It might have an impressive 16in screen, but the Acer Swift Edge tips the scales at just 1.17kg – proving display size doesn’t need to command laptop luggability. Those numbers should turn the heads of anyone who has previously written off larger laptops for commuting or hybrid work because of their bulk – and weight is only part of the story.
There’s a creator-friendly 4K resolution OLED panel, punchy AMD internals that should comfortably handle everyday desktop duties, and the promise of all-day battery life. Throw in a price that puts many other Intel-powered options to shame with much smaller screens, and there’s a lot to be had here. On paper, at least.
Does it prove tempting enough in practice – or have sacrifices been made in pursuit of razor-thin desire?
Design & build: it won’t be less for you
Folded closed, the 14mm Edge Swift is barely there, and super-skinny screen bezels help keep the other dimensions in check. This is a compact laptop, despite its display, and will easily slip into a bag or backpack. The thing is so light you probably have to check it’s there, even with the USB-C power brick (in the same way) in the tow.
Acer used a magnesium-aluminum alloy to keep the weight down. The firm reckons it’s twice as strong as regular aluminium, so you have to silence the part of your brain that associates ‘light’ with ‘spindle’. It’s strong in all the right places, with just a little flex to the lid if you go looking for it. There’s a lot more on the keyboard tray, which slips under your fingers with little effort, but that’s not surprising given how slim the laptop is.
It’s so thin, in fact, that there’s barely enough room for full-sized ports on the sides. Acer has done well to squeeze in an HDMI output alongside two USB-C ports, which handle charging and also support DisplayPort over USB. There are also two USB Type-A ports to save scrabbling for dongles, and a 3.5mm headphone port. It’s a shame that an SD card slot didn’t make the cut, though, given how capable the image and video editing display is.
We like that the branding is kept to a minimum (once you peel away the stickers that cover the rest of the wrist, anyway) and the all-black finish does a great job of hiding fingerprints. Speaking of which, a fingerprint sensor is stealthily built into the power button to quickly bypass the Windows lock screen. It’s fast, accurate, and unaffected by lighting conditions, so it wins our vote for Windows Hello facial recognition.
Screen & sound: simply amazing
There’s hardly a box Acer hasn’t ticked with the Swift Edge’s 16in display. It’s a 4K panel, with a pin-sharp 3840×200 resolution that’s perfect for photo editing as well as Netflix series bingeing. OLED technology delivers perfect blacks, unmatched contrast and delightfully punchy colors. Response times are immediate, for all intents and purposes.
Okay, gamers might thumb their noses at the 60Hz refresh rate, and it loses touch screen support, but this is a great display otherwise. The 16:10 aspect ratio can handle streaming video just as well as spreadsheets, with HDR content living up to a DisplayHDR True Black rating of 500. The highlights are brilliantly bright, with no detail removed from shadow areas.
A peak of 500 nits of brightness is not to be sniffed at, either. It’s fine to use in direct sunlight, even if the glossy screen finish can distort the reflectors a bit. We couldn’t verify the claimed 100% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage, but it’s certainly pretty impressive for any creative type looking to do color-accurate work. The panel produces natural colors, avoiding the unnaturally vibrant pitfalls of other OLEDs we’ve tested.
The stereo speakers shoot down in line with the display: there’s a bit of unpleasant resonance when you really crank the volume, but at more sensible levels clarity is pretty good. Speech is clear for videos and voice comes through clearly over music. Don’t expect much in the way of bass.
Keyboard & touchpad: pressure matters
Given that it sits under a 16in screen, it’s a little surprising that Acer has gone for a relatively compact keyboard layout for the Swift Edge. Function and up/down arrow keys are half size, and some punctuation keys are also reduced in the wash. There’s also a lot of space on either side of the keyboard tray, so this feels like a lot of opportunity. Still, the alphabet keys are all full-sized, with a clear white backlight that makes it easy to type in low light.
