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Acer Swift X Review: Portable but Pricey

Rating: 6/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $880
The Acer Swift X in a cafe
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

Laptops are meant to be practical and portable — with the Swift X, portability and power seem to be at the core of its design. But how much power can you cram into a device almost half an inch thick? And is the result worth the hefty price tag?

I’ve had the Acer Swift X for over a month and used it almost daily, so I’ve gotten to know the device quite well. There are a lot of positives and very few negatives to drag it back. However, Acer has placed the device in a price bracket with a lot of solid competition.

Here's What We Like

  • Extremely slim and light
  • Powerful processor
  • Great battery life

And What We Don't

  • Not all of the "features" seem necessary
  • Hefty price tag
  • Held back by its GPU

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Specs as Reviewed

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5825U (4.5 GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB LPDDR4X
  • Storage: ‎512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 4GB DDR6 Dedicated VRAM
  • Display: 14-inch FHD IPS display ( ‎1920 x 1080)
  • Battery: 59Wh Li-ion Battery
  • Connectivity: ‎Bluetooth, 802.11ax, Wi-FI 6
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home
  • Ports: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 2 x  USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, Audio jack, 1x HDMI 2.1
  • Camera:  FHD camera with Temporal Noise Reduction Technology
  • Dimensions: 12.71 x 8.35 x 0.7 inches
  • Weight: 3.06 lbs

It is an Extremely Portable Laptop

The sun glaring from the Acer Swift X screen
“I’ve seen brighter screens, but you can still work on the Swift X in direct sunlight.”

The most obvious thing about the Acer Swift X is how light and slim it is. At just 17.9 mm thick, it slots into a bag or briefcase without issue — and at 3 pounds, it’s unlikely to overload you. Although reviewing things involves using them as much as you can, the portability of the Swift X made it my daily go-to when working outside of my apartment. It’s slim enough to keep in a bag “just in case.” As a result, I’ve found myself pulling it out for some light writing at various bars, restaurants, and coffee shops over the last few months.

Battery life is also a consideration when picking a portable laptop, and the Swift X scores full marks there. The specs listed on Amazon claim you can get up to 13 hours of use on a full charge. Under average to moderate use, I found the battery life was nowhere near that — but it was still as much as I needed. I’ve managed to sit working in a coffee shop for about five hours without needing to reach for a charger. When you eventually need to plug the Swift X in, the battery recharges quickly too.

Screen brightness and reflectiveness is also a factor when it comes to portability. Using the laptop outside on a bright day can be impossible if the screen is too dim. The Swift X also passes this test, but only just. I have seen brighter laptops, better suited to outdoor use — but I can still use the Swift X on a sunny day while sitting on a patio.

There are Some Underwhelming Features

An Alexa Built In sticker on a laptop
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

One of the features Acer has boasted about on both the box and the case of the machine itself involves one of the world’s most popular smart assistants. Alexa is “built-in” to the device itself, and you can command her with your voice — under certain conditions. The Alexa app needs to be running, and your laptop can’t be in “power saving” mode. This app-based highlights how it isn’t actually “built-in” (though that is Amazon’s official term), and you can install it on most laptops and PCs. It’s not even a good medium for Alexa.

I have enjoyed having Alexa on the go with me before and found it to be incredibly convenient. But that was as a smartwatch feature; on a laptop, it gets in the way. A recent example of this involves me trying to set an alarm while typing near the echo dot I wanted to wake me up. The Swift X decided to answer the call and set the alarm on my laptop instead. I spotted this and fixed the issue, but if I hadn’t, there’s a good chance I would have slept in.

The Swift X also comes with a fingerprint scanner for quick and easy access from the lock screen. If you want the truth, I’ve used it roughly twice and, for the most part, forgotten it was there. When I’m unlocking the laptop, muscle memory tends to take over, and I’ve already hammered in my password before I know what’s going on. The scanner does use Windows Hello, so it can be used to unlock apps, gain access to websites, and perform other biometric checks. Still, while biometrics may be convenient on your smartphone, lining up your thumb with a black square on your laptop is more inconvenient than saving passwords in your browser.

The Swift X Handles Most Tasks Easily

An Acer Swift X laptop keyboard close up
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

Let’s not kid around; the RAM and processing power of the Swift X packs are more than enough to eat the majority of everyday tasks alive. If you’re the sort of person who likes to open browser tabs until your laptop combusts, you’ve probably met your match in the Swift X. It takes about two windows of ten tabs to get the laptop’s fan slightly agitated.

Users can tackle office tasks, light to moderate video and photo editing, and video streaming without any issues. If you do a lot of writing, the low-profile keyboard may make your hands ache after a few thousand words — but that’s an issue with laptops in general. If you’re not a heavy gamer and use a computer for work, social media, web browsing, or entertainment, I doubt there is anything you’ll encounter that will cause the Swift X to struggle.

Its Gaming Use is Quite Limited

The Acer Swift X's specs compared to the requirements of GTA V
System Requirements Lab

Acer did not design the Swift X for anything beyond casual gaming, and this is something the company themselves will freely admit. While you have an excellent processor and enough RAM to run a small server — the GPU is certainly the bottleneck on this machine. Borderline ancient games like GTA IV will run just fine, provided you can work around any issues that come with playing a game that old on Windows 11. However, its sequel GTA V is an excellent example of the dividing line.

The game is almost ten years old, and the Swift X meets the “minimum requirements,” but you will make some heavy graphical compromises to get things going. The popular battle royal game Fortnite is similar, you can get it going, but your experience won’t be as smooth and pretty as you’re used to. Anything remotely modern or even slightly graphically demanding is a total no-go.

There is a Question of Diminishing Returns

The Acer Swift X on a cafe desk
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

With its $1099.99 price tag, you have to question if the Swift X is value for money. I’m not saying the specs don’t fit the price, but I am asking if it’s what the people buying this laptop need. During my time with the Swift X, I used it for light photo editing, entertainment, and a lot of writing — it did all of those tasks well. But a $600 laptop would have taken everything I’ve thrown at the Swift X without an issue.

It still strikes me how this laptop’s GPU holds it back. I know Acer wasn’t aiming to make a gaming laptop, but if you’re spending over $1000, a VR-capable gaming laptop could be on your shortlist. You may sacrifice some of the portability, but an extra pound in weight and half-inch of thickness may be worth the increased gaming and editing capabilities. You can also pick up a gaming laptop with similar battery life to the Swift X; so there isn’t much of a reason to pick this over something more powerful. I can’t fully recommend something I wouldn’t purchase myself, and I am actually in the market for a laptop in this price bracket at the moment. The Acer Swift X won’t be the one I choose.

Rating: 6/10
Price: $880

Here’s What We Like

  • Extremely slim and light
  • Powerful processor
  • Great battery life

And What We Don't

  • Not all of the "features" seem necessary
  • Hefty price tag
  • Held back by its GPU

Dave McQuilling Dave McQuilling
Dave McQuilling has spent over 10 years writing about almost everything, but technology has always been one of his main interests. He has previously worked for newspapers, magazines, radio stations, websites, and television stations in both the US and Europe. Read Full Bio »