Today, I decided to wake up and choose violence; it’s time to blow the lid on a well-kept secret that will make Apple fans squirm. After comparing our test results between the 2022 Swift 5 and the M2 MacBook Air, the verdict is in: Acer’s laptop outperformed Apple’s flagship device in key performance benchmarks.
The Swift 5 did not fully destroy the MacBook Air. While the 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor inside the Acer laptop edged the M2’s capabilities, Apple’s chip has one killer A 10-core GPU makes light casual gaming more seamless on the MacBook Air.
And yes, the M2 is a more power-efficient chip, allowing the MacBook Air to last more than 14 hours (compared to the Swift 5’s 11 hours). However, when it comes to raw performance and speed, the Swift 5 sits at the throne, making it a better laptop for content creators who are concerned with the “Time is money!” cliché
Without further ado, let me demonstrate the ways in which the M2 MacBook Air can’t touch the new Acer Swift 5.
The M2 chip, Apple’s highly praised custom silicon SoC, was unveiled in June during the Worldwide Developers Conference. The successor to the M1 chip, Apple boasted that the M2 chip sports an octa-core CPU and a 10-core GPU that are 18% and 35% faster, respectively.
When we reviewed the M2 MacBook Air in early August, Apple’s laptop blew its competitors out of the water, including the Dell XPS 13 and the HP Specter x360 13. Next thing you know, and diving into a comparative analysis between the Swift 5 and the M2 MacBook Air, we found that the Acer laptop better than Apple’s notebook in many ways, which we didn’t expect.
What’s wrong with Swift 5’s performance capabilities? The 12-core Intel Core i7-1260P CPU inside. The upper mid-range Alder Lake chip edged the M2 on the Geekbench 5.4 test, which measures simulation of real-world tasks (eg PDF rendering, image compression, etc.). He achieved an impressive multi-core score 9,859 compared to the MacBook Air’s M2 8,919.
But wait, there’s more! The M2 can be seen inside the 13-inch MacBook Pro, too. To ruffle a few more feathers, it’s worth noting that the Acer Swift 5 also beat the multi-core 13-inch MacBook Pro’s Geekbench score of 5.4 8,911. Oof!
|Geekbench 5.4 score|
|Acer Swift 5||9,859|
|M2 Apple MacBook Air||8,919|
Responsiveness of the system
Hate to break it to Apple fans, but the Swift 5 followed to best the M2 MacBook Air on the CrossMark benchmark. It tests how well systems can excel in three categories: Productivity, Creativity, and Responsiveness. We’ll break down the real-life tasks CrossMark runs for each series below.
Productivity (office-environment use case)
- Word processing
- Editing a document
- Manipulating spreadsheet data
- Web browsing
- Archiving files
- Editing digital photos
- Cataloging digital photos
- Digital video editing
- Open files
- Save files
- Write files
In the Productivity benchmark, the Swift 5 beat the M2 MacBook Air by a score 1,711 and disappointed the Apple notebook with a score of 1,384. When CrossMark ran the Creativity section of the test, the Swift delivered a score of 5 1,857which edged out the Swift 5’s 1,842 score. Finally, in terms of Responsiveness, the Swift 5 earned an impressive score 1,710killing off the M2 MacBook Air’s respectable score 1,063.
Overall, the Swift received a CrossMark score of 5 1,772, pushing the MacBook Air’s M2 1,507 score.
The shock doesn’t stop there, however. The Swift 5 even beat the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which earned it an overall CrossMark score 1,517. Womp, wmp, wmp!
|Productivity||Creativity||Responsiveness of the system||Total CrossMark score|
|Acer Swift 5||1,711||1,857||1,710||1,772|
|M2 Apple MacBook Air||1,384||1,842||1,063||1,507|
If you’re a content creator who often dives into video conversion workflows, you’ll want to hear this!
We put the Swift 5 and M2 MacBook Air to the test and tasked them with transcoding 4K video to 1080p. The objective is simple: be the fastest to convert the film.
Using the Handbrake app, we tested the Swift 5 three times. Therefore, the Acer laptop took an average of it 7 minutes and 35 seconds to complete the task. We did the same for the M2 MacBook Air; we tested it three times. It did, on average, transcode the video into 7 minutes and 52 seconds.
In other words, the M2 MacBook Air is 17 seconds slower than the Swift 5. This may seem insignificant, but in the grand scheme of things, if you are a content creator who works with a large collection of videos every day day, to 17- the second lull increases, making it a significant difference for consumers looking for a faster workflow.
Fortunately, making up for the Geekbench return, the MacBook Pro M2 beat both the MacBook Air and the Swift 5 with a great score 6 minutes and 51 seconds.
|Video transcoding time (Handpath)|
|Acer Swift 5||7 minutes and 35 seconds|
|M2 Apple MacBook Air||7 minutes and 52 seconds|
While the M2 MacBook Air has a brighter display (489 nits vs. 457 nits), it’s worth noting that the Swift 5’s screen covers more of the DCI-P3 color gamut. The M2 MacBook Air, with a 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1664-pixel, Retina display, only covers 75.9% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.
The MacBook Pro didn’t get that hot either; it only covers 78% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. Conversely, the Swift 5’s 14-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel display covers 93% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.
In other words, the Swift 5’s display offers a greater range of colors visible to the human eye. The wider the DCI-P3 color gamut, the richer the colors.
When we look at the Delta-E color accuracy scores (closer to 0 is best), the M2 MacBook Air, with a score of 0.2, beat the Swift 5 (0.23). But what the heck is the 13-inch MacBook Pro doing with a terrible score of 0.31? How dull!
|DCI-P3 color gamut coverage||Delta-E color accuracy score||Brightness|
|Acer Swift 5||93%||0.23||457 nits|
|M2 Apple MacBook Air||75.9%||0.2||489 no|
Apple has always been stingy AF with ports. The M2 MacBook Air only has two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a headset jack. The M2 13-inch MacBook Pro has the same sad story.
On the other hand, the Acer Swift 5 delivers a mix of legacy and modern I / O options, offering Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI, two Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, headset jack and Kensington Lock.
As mentioned, the M2 MacBook Air is more power efficient than the Acer Swift 5. Plus, it delivers better graphics performance, but in every other benchmark, the Swift 5 outperformed Apple’s laptop.
Hell, the Swift 5 even managed to beat the 13-inch MacBook Pro in many areas, too, except for the video transcoding test.
The Swift 5 (Intel Core i7-1260p, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD) tested in this article is currently $1,499 on Amazon (opens in a new tab). A similarly specced MacBook Air costs $1,899 at Apple. (opens in a new tab) If I were you, I’d think long and hard about whether the Apple laptop is worth $300 if you win over performance.