Of course for such a thin machine there isn’t much critical travel here, but everything bounces back into place quickly. As mentioned above there is a significant amount of flex, but it didn’t affect our flow when typing.
Our review unit had one letter that frequently failed to registera letter, caused by a tiny loose screw. Once the key was removed it worked fine, but there’s no telling if this was due to our device being a pre-release sample or a sign of wider production issues.
We had no complaints about the touchpad, it’s a sensible size while leaving enough room on the sides to rest your wrists while typing. The antimicrobial coating doesn’t create any extra drag when scrolling with your finger, and there was no problem recognizing multi-touch gestures.
Performance & battery life: AMD all the way
Intel has long had the lion’s share of laptops, so it’s great to see AMD putting up a strong fight with its latest Ryzen CPUs. Acer has gone for a Ryzen 7 6800U for the Swift Edge; the octa-core chip typically clocks in at 2.7GHz, but can turbo much higher when temperature (and battery power) allows it. 16GB of RAM and 1TB of NVMe SSD storage are on hand, as well as a Microsoft Pluto security co-processor that would satisfy any IT administrator.
The combination is perfectly suited for daily desktop tasks, running dozens of browser tabs alongside work documents and streaming from Spotify while remaining virtually silent. More demanding jobs such as image editing are also handled quickly, with the internal fan cranking up to audible levels. Really push it though, say with 4K video rendering, and it goes to hair dryer-like levels. That’s the challenge of cooling toasted chips in such a slim chassis. The same CPU in a thicker laptop will probably be faster.
General performance is on par with Intel’s Core i7-1280P, which can be seen in similarly priced machines, with AMD coming out on top in some tests but slightly behind in others. Anyone who spends more time in Microsoft Office than rendering scenes in Autodesk Maya will be perfectly happy with the performance on tap. Acer’s somewhat heavy Windows installation doesn’t even slow things down. We’re sure it costs a few pennies to pin a link to Booking.com to the taskbar, but it means your first ten minutes are spent weeding out unwanted bloatware.
It’s not realistic to expect integrated Radeon graphics to play games at the laptop’s native resolution, but as long as you’re willing to drop to 1080p, it’s a surprisingly capable chip. Forza Horizon 5 is perfectly playable at medium settings, while more demanding titles can post 30fps or better as long as you dial back the data. This isn’t a gaming machine, though, and it gets loud when asked to play modern titles.
The OLED display isn’t particularly kind to the battery, but AMD’s efficient silicon goes a long way to make up for it. With the screen set to 50% brightness, we comfortably saw more than nine hours of video playback away from the mains. This dropped south of seven when used for everyday jobs, but that’s still better than similarly priced machines like the Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i. The Apple MacBook Air M2 is still the overall champ, but it can’t match the Acer for full screen real estate.
Verdict Acer Swift Edge
If portability is your top priority, the Acer Swift Edge makes a strong case for itself. It’s a 16in machine that weighs less than a thin-and-light 13in, which certainly beats the regular visits to the chiropractor required when you’re carting around some similarly sized competitors.
The 4K OLED display is absolutely gorgeous, the battery life is very respectable and it gives up very little in terms of performance. Admittedly, the Ryzen CPU could benefit from a little extra cooling, as would your ears (the fans can get pretty loud), and the keyboard isn’t the best we’ve used, so it’s not short of a perfect score.
Build quality is excellent overall, though, and there’s no shortage of connectivity. If your laptop doesn’t leave your side while you’re on the move, and you want a screen as big as possible, you absolutely deserve our attention.
Acer Swift Edge technical specifications
|Screen||16in, 3840×2400 OLED|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 6800U|
|Memory||16 GB of RAM|
|Graphics||Driver AMD Radeon 680m|
|Operating system||Windows 11 home|
|Connectivity||2x USB-C 4, 2x USB-A 3.2, HDMI 2.1, 3.5mm headphone port|
|Battery||Up to 10.5 hours|