3 ways Acer Swift Edge 16 is cheaper, better than MacBook Air 15 — and 3 ways it's not

Acer Swift Edge 16 vs. MacBook Air 15
(Image credit: Future/Getty Images/seamartini)

The Acer Swift Edge 16 is a Windows alternative to the wildly popular 15-inch MacBook Air, especially if you don't have an allegiance to particular OS. It's got a gorgeous, 3.2K OLED display, a lightweight from factor that surprises you every time you pick it up, and impressive scores on most benchmarks.

But when we stack it up against the 15-inch MacBook Air, do these incredible qualities still hold water? The answer is a resounding yes. Still, while the Swift Edge 16 slaps the M2-based 15-inch MacBook Air silly on several tests, it fails in several other aspects, too.

The question is, which laptop has a set of pros that are more appealing to you?

Which laptops are we comparing?

Check the chart below to see which laptops we're comparing in this head-to-head competition.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Acer Swift Edge 16MacBook Air M2
CPUAMD Ryzen 7 7840U8-Core (M2)
GPUAMD Radeon graphics10-Core (M2)
Size14 x 9.7 x 0.57-0.60 inches11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches
Weight2.7 pounds3.3 pounds

The Acer laptop gives you more storage for less. However, for some, the extra $400 for the MacBook Air 15 may be worth it. I'll let you decide which laptop is best for you with a slew of facts and figures.

Where to buy the Acer Swift Edge 16? At Best Buy for $1,300

Where to buy the MacBook Air 15? At Apple for $1,700

3 ways the Acer Swift Edge 16 is better than the MacBook Air 15

Yes, the 15-inch MacBook Air launched this year, but it's rocking a passé chip (i.e., M2) that was hip when it debuted with the 2022 MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. Rumor has it that the 15-inch MacBook Air was supposed to feature the next-generation M3 chip, but due to "yield issues," TSMC (Apple's supplier) couldn't supply the Cupertino-based tech giant with enough processors to meet their demand.

Acer Swift Edge 16 2023

Acer Swift Edge 16 2023 (Image credit: Future)

So it's no surprise that the Acer Swift Edge 16 had no issues crushing a 2022-born processor. 

1. The Acer Swift Edge 16 has better performance

On the Geekbench 6 overall performance benchmark, which tests for how well a laptop can handle tasks such as file compression, rendering PDFs, processing text, machine learning, editing images, and 3D geometry, the Swift delivered a multi-core score of 10,168.

The M2 chip inside the MacBook Air 15, on the other hand, trailed behind with a score of 9,993.

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Performance scores
Row 0 - Cell 0 Acer Swift Edge 16MacBook Air 15
Geekbench 610,1689,993
Sid Meier's Civilization VI gaming benchmark44 frames per second43 frames per second

MacBook Air 15 review

MacBook Air 15 (Image credit: Future)

We also tested casual gaming on both laptops (i.e., Sid Meier's Civilization VI on 1080p). The Swift Edge 16 (AMD Radeon graphics), staying true to its name, edged out the MacBook Air 15 (M2 10-core GPU) by a hair with an average of 44 frames per second while its Apple rival notched 43 fps.

2. The Acer Swift Edge 16 can transcode videos faster

If you're a casual content creator, transcoding video from one resolution to another may be a part of your workflow. If this is the case, you may want to lean toward the Swift Edge 16.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Acer Swift Edge 16MacBook Air 15
Video transcoding time6 minutes and 4 seconds7 minutes and 46 seconds

According to our Handbrake benchmark, which tasked the Swift Edge 16 with transcoding a 4K video to 1080p, the Acer laptop took 6 minutes and 4 seconds to complete the test. Meanwhile, it took the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air 7 minutes and 46 seconds to do the same.

3. The Acer Swift Edge 16's display is more colorful and has a better webcam

The Acer Swift Edge 16 sports a striking, 16-inch, 3,200 x 2,000 OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The MacBook Air 15, on the other hand, has a smaller 15.3-inch display with a lesser resolution of 2,800 x 1,864 pixels.

Acer Swift Edge 16 2023

Acer Swift Edge 16 2023 (Image credit: Future)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Acer Swift Edge 16MacBook Air 15
DCI-P3 color gamut139%111%

According to our colorimeter, the Swift Edge 16's display covers 139% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. The MacBook Air 15 only covers 111%.

Speaking of the display, the Swift Edge 16 sports a QHD 1440p webcam on the top bezel that is quite refreshing from the sea of 720p and 1080p shooters on most laptops at the moment. I found that the webcam rendered colors quite accurately, and while there was some negligible noise, the picture was clear and sharp. The M2 MacBook Air's webcam is decent; it has a 1080p webcam. But thankfully, thanks to the Continuity Camera feature Apple introduced last year, you can always attach an iPhone to your MacBook with a Belkin mount, allowing you to use your iPhone as a webcam.

3 ways the Acer Swift Edge 16 is NOT better than the MacBook Air 15

While the Acer Swift Edge 16 has its pros, it has its cons, too. Its most glaring flaw is that it's an energy-guzzling laptop. The MacBook Air 15, on the other hand, is a power-efficient queen. In other words, the battery life on the Acer laptop sucks.

MacBook Air 15 review

MacBook Air 15 (Image credit: Future)

1. MacBook Air 15 has better battery life

We tested the runtimes of both laptops by surfing the web over WiFi at 150 nits of brightness until they tapped out. The Swift Edge 16 powered down after just 7 hours and 18 minutes.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Acer Swift Edge 16MacBook Air 15
Battery life7 hours and 18 minutes14 hours and 59 minutes

Meanwhile, the MacBook Air lasted a whopping 14 hours and 59 minutes. I don't know about you, but that 15-hour runtime is awfully difficult to pass up. You're gaining an extra 8 hours of battery life!

2. MacBook Air 15 has better speakers

I am not a fan of the Acer Swift Edge 16's dual, bottom-firing speakers. If you're not one to wear headphones or earbuds for whatever reason (perhaps you like to cuddle up and watch shows with a loved one), you'll be disappointed with the quiet sound system on the Acer Swift Edge 16. Even at max volume, the laptop's speakers failed to climb to a proper amplification level. This means you may find yourself straining to hear shows, films, and YouTube videos, particularly if you're in a noisy environment.

MacBook Air 15 review

MacBook Air 15 (Image credit: Future)

The MacBook Air 15, on the other hand, features an upgrade over its predecessor: a sweet six-speaker setup, including a pair of force-cancelling woofers. It supports spatial audio, too. Plus, its sound will fill the entirety of your room (unlike the Acer Swift Edge 16).

3. The MacBook Air 15 has a brighter screen

If you sit next to bright window or you like to sit outside during sunny days, you'll find that the Swift Edge 16's display may be too dim for your tastes. According to our display testing, the Swift Edge 16 has a brightness score of 387 nits.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Acer Swift Edge 16Apple MacBook Air 15
Display brightness387 nits473 nits

The MacBook Air 15 is much brighter with a luminosity of 473 nits. (If brightness is important to you, check out my recommendations for the brightest laptops.)

Bottom line

Another interesting differentiator to point out between these two laptops is weight and thickness. Although the Acer Swift Edge 16 is thicker (0.57 inches) than the MacBook Air 15 (0.5 inches), it somehow manages to be lighter. It weighs 2.7 pounds while the MacBook Air 15 weighs 3.3 pounds.

Like I said at the outset, the Swift Edge 16's heft (or lack thereof) will surprise you. You'll pick it up expecting it to be heavy, but you'll be pleasantly surprised by its lightweight chassis.

Overall, determining which laptop is best depends on your needs. If you are seduced by the Swift Edge 16's bang-for-your-buck value (more storage for less), M2 chip-beating performance, and its colorful display, you should snag the Acer laptop. However, if that 15-hour battery life is too alluring, you should definitely opt for the MacBook Air 15.

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Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!