivity users and creators looking for a highly portable laptop. The 45-watt Intel Core i7-13700H with 14 cores (six Performance cores at up to 5.00GHz and eight Efficient cores at up to 3.7GHz) and 20 threads is a good start, and adding a discrete GPU in the entry-level Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 is likely a smart choice given the thin and light chassis. On paper, that’s not the fastest GPU for creative tasks, but as we’ll see from our benchmark results the choice was a solid one.

The Swift X 14 was fast enough in our CPU-intensive benchmarks, competing well against other laptops equipped with the same processor. It’s significantly faster than the Apple MacBook Air M2 that comes in at around the same price, and it keeps up with the much more expensive Dell XPS 15. I ran all the benchmarks in both balanced and performance modes, and that made little difference in most. Acer updated the thermal design with the latest model, but it seems to be close to maxed out even without turning on performance mode.

Acer Swift X 14 rear view showing vents.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Where the Swift X 14 impressed most, though, was in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark, which runs in a live version of Adobe Premiere Pro and uses the GPU to speed up a variety of processes. The Swift X 14 was much faster than the Lenovo Slim 7 14 with an AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS CPU, a configurable 35-watt to 45-watt, 8-core/16-thread processor with a base clock of 3.2GHz and a Max Boost Clock of 4.75GHz, and an RTX 3050 GPU. More impressively, the Swift X 14 was fast even compared to the XPS 15 equipped with an RTX 4070 GPU.

For the price and size, the Swift X 14 provides surprisingly good performance for creators, while excelling for productivity users as well.

Geekbench 5
(single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single/multi)
Pugetbench Premiere Pro
Acer Swift X 14
(Core i7-13700H)
Bal: 1,709 / 12,890
Perf: 1,710 / 12,931
Bal: 74
Perf: 83
Bal: 1,713 / 10,611
Perf: 1,714 / 12,335
Bal: 835
Perf: 849
Acer Swift Go 14
(Core i7-13700H)
Bal: 1,866 / 11,061
Perf: 1,854 / 11,824
Bal: 82
Perf: 82
Bal: 1,863 / 12,497
Perf: 1,915 / 13,554
N/A
Lenovo Slim 7 14
(AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS)
Bal: 1,493 / 9021
Perf: 1,498 / 9210
Bal: 95
Perf: 84
Bal: 1,551 / 12,536
Perf: 1,553 / 13,107
Bal: 464
Perf: 501
Dell XPS 15 9530
(Core i7-13700H)
Bal: 1,787 / 11,978
Perf: 1,830 / 11,769
Bal: 79
Perf: 76
Bal: 1,865 / 13,386
Perf: 1,868 / 13,927
Bal: 866
Perf: 1,023
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8
(Core i7-1360P)
Bal: 1,843 / 8,814
Perf: 1,835 / 10,008
Bal: 122
Perf: 101
Bal: 1,846 / 8,779
Perf: 1,906 / 9,849
N/A
Apple MacBook Air M2
(M2)
Bal: 1,925 / 8,973
Perf: N/A
Bal: 151
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,600 / 7,938
Perf: N/A
Bal: 497
Perf: N/A

The Swift X 14 was shipped with Nvidia’s Studio drivers installed, which benefits performance in creative applications but doesn’t optimize for gaming. You can always install the Nvidia Game-Ready drivers if gaming is more important to you than creative work.

We don’t have many laptops with the RTX 4050 to compare against, but one other laptop with the same CPU and GPU is the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra. In the 3DMark Time Spy test, the Swift X 14 scored 5,927 in balanced mode and 6,741 in performance mode, compared to the Samsung’s 6,454 and 7,486, respectively. In Fortnite, the Swift X 14 managed 58 frames per second (fps) at 1200p and epic graphics in balanced mode, and 67 fps in performance mode. That’s a bit slower than the Galaxy Book3 Ultra’s 66 fps and 84 fps.

That makes the Swift X 14 a decent entry-level 1080p gaming machine that will be a bit faster if you swap out the drivers. But don’t expect to run more demanding games with graphics turned up.

Surprisingly poor battery life

Acer Swift X 14 side view showing ports and display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Yes, the Swift X 14 has a speedy CPU and a high-res OLED display, neither of which contributes to great battery life. However, its battery capacity is 76 watt-hours, which should be enough to power through for at least average longevity.

