The Acer Swift 14 is cheaper, faster and better than the MacBook Air 15 — fight me

Acer Swift 14 surrounded by blue and red fire
(Image credit: B&H Photo/Getty Images/fongfong2)

Time for me to wreak some havoc! The 15-inch M2 MacBook Air is the talk of the town, but I feel somewhat sorry for laptops that are cheaper, faster and more powerful than the Apple-branded device. They don't get enough shine because they don't have a fruit stamped on its lid.

Don't get me wrong. Apple's new 15-inch M2 MacBook Air is glorious

It has an upgraded six-speaker system that adds two woofers, a step up from the quad-speaker array of its predecessor (the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air). Plus, Apple continues to be a badass when it comes to battery life. Our in-house testing shows that the M2 MacBook Air lasts 14 hours and 48 minutes on a charge. On top of that, next to the LG Gram SuperSlim, the 0.45-inch thick MacBook Air is the world's thinnest laptop.

If you're looking for a sleek, power-efficient, divine-sounding 15-inch laptop, this MacBook Air is for you. However, keep in mind that "new" MacBook Air uses an old M2 chip, making it obsolete performance-wise. Naturally, there's a swarm of new 2023 laptops that are zippier and beastlier: the Acer Swift 14 is one them. Watch me break down why.

Which Acer Swift 14 am I pitting against the 15-inch MacBook Air?

The Acer Swift 14 I'm speaking of has the following components:

Acer Swift 14 review

(Image credit: Future)
  •  Intel Core i7-13700H 
  • 16GB of RAM
  • 1TB SSD
  •  14-inch, IPS 2560 x 1600-pixel touchscreen display 
  •  Price: $1,299

The 15-inch MacBook Air that we’ve tested has the following configuration: 

We wanted more ports, but Apple gave us speakers -- Here’s why

15-inch MacBook Air (Image credit: Future)
  •  M2 chip with 8-Core CPU, 10-Core GPU 
  •  16GB of RAM 
  •  512GB SSD
  •  15.3-inch, Liquid Retina, 2880 x 1864-pixel display  
  •  Price: $1,499

Yes, the Acer Swift 14 is cheaper than the 15-inch MacBook Air — and it offers more storage. Plus, as you'll see in the subsequent sections, the Swift 14 beats the Apple laptop in many performance metrics.

Where to buy? You can find the Acer Swift 14 at B&H for $1,300 as of this writing. The 15-inch M2 MacBook Air, on the other hand, is at Apple for $1,500. 

1. The Acer Swift 14 is more beastly

The 15-inch MacBook Air we tested is the priciest out of the two variants available. It's packed with a passé M2 chip (8-core CPU, 10-Core GPU). Its performance was cute in 2022, but now it's 2023 where 13th Gen Intel processors are dominating the market. The Swift 14 is outfitted with an Intel Core i7-13700H CPU; you already know that it's going to smoke the M2 chip.

Acer Swift 14

Acer Swift 14 (Image credit: Future)

Talk is cheap, though. Let's bring up some facts and figures, starting with the multi-core scores from Geekbench 5.5 performance test. (For the uninitiated, Geekbench 5.5 tests for a number of workflows, including image and text compression, PDF rendering, face detection, speech recognition, machine learning, image inpainting, and more.)

Geekbench 5.5 scores for Swift 14 and MacBook air

Geekbench results: Acer Swift 14 vs. M2 MacBook Air (Image credit: Future)

Aw, how adorable! The 15-inch M2 MacBook Air rolled out a cute score of 8,902.  

The Swift 14, on the other hand, delivered a roaring score of 11,375. What a beast!

15-inch MacBook Air

15-inch MacBook Air (Image credit: Future)

Not only does the Acer Swift 14 obliterate the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air, but it also crushes the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro  (8-Core CPU, 10-Core GPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage), which could only muster a score of 8,911. Womp, womp, womp!

If you thought that was brutal, wait until you check out the next section where the Acer Swift 14 demolishes the 15-inch MacBook Air on a performance test called CrossMark that evaluates laptops on workloads that often mirror the productivity of casual content creators.

2. The Acer Swift 14 is better for content creators

If you're a casual content creator who cringes at the slightest stutter while you're working diligently on projects, the Acer Swift 14 would be a better option. Just so you know I'm not talking out of my caboose, check out the figures below.

