Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT) review – you’re better off disabling the MX350 because Xe Graphics is on fire

One of the lightest 14-inch notebooks on the market just got updated. It is the Acer Swift 5 Pro, and the new model number is SF514-55(GT). Naturally, if it has a G – it has a dedicated GPU. Interestingly, it features the Core i7-1165G7, the latest from Intel, and the Blue company states that their brand new Iris Xe Graphics G7 might be capable of performing better than the GeForce MX350. And guess what has Acer put inside of the Swift 5 this year… the MX350, itself.

So, it will be particularly interesting to see if we get a better performance in games and productivity if we just disable the dGPU. But before we get there, let’s check out what this laptop is made of… literally. Last year, we saw a magnesium body, which resulted in a device that weighs less than a kilo – something Acer was really proud of.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-5-pro-sf514-55-sf514-55g/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55 / SF514-55GT / SF514-55TA) - Specs

  • AUO B140HAN06.D (AUO7490)
  • Color accuracy  6.4  0.9
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 16GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home
  • Battery
  • 56Wh, 4-cell, 40Wh, 3-cell
  • Body material
  • Magnesium alloy, Magnesium-Lithium alloy
  • Dimensions
  • 318.9 x 206.7 x 14.9 mm (12.56" x 8.14" x 0.59")
  • Weight
  • 1.00 kg (2.2 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • HDMI
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5 Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • 2x Microphones
  • Speakers
  • 2 Speakers, DTS Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington Lock

All Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55 / SF514-55GT / SF514-55TA) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will find a 65W power brick, some paper manuals, and the laptop, itself – nothing out of the ordinary.


Design and construction

If we have to be honest, the design of this laptop doesn’t appear to have changed from the year before. We are still talking about a magnesium chassis, that now weighs exactly 1 kg. Its profile is 14.9mm, which makes it one of the thinnest and lightest 14-inchers out there. Thankfully, Acer’s engineers have designed the device in such a way, that it still has a structurally-sound body, despite its thin and light nature.

Sadly, the lid won’t open with a single hand, but on the bright side, the display has an “Antimicrobial” Corning Gorilla Glass cover, which also helps with the rigidity of the panel. And to address the difficulty of supplying the fan with air, they have risen the bottom panel thanks to the leverage system of the lid.

On the base, we see a backlit keyboard, which has a rather shallow key travel, but somewhat clicky feedback, with the exception of the “Tab” key, which is really soft. We personally prefer the experience we get from the ZenBook 14 UM433 for example, but you can quickly get used to the shallow travel of this unit. By the way, the Arrow keys are still pretty small, and they are neighboring the “Page Up” and “Page Down” keys, which can be a little annoying on some occasions.

Further down, there is the touchpad, which has decent gliding and not bad tracking. Overall, it is an average unit for a Windows-based laptop. Further to the right, you can see the optional fingerprint reader, which works very quickly and reliably.

And on the bottom panel, there are the usual suspects – speaker cutouts, and a ventilation grill. Looking in between the lid and the base, reveals two grills, although only one of them is actually used for exhausting the hot air – the other is just for aesthetics.

Ports

On the left, you get the charging plug, an HDMI connector, followed by a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and a USB Type-C connector with Thunderbolt support (likely Thunderbolt 4). And on the right, you will find a Kensington lock, another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an audio jack.


Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

To get inside, you need to undo 11 Torx-head screws. After that, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool and you’re done.

Ultimately, there is no difference in the layout, nor the cooling, when compared to the last-year Swift 5 Pro. Two heat pipes are taking the heat away from the two chips, and leading it to the heat spreader. Then, an average-sized fan blows it away from the backside of the chassis.

Sadly, the memory is soldered to the motherboard, so you are left with the 8GB or the 16GB of LPDDR4x you purchased the device with. On the bright side, you can swap the M.2 SSD with a faster, or a larger one.

Our unit has a 56Wh battery pack. Interestingly, it is mounted to the chassis via double-sided tape, so if you have to remove it, make sure you have some tape at your disposal.


Display quality

Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT) has a touchscreen Full HD display, model number AUO B140HAN06.D (AUO7490). Its diagonal is 14″ (35.56 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 157 ppi, their pitch – 0.161 x 0.161 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 55 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

It has comfortable viewing angles. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 437 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 410 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 12%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6600K (average) – slightly colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective.
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is very good – 1550:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to 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. 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.

The yellow dotted line shows Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 96% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma 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 “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display can reproduce 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 and Web Design” 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.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 32 ms


Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

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 coming from Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT)’s backlight does not flicker. This makes it comfortable for use during long periods, without harming your eyes in this aspect.

Blue light emissions

Installing 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.

Conclusions

Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT)’s touchscreen IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, high maximum brightness (437 nits), very good contrast ratio, comfortable viewing angles, and wide color coverage (96% 0f the sRGB gamut). Thankfully, its backlight doesn’t use PWM at any brightness level, and its colors are accurate enough for professional Web usage when our Gaming and Web design profile is applied.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT) configurations with 14.0″ AUO B140HAN06.D (AUO7490) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS panel.