In my testing, though, the laptop didn’t last long. It hit just 5.25 hours in our web browsing test, five hours in the PCMark 10 Applications battery benchmark, and a paltry five hours looping our test video. This is significantly less than some comparable machines, and it means you’ll definitely have to carry a charger around if you plan to be out of the office all day.

Web browsing Video PCMark 10 Applications
Acer Swift X 14
(Core i7-13700H)
5 hours, 13 minutes 5 hours, 5 minutes 5 hours, 4 minutes
Acer Swift Go 14
(Core i7-13700H)
8 hours, 27 minutes 11 hours, 51 minutes 9 hours, 57 minutes
Lenovo Slim 7 14
(AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS)
9 hours, 40 minutes 11 hours, 41 minutes 10 hours, 34 minutes
Dell XPS 15 9530
(Core i7-13700H)
9 hours, 43 minutes 11 hours, 46 minutes 10 hours, 49 minutes
Apple MacBook Air M2
(Apple M2)
17 hours, 59 minutes 21 hours, 9 minutes N/A

A design that doesn’t stand out

Acer Swift X 14 front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Acer specifically calls out the Swift X 14’s minimalist design, and as I’ve mentioned in so many reviews lately, that’s been the trend. Few laptops are designed to stand out, instead taking on simple lines and angles to make for a clean, polished look. The Swift X 14 mostly does just that, with zero chrome accents and angles that fit the contemporary trend.

I’ll call out the rear, though, which features a sharper angle on the bottom chassis and a rather blocky hinge. It’s not enough to dramatically separate the Swift X 14 from the pack, but it’s a nuance that’s noticeable. One complaint I have is the plastic bezels, which take away a bit from the premium look and feel.

Acer Swift X 14 top down view showing hinge.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The all-aluminum laptop is fairly rigid, with just a little bit of give in the lid and keyboard deck. It’s not quite up to the standards of, say, the Lenovo Slim 9i, but it’s suitable for the price. The hinge opens smoothly and holds the display firmly in place, with no wobble during use.

Thanks to its unusual 14.5-inch display size and no-to-thin display bezels, the Swift X 14 is a bit deep but it’s reasonably wide. It’s average at 0.70 inches thick and a little heavy at 3.42 pounds. But, that’s the price you pay for an extra half-inch of screen real estate.

Acer Swift X 14 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The keyboard has large keycaps and good key spacing, with switches that are light and snappy. I don’t find them quite as precise as the keyboards on Dell’s XPS line or Apple’s Magic Keyboard on its MacBooks, but it’s still a great keyboard for long typing sessions. The touchpad is spacious with confident, quiet clicks and a responsive surface.

Connectivity is excellent, with a mix of Thunderbolt 4 and legacy ports, and as usual, I would rather have seen a full-size SD card reader than the equipped microSD version. Wireless connectivity is up to date.

Finally, the webcam is 1080p and provides an excellent image. There’s no infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello support, but the fingerprint reader embedded in the power button works well.

The usual OLED goodness

Acer Swift X 14 front view showing display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

As usual, the Swift X 14’s OLED display was gorgeous from the moment I turned it on. It’s bright, has spectacular colors, and the contrast is deep creating inky blacks. It’s a joy to use. It’s sharp at 14.5 inches and 2880 x 1800, and it can run at a fast 120Hz.

My colorimeter ran into an issue I’ve seen with a handful of other OLED panels, specifically, it couldn’t measure the contrast. I’m certain, though, that I’d see results equal to other OLED displays. Colors are wide at 100% of sRGB, 96% of AdobeRGB, and 100% of DCI-P3, with outstanding accuracy at a Delta-E of 0.72 (anything less than 1.0 is professional grade).

Simply put, the display will please everyone who uses it, including the creators to whom the Swift X 14 is directed. It’s a great combination to go with the speedy creative performance, and it will also delight productivity users and media consumers.

As far as audio is concerned, the two upward-firing speakers provide moderate volume that avoids distortion when turned all the way up. The sound is quite clear, with nice mids and highs, but bass is lacking. It’s fine for streaming alone, but for quality music listening or gathering a group, a good pair of headphones or external speakers will be appreciated.

Great for portable creators

At $1,500, the Swift X 14 provides surprisingly good performance for creators with an OLED display to match. It’s an excellent option for anyone looking to create on the go, and it competes well against some other, larger laptops like the Dell XPS 15 9530.

Its battery life is pretty bad, though, and its design is nothing to write home about. Even so, if you want speed and portability, then the Swift X 14 is a solid choice for the money.

Editors’ Recommendations






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