Most ultraportable laptops will cost you a pretty penny, especially if you want higher-end specs, but Acer aims to break this mold. Priced at $329, Acer's 13-inch Swift 1 (SF1113-31 P5CK) is a sturdy notebook loaded with some worthwhile specs, including a 1080p screen and an aluminum chassis. The battery life is a bit below average, but with its attractive design and a variety of ports, the Swift 1 is worth considering.
Editors' Note: The Wal-Mart price quoted in the button above includes $30.00 in tax.
The Swift 1 is a simple but sleek laptop. Outfitted with a sturdy, full aluminum body, the Swift 1 is matte gray with black plastic accents, including the keyboard, fingerprint scanner, hinge, trim and rubber grip. A silver Acer logo can be found on the laptop's lid, while a black one lies on the bottom bezel. The word "Swift" is engraved on the hinge.
Measuring 13.4 x 9.2 x 0.7 inches and weighing 3 pounds, the Acer Swift 1 isn't the lightest ultraportable, but it's still a few ounces lighter than the $500 Acer Swift 3 (3.6 pounds), the $469 Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (3.6 pounds) and the $399 Asus VivoBook E403NA (3.1 pounds).
Display: Great for the price
Acer's Swift 1 has a sharp, 13.3-inch, 1080p display that outputs vibrant colors. According to our colorimeter, the Swift 1 reproduced 125 percent of the sRGB color gamut, a score that surpassed the Swift 3 (80.5 percent), the Inspiron 13 5000 (71 percent) and the Asus VivoBook (68 percent), along with the category average (100 percent). These results were very evident when I watched the "DNA" music video by BTS. The colorful scenery and outfits were stunning to watch. I was impressed that the Swift 1's display was keen enough to capture the dimensional smoky blue tones in Suga's hair.
The Swift 1 isn't as bright as we'd like, registering 266 nits according to our light meter, but it beats competitors in the same price range. This reading exceeds the showings by the Acer Swift 3 (244 nits), the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (223 nits) and the Asus VivoBook E403NA (213 nits), but falls below the category average (290 nits). The Swift 1's screen handled glare well and was visible in direct sunlight. The Swift also has wide viewing angles; the image quality didn't suffer when I flipped the IPS panel back 180 degrees.
The Acer Swift 1 has a satisfactory sound system. Its dual stereo speakers are located at the base and reproduce accurate sound. The speakers are loud enough to fill a small conference room without distortion. When I listened to "Bet That I Will" by Snow Tha Product, I was able to hear the vibrato in the synth that accompanies the booming bass. Snow's vocals also came through clear.
The Swift's microphone is conveniently built-in with the webcam, so making video calls is a breeze. I recorded a few voice notes to test how well the mic picked up audio and the playback accurately captured my pitch and volume.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard on the Swift 1 offers a decent typing experience with hardly any flex. The Swift 1's chiclet keys offer a shallow 1 millimeter of vertical travel (1.5 to 2mm is typical) and requires 71 grams of actuation force. If you have long nails or just prefer keyboards with more vertical travel, the Swift 1 may not be the most comfortable.
On the Key Hero typing test, my average typing speed of 58 words per minute took a near 25 percent dip, thanks to typing errors. The Swift 1's keyboard is supposed to come with a backlight feature; however, the unit I received did not come with this "elegant new" feature, so I wasn't able to test it myself.
The Swift 1's 4.1 x 2.5-inch touchpad is extremely smooth. It feels a little slippery on freshly washed and lotioned fingertips, but it still provided accurate navigation. Standard features like pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe were also responsive, which made it easier to switch between apps.
Acer's Swift 1 comes with an Intel Pentium N4200 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 64GB eMMC storage drive, which provided adequate performance in our tests. With 10 tabs open in Google Chrome -- including streams from YouTube, Pandora and Netflix, along with a few rounds of Bubble Witch Saga -- I didn't experience lag.
The Swift 1's processor scored 4,125 on Geekbench 4, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance. That's less than the Acer Swift 3's Intel Core i5-7200U CPU (7,242), the Inspiron's Intel Pentium 4405U (6,742), Asus' Pentium N4200 (4,609) and the category average (6,545).
The Swift 1 copied a 4.97GB batch of mixed-media files in 98 seconds, with a rate of 51.9 megabytes per second. That speed is surpassed by the Acer Swift 1's (164 MBps) and the category average (214.9 MBps), but is slightly better than the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (32.4 MBps) and the Asus VivoBook's (33 MBps) meager results.
The Acer Swift 1 took a sluggish 9 minutes and 26 seconds to complete our OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test, which involves matching 20,000 names and addresses. That is 5 minutes longer than the Swift 3 (4:02) and Inspiron 13 (4:01), and 3 minutes longer than the category average (6:08). The Asus VivoBook wasn't much faster, taking 9 minutes and 9 seconds to complete the same test.
With an Intel HD Graphics 505 card, the Swift 1 scored 24,827 on the Ice Storm Unlimited test, a synthetic benchmark that measures graphics performance. This mark is better than the Asus VivoBook E403NA (14,935), but is surpassed by scores from the Acer Swift 1 (54,619), the Dell Inspiron 13 (62,604) and the category average (56,338).
The Swift 1's graphics aren't ideal for gaming. It didn't reach our 30-frames per second playability threshold in the Dirt 3 racing game test, earning an underwhelming 20 fps, matching the Inspiron 13. That score is also below the Swift 3 (54 fps) and the category average (39 fps).
Battery: Shorter than usual
You'll get slightly below-average battery life from the Swift 1. Acer's ultraportable laptop lasted 6 hours and 54 minutes on our Laptop Mag Battery Test, which simulates continuous web browsing.
That's longer than the Dell Inspiron 13 5000's runtime (6:09), but shorter than the 14-inch Acer Swift 3 (8:31), the Asus VivoBook (8:04) and the category average (8:18). However, to be fair, the Swift 3 has a 4-cell battery. The Asus VivoBook has a 3-cell battery just like the Swift 1.
The Acer Swift 1 remained cool during our tests. After we played a full-screen video for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured 83 degrees Fahrenheit, while its keyboard registered 89 degrees and the bottom hit 93 degrees. All of these temperatures are below our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Webcam: Pretty good
Typically, affordable laptops are accompanied with horrible cameras. However, the Acer Swift 1 is an exception. The Swift 1 comes with a 1.3-megapixel HD webcam that provides clear image quality.
When I took a selfie under the fluorescent lighting in my office, the Swift captured every curl in my dyed strawberry-blonde hair, and there was hardly any grain in the background. Colors were also accurate. The Swift 1's webcam reproduced the olive-green tones in my jacket, whereas other webcams made my jacket appear gray.
Software and Warranty
Acer's Swift 1 runs on Windows 10 Home. It's also preloaded with branded software, including Acer Care Center to monitor system health and Acer Quick Access for settings management. Aside from Windows- and Acer-specific programs, the Swift comes with typical bloatware such as Twitter, Autodesk SketchBook and Bubble Witch Saga.
The $329 Acer Swift 1 SF1113-31 P5CK is a striking ultraportable that offers plenty for the price, including USB Type-C compatibility, a bright and colorful display, and clear audio. The machine's Pentium N4200 processor is reliable for office- and school-related tasks, while also providing decent performance for streaming. However, the Swift 1's battery life is much shorter than that of its competitors.
If you want a 13-inch laptop with a touch screen and better performance and can spend over $100 more, the $469 Dell Inspiron 13 5000 may be a viable option. But if you don't mind going up an inch, the $500 Acer Swift 3 and $399 Asus VivoBook E403NA both offer more storage and longer lasting batteries. However, if you want an attractive ultrabook that's affordable and has a great display, the Swift 1 is a good choice.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Laptop Mag