The Acer Swift 5 is one of the first laptops on the market to come with a new 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor.
These new Intel chips are more significant than usual because they are produced using a 10nm manufacturing process, an upgrade from the 14nm process used since 2014.
A smaller manufacturing process produces smaller transistors, leading to better performance, improved battery life and more features.
For instance, the new processors come with the Deep Learning Boost feature, which improves the performance of apps in certain artificial intelligence-based scenarios such as image enhancements and video filters.
Intel also claims that the new Iris Plus graphics in its latest processors can achieve up to twice the performance in games at 1,080p resolution compared with older Intel integrated graphics.
While this may be the case, Acer still includes a low-end Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics chip in the Swift 5.
Other useful upgrades are at the connectivity front. The Swift 5 comes with the latest Wi-Fi 6 (also known as 802.11ax) chipset for faster wireless speeds with a compatible Wi-Fi 6 router. In addition, Thunderbolt 3 support is now built-in for faster transfer speeds using the Swift's USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port.
For the Swift 5, Acer has gone with the standard clamshell design.
• Latest Intel processor supports Thunderbolt 3 and Wi-Fi 6
• Slim and lightweight
• Ample storage and memory
• Lightweight chassis shows some flex
•Battery life could be better
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-1065G7 (1.3GHz)
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce MX250 2GB GDDR5
RAM: 16GB DDR4
SCREEN SIZE: 14 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1, USB 2.0, HDMI, audio jack
BATTERY: 56 watt-hour
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
BATTERY LIFE: 4/5
It is slim and light for a 14-inch model, weighing just under 1kg, thanks to its magnesium-alloy chassis.
Like other laptops that use magnesium-based alloys, the Swift's lid shows some flex, though the laptop base feels solid enough.
The thin build means the keyboard is shallow. The Function and the directional arrow keys are smaller than I would have liked, but this design probably allows more room for the touchpad.
Its 14-inch screen has a matt finish and a standard 1,080p resolution. It is surrounded by thin, raised bezels that belie the fact that the display is touch-capable.
This in-plane switching display is bright and viewing angles are good. The small Web camera at the top bezel does not support facial recognition, but a fingerprint sensor is included.
Besides its new Core i7 chip, the Swift has a large and fast 1TB solid-state drive. Its 16GB of system memory is also the norm for a high-end laptop these days.
Performance-wise, the Swift did not feel significantly faster than other recent Intel-powered laptops.
In the PCMark 10 benchmark, which tests common workloads such as office-productivity apps, Web browsing and content creation, the Swift scored 4,388 compared with 4,345 for the Asus ZenBook 14, which uses an older Intel Core i7 processor.
The graphics performance from its Nvidia GeForce MX250 chip is adequate, with a 3DMark score of 948, which is roughly twice that of a laptop powered by Intel's older integrated graphics solution.
Even then, this Nvidia graphics chip is suitable for only older or casual games.
I was not too impressed by the Swift's battery life. It lasted 61/2 hours in The Straits Times' usual video-loop battery test, with the screen set at maximum brightness.
This duration is much shorter than the eight hours managed by the Asus ZenBook 14.