Acer Swift 1 (SF113-31-P5CK) Laptop Review
This Acer laptop is a good starter option for students
The Acer Swift 1 (available at Walmart for $327.99) is a great laptop for students on a tight budget. Not only is it travel friendly—weighing just under three pounds—it also offers a wide range of connectivity options, so you won't have to worry about dongles. The design is really sleek and businesslike, too. With its all-metal body and minimalist aesthetic, this machine looks and feels more expensive than it actually is.
Unfortunately, while it's travel-friendly and easy on the eyes, the Swift is actually pretty sluggish. If you're a heavy multitasker, this might be a deal breaker. The processor isn't capable of handling anything beyond checking e-mails or surfing the web. Limited storage space is another issue, so you'll want to avoid downloading too many apps or games. Aside from a couple of drawbacks, we feel as though it's still worth considering.
About the Acer Swift 1
The Swift 1 comes in a couple of different configurations. The $379.99 model has a 14-inch display, an Intel Pentium N3710 CPU, and 64GB of flash storage. The most expensive model ($399) features a 13.3-inch full HD display, an Intel Pentium N4200 CPU, and 128GB of flash storage. We're reviewing the entry-level model, which retails for $359. Our loan unit is equipped with an Intel Pentium N4200 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB eMMC. You can check out the specs in full detail below:
CPU: Intel Pentium N4200 quad core processor
GPU: Intel HD 505 graphics
Display: 13.3-inch (1920 x 1080) LED backlit display
Memory: 4GB RAM
Storage: 64GB eMMC
So, 64GB eMMC isn't a ton of storage. If you really need additional storage, we'd recommend either buying an SD card or opting for the $399 model. It's $50 more than the base model, but it comes with 128GB of flash storage. Plus, the rose-gold color scheme is unique and really eye-catching.
What We Like
The all-metal design is sleek and gorgeous
The Swift, with its silver shell and thin profile, looks (and feels) more expensive than it actually is. Personally, I dig the minimalist aesthetic, as I believe less is more. This svelte laptop actually takes a lot of design cues from the Apple MacBook Air. So, if you like that simple but sleek look, then you'll probably love this laptop. The build quality is surprisingly good as well.
The all-metal body felt strong in my hands. When I applied pressure to the corners of the screen, I didn't notice any flex or creaking in the aluminum chassis. This budget notebook can definitely handle the daily abuses of life, especially if you're going to be tossing it in your bag. Just don't go throwing it off of a bridge or anything.
You're getting a wide selection of ports
Despite the Swift's lightweight frame, you're getting a wide array of connectivity options, including those soon-to-be extinct USB Type-A ports and an SD card slot (for uploading images). This eliminates the need for dongles. On the right side of the machine, you'll find a full-sized HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB-C port, and a headphone jack. The left side features one USB 2.0 port, a key lock, and an SD card slot.
The display is sharp and bright
The 1080p display is vibrant and fine details are crisp. When I watched the latest trailer for The Last Jedi, I could really see the the metal ligaments and plates that make up Luke Skywalker's robotic hand. The matte screen makes it easy to view from different angles as well. When I leaned pretty far to one side, I could still make out the actors even during the darkest scenes.
What We Didn't Like
Performance is sluggish
The Swift's Pentium N4200 CPU is pretty slow. If you're a heavy multitasker like me, this might be a deal breaker. My day-to-day tasks include jumping in and out of various articles, chatting with coworkers on Slack, and sending e-mails. It gets the job done, but it's not as snappy as newer machines. The laptop struggled some with a Netflix documentary, too. Sad face.
If you're not married to Windows OS, we'd recommend opting for the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA, which is our best overall Chromebook. In addition to the powerful CPU (Intel Core m3-6Y30), a step-up from the usual Chromebook fare, it looks identical to the Swift. It's about $200 more, but processor can handle up to fifteen open tabs at once.
It's short on storage
The Swift didn't have enough space for all the benchmark software. So, when I finished one test, I had to uninstall it in order to make room for another. Honestly? It was a super annoying process. You're not going to want to load this laptop up with apps and demanding games, that's for sure. If you really need the extra storage, we'd suggest buying an SD card for those large data files.
Should You Buy It?
Maybe, but not if you're a heavy multitasker
The Swift is a good bargain for the budget-conscious consumer, especially if you're a college student. This laptop is both light enough to take with you to class and stylish enough to spark conversation. Between the businesslike design and full HD display, this machine really passes for a premium product. While it looks great and can handle basic tasks like writing papers or watching YouTube videos, it gets bogged down pretty easily.
If you're a heavy multitasker, this might be a deal breaker. The Swift's CPU isn't powerful enough for anything besides light use. Do you operate in a sea of open tabs? If so, this notebook might not be the best option. You may want to avoid downloading too many apps as well, as storage space is really limited. If you really need the extra storage, we'd recommend upgrading to the $399 model with 128GB of flash storage. Drawbacks aside, we still think the Swift is worth considering.
It really boils down to how you plan on using the laptop and what your priorities are. Does an eye-catching design matter more than zippy performance? If so, then the Swift is the right choice. If anything, the build quality and full HD display are a good value for the price. It's rare to find that combination in a laptop at this price point.
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