Acer pulls out all the stops and keeps you working with the ultra lightweight and portable Swift 5.
Designed to be carried around all day for work and entertainment, the Switch 5 is the lightest clamshell notebook around. It weighs 990 grams and features a powerful NVIDIA card, the latest Intel Core CPU and sleek, eye catching design.
I reviewed a brand new Swift 5 feels good to the touch with a creamy colored magnesium-lithium coated top and bottom covers that have become synonymous with Acer. The rose gold accents – logo and hinge – are modern, stylish – touches and the device just happens to perfectly match the color of my nails. Given that it’s a 14-inch laptop, I can’t believe how incredibly lightweight the device is. Swift 5 weighs in at just over two pounds making it extremely portable and easy to manage. As someone who carries a MacBook around, I was surprised by how light the device is every time I picked it up.
Once I powered on the device, Cortana tool greeted me and continued to verbally guide me through the set up process. Seamless, automatic use of the digital assistant was a welcomed surprise as it made things easier. It was like having a more experienced friend talk me through the process and I was able to respond to prompts using voice commands and/or touch inputs. For example, this is how I set the region…
Cortana: Chose a region. Saudi Arabia (which was first on the list). Is that correct?
Cortana: What region do you want to use?
Me: United Arab Emirates.
Cortana: United Arab Emirates. Is that correct?
Cortana proves to be a notable feature offering personalized assistance with scheduling email and so much more. Plus, the software has been enhanced for a deeply human experience. She’s even cheeky. When she presented me with Microsoft’s terms and conditions, she noted: “In short you need to accept these conditions. You can decline but then – no Windows”.
My absolutely favorite feature on this device is touch capability. Even better, Switch 5 seamlessly enables you to flow between touch and keyboard inputs. There’s no requirement to manually switch between modes. The only downside is smudges from fingerprints but that’s nothing that an eyeglass cleaning cloth can’t fix (#lifehack).
The display looks good. Blacks are very black and bright colors are vibrant and punchy. The display handles everyday use and video streaming well.
Security is important for any device, especially one that’s made to go wherever you go. To my surprise, Swift 5 has a fingerprint scanner which allows for biometric security options – good thing, but the execution took some getting use to. The Windows Hello Fingerprint Reader is a small rectangular box positioned just under the right side of the keyboard and the surface area for the sensor isn’t large enough for your whole fingertip. Consequently, using it felt awkward. I debated about which finger to use as there wasn’t a position that felt natural and intuitive. In the end, I set it up with my middle finger on my right hand because the range of motion worked well with how hard I had to press for it to read my fingerprint and it worked out alright.
Ecosystems matter and I love that due to its software (Windows) the Swift 5 system is open! The laptop syncs to Android phones, One Drive and offers online voice recognition. Swift 5 also has a plethora of mail clients at the ready including outlook, Exchange, google, yahoo, iCloud , POP/IMAP.
Swift 5 is Bluetooth enabled and has a variety of ports including one USB-C, one USB-A 3.1, one USB-A 2.0, one HDMI as well as a beloved and very basic headphone jack (thank you). Notifications are slick too. I appreciate that hovering over the battery icon tells you percentage AND the amount of work time that power is likely to give you for example, 1 hr 47 minutes (42% remaining). Speaking of battery life, Acer boasts up to 12 hours in a single charge. The longest I went was about six hours of work and multitasking with intermittent tasks later in the day and I made it through. You’ll definitely have to charge daily but that’s on par with other laptops in this range.
The knock on Microsoft devices has always been the lack and quality of apps available. I’m happy to report that all of the following in demand apps come preloaded on the device:
When it comes to many things like social media, email correspondence and even writing this review, I’m a mobile first user – meaning, I prefer using my mobile phone over a laptop to complete certain tasks. I believe this comes down to two things: portability and touch. Having both of those features on the Swift 5 makes it an ideal choice for this working mom of two who often finds herself working from home, the office and hotel lobbies.
For technical specifications and pricing, visit: acer.com.
March 16, 2020