Here comes a device of a brilliantly minimal stylish design – Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52). This is a product for students who need a laptop lighter than a notebook (a paper one, that is). It is also going to appeal to bloggers, that move from place to place faster than Usain Bolt through a tartan track. Its mindblowing thickness and weight of a feather make us sound like we are advertising the product, and yet it is the main selling point of the device.
The stylish shell comes with powerful internals – we have Intel Core i7-8550U on board, accompanied by 8 GB of DDR 4 RAM, running on 2400 MHz. The storage device is a 256 GB SSD. This Swift 5 is equipped with a FHD (1920 x 1080 pixels) touchscreen display with an IPS panel. The one here does lack the Gorilla Glass coating of the Swift 3 (SF315-41), which we reviewed for you earlier.
Acer claims an 8-hour battery life of the Swift 3 (SF514-52), and we can assure you that we’re gonna test these claims.
You can find the prices and configurations in our Specs System: http://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-5-2017/
The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region.
Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) technical specifications table Also known as Acer Swift 5 (SF515-52)
Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) configurations
Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) comes in a nice big black and gold box. Inside you see two compartments. One includes the charger of the device, which is the same that comes with the larger Swift 3. The other on has a cardboard cover branded with Acer’s logo. Underneath we find the always-there manuals and set up guides, accompanied by the Swift 5 (SF514-52) itself, which is placed in a cute white antistatic bag.
Design and construction
The Swift 5 (SF514-52) is a device that surely impresses from the first look. Not only the premium blue aluminum skin but just how thin this laptop is. How light it is! The 14-inch machine is just 15 mm thin, and it weighs less than a kilo – 970 g (2.14 lbs). The stylish shell’s size is 12.95″ x 8.98″ x 0.59″ which translates to 33 cm x 22.8 cm x 1.5 cm, and it houses a 14-inch 1920 x 1080p touchscreen display. On the bottom of the device, we see some vents and the drills underneath which are located the stereo speakers. The hot air vent is pointing towards the decorative hinge panel with the Swift logo.
Opening the Swift 5 (SF514-52) we find pretty a common view – a keyboard, touchpad and a fingerprint reader. Despite the small size of the device, we like the adequate key size, and with the clickiness and the fast response, it is a real pleasure typing on it. Another plus is the backlight presence.
The touchpad here is better than that of the larger Swift 3, but here we also have the likings of a screen that is touch sensitive. The digitizer of the device is well calibrated and responds pretty accurately. We were annoyed, however, by the shakiness of the screen when typing on it in everything else than the flat mode. We would like the hinges to be a little bit sturdier, but we didn’t find many occasions to prefer the touchscreen over the touchpad of the device.
The little guy that we didn’t mention above is the fingerprint reader, which is a conventional one. It works 9 out of 10 and is not the fastest on the planet but it sure does the job.
On the side, we can see the usual stuff found on every laptop – ports! The left one is organized pretty minimally, having only the headphone jack, but there is a couple of blinking lights, that make sure “the Jack” is not bored. The other side sports 4 connectors – an HDMI connector, and three USB 3.0 ports. One of them is an ordinary Type-A, another one is again Type-A, but offers Sleep and Charge, and the last one is Type-C.
Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) is equipped with a Full HD touchscreen panel with an IPS matrix. The model number of the display is AUO B140HAK02.0. With an aspect ratio of 16:9 the resolution of the device is 1920 x 1080, and considering the screen size of 14 inches we calculated a pixel density of 157 ppi, making the display “Retina” when viewed from at least 56 cm. The pixel pitch is 0.161 x 0.161 mm.
The screen of Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) has comfortable viewing angles, which is shown in the image below.
The maximum brightness of the device goes up to 213 cd/m2 in the middle of the screen, going down to 200 cd/m2 as an average across the surface of the screen. The maximum deviation is around 21%. The color temperature of the panel when white light is displayed is 6880 K (which is kind of colder than the optimal 6500 K for the sRGB standard). The color temperature of the grey scale before calibration is a little bit colder at 7000 K.
On the next image, we can see the dE2000 values with a reference point of 140 cd/m2. Ideally, these values should be below 4.0 points. The contrast we measured is very good at 1450:1 (1250:1 after calibration).
Next, we look at the color coverage of the sRGB color gamut (that’s the standard for the Internet and HDTV). We also included the color reproduction limits of the human eye via the “CIE 1975 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram” which gives us the idea of range and accuracy of the colors, your device throws at you. Inside the dark grey triangle, we see the standard colors used by Internet and digital television – rec 709/sRGB.
Being used by millions of people around the world, the colors from the sRGB gamut are the most common and their accurate reproduction is of key importance for the quality of the screen.
Other than sRGB we check the Adobe RGB gamut, used in professional cameras, DCI-P3 – used by the movie studios. We also included UHD Rec.2020, which is hard to achieve by the nowadays displays whatsoever. Lastly, we put the Pointer gamut which consists of the natural colors that usually appear around us.
The yellow dotted line shows the coverage of Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) which is around 95% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.
Our “Gaming and Web design” profile is designed to show optimal color temperature (6500K) when the luminance is at 140 cd/m2 and in sRGB gamma mode.
In order to test the display, we used 24 color samples, consisting of common founded and easy distinguishable ones like light and dark human skin, blue sky, grassy green and orange.
In the images below you can compare the results of Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) with the default settings and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile.
Coming next we have the gaming experience tool which shows the capabilities of the screen to expose the darkest parts of the image.
The left side tells us the results of the screen at default settings, and the right one shows us the results with “Gaming and Web design” profile installed. The horizontal gives us the levels of grey, and the vertical one – the screen brightness.
You can check how your device displays the first five levels of grey – 1% – 5% White – via the graphics below the charts. The image you see depends on several factors such as the panel of the display you’re currently reading this article on, it’s calibration, your vision, ambient light, viewing angle and more.
Response time (Gaming capabilities)
The bottom graph is dedicated to gamers and illustrates the response time of the pixels from Black to White and vice versa, from 10% to 90% and reverse.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
The light emitted by Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) is not PW-modulated for the full range of brightness levels, giving comfortable conditions for long-time usage.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.
And so, the touchscreen display of Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) has an IPS panel with Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, a very good contrast and at the same time covering pretty much the whole sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976 at 95%.
The downside of the unit is the relatively high variation in terms of luminance (and a little bit when it comes to color temperature) across the screen. Also, because of the glossy finish of the screen, the display may seem a bit dim when exposed to direct sunlight.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) configurations with 14″ B140HAK02.0 (FHD, 1920 x 1080) IPS screen: Buy from Amazon.com
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) has an excellent stereo sound. The low, mid and high frequencies partially suffer from deviation in the tones.
Swift 5 (SF514-52) come pre-equipped with 64-bit Windows 10 Home edition operating system. If you decide to reinstall or switch OS here is a link for all the drivers you’ll need potentially: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/7485?b=1
As usual, we ran our tests using the same settings – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 cd/m2 and in Windows power saving mode.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
CPU – Intel Core i7-8550U
The Intel Core i7-8550U is part of the new 8th Generation Kaby Lake Refresh and it’s a direct successor to the Intel Core i7-7500U from the Kaby Lake generation and the Intel Core i7-6500U from the 6th Skylake generation. With the latest alteration to the ULV (ultra-low voltage) processors, Intel doubles the core count from 2 to 4 and retaining the so-called Hyper-Threading technology, keeping the same 14nm manufacturing process and feature the same 15W TDP.
However, due to the core count change, the base frequency of the Core i7-8550U is lowered to only 1.8 GHz while Turbo Boost frequencies remain pretty high – somewhere between 3.7 – 4.0 GHz. This ensures considerably higher multi-core and single-core performance during short workloads before going back to more bearable frequencies considering the 15W TDP but most of the other specs and features remain the same.
The chip also incorporates a newer Intel Gen 9.5 integrated graphics called Intel UHD Graphics 620. The support for Google’s VP9 codec and H.265/HEVC Main 10 is still the most notable feature of the iGPU. Intel claims that the new UHD 620 chips improve the overall power consumption compared to the previous one.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
GPU – Intel UHD Graphics 620
Intel UHD Graphics 620 is a refresh of the HD Graphics 620 found as an integrated solution in many ULV Kaby Lake processors. UHD Graphics 620 is codenamed “Kaby Lake R U GT2” and it’s a part of the Gen 9.5 generation.
