Acer Swift X 16 Review: Excellent Performance and Display Held Back by Meh Design

We love the 16-inch OLED panel and strong CPU and GPU performance, but the rest of the Swift X 16 package is pedestrian. And it's battery life doesn't help, either.

Updated Oct. 27, 2023 4:00 a.m. PT

Written by  Matt Elliott
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Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
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Acer Swift X 16 SFX16-61G
7.7/10 CNET Score
$1,600 at Acer
7.7/ 10

Acer Swift X 16 SFX16-61G

$1,600 at Acer


  • Strong application and graphics performance
  • Roomy 16-inch, 120Hz OLED display


  • Drab design
  • Abysmal battery life
  • Poor audio output

Designers and creators may balk at the uninspired looks of the Acer Swift X 16, but hiding beneath its plain exterior is a laptop well-equipped for content creation. For starters, its OLED panel offers excellent color performance and stellar contrast. Plus, the 3.2K-resolution 16-inch screen is a large canvas, and its 120Hz refresh rate keeps videos looking smooth. And under the hood is a formidable CPU/GPU duo for ample power to run intensive graphics apