Acer Swift 5 (2022) review — why it’s one of the best laptops

The Acer Swift 5 is a 2022 gem

Acer Swift 5 2022
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Swift 5’s 12th Gen Intel CPU refresh brings it to a new echelon worthy of an Editor’s Choice badge.

Pros

  • +

    Attractive design

  • +

    Rival-beating performance

  • +

    Ultra-fast SSD

  • +

    Zippy video transcoding

  • +

    Fast file transfer rates

Cons

  • -

    Annoying bloatware

  • -

    Speakers could be louder

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Acer Swift 5 2022 (SF514-56T) specs

Price: $1,549
CPU: Intel Core i7-1260P
GPU: Intel Iris Xe  
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 2560 x 1600
Battery: 11:24
Size:  12.2 x 8.4 x 0.59 inches
Weight: 2.65 pounds  

It took six months, but the Acer Swift 5 is the first laptop of 2022 that compelled me to stick an Editor’s Choice badge on its proverbial chest. Impressive battery life, a svelte design, a tactile keyboard, and zippy performance scores are the most important features I look for while reviewing laptops, and the Swift 5 met — and even surpassed — my expectations.

The refreshed Acer Swift 5 comes with a new 12th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU that outperforms its rivals. It also has a sharp, alluring and bright 2.5K display. As a cherry on top, it has a refined, sophisticated design scheme and a lightweight chassis — I mean, what’s not to love?

However, nothing is ever really perfect — c’est la vie! While the Swift 5 is one of the best laptops, it does have a few questionable weak spots that, depending on your needs, may make you reconsider purchasing it. 

Acer Swift 5 (2022) price and configurations 

The Acer Swift 5 I tested costs $1,549 and comes with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 14-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel display. The new Swift 5 comes in two colors: Misty Green and Steam Blue. Acer told us that you can purchase this model via its official store (opens in new tab) by late June. It will also be available on Amazon by the end of July.

As of this writing, there’s only one 12th Gen CPU-packed configuration available, but if you don’t mind securing the last-gen Swift 5 model (it earned a 4.5-star rating and an Editor’s Choice badge due to its 13-hour battery life), you can snag one for $999 with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD, and a 14-inch, 1080p display at Walmart (opens in new tab) or Adorama (opens in new tab)

Acer Swift 5 (2022) design 

The refreshed Swift 5 is, without a doubt, the most attractive notebook I’ve seen this year. Acer claims that it has an “exquisite design,” and while many OEMs tend to exaggerate with eye-catching buzzwords and alluring verbiage, the Taiwan-based company is right on the money.

Acer Swift 5 2022

Acer Swift 5 2022 (Image credit: Future)

The aerospace-grade aluminum chassis is cloaked in a rich, luxurious Mist Green shade. But what really caught my eye are the stunning gold accents, which can be found on the edges that house the ports — and the protuberant hinge that sports the word “SWIFT” in a subdued gray font. The anodized cover, according to Acer, resists wear and corrosion, and features the Acer insignia stamped with gold, lustrous lettering.

Open the lid and you’ll find more of that Misty Green goodness throughout the deck. However, I’m not thrilled about the poor contrast between the keys and the letters (the dull-yellow characters atop the dark-green keyboard isn’t easy on the eyes). It’s not a dealbreaker for touch typists, but hunt-and-peck typists may be turned off, especially if they have any vision impairments.

Acer Swift 5 2022

Acer Swift 5 2022 (Image credit: Future)

Green advocates will dig the OceanGlass touchpad, an eco-friendly aspect of the deck that consists of ocean-bound plastic waste. The bottom of the chassis is made of magnesium-aluminum and features four feet to keep the chassis off flat surfaces; there’s also a large vent and two speakers (I’ll delve into audio quality later).

The Swift 5 has dimensions of 12.2 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches and it weighs 2.7 pounds. Competitors such as the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 (12.5 x 9.1 x 0.6 inches, 3.1 pounds) and the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (14 x 9 x 0.46 inches, 3.1 pounds) are slightly heavier than the Swift 5, but the latter is slimmer. 

Acer Swift 5 (2022) ports  

Curious about which ports the Swift 5 offers? Well, on the left side, there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port. On the right side, you’ll find another USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, a Kensington lock slot and a headset jack.

Acer Swift 5 2022

Acer Swift 5 2022 (Image credit: Future)

Need more ports? Check out our best USB Type-C hubs and best laptop docking stations pages. 

Acer Swift 5 (2022) display 

The Acer Swift 5 comes with a 14-inch, WQXGA, 2560 x 1600-pixel, Corning Gorilla Glass display. Opening the lid, I could already tell that it sports a 16:10 aspect ratio. It appears to be taller than the traditional 16:9 laptop screen, offering more vertical screen real estate. 

Acer Swift 5 2022

Acer Swift 5 2022 (Image credit: Future)

Watching content on the Swift 5’s gorgeous display was an absolute joy. I fired up the Black Adam trailer and textures, in particular, were striking on this panel. For example, actor Dwayne Johnson’s tattered, threadbare hooded cape seemed damn-near tangible. It was as if I could reach through the screen, touch it, and feel its coarse, burlap potato sack-esque material. Even water seemed sharper than usual; the screen captured the delineation of each ripple and bubble, making puddles seem more conspicuous and salient. Hell, I could even make out the subtle sun spots that speckled Pierce Brosnan’s forehead. To top it all off, the display emanates colors with rich, well-saturated hues.

The results from our colorimeter matched my experience with the Swift 5’s panel. It covered 93.3% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, beating the average premium laptop (91.1%). It also eclipsed the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (87.5%), but the Yoga 9i Gen 7 bested the Swift 5, which was expected. After all, the Lenovo convertible has a 2.8k OLED display.

The Swift 5 also provides more brilliance than its rivals. With 457 nits of brightness, the Acer laptop outshone the average premium laptop (437 nits), the Yoga 9i Gen 7 (352 nits) and the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (373 nits). 

Acer Swift 5 (2022) keyboard and touchpad 

The Swift 5’s island-style keyboard sports a dual-tier backlight, enabling you to tap on F11 to adjust the keyboard’s backlight to your liking — or turn it off altogether. I prefer to keep it on because, as mentioned, the contrast between the dark-yellow characters and the forest-green keys is low, making it difficult to see the letters and symbols.

Acer Swift 5 2022

Acer Swift 5 2022 (Image credit: Future)

I tested the Swift 5 keyboard using the 10FastFingers.com typing assessment, and my fingers went flying. There was no habituation period; my fingers swiftly got into a rhythmic groove while typing on the keyboard. I managed 89 words per minute, which is faster than my 85-87 wpm average. 

The small touchpad, sporting dimensions of 4.1 x 2.6 inches, is adorned with a subtle gold trim that follows the overall theme of the chassis. It feels divine. I tested Windows 11 gestures, including two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing — they were all efficiently responsive. 

Acer Swift 5 (2022) audio 

Acer Swift 5 comes with dual, bottom-firing speakers that won’t win any trophies for award-winning sound; the audio quality is the epitome of mediocre.

Acer Swift 5 2022

Acer Swift 5 2022 (Image credit: Future)

I listened to “As It Was” by Harry Styles, and while Styles’ snappy vocals sounded decent, the tune was slightly tinny as the cymbals and drums kicked in. I also listened to Bad Bunny’s “Me Porto Bonito” and encountered a similar metallic tone, but only after the reggaetón beat dropped. Overall, the Swift 5 sounds OK and it’s not a dealbreaker unless you’re a stickler for premium-sounding speakers.

I checked out the DTS Audio Processing app, which offers three presets that attempt to improve sound: Music, Movies and Games. Attempt is the operative word here. The Music preset was the best-sounding profile, but this was on by default, so the DTS app didn’t really do much to enhance the so-so audio quality.

On top of that, the speakers could be a tad bit louder. Even at max volume, the music didn’t get as loud as expected; it couldn’t fill the space in my large testing room. This isn’t a big deal if you don’t care to have blaring speakers, but if you stumble upon a low-volume YouTube channel or a Twitch stream, for example, you’ll likely struggle to compensate for the poor amplification — even if you increase the Swift 5’s volume to its apex. 

Acer Swift 5 (2022) performance  

Don’t mess with the Swift 5! It may seem like an unassuming notebook with a Misty Green coating, but it packs a lot of punch. Outfitted with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P processor and 16GB of RAM, the Swift 5 adroitly juggled 35 Google Chrome tabs, including three YouTube videos and two Twitch streams playing simultaneously. I fired up a fresh Google Doc and began typing to see if it would crack under pressure, but there were no slowdowns.

Acer Swift 5 2022

(Image credit: Future)

On the Geekbench 5.4 overall performance test, the Swift 5 scored a whopping 9,859, rocketing past the average premium laptop (5,956). The Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 sport the same CPU as the Swift 5, but they served up less impressive scores: 7,150 and 9,043, respectively. 

Now, let’s take a look at how fast the Swift 5 can transcode a 4K video to 1080p using our HandBrake benchmark. It took the Acer laptop only 7 minutes and 36 minutes to complete the task, which is much faster than the average premium laptop (10:38), the Yoga 9i Gen 7 (12:18) and the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (9:34).

According to our file transfer test results, the Swift 5’s 1TB SSD took 16 seconds to duplicate a cache of 25GB of mixed-media files for a rate of 1,673.1 megabytes per second, beating the average premium laptop (973.7 MBps). The Swift 5 also outpaced the 1TB SSDs inside Yoga 9i Gen 7 (1,506.8 MBps) and the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (761.6 MBps).

Acer Swift 5 (2022) graphics

The Acer Swift 5 comes with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, so no, don’t bother running graphics-intensive tasks on it (e.g., resource-heavy gaming and editing); it doesn’t have the wherewithal to handle them.

Acer Swift 5 2022

Acer Swift 5 2022 (Image credit: Future)

Out of curiosity, we tested how well the Swift 5 would do on the Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (1080p) benchmark. The Acer laptop notched 26 frames per second. This falls short of the average premium laptop (50 fps), but to be fair, many of the laptops in our data collection have dedicated GPUs. A fairer comparison would be to stack the Swift 5 against the Yoga 9i Gen 7 and Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360; both have Intel Iris Xe graphics. The Lenovo 2-in-1 hit 23 fps while the Samsung convertible managed 25 fps. Both were this close to surpassing the Swift 5, but they just couldn’t get over that 26 fps hump. 

Acer Swift 5 (2022) battery life 

The Swift 5 knocked it out of the park in the previous sections. Will the Acer laptop continue to shine when it comes to battery life? Kind of.

On the Laptop Mag battery test, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the Swift 5 lasted 11 hours and 24 minutes. This is longer than the average premium laptop (10:29) and the tragic Yoga 9i Gen 7 (8:06). However, the Swift 5 couldn’t take out the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360. If the Swift 5 could have survived for another 35 minutes, it could have outlasted the Samsung convertible, which stuck around for a whopping 11 hours and 59 minutes. Wow!

Acer Swift 5 (2022) webcam

Surprisingly, the Swift 5’s webcam isn’t half bad. It has a 1080p shooter, which made me breathe a sigh of relief because the laptop market has been clinging on to 720 cameras for far too long.

Acer Swift 5 2022

Acer Swift 5 2022 (Image credit: Future)

Acer claims that this webcam sports temporal noise reduction, a feature I’ve noticed while using it on the Camera app. Compared to selfies I’ve taken on other laptops, the pictures I took on the Swift 5 are slightly sharper and clearer. It renders colors well, too, picking up the subtle blonde streaks in my hair and the gold calligraphy on my shirt.

If you want something more suitable for video conferencing, check out our best webcams page. 

Acer Swift 5 (2022) heat 

Acer boasts that the Swift 5, thanks to its “high-performing” dual fans, expels up to 10% more heat than other keyboards. We can’t duplicate Acer’s experiment to determine if this claim is true, but according to our thermal testing, the Swift 5 is one cool cucumber.

Acer Swift 5 2022

Acer Swift 5 2022 (Image credit: Future)

After streaming a 15-minute video, the underside hit 93 degrees Fahrenheit. The center of the keyboard and the touchpad measured 88 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The readings managed to not cross our 95-degree comfort threshold, which is impressive. It’s worth noting that our lab tester discovered that the hottest region of the chassis is on the rear, just above the vents; it climbed to 96 degrees. Yes, it surpassed our 95-degree margin, but not by much. 

Acer Swift 5 (2022) software and warranty 

I don’t usually get annoyed when I fire up a laptop for the first time, but the Swift 5 had too many pops up for my tastes, from Norton prompting me to “run a smart scan” to Acer asking whether I’d be interested in feeding it diagnostics data. I even got a Dropbox ad asking whether I was interested in a cloud space offer. I just want to be left alone!

Acer Swift 5 2022

Acer Swift 5 2022 (Image credit: Future)

There’s plenty of Windows 11 bloatware on the Swift 5, including Disney+, Hearts Deluxe, Norton Security Ultra, ExpressVPN, Spotify, Simple Solitaire, Simple Spider Solitaire, Simple Mahjong and Spades. However, there are some useful apps, too, that will appeal to hobbyist editors such as Cyberlink’s PhotoDirector and PowerDirector.

There are convenient Acer-branded apps on board, too, including the Acer Care Center, which lets you delete junk files, update drivers, run checkups for battery health, and more.

The Swift 5 comes with a one-year limited warranty. See how Acer performed on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands ranking. 

Bottom line

The last-gen Swift 5, packed with an 11th Gen Intel CPU, blew us out of the water with its 13-hour battery life, stellar performance, attractive design, and palatable price tag. Now, the current-gen Swift 5 is $200 more, but the minor price hike is worth it. It’s got a faster SSD, zippier performance, impressive video transcoding, breakneck file-transfer speeds — and it still manages to be lightweight and pleasing to the eye with an attractive dark-green-and-gold color scheme.

The only grievances I have with the Swift 5 is its weak speakers and annoying bloatware apps. Interestingly, when I checked my colleague’s review of the last-gen Swift 5, he pointed out the same issues. If Acer can manage to make its preinstalled apps less irksome, and outfit the Swift 5 with a dual-speaker system with more “oomph,” the Swift 5 could be legendary.

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!