With the CrossMark benchmark, we tested the 15-inch MacBook Air and the Acer Swift 14 for three things: creativity (how well the system can manage video editing, photo editing, and music production), responsiveness (how well the system responds to your input), and productivity (how well the system can handle word processing, spreadsheets and presentations).

CrossMark Scores for Swift 14 and MacBook Air

CrossMark scores for Acer Swift 14 and M2 MacBook Air (Image credit: Future)

As you can see in the chart above, I wasn't joking. Whether it was creativity, responsiveness, or productivity, the Acer Swift 14 knocked the 15-inch MacBook Air off its high horse with an overall CrossMark score of 1,883, surpassing the Apple laptop's lousy score of 1,561.

3. The Acer Swift 14 can transcode videos faster

Where are all my video editors? I'm callin' all YouTubers, TikTokers, and other social media influencers. 

15-inch MacBook Air

M2 MacBook Air (Image credit: Future)

If you're looking for a machine that can transcode videos at lightning speed, consider the Swift 14.

Video transcoding scores for Acer Swift 14 and MacBook Air

Video transcoding time for Acer Swift 14 and M2 MacBook Air (Image credit: Future)

We put the 15-inch MacBook Air to the test, demanding that it transcode a 4K video to 1080p. It took 7 minutes and 46 seconds to do it. Good grief; slow like molasses!

The Swift 14, on the other hand, took just 5 minutes and 34 seconds. It's as quick as  a cheetah!

4.The Acer Swift 14 has a better display

On paper, the MacBook Air's 15.3-inch, 2800 x 1864-pixel panel appears to trump the Swift 14's 14-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel display. However, when we put both screens through our in-house testing, the Swift 14 proved to be the winner once again.

Acer Swift 14

Acer Swift 14 (Image credit: Future)

According to our colorimeter, the Swift 14 covers 128% of the sRGB color gamut, which is much better than the MacBook Air (111%). When it comes to DCI-P3 color gamut coverage, the Swift 14 is also more colorful, covering 91% of the space compared to the MacBook Air (79%). 

Display scores for Swift 14 and MacBook Air

Display scores for Acer Swift 14 and M2 MacBook Air (Image credit: Future)

I expected the 15-inch MacBook Air to be brighter than the Swift 14, but I was wrong. The Swift 14 delivered a luminosity average of 493 nits. Conversely, the Apple laptop was slightly dimmer with an average of 473 nits.

When it comes to color accuracy, on the other hand, the Swift 14 finally took a loss. It delivered a Delta-E color-accuracy score of 0.2 (closer to 0 is better). The 15-inch MacBook Air, however, has a stellar color-accuracy score of 0.17

5. The Acer Swift 14 has a better webcam

Laptop webcams are typically awful: they're blurry, lack detail and render colors poorly. However, the Acer Swift 14's 1440p webcam impressed us so much, it landed on my laptops with the best webcams recommendations page.

15-inch MacBook Air webcam

15-inch MacBook Air webcam (Image credit: Future)

"Well, damn — I’ve never tested a 1440p camera on a laptop before, and what a surprise, it’s not bad," our reviewer Rami Tabari said.

The 15-inch MacBook Air, on the hand, has a regular ol' 1080p webcam. Don't get me wrong; it's not awful. It's actually pretty good. It's just that the Acer Swift 14's 1440p shooter is much better.

Bottom line

The Acer Swift 14, as of this writing, is $100 cheaper than the 15-inch MacBook Air laptop, and still, it manages to offer more storage, better performance scores, speedier video transcoding, a better display, and a superior webcam.

As mentioned at the outset, however, the M2 chip is more power efficient. The 15-inch MacBook Air has a runtime that nears 15 hours. However, for a Windows, Intel-packed laptop, the Swift 14's battery life is pretty damn good, too, offering about 12 hours on a charge.

Additionally, the 10-Core GPU inside the 15-inch MacBook Air also delivers more than twice the performance as the Intel Iris Xe graphics inside the Swift 14. However, on all other metrics, the Acer laptop reigns supreme. And let's not forget that Apple is reportedly working on another 15-inch MacBook Air, due to be released next year, with the brand-spankin' new M3 chip. If you can afford to wait, do it.

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!