Intel UHD Graphics 620 has roughly the same performance as HD Graphics 620, depending on the other components in the system. UHD Graphics 620’s performance is similar to AMD Radeon R5 M420X and NVIDIA GeForce 910M/920M.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Gameplay recordings with Intel UHD Graphics 620
Even though the Swift 5 (SF512-52) is not a gaming-oriented machine – it can give you some satisfactory gaming experience with titles like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and if you really pump down the resolution and details you’ll even be capable of playing GTA V.
|CS:GO||HD 768p, Low (Check settings)||HD 768p, Medium (Check settings)||HD 768p, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||58 fps||37 fps||22 fps|
|Min FPS||7 fps||6 fps||3 fps|
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||HD 768p, Low (Check settings)||HD 768p, Medium (Check settings)||HD 768p, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||26 fps||–||–|
|Min FPS||13 fps||–||–|
The temperature tests go this way. We use Prime95 and FurMark to torture the CPU and the GPU respectively. This won’t give a representation of the real world load, but with our methodology we are trying to give you the most optimal results.
The first values from the test are from the 30th second of running the Prime95 stress test, which simulates a heavy task run on your computer (usually lighter tasks take from a part of the second up to a couple of seconds). Next, we take the ones from the 2nd-minute mark, which imitates a very heavy task, run on the CPU. The last values we give you are the ones at the end of the test, which is 15 minutes, simulating the load of the CPU, when it renders a video.
0-15 min. CPU torture test
As mentioned earlier, the Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) is equipped with a Core i7-8550U processor. Ahead of the tests, we measured the idle temperature of the CPU and it was around 41°C (106°F). After that, we started Prime95 and 30 seconds later the results didn’t seem very promising – the average core frequency was about 2.1 GHz, but what is important here is that in the first couple of seconds (which perfectly represents day-to-day tasks) the clock speeds reached 2.6 to 2.7 GHz, which is a sufficient score, although the average temperature was 91°C (196°F)! Are we having a Swift 5 for dinner?!
The second measurement left us disappointed for two reasons – firstly the temperatures stabilized at an average of 79°C (174°F) so we’re staying hungry tonight, and secondly, the frequencies fell even further to an average of 1.7 GHz.
The last checkpoint shows us that the slim and beautiful design comes with a sacrifice – terrible thermal effectiveness. Due to that, the average clock speeds for the whole test were under 1.5 GHz at an average temperature of 72°C (161°F).
Acer Swift 5 (SF514-52) is truly an interesting device. It definitely won us with its design, and left us very impressed with its lightness. What we mean is that when you walk around with the laptop in your hand it almost seems unsafe because you don’t feel any weight in your hand. Despite that the aluminum body is sturdy, and the cold touch is very pleasant. This review actually shows us that the benchmarks don’t always give us real representation of the true performance of a device.
The raw CPU benchmarks have created the impression that the Core i7-8550U inside the machine is not optimized at all. Everything except the Photoshop score was easily beaten by the lower class i5-8250U, for example. After having spent a couple of days with this bad boy, we can say with confidence that it is one of the fastest devices we have ever had in our office. The agility it shows going through day-to-day tasks such as browsing, app loading and multitasking is not represented by the benchmark results. 99% of the time the CPU’s maximum capacity is going to be used for not more than a couple of seconds, which the laptop has no problem of providing full 4 GHz for it. Also, the option of using the screen as an input device gives even more versatility to this machine. Not only that, but Acer fulfilled the promise of a lasting battery with almost 8 hours of web-surfing time, close to 6 hours video playback, and more than 2 and a half hours of gaming (even though we doubt you’re going to use this device for games).
The only thing we can complain is the thermal effectiveness of Swift 5 (SF514-52). Even though you will never stress it enough in real life, it is kind of disappointing to see the Core i7-8550U on 100% load having to throttle down to 1.3 GHz in a number of times.
Other than that we are so satisfied with this product that we can give it an “Editors Choice” award. Not only that but we think that this could be a good MacBook challenger – at a better price.
- Ultra-thin and lightweight body
- All-aluminum chassis with good build quality
- Very fast and responsive device
- Good IPS display with touchscreen
- Core i7-8550U onboard
- Fingerprint reader
- Good battery life
- Lack of an RJ45 port
- Screen is a bit shaky when using the touchscreen
- Bad thermal effectiveness (at very high load)