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Acer Swift 7 (2018) review: The 'world's thinnest laptop' is surprisingly packed with extras

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The Good Despite being just 8.98mm thick, there's room for a 14-inch touchscreen, backlit keyboard, big touchpad and even a fingerprint reader.

The Bad Slower CPU than much of the premium ultraportable competition. The touchpad is fixed, so no physical clicking. There's a limited number of ports.

The Bottom Line Adding a bigger screen to a thinner body makes the Acer Swift 7 feel like the rare high-design ultraportable you can really use all day long.

8.4 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Battery 8

Pulling out the Acer Swift 7 is like doing a great party trick at a bar. Do you want to see just how thin a laptop can get? Everyone nods and you reveal the 8.98mm-thick (at these sizes, you really do have to split hairs) laptop, which looks even more impressive because of the big 14-inch screen. The crowd oohs and ahhs, and everyone walks off, nodding their heads in appreciation.

But, as my colleague Lori Grunin has pointed out on multiple occasions, a super-lightweight laptop beats a super-thin laptop any day of the week. Here, the Swift 7 is merely average, at 2.6 pounds, a bit heavier than the 2.4-pound HP Spectre, which may be its closest direct competitor in design. That 13-inch laptop is 10.4mm thick, and even though it's only a hair over a 1mm in difference, you can still easily tell when stacking them side by side.


The 10.4mm HP Spectre on the left, and the 8.98mm Acer Swift 7 on the right. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

That's great and all, but being the thinnest laptop in town isn't enough to keep my interest after that initial first impression. What's more impressive is that I actually loved using the Swift 7 as my main all-day, every-day laptop for most of the past two weeks.

It manages to include a bright 14-inch full-HD display, and one that's also a touchscreen -- which isn't always a given in the thinnest laptops. The backlit keyboard is reasonably typable, still on the shallow side, but not as much so as a MacBook Pro. A large touchpad offers multi-touch gestures, including the all-important two-finger scroll, that are about as good as you can get on a Windows laptop. But beware: Because this laptop is so thin, the touchpad is just that -- a pad. It doesn't click down, so everything is done through tapping.

As one might expect, it's not for the budget-conscious shopper, at $1,699 or £1,499 in the UK. This model isn't available in Australia yet, but the UK price converts to around AU$2,600.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Acer Swift 7 (SF714-51T)

Price as reviewed $1,699
Display size/resolution 14-inch 1,920x1,080-pixel touch display
PC CPU 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-7Y75
PC Memory 8GB DDR3 SDRAM, 1,866MHz
Graphics 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 615
Storage 256GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.TK
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

That super thin HP Spectre I mentioned before frankly beats the Swift 7 in several categories. The overall design is nicer, with a unique white-and-gold color scheme and cool little visual touches everywhere, from the speaker grille to the power button. It's also faster, with a mainstream U-series eighth-gen Core i7 CPU, versus the older seventh-gen Y-series version here. One further point to the Spectre -- its webcam is above the display, while the Swift 7 goes for the infamous up-the-nose webcam below the screen.

But the Swift 7 won me over with its larger screen, silent, fanless operation and 180-degree lie-flat hinge. It's also got 4G LTE support, should you want to shell out a little extra each month to avoid tethering to your phone.

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