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Acer Swift X 14
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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|