First Impressions: Acer Swift Go Review
The Acer Swift Go is a mid-range laptop with top-notch specs. It’s packing both an OLED screen and 13th Gen Intel Core processor, setting it up to rival the MacBook Air despite a significantly cheaper price.
- OLED screen:Available with both a 14-inch and 16-inch OLED display to deliver fantastic contrast.
- 120Hz refresh rateThe 120Hz refresh rate should enable the laptop to display fast-moving objects with clear motion.
- 13th Gen Intel Core H-Series processor:Packs a high-performance Intel Core processor from the latest generation.
The Acer Swift Go is a mid-range laptop that laughs in the face of the notion that you have to pay a hefty sum for high-end features.
Despite being available for less than £1000, the Acer Swift Go is packed to the rafters with exciting features, such as an OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and 13th Generation Intel Core H-Series processor.
My favourite aspect of the Swift Go, however, is its simplified branding. Acer previously used numbers to signify where each laptop sat in the market, but the average person probably wouldn’t know what Acer Swift 3 or Acer Swift 5 meant when scrolling through the deals on Amazon and Currys.
By swapping the number 3 for ‘Go’, Acer has adopted the same language as manufacturers such as Microsoft and Samsung, and should hopefully make it significantly easier for customers to know which laptop is best for them.
I was given the opportunity to go hands-on with the Acer Swift Go. Here are my first impressions of the new laptop.
Price and availability
The Acer Swift Go will have a staggered launch across the globe. It will first arrive in Europe in February 2023, before coming to the USA in May, and the UK in June.
Acer has confirmed the starting price will be $899.99/£929/€999, which is surprisingly cheap considering the specs that it’s packing.
- Avaiable in 14-inch and 16-inch designs
- Packs a high-resolution OLED display
- Lightweight build
When I first approached the Acer Swift Go, I couldn’t help but to think how unremarkable it looked. It has a classic silver chassis, standard keyboard layout and a blank lid other than the tiny Acer logo located at the top.
If I had been browsing a laptop store, there’s a strong chance I would have walked straight past the Swift Go and not given it a second thought – but judging by the specs, that would have been a big mistake.
The Acer Swift Go sports an OLED display, allowing it to present wonderfully vivid imagery. This technology is usually reserved for portables at the upper end of the market, with even the MacBook Air lacking such high-end quality.
What’s more, its refresh rate can be hiked up to 120Hz, which is pretty rare for any non-gaming laptop. Such an upgrade is especially useful for gaming via the cloud, with buttery smooth motion when using cloud-streaming services such as GeForce Now.
Acer has also packed the screen with lots of pixels, resulting in a pleasingly high resolution. Opt for the 14-inch model and you get a 2.8K (2880×1800) resolution, while the 16-inch version boasts an even more impressive 3.2K (3200×2000) display. That’s admittedly shy of hitting 4K, but you can still expect incredibly detailed video from the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus.
Acer also claims the Swift Go covers 100% of the DCI-P3 colour range, which should no doubt please creative professionals, while the max brightness apparently comes in at 500 nits. I’ll need to test these figures myself in a full review, but they will be extremely impressive if accurate.
I was certainly impressed with the OLED panel in person, although was unable to spend enough time with it to say if it compares favourably to, say, a Dell XPS 13 OLED or Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED.
There’s no denying that the Acer Swift Go design has an unremarkable appearance, but it’s at least practical. The 14-inch model weighs just 1.3kg, while the 16-inch variation hits the scales at 1.4kg. Both laptops are ridiculously easy to pick up without strain, although the build quality of the aluminium chassis doesn’t feel as sturdy as a MacBook Air.
It has a superb range of ports, including Thunderbolt 4, USB-A, HDMI 2.1, MicroSD and a headphone jack. You even get Wi-Fi 6E here as the latest and greatest home network connectivity.
Specs and performance
- Features a 13th Generation Intel Core H-Series processor
- Acer claims a 9.5-hour battery life
- Suports up to 2TB of storage space
The Acer Swift Go packs a surprise, featuring a 13th Generation Intel Core processor. It’s no shock to see Acer making use of Intel’s latest generation, but I’m surprised to see the Swift Go powered by a H-Series chip, which is usually reserved for high-performance portables such as gaming laptops.
On paper, the Swift Go should be able to compete with processing power of some of the most powerful laptops on the market. In practice, I’m unconvinced that will be the case, as H-Series chips typically require elaborate cooling systems to prevent throttling.
Acer claims its upgraded dual-fan system, dual copper heat pipes and air-inlet keyboard can do just that, but I’m remaining sceptical until I can benchmark the laptop for a full review.
Another drawback of using a H-Series processor is the sacrifice you see to battery life. Companies tend to exaggerate the stamina of their laptops, and yet Acer suggests the Swift Go is only capable of lasting around 9.5 hours – I’d expect more from a productivity laptop at this price.
The Acer Swift Go also supports up to a 2TB SSD (PCIE Gen 4) and up to 16GB LPDDR5 memory. That’s all very impressive, although you’ll likely want to stick closer to the base specs in order to take advantage of the low starting price.
The Acer Swift Go may not look like an exciting laptop on the surface, but I’m very impressed that it’s packing an OLED display and high-performance processor at a very reasonable price.
I’m worried about potential throttling issues, considering the power of the processor and the laptop’s slender design, but I can’t be sure about this until I can start benchmarking the laptop. Either way, this is certainly a laptop to keep an eye on in 2023.