Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56T) review

Once one of the lightest notebooks out there, the Swift 5 has fallen to the clutches of the HP Pavilion Aero 13, and ASUS ExpertBook B9 B9400. However, Acer has figured that having the lightest chassis is not the most important thing anymore.

Now, the Swift 5 (SF514-56T) comes with Intel’s Alder Lake-P processor. They are pretty powerful but require adequate cooling to perform well. This is why Acer hasn’t spared any resources in the design of its thermal management.

The company is really proud of its “TwinAir” cooling setup and claims a huge performance boost over last year’s model. Of course, we have a test that will access the claims and the efficiency of Acer’s solution.

In addition to the cooling, another big talking point about 2022’s Swift 5 is its display. It now comes with a 16:10 aspect ratio, a 2560x1600p resolution, and an Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass. For those, who are new to the Swift 5, for some reason, it features touchscreen support.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-5-sf514-56-sf514-56t/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56 / SF514-56T) - Specs

  • AUO B140QAN03.2 (AUODD9E)
  • Color accuracy  4.0  1.4
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 1000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 4.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 16GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro
  • Battery
  • 56Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 310.5 x 213.3 x 14.95 mm (12.22" x 8.40" x 0.59")
  • Weight
  • 1.20 kg (2.6 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 4.0, Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD)
  • HDMI
  • 2.1
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • FHD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • 2x Microphones with Acer Purified Voice
  • Speakers
  • Front-facing Stereo Speakers, DTS Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington Lock

All Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56 / SF514-56T) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside this laptop’s rather basic packaging, you will find some paper manuals, as well as a 65W USB Type-C charger.


Design and construction

This year, Acer has ditched the magnesium-lithium chassis for a CNC-machined aluminum. Inevitably, this leads to a weight of 1.20 kg, and a profile of 14.95mm. This is about 200 grams heavier than last year’s Swift 5 (SF514-55GT).

However, the design is arguably more premium now, with a matte “Mist Green” surface, and golden sides. In addition, the laptop sports a very strong base. While the lid is strong too, there is a scary popping when you try to twist it.

We were slightly disappointed to learn, that the lid cannot be opened with a single hand. On the bright side, it comes with super slim bezels all around the glossy Antimicrobial panel. Above it (and also protected by the glass), there is a Full HD Web camera with Temporal Noise Reduction technology and an array of microphones. They, respectively, can be used with Acer’s PurifiedVoice technology for AI Noise Reduction.

Moreover, the lid has a couple of tiny feet at its end. They lift the backside of the bottom panel to improve the airflow to the two fans.

Looking at the base, we see a fingerprint reader embedded in the power button. The keyboard has a backlight, and its timeout can be configured through the BIOS. In addition, it has decent key travel, and clicky feedback, which results in a pretty comfortable typing experience.

The touchpad is made out of the patented OceanGlass material. Essentially, it comprises ocean-bound plastic to make a material, which is very glass-like. And boy did they succeed. The material is super smooth and offers a great gliding experience. The tracking is also pretty accurate, but the size is a bit too small for a laptop in 2022.

Now, let’s turn the laptop upside down, and take a look at the bottom panel. It houses the two speaker cutouts, as well as a rather large ventilation grill. Then, the hot air is exhausted through two vents on the back of the base – essentially blasting towards the bottom of the display.

Ports

On the left side of the laptop, there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI 2.1 connector, and a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port. Then, on the right, you get a Kensington lock slot, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an Audio jack.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

To access this laptop’s internals, you need to undo 11 Torx-head screws. Then, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool, and lift it away from the chassis.

This notebook is equipped with a 56Wh battery pack. It lasts for nearly 12 hours of Web browsing, or about 10 hours of video playback. To remove it, unplug the battery connector from the motherboard, and undo the two Phillips-head screws.

Memory-wise, you get 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, working at 4800MHz. Unfortunately, it is soldered to the motherboard. On the other hand, you can upgrade the storage, via one M.2 PCIe x4 slot, with the support of Gen 4 SSDs.

Here, we see two heat pipes, two heat sinks, and two very small fans. As you can see, the VRMs are left uncooled.


Display quality

Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56T) in the configuration we tested has a 60Hz WQXGA IPS panel – AUO B140QAN03.2 (AUODD9E). Its diagonal is 14-inch (35.6 cm), and the resolution is 2560 x 1600 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:10, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 216 ppi, and a pitch of 0.12 х 0.12 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 41cm (16″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

The viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 536 nits in the middle of the screen and 496 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 14%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6290K – slightly warmer than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the main display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

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. The contrast ratio is very good – 1560:1.

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 on 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.

The yellow dotted line shows Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56T)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 100% 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 in factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56T) with the default settings – left, and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile – right.

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 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 = 28 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


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.

Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56T)’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness at any point. This means it is comfortable for long gaming sessions 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.

Gloss level measurement

Glossy-coated displays are sometimes inconvenient in high ambient light conditions. We show the level of reflection on the screen for the respective laptop when the display is turned off and the measurement angle is 60° (in this case, the result is 116 GU).


Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56T) configurations with 14″ WQXGA IPS AUO B140QAN03.2 (AUODD9E).

*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 (SF514-56T)’s speakers produce a sound of pretty good quality. However, the frequency-response graph shows a rise in the high tones.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.acer.com/us-en/support?search=SF514-56T&filter=global_download&suggest=swift%205%20sf514-56t;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. You can find this laptop with a 56Wh battery pack. It lasts for 11 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing, or 10 hours and 10 minutes of video playback.


CPU options

Acer offers it with the Core i5-1240P or the Core i7-1260P.


GPU options

For graphics, you get the integrated Iris Xe Graphics G7, inside of the aforementioned processors.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 176 fps 137 fps 87 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 159 fps 108 fps 66 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 P-core frequency; Average E-core frequency; CPU temp.; Package Power

Intel Core i7-1260P (28W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56T) 3.23 GHz @ 2.58 GHz @ 82°C @ 61W 2.35 GHz @ 1.90 GHz @ 86°C @ 42W 2.27 GHz @ 1.73 GHz @ 72°C @ 30W
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 2.88 GHz @ 2.39 GHz @ 78°C @ 47W 2.76 GHz @ 2.33 GHz @ 94°C @ 44W 2.08 GHz @ 1.67 GHz @ 82°C @ 28W
Dell Vostro 16 5620 2.55 GHz @ 2.14 GHz @ 73°C @ 41W 2.54 GHz @ 2.12 GHz @ 82°C @ 40W 1.97 GHz @ 1.61 GHz @ 74°C @ 28W
Lenovo ThinkPad T16 Gen 1 2.66 GHz @ 2.29 GHz @ 72°C @ 47W 1.21 GHz @ 1.53 GHz @ 63°C @ 20W 1.26 GHz @ 1.54 GHz @ 64°C @ 20W

We didn’t quite expect that. The Swift 5 (SF514-56T) is the best-performing Core i7-1260P laptop in short and very long loads that we have tested. Plus, it runs at pretty low temperatures at the end – 72°C on the core.

Comfort during full load

Well, Acer has a very funny IR image comparison between a single-fan cooling setup and their two-fan solution. It states that with only one fan, the temperatures on the outside reach 84.1. But what is 84.1? Kilograms? If you assume it is degrees Centigrade, then fine – you can cook some bacon and eggs on top.

Jokes aside, the real IR image shows that the maximum temperature on the outside (of a two-fan setup) is 41.1 jellybeans. Also, you can see the two cool spots where the fans sit. In addition to that, the laptop gets a bit loud during extreme loads, but it is nothing unbearable.


Verdict

Acer made a complete redesign of this laptop. From the grounds up. It has changed the appearance of the Swift 5, as well as the material it uses. By swapping magnesium for aluminum, the brand manages to cut costs, and make the building process faster and more precise thanks to the CNC technology.

This results in a pretty strong chassis. However, the lid pops in a weird way when you try to twist it. On the bright side, there is a Full HD Web camera with a bunch of software enhancements.

Acer Swift 5 (SF514-56T)’s WQXGA IPS display is touch-enabled and has a Corning Gorilla Glass cover with Antimicrobial treatment. In addition, it features comfortable viewing angles, a very high maximum brightness, and a very good contrast ratio. We measured a full sRGB color coverage and didn’t detect PWM use across the entire brightness range.

Last but not least, our Gaming and Web design profile makes the colors really close to real. This makes the laptop usable for color-sensitive work, regardless of the content.

The cooling setup has also been changed. From one fan, the company has gone to two small units. They are pretty efficient, and the laptop remains cool under the extreme workload.

We have to mention that you have the option to use different performance presets. They change with the “Function” and “F” keys. By the way, you might find the keyboard backlight timeout a bit fast. Fear not, though, because you can disable it in the BIOS settings.

Another fast thing is the SSD. Yes, this notebook supports M.2 PCIe x4 Gen 4 drives. On the other hand, the memory is soldered to the motherboard, and the maximum amount is 16GB.

We also found the lack of an SD card reader a bit disappointing. On the bright side, the I/O is well populated with two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, an HDMI 2.1 port, and wait for it… two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports. A fantastic feat, given the 14.95mm profile of the notebook.

If you need tighter security, you will be glad to hear that the device comes with a fingerprint reader. We know that this is not a very affordable machine, but in our opinion, it is worth it. That is, of course, if 16GB of memory is enough for you.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-5-sf514-56-sf514-56t/

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Super rigid chassis
  • 100% sRGB coverage and accurate colors with our Gaming and Web design profile (AUO B140QAN03.2 (AUODD9E))
  • No PWM (AUO B140QAN03.2 (AUODD9E))
  • HDMI 2.1 + two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4 + Gen 4 SSD support
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass display surface


Cons

  • No SD card reader
  • Soldered memory

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