Hands-on: Acer Swift X packs the power of AMD and RTX 30 Series into a 3lb portable monster

Acer Swift X
Acer Swift X (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The PC industry has been riding the Ultrabook wave for many years now with super thin and light laptops. But the tradeoff is performance, with less powerful CPUs and the lack of discrete GPUs found in gaming laptops and workstation rigs.

The new Acer Swift X is an answer to that – an in-between laptop that is still super light 1.39 kg (3.06 lbs) but can also deliver some serious power when needed. With a Zen 3 AMD Ryzen 7 5800u, new RTX 3050 Ti graphics, and a 14-inch display, the Acer Swift X is that sweet spot.

Here's what this laptop is all about in our hands-on.

Acer Swift X: AMD, NVIDIA, and a clean design

The Ryzen 7 5800U came just a few months ago and is the more powerful of the two Ryzen 7 U series. The 15W chip features eight cores, 16 threads, 20MB of cache, and peaks at 4.4Ghz. The NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti, meanwhile, was only announced earlier this month. The RTX 3050 Ti is a serious GPU, as it nearly doubles the performance of the GTX 1650 while also adding in DLSS to the mix.

Source: Acer (Image credit: Source: Acer)
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CategoryAcer Swift X
ProcessorUp to AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
StorageUp to 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD
Display14 inches
1920x1080 (FHD)
IPS, 300 nits, 100% sRGB
3.5mm audio
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6
SecurityFingerprint reader
Kensington lock slot
Up to 17 hours
Dimensions0.7 inches thin (17.9mm)
Weight3.06 pounds (1.39kg)
PriceFrom $900
AvailabilityJune (NA)

The Swift X itself combines all that power into a laptop that is light and relatively thin (17.9 mm, or 0.7 in) chassis. It's not a gaming laptop (although it can undoubtedly game), but it is instead aimed at "professionals" who want a "clean-looking notebook" that is powerful enough for real work and not just light productivity. Basically, creative pros like photographers, video editors, or even those crunching a lot of data.

Because the Ryzen 7 5800U is built on AMD's new Zen 3 core architecture, it should result in very good battery life (up to 17 hours) despite all those cores. Of course, the unit we have on hand is a pre-production sample, so we are advised not to run benchmarks due to forthcoming driver optimizations.

The Swift X's 14-inch and 16:9 display are interesting. While it is only full HD, it does feature a satisfying 85.7% screen-to-body ratio and 100% sRGB color gamut. Perhaps the only downside is the max 300 nits of brightness below average for laptops these days (though it's OK for indoor use).

Being an AMD-based laptop, the lack of Thunderbolt 4 is not too surprising, but you get a fast Type-C port, and there is Wi-Fi 6 onboard.

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The Swift X also wouldn't be an Acer laptop with some humble bragging about its fan technology. To keep things cool and quiet, this laptop has a fan with "fifty-nine 0.3 mm blades and a pair of D6 copper heat pipes to optimize its thermal efficiency." Not bad. But wait, there's more as "an air inlet keyboard design expels around 8-10% more heat than a standard keyboard, and a stereo ring with an inclined plane sitting along the top of the fan delivers up to a 5-10% improvement in airflow."

Of course, there are the usual effects of Acer cost-cutting like bottom-firing speakers, which are merely OK sounding, no IR for Windows Hello, mediocre webcam, and the usual reliance on thin metal to keep down the weight. But Acer's keyboards are also quite good and what you get here is a very compact but powerful laptop, which is still not too common.

But even those drawbacks take a back seat when you hear about the $900 starting price. Of course, that probably won't be the maxed-out version we have here, but there is no doubt if you're on a budget and need power, the Acer Swift X should be considered.

The Acer Swift X (SFX14-41G) will be available in June starting at 899.99; in EMEA in Summer 2021 starting at 899 EUR; and in China in Q3'20, starting at RMB 6,499.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.