Acer Swift X 14 Review: Staid but Speedy OLED Ultraportable – CNET

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Acer Swift X 14


  • Powerful yet ultraportable

  • Gorgeous OLED display

  • Strong performance from latest Intel and Nvidia tech

  • Lots of ports

Don’t like

  • Boring design

  • Some flex to all-metal chassis

  • Keyboard and touchpad are meh

  • Terrible speakers

Beneath a compact and admittedly mundane exterior hides a powerful, OLED ultraportable for content creators. The Acer Swift X 14 is endowed with a gorgeous 14.5-inch OLED display and powered by the latest Intel and Nvidia silicon in the form of a 13th-gen Core i7 CPU and an RTX 4050 GPU. We usually find such a duo in a larger machine; content creation laptops typically feature 16- or 17-inch displays to give creators more room to work. Like the Lenovo Slim Pro 7, the Swift X 14 provides the needed muscle for demanding graphics work but in a more portable package. 

Our $1,500 Swift X 14 review system costs $300 more than the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 I recently reviewed, and I think it’s money well spent. Both laptops feature drab exteriors, but the Swift X 14 gets you an OLED display that’s clearly superior to the Slim Pro 7’s plain-Jane IPS panel. Colors are more vivid, the contrast ratio is vastly better with true black levels, the resolution is slightly higher, and it’s even a bit faster with a 120Hz refresh rate. The move from IPS to an OLED panel is worth the added cost alone, but the Swift X 14 sweetens the deal further by supplying newer RTX graphics and better performance along with a larger SSD. For creative pros and students who rarely work at the same desk on consecutive days, the Swift X 14 merits strong consideration.

Acer Swift X 14

Geekbox Acer Swift X 14
Price as reviewed $1,500
Display size/resolution 14.5-inch 2,880×1,800 OLED display
CPU 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-13700H
Memory 16GB LP-DDR5 6,400MHz
Graphics 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 Graphics
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
Networking 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6E); Bluetooth 5.1
Operating system Windows 11 Home 22H2

Acer sells two models of the Swift X 14. The baseline model costs $1,100 and features a Core 5-13500H CPU, 16GB of RAM, previous-gen RTX 3050 graphics and a 512GB SSD. You don’t get an OLED panel with this baseline model but a standard LED-backlit LCD with a 2.5K (2,560×1,600 pixels) resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. The step-up model that we reviewed costs $1,500 and features a Core i7-13700H CPU, RTX 4050 graphics and a 1TB SSD along with an OLED panel with a 2.8K (2,880×1,800 pixels) resolution. At the time of this writing, this model (SFX14-71G-76LC) is $100 off at Amazon and selling for $1,400. Both models are available in Australia for AU$2,699 and AU$2,999. In the UK, only AMD-based Swift X models with previous-gen RTX graphics are available. 

Generic and gray

With an inoffensive but not terribly interesting dark gray enclosure, the Swift X 14 looks no different from any number of laptops on the market right now. Acer goes for a minimalist design with no color-contrasting accents and only a small Acer logo on the top of the lid and a tiny Swift wordmark on the right side of the wrist rest. Without these clues, it would be difficult to know if this was a laptop from Acer or Lenovo or Dell or HP. It is an all-aluminum chassis, which is greatly preferable to a plastic shell, but it’s not terribly rugged. The lid feels a bit flimsy, and there’s some flex in the keyboard deck. The Swift X 14 lacks the MIL-STD ruggedness of the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 and doesn’t feel nearly as rigid.

Acer Swift X 14 gray lid

Matt Elliott/CNET

The Swift X 14 is a tad lighter than competing 14-inch laptops at 3.4 pounds. That’s lighter than the 3.6-pound Slim Pro 7 and 3.5-pound MacBook Pro 14. It’s even a hair lighter than one of the lightest 14-inch laptops we reviewed this year, the HP Dragonfly Pro

Both the Slim Pro 7 and Dragonfly Pro feature a keyboard flanked by speaker grilles and find room for four speakers. Sadly, the Swift X 14 features only a pair of speakers, and they fire downward from underneath the laptop. They aren’t muffled as much as they would have been on the very bottom panel and instead are located on the edges of the bottom panel that slope up diagonally. Still, they produced muddy audio with a distinct lack of bass response. I had hoped the two speaker grilles on the bottom edges would have two woofers behind them with two tweeters behind what looks like a speaker grille above the keyboard. Sadly, the latter is merely venting for the cooling system. There is additional venting on the back edge, too, and on the bottom panel.

Acer Swift X 14 ports on the left side

With both USB-C ports on the left side, charging is less flexible than if Acer had put one on each side. 

Matt Elliott/CNET

Whether for space constraints or adherence to a minimalist aesthetic, many ultraportables forgo ports and supply only a bare minimum. That is not the case with the Swift X 14. It offers a pair of Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, a pair of USB Type-A ports, an HDMI out, a headphone jack and a microSD card slot. Most are located on the left edge, with only one of the USB-A ports and the microSD card slot on the right. 

The keyboard itself is one of the quietest keyboards on which I’ve typed in recent memory. Typing is nearly silent, but does come at the expense of a slightly mushy feel to the keys. I preferred the firmer chassis and snappier feedback of the keyboards on both the Slim Pro 7 and Dragonfly Pro. The Swift X 14 keyboard offers two-level backlighting, which is always appreciated. And the power button doubles as a fingerprint reader for easy, secure log-ins.

Acer Swift X 14 keyboard and touchpad

Matt Elliott/CNET

The touchpad felt smooth and accurate when swiping and pinching, but the travel of the click response felt a little too deep. The result of this deep travel is a loose feeling when clicking.

But that screen though

So, to summarize: the design is uninspired, the all-metal chassis isn’t the most rigid, the keyboard and touchpad leave something to be desired and the speakers are subpar. Given all that, I still would recommend the Swift X 14 to certain users. And the reason is its 14.5-inch OLED display and the performance behind it. 

The Swift X 14’s 14.5-inch OLED panel boasts a 2.8K (2,880×1,800 pixels) resolution with a 16:10 aspect ratio and a 120Hz refresh rate. The 2.8K resolution is finer than the 2.5K resolution (2,560×1,600 pixels) of the Slim Pro 7 and far superior to the HP Dragonfly Pro’s full-HD (1,920×1,200 pixels) panel. Not only are text and edges of images crisper, particularly when viewed against the Dragonfly Pro, but the contrast is also so much better it’s not even a contest. The Swift X 14’s OLED panel produces absolute black levels and bright whites, and the colors look vivid and accurate. The Swift X 14’s display is rated for 400 nits of brightness and supports 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.

Acer Swift X 14 14.5-inch OLED display

Matt Elliott/CNET

Content creators will appreciate the display’s stellar contrast and color accuracy, and video editors will enjoy the 120Hz refresh rate that results in smoother movement. The Swift X 14’s 120Hz panel is twice as fast as the Dragonfly Pro’s standard 60Hz display and faster than the Slim Pro 7’s 90Hz display. Unlike these two competing models, however, the Swift X 14 does not offer touch support.

And now we get to the Swift X 14’s performance. It was nearly a clean sweep in labs testing against the two AMD-based models, the HP Dragonfly Pro and Lenovo Slim Pro 7, and two Intel-based laptops, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 and Dell XPS 15 9520. The HP relies on integrated AMD Radeon Graphics, but the rest feature either RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti graphics, which are a generation behind the Swift X 14’s RTX 4050 GPU. The Swift X 14 was clearly tops on our Geekbench and Cinebench tests, as well as in our trio of 3D graphics and gaming tests. It finished second to the Core i9-based Asus ROG Flow Z13 on PCMark 10 and was merely average on our battery drain test with a runtime of nearly 7.5 hours. Battery life is really the only issue with opting for OLED over LCD. 

The Swift X 14’s strong performance and its incredible 14.5-inch OLED display outweigh the negatives we found with the laptop’s design. None of the negatives are deal breakers, and we haven’t seen a better display on an ultraportable outside of the 14-inch MacBook Pro. For content creators who don’t want to be weighed by a huge Windows laptop, the Swift X 14 supplies unmatched ultraportable performance along with an OLED panel that delivers the display fidelity needed for detailed graphics work.

How we test computers

The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device’s aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both objective and subjective judgments. 

The list of benchmarking software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important core tests we’re currently running on every compatible computer include: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

A more detailed description of each benchmark and how we use it can be found in our How We Test Computers page. 

Geekbench 5 (multicore)

Acer Swift X 14 13,225Asus ROG Flow Z13 11,629Dell XPS 15 9520 11,138HP Dragonfly Pro 9,146Lenovo Slim Pro 7 9,053

Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R23 (multicore)

Acer Swift X 14 14,760HP Dragonfly Pro 12,696Lenovo Slim Pro 7 11,520Asus ROG Flow Z13 11,028Dell XPS 15 9520 8,816

Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Wild Life Extreme

Acer Swift X 14 10,784Dell XPS 15 9520 8,816Lenovo Slim Pro 7 8,511Asus ROG Flow Z13 8,268HP Dragonfly Pro 3,790

Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

PCMark 10 Pro

Asus ROG Flow Z13 7,164Acer Swift X 14 6,888Lenovo Slim Pro 7 6,446Dell XPS 15 9520 6,161HP Dragonfly Pro 6,085

Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Guardians of the Galaxy (High @1920 x 1080)

Acer Swift X 14 127Dell XPS 15 9520 93Lenovo Slim Pro 7 91Asus ROG Flow Z13 83

Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

The Riftbreaker GPU @1920 x 1080

Acer Swift X 14 172.5Lenovo Slim Pro 7 128.8Asus ROG Flow Z13 126.18Dell XPS 15 9520 125.13

Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

System configurations

Acer Swift X 14 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-13700H; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz; RAM 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050; 1TB SSD
Lenovo Slim Pro 7 (14ARP8) Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS with Radeon Graphics; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz RAM; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050; 512GB SSD
HP Dragonfly Pro Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.7GHz AMD Ryzen 7 7736U with Radeon Graphics; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz RAM; 512MB AMD Graphics; 512GB SSD
Asus ROG Flow Z13 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.5GHz Intel Core i9-12900H; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz; RAM 4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050Ti; 1TB SSD
Dell XPS 15 9520 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-12700H; 16GB DDR5 4,800MHz RAM; 4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050Ti; 512GB SSD

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