*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

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.

Health-Guard

Health-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.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT)’s speakers produce a relatively good sound with a rather low maximum volume. Moreover, there are deviations from clarity in the entire frequency range.


Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/GB/content/support-product/8608?b=1

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This laptop’s 56Wh unit delivers 20 hours of Web browsing and 13 hours and 53 minutes of video playback.


CPU options

Currently, we only have information about a model that comes with the Core i7-1165G7.


GPU options

In terms of graphics, you get the integrated Iris Xe Graphics G7, as well as the dedicated GeForce MX350 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 168 fps 120 fps 70 fps
NVIDIA GeForce MX350 103 fps 83 fps 65 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 123 fps 87 fps 60 fps
NVIDIA GeForce MX350 163 fps 99 fps 48 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 54 fps 36 fps 16 fps
NVIDIA GeForce MX350 38 fps 24 fps – fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-1165G7 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT) 3.54 GHz (B+26%) @ 94°C @ 39W 3.27 GHz (B+17%) @ 94°C @ 31W 2.44 GHz @ 74°C @ 17W

Since Intel has provided quite a significant increase of their Base clocks for the Tiger Lake processors, we see that after 15 minutes of extreme workload, the Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT) struggles to maintain a frequency above the Base one. However, it still runs pretty quickly, and the temperature at the end is decent.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce MX350 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT) 752 MHz @ 60°C 747 MHz @ 60°C
ASUS ZenBook 14 UM433 1050 MHz @ 67°C 1062 MHz @ 74°C
HP Envy 13 (13-ba0000) 584 MHz @ 63°C 528 MHz @ 63°C
Lenovo Ideapad 5 (15) 1493 MHz @ 66°C 1493 MHz @ 66°C

Well, we kind of got the culprit behind the fact that the GeForce MX350 is performing worse than the integrated GPU. First of all, it is the 10W version. And secondly, the frequency is very low, compared to the ZenBook 14 UM433 for example.

Comfort during combined load

And while the laptop is clearly audible during gameplay, and the fan is more often working than not, the temperature on the outside is pretty low, given the hardware.


Verdict

Every time we get a thin and light device, we are exposing the same weaknesses over and over. They include high thermals, weak chassis, and more than ever – incapable hardware.

However, the case with today’s hero is different. The magnesium alloy of this machine is not only thin and light but also structurally sound. Also, the laptop features one of the best CPU/GPU combos you can see out there, especially now that the Tiger Lake CPUs have hit the market.

While we still have some doubt over Intel for bringing a knife to a gunfight, with their quad-core CPUs, compared to AMD’s 8 cores, we can’t neglect the fact that they have done their homework. The Core i7-1165G7 we found in this unit, is probably the fastest quad-core CPU on the market right now, regardless of the TDP. Also, we found something particularly interesting about the graphics.

Just out of curiosity, we decided to disable the dedicated GeForce MX350, and run the same GPU benchmarks and gaming tests we did, when it was enabled. And ‘lo and behold, we the Iris Xe Graphics G7 performed better in every single test. It was better both in productivity tasks and when it comes to frames per second. Sure, in some apps like Premiere, where the CUDA cores of the MX350 will work in tandem with the integrated graphics solution, it would be better not to disable it, but most of the time, the Iris Xe G7 is just better!

Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-55GT)’s touchscreen IPS panel (AUO B140HAN06.D (AUO7490)) has a Full HD resolution, high maximum brightness (437 nits), very good contrast ratio, comfortable viewing angles, and wide color coverage (96% 0f the sRGB gamut). Thankfully, its backlight doesn’t use PWM at any brightness level, and its colors are accurate enough for professional Web usage when our Gaming and Web design profile is applied.

In addition to the great performance, you get 20 hours of battery life during Web browsing and almost 14 hours of video playback. Also, there is a Thunderbolt 4 connector, Wi-Fi 6 support and PCIe x4 M.2 drive support.

On the other side, you won’t be able to upgrade your memory, as all of it is soldered to the motherboard. This also means that you would need to pick the 16GB version if you are planning to disable the dGPU. Also, the keyboard and touchpad are average, while the fingerprint reader is very fast and secure.

Pros

  • Somewhat efficient cooling, aided by a leverage system
  • Its display has decent maximum brightness and doesn’t use PWM to adjust the brightness, whatsoever (AUO B140HAN06.D)
  • Wide color coverage and accurate color representation (when our Gaming and Web design profile is applied) (AUO B140HAN06.D)
  • Supports PCIe x4 SSDs, WiFi 6 standards and has a Thunderbolt 4 port
  • Weighs only 1 kg
  • Very good performance from the Tiger Lake CPU and its Iris Xe Graphics G7


Cons

  • The GeForce MX350 is outperformed by the integrated GPU
  • No RAM upgradability post-purchase and no SD card reader onboard

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-5-pro-sf514-55-sf514-55g/

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gyun
gyun
1 year ago

does it support NVME 4.0 SSDs or just 3.0 ??