Announced at this year’s IFA, the Swift 7 is the latest ultra-portable device from Acer and comes just in time to adopt the improved 4.5W KBL-Y processors. Now branded as Core i7-7Y75, the processor comes as a direct successor to the Core m7-6Y75 but as Intel promises, it packs a number of changes under the hood providing better power optimization and up to 30% better performance in some scenarios.
Aside from the new Kaby Lake CPU running the show, the notebook has a number of key selling points that make it stand out in the already overcrowded ultra-portable market segment. For starters, the Swift 7 dethrones the HP Spectre 13 as the thinnest notebook ever made with profile measuring just 9.98 mm and weighing as much as 1.084 kg. That’s darn impressive for a 13-inch laptop. This, of course, comes at a price with some design limitations as you will see in the review below. Another key feature is the aluminum unibody design with surprisingly sturdy construction including a large touchpad.
You can find some of the available models here: http://amzn.to/2g2IE1w
The package, in which hte notebook arrived, offered more than the bare minimum. It had the usual set of user manuals, AC adapter and two USB-C dongles. One of them is USb-C to HDMI and the other one is USB-C to USB-A 3.0.
Design and construction
In terms of design and construction, the Swift 7 is truly remarkable not only because it’s ultra-thin and light but also because it’s super sleek with premium appearance and sturdy overall construction. The only plastic you will find on this laptop are the hinge caps and the side of the screen bezels. This is probably for better Wi-Fi reception rather than a design solution.
We start off with the lid. It’s covered in anodized black aluminum with a hint of matte finish on top, which attracts a ton of fingerprints and smudges. They are quite visible so frequent cleaning is a must. You will also notice a small plastic bar on top of the lid, which is also designed for better Wi-Fi reception because the antennas reside in the laptop’s lid. Speaking of which, it’s quite sturdy and gives in ever so slightly under pressure but it’s really hard to twist due to the Gorilla Glass 4 protection on the screen and the aluminum used for the build. The hinges, on the other hand, appear to be a bit too tight. Unlike the HP Spectre 13 laptop, which had extraordinary stealth and linear hinge travel making it extremely easy to open with one hand, the Swift 7 needs both hands to be opened. And as for the bottom side, the laptop uses the same anodized aluminum plate but this time drops the matte finish. It’s super easy to open and you can access the internals in no time.
The sides of the notebook don’t offer anything out of the ordinary and have a modest set of connection options. Probably due to design limitations, the notebook doesn’t feature all the usual connection types and just like the Spectre 13, this one is fully invested in the USB-C bandwagon. You will find two of those on the right side but there’s little difference between them. The one next to the 3.5 mm audio jack can be used for external displays supporting HDMI 1.4b output, data transfer up to 5Gbps due to the Gen 1 standard and can be used for charging the device. The other one can only be used for power delivery and data transfer, again up to 5Gbps. It’s quite unfortunate that the device doesn’t support the latest USB-C Gen 2 protocol for faster data transfer and Thunderbolt connectivity. This is a must-have feature for most users when using a USB-C-only device. The HP Spectre 13 for instance, delivers both connection types with three ports – two of them are Gen 2 and the other one is Gen 1.
The elegant razer-sharp chamfered edges on the sides are part of the interior aluminum gold-colored plate. We’ve got slightly concaved keyboard tray for added comfort when typing and HP-style long but narrow touchpad with diamond-cut edges around it. The touchpad feels pretty nice, offers quite the stable clickable surface and it’s accurate enough for comfortable use. A bit of more precision when making small movements of the cursor would have been nice but let’s not get too picky. The keyboard, however, feels a bit narrow. Not as narrow as the one on the Lenovo Yoga 900S, which was barely usable but the short key travel can be felt easily, especially on the space bar. You will witness generally accurate and fast typing experience with not enough prominent tactile feedback. Also, the keyboard tray sinks in under pressure but doesn’t affect the user experience so it’s fairly negligible drawback.
At the end of the day, the design and construction of the device are probably the key selling points and we can clearly see why. It’s absurdly thin and light without compromising in build quality. The only small drawback of the device would be the reduced key travel of the keyboard and the limitation of the USB-C ports.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
There’s not much you can tinker with this laptop as most of the hardware is either soldered to the motherboard or it’s missing due to design limitations. In this case, you can only access the M.2 SSD slot and the Wi-Fi card. At least the process of accessing is pretty easy.
Storage upgrade options – M.2 SSD slot
As expected, the notebook comes with an M.2 drive, but what’s unexpected is the size of the stick and its supported standard. Unlike most high-end ultrabooks, the Acer Swift 7 lacks the PCIe NVMe drive and uses a normal M.2 SATA SSD Kingston coming in 2242 size. That’s pretty disappointing because most notebooks, which are priced similarly to this one, offer the ultra fast PCIe NVMe standard out of the box.
|2242 M.2 slot||Kingston 2242 M.2 SATA SSD||Upgrade options|
Of course, the memory is soldered to the motherboard and can’t be upgraded as well.
The Wi-Fi module is a Qualcomm Atheros QCNFA34AC and it’s located in the upper left corner of the device near the screen hinge.
Taking away most of the free space, Acer has supplied the notebook with a 41.58 (2700 mAh).
Since this is a fan-less design, the notebook doesn’t use the conventional heat pipes and fans for cooling. The Core i5-7Y54 CPU with a TDP of just 4.5W allows good performance without the need of any major healing solution – just a heat sink and some vent openings for some air flow. You can see some shots of the chip itself in the photos below. The white dots are part of the thermal paste that has been applied.
The notebook’s display is the same we find in the HP Spectre 13 – CHI MEI CMN1367 – a Full HD IPS panel with 167 ppi and 0.15 x 0.15 mm pixel pitch. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 50 cm.
Viewing angles are excellent.
We were able to record a maximum of 272 cd/m2 brightness or 260 cd/m2 as average across the surface leading to a deviation of 12%. This might fall short for outdoor use, though. The color temperature is close to optimal – 6770K. We also measured an excellent contrast ratio of 1370:1 before calibration and 1130:1 after.
As you can see in the image below, the maximum color deviation dE2000 is 3.0 in the bottom center of the screen while the maximum allowed value is 4.0.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
We measured that the sRGB coverage is 91% which is an excellent result for multimedia content.
Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut before and after calibration.
We created the these profiles with 140 cd/m2, optimal color temperature and gamma under sRGB mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the Office & Web Design profile.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the Gaming & Movie Nights profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
Gaming capabilities (Response time)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 28 ms.
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 specialized article on PWM.
The notebook’s display appears to be quite harmless to your eyes, although these results were quite different on the HP Spectre 13. We recorded PWM only below 17% (95 cd/m2) brightness and even then, the frequency of the emitted light is quite high and will not affect most users – 25 kHz.
The notebook’s display shows excellent properties for good multimedia experience – it’s bright enough for indoor use but not quite for outdoor environment. The sRGB coverage is wide, the contrast ratio is really high and the best part is that it’s mostly harmless to your eyes emitting pulsating light only below 17% luminance.
There’s not much we can ask for but our profiles will come in handy when lowering the negative blue light emissions and adjusting color temperature, color accuracy and gamma.
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 7 configurations with 13.3″ CHI MEI CMN1367 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS, which can be found on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2gUzeWC
*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 / Web design
If your field is office work or web design, or you just want your monitor's color set to be as accurate as possible for the Internet color space, this profile will prove to be useful.
Gaming or Movie nights
We developed this profile especially for occasions on which you spend a lot of time in front of your monitor with some games or watching movies – it will be easier for you to discern fine nuances in the dark.
This profile reduces the negative impact of pulsation and the blue spectrum, securing your eyes and body. You still get a pitch-perfect color image, albeit slightly warmer.
The sound quality is on par with the competition. All frequencies sound crisp and full.
The specs of the notebook might be changed until the official release but won’t be much different from the ones listed below
|CPU||Intel Core i5-7Y54 (2-core, 1.20 – 3.20 GHz, 4MB cache)|
|RAM||8GB (1x 8192MB) – LPDDR3, 1600 MHz|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 615|
|HDD/SSD||256GB M.2 SATA SSD|
|Display||13.3-inch – 1920×1080 (Full HD) IPS, glossy|
|Connectivity||2×2 802.11ac Bluetooth 4.1|
|Thickness||9.98 mm (0.39″)|
|Weight||1.1 kg (2.42 lbs)|
The notebook came with pre-installed Windows 10 (64-bit) out of the box but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, you can download all of the latest drivers from Acer’s official website.
To be honest, we’ve seen better battery performance in other high-end notebooks but in this case, in which the laptop is less than 1 cm thin, we can say that its runtimes are good enough to get you through the day. The 4.5W energy-efficient Core i5-7Y54 chip paired with a 41.57Wh battery produced a satisfactory result. We have to admit, though, we were expecting a little bit more from this not so demanding hardware and tiny screen.
Of course, all tests were performed with the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, Windows battery saving feature turned on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for to automatically browse through over 70 websites.
Good web browsing runtime – 423 minutes (7 hours and 3 minutes).
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
slightly lower but still good enough result – 396 minutes (6 hours and 36 minute).
We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
As expected, the gaming test took a toll on the battery but still scored pretty well with 215 minutes (3 hours and 35 minutes) of play time.
CPU – Intel Core i5-7Y54
The Intel Core i5-7Y54 is a direct successor to the Core m5-6Y54 (Skylake) SoC offering a slight improvement in terms of performance and power efficiency over the latter. It’s part of the Kaby Lake generation (7th Generation) using the same architecture as we saw in Broadwell and Skylake chips, although, Intel markets the improved architecture by naming it 14nm+.
Aside from the identical features to the last generation that the SoC offers such as HyperThreading, the clock speeds have been increased significantly. While the Core m5-6Y54 was clocked at 1.1 – 2.7 GHz, the newer i5-7Y54 can go from 1.2 to 3.2 GHz.
The SoC also incorporates an Intel HD Graphics 615 (clocked at 300 – 950 MHz) – just like the rest of the KBL-Y chips – and supports LPDDR3-1866 memory. The whole SoC is rated at 4.5W including the memory controller making it suitable for fanless, ultra thin tablets, notebooks and 2-in-1 devices.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i5-7y54/
Results are from the Cinebench 11 test (higher the score, the better)
|Acer Swift 7 Intel Core i5-7Y54 (2-cores, 1.2 - 3.2 GHz)||2.37|
|ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA Intel Core m5-6Y54 (2-cores, 1.1 - 2.7 GHz)||2.34||-1.27%|
|Lenovo Yoga 900s Intel Core m5-6Y54 (2-cores, 1.1 - 2.7 GHz)||1.87||-21.1%|
Results are from the NovaBench CPU test (higher the score, the better)
|Acer Swift 7 Intel Core i5-7Y54 (2-cores, 1.2 - 3.2 GHz)||400|
|ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA Intel Core m5-6Y54 (2-cores, 1.1 - 2.7 GHz)||397||-0.75%|
|Lenovo Yoga 900s Intel Core m5-6Y54 (2-cores, 1.1 - 2.7 GHz)||-|
Results are from the Photoshop test (lower the score, the better)
|Acer Swift 7 Intel Core i5-7Y54 (2-cores, 1.2 - 3.2 GHz)||25.07|
|ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA Intel Core m5-6Y54 (2-cores, 1.1 - 2.7 GHz)||25.78||+2.83%|
|Lenovo Yoga 900s Intel Core m5-6Y54 (2-cores, 1.1 - 2.7 GHz)||25.94||+3.47%|
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i5-7Y54 reached 4.409 million moves per second. By comparison, one of the most powerful PCs, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – Intel HD Graphics 615
Intel’s HD Graphics 615 is a low-end integrated graphics unit found in Y-series Kaby Lake processors. It incorporates 24 EUs (Execution Units) like all GT2 units and can be clocked at up to 1050 MHz while the base frequency is 300 MHz. With these specs, the chip is integrated into KBL-Y processors rated at 4.5W TDP, including the memory controller.
Since the iGPU is using the same architecture as before, the most noticeable feature would be the full hardware acceleration of the H.265/HEVC Main10 and Google’s VP9 codecs. With this, Intel aims to improve the overall energy efficiency and performance of the iGPU.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/intel-hd-graphics-615/
Results are from the 3DMark Cloud Gate (G) test (higher the score, the better)
|Acer Swift 7 Intel HD Graphics 615||5511|
|ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA Intel HD Graphics 515||4333||-21.38%|
|Lenovo Yoga 900s Intel HD Graphics 515||4132||-25.02%|
Results are from the 3DMark Fire Strike (G) test (higher the score, the better)
|Acer Swift 7 Intel HD Graphics 615||640|
|ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA Intel HD Graphics 515||437||-31.72%|
|Lenovo Yoga 900s Intel HD Graphics 515||544||-15%|
Results are from the 3DMark (Sky Diver) test (higher the score, the better)
|Acer Swift 7 Intel HD Graphics 615||2400|
|ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA Intel HD Graphics 515||2106||-12.25%|
|Lenovo Yoga 900s Intel HD Graphics 515||1844||-23.17%|
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 test (higher the score, the better)
|Acer Swift 7 Intel HD Graphics 615||197|
|ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA Intel HD Graphics 515||102||-48.22%|
|Lenovo Yoga 900s Intel HD Graphics 515||195||-1.02%|
This test isn’t the best representation of real-life usage but it’s still a good way to determine the overall stability of the system and in this case, how the notebook utilizes the CPU.
We started off with 100% CPU load for an hour and from the very start of the test, we noticed that the CPU wasn’t able to reach its full potential. The clock speeds didn’t exceed 2.2 GHz and eventually went down to 1.8 GHz. This still within the Turbo Boost range of the SoC (1.2 – 3.2 GHz) but it seems that it can’t utilize the full speed. This might also be the reason for the lowered performance, which is on par with ASUS’ ZenBook UX360CA with Core m5-6Y54.
We also ran the GPU stress test and observed throttling, which is a normal occurrence in most ultrabooks. This way the CPU gives enough headroom for the GPU to perform.
Despite the metal interior, we didn’t notice the heat spreading too much across the interior. The only hot spot was near the screen hinge where the processor is located while the wrist rest area and the center of the keyboard remained relatively cool.
The Acer Swift 7 is a great piece of equipment or jewelry. It’s absurdly thin, light, compact and portable. It will serve you well during the day with good battery life, enough computing for browsing, office work and multimedia. Speaking of which, the screen offers excellent properties – it’s crisp, bright enough for indoor use, vivid and uses PWM only below 17% brightness making it virtually harmless to your eyes.
However, the Swift 7 is another fallen victim to the ultra thin fad. And just like the Lenovo Yoga 900S and the HP Spectre 13, Acer’s thin solution sacrifices much-needed features along the way. It also has crippled Core i5-7Y54 on board – much like the Spectre 13 with the Core i5-6200U and Core i7-6500U. We also can’t get over the fact that the Swift 7 ships with M.2 SATA drive instead of the fast PCIe NVMe SSDs, which have become a standard for high-end ultrabooks.
To the list of missing features, we have to add the absence of keyboard backlight and limited ports as well. Acer has included two dongles for HDMI and USB-A in the package but with one of the connectors being used for charging, you are left with only one. At least, the HP Spectre 13 included 3 Type-C ports, two of which are Gen 2 and support bandwidth of up to 10 Gbps making it suitable even for larger connector hubs.
Still, if you are looking for a portable, luxurious traveling companion, the Swift 7 is probably the right one for you if you don’t mind the lack of some essential features.
You can find some of the available models here: http://amzn.to/2g2IE1w
- Sturdy build and eye-pleasing design
- Ridiculously thin (9.98 mm) and light (1.1 kg)
- Excellent touchpad
- Decent battery life
- Excellent IPS panel with negligible drawbacks
- The screen doesn’t use PWM from 17 to 100% screen brightness
- Limited ports
- Lacks keyboard backlight and it’s a little bit shallow
- Ships with M.2 SATA SSD instead of a PCIe NVMe-enabled drive
- Doesn’t utilize the full performance of the SoC