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Acer Swift 5 vs. LG Gram 14 2-in-1: A Featherweight Laptop Face-Off

The trend toward thinner and more compact laptops is great, but a truly portable laptop should also be lightweight. Enter the 15.6-inch Acer Swift 5 and 14-inch LG Gram 14 2-in-1, two of the best Ultrabooks around. But don't be fooled by their feathery chassis', the Swift 5 and Gram 14 2-in-1 pack a ton of performance to go along with their vivid displays, long battery life and strong selection of ports.

You really can't go wrong with either laptop, but who wins this featherweight fight? Read on to find out.

Acer Swift 5 vs LG Gram 14 2-in-1: Specs Compared

Acer Swift 5LG Gram 14 2-in-1
Starting Price (as tested)$999$1,499
ColorsSilverDark Silver
Display15.6 inches, 1080p touch screen14 inches, 1080p touch screen
CPUIntel Core i5-8265UIntel Core i7-8565U
RAM8GB16GB
SSD256GB512GB
Key Travel1.1mm1.2mm
PortsUSB-C, 2 USB 3.0, HDMI, lock slot, headphone2 USB 3.1 (Type-A), USB-C, HDMI,  microSD card, lock slot, headphone
Webcam720p720p
Size 14.1 x 9.1 x 0.6 inches12.8 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches
Geekbench 414,06615,943
Battery Life (hrs:mins)8:3711:28
Weight2.2 pounds2.5 pounds

 

Design

These laptops are one-trick ponies when it comes to design, but what an impressive trick it is. Your jaw will drop to the floor when you lift either of these impossibly lightweight machines.

I was convinced Acer had sent me a empty shell the first time I picked up the 2.2-pound Swift 5. You really can't blame me, either, when you consider that the 15.6-inch Swift 5 weighs less than the 12.3-inch Surface Pro 6 tablet (with the keyboard attachment). The Gram 14 2-in-1 is in the same weight class, but at 2.4 pounds, this 14-inch convertible sits on the floor of this featherweight seesaw.

MORE: Lowest Weight Laptops

How did Acer and LG achieve such a miraculous feat? It all comes down to the materials. The Swift 5 is made from a magnesium-lithium, magnesium-aluminum blend and the Gram 14 2-in-1 is similarly crafted from magnesium-alloy.

There is little else worth noting about these laptop's designs apart from their lightness. With its MacBook-like silver and black design, the Swift's chassis is fairly bland, and could easily be mistaken for a budget machine. The equally unassuming Gram 14 2-in-1 comes in a more interesting slate-gray finish and the keyboard sits on a level deck, giving the Gram some modern flair. The Gram also surprisingly passed seven MIL-SPEC-810G testing, which means it can withstand drops, shocks and extreme temperatures.

Another big difference between these laptops is that the Gram 14 2-in-1 can fold back into a tablet or be positioned in tent mode while the Swift 5's hinge only rotates flat. Of course, the 14-inch Gram (12.8 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches) also has a smaller chassis than the 15.6-inch Swift 5 (14.1 x 9.1 x 0.6 inches), although the Acer is a hair thinner.

Winner: LG Gram 14 2-in-1

Buy on Best Buy

 

Ports

The Swift 5 and Gram 14 2-in-1 have a nearly identical selection of ports. However, a microSD card reader hands this round to LG's convertible laptop.

On the left side of the Swift 5 are two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI input and the laptop's single USB-C port. On the other side of the chassis is a headphone/mic combo jack and a Noble lock slot.

The Gram 14 2-in-1 has those same ports, along with a microSD card slot on the right. Additionally, the USB 3.1 Type-A ports on each side of the laptop offer faster transfer speeds than the Swift 5's USB 3.0 ports.

Winner: LG Gram 14 2-in-1

Buy Acer Swift 5 on Amazon.com

 

Display

Crisp, vivid and bordered by razor-thin bezels, the 1080p touch screens on both of these laptops are gorgeous. When I compared them side-by-side, the two screens looked practically identical. I noticed a slightly warmer white balance on the Swift 5 when I watched a trailer for the upcoming film Hellboy, but both screens seemed equally color accurate.

The Gram 14 2-in-1 has a smaller, 14-inch display, which gives it has a higher pixel density on paper. However, the Gram didn't seem any sharper than the Swift 5 to my eyes, and I preferred viewing content on the large, 15.6-inch panel anyway. The Swift 5's display also looked a bit brighter than the Gram 14 2-in-1's, but I'm splitting hairs here.  

MORE: Laptops with the Most Colorful Screens

Both glossy screens are very reflective, essentially doubling as mirrors during darker scenes. The Gram 14 2-in-1's touch screen is more useful than the Swift 5's, not only because the Gram can flip into tablet mode, but also because the Swift 5's screen has a strange film over it that feels sticky to the touch.

Proving how similar they are, the displays on the Swift 5 and Gram 14 2-in-1 can reproduce 129 percent and 128 percent of the the sRGB color gamut, respectively. Those scores also show how much more vibrant these displays are than the average premium laptop (118 percent).

The only concrete victory in the display category goes to the Swift 5, which peaked at 283 nits, making it brighter than the Gram 14 2-in-1 (253 nits). Unfortunately, neither screen was as luminous as the average premium laptop (327 nits).

Winner: Acer Swift 5

Keyboard and Touchpad

This is another toss-up category, but I'll give a slight nod to the Swift 5's keyboard for its slightly larger and more responsive keys.

Both keyboards are shallow, especially for the size of these laptops. The Swift 5's keys have 1.1 millimeter of travel whereas the Gram 14 2-in-1's keys depress 1.2 mm (both measurements are below our 1.5 mm preference).

The Swift 5's keys have an actuation force of 68 grams while the Gram 14 2-in-1's need 67 grams of pressure to actuation. Those measurements give both keyboards a satisfying tactile bump, though the Gram 14 2-in-1's keys feel a bit stiffer. The Backspace and Enter keys on the Gram are also annoyingly small.

Using the Gram 14 2-in-1's keyboard, I typed at 115 words per minute with an accurate rate of 95 percent on 10FastFingers typing test, which is just a tad slower than 121 wpm I achieved on the Swift 5.

Armed with Windows Precision drivers, the responsive 4.1 x 2.5-inch touchpads on the Swift 5 and Gram 14 2-in-1 responded quickly to my Windows 10 gestures, like pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe to switch apps.

Winner: Acer Swift 5

Performance

Packing the latest 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs, the Swift 5 and Gram 14 2-in-1 provide plenty of power for everything from basic tasks like browsing social media to more demanding applications, like photo and video editing.

The Gram 14 2-in-1 topped the Swift 5 on our performance benchmarks. Keep in mind, however, that this isn't a like-for-like comparison; our less expensive Swift 5 review unit came equipped with an Intel Core i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM while the Gram 14 2-in-1 packed a Core i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM.

The Gram 14 2-in-1 scored a 15,943 on the Geekbench 4.1 overall performance test, topping the Swift 5's 14,066 by a good margin. Both laptops surpassed the premium laptop average of 13,323.

MORE: Laptops with the Best Productivity Performance

It took the Gram 14 2-in-1's 512GB M.2 SATA SSD 17 seconds to move 4.97GB of mixed-media files from one folder to another, which equates to a transfer rate of 391 megabytes per second. The Swift 5's 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD completed the same task at a rate of 299 MBps. Neither machine was as quick as the average premium laptop (542.4 MBps).  

The Swift 5 fell further behind the Gram 14 2-in-1 on our video transcoding test. The Acer laptop took a leisurely 26 minutes and 24 minutes to convert a 4K video into 1080p using the Handbrake app. That is considerably longer than what the Gram 14 2-in-1 (21:17) needed, and lags behind the premium laptop average (21:45).

On our Excel Macro test, the Gram 14 2-in-1 matched 65,000 names with their corresponding addresses in 1 minute and 25 seconds. Unlike the Gram 14 2-in-1, the Swift 5, with a time of 1 minute and 38 seconds, wasn't able to top the category average of 1:32.

Relying on an Intel UHD 620 GPU, neither of these laptops is built for gaming. Nonetheless, they performed admirably on our 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark, with the Swift 5 netting an 81,919 and the Gram 14 2-in-1 scoring a 87,220. The results were flipped on our real-world gaming test, in which the Swift 5 played the racing game Dirt 3 at 56 frames per second while the Gram 14 2-in-1 maintained 51 fps.

Winner: LG Gram 14 2-in-1

Battery Life

The Gram 14 2-in-1 is the clear winner regarding battery life, having endured for several hours longer than the Swift 5 on our Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits.

The Gram 14 2-in-1 lasted for an outstanding 11 hours and 28 hours while the Swift 5 powered down after 8 hours and 37 minutes. Although it fell well short of the Gram 14 2-in-1, the Swift 5 put up a respectable runtime, and even topped the premium laptop average of 8 hours and 29 minutes.

Winner: LG Gram 14 2-in-1

Value and Price

You have limited buying options with these laptops: there are two models of the Swift 5 and the Gram 14 2-in-1 comes in a single configuration.

The base Swift 5 we reviewed costs $999 and comes with an Intel Core i5-8265U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD. For

$1,399, you can upgrade to a Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

The $1,499 Gram 2-in-1 comes equipped with an Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

Winner: Acer Swift 5

Overall Winner: Gram 14 2-in-1

Acer Swift 5LG Gram 14 2-in-1
Design (10)89
Ports (10)78
Display (15)1312
Keyboard/Touchpad (15)1312
Performance (20)1618
Battery Life (20)1418
Value (10)87
Overall (100)7984

This was a close contest, but we recommend the Gram 14 2-in-1 over the Swift 5 for a few reasons. Namely, the Gram lasts several hours longer on a charge and its flexible chassis lets you use the 1080p touch screen in tablet mode. And unlike the Swift 5, the Gram 14 2-in-1 has a microSD card slot.

While we prefer the Gram 14 2-in-1, the Swift 5 remains a very good option for those who prefer a larger 15-inch display or want to save some money on a Core i5 configuration.

Credit: Laptop Mag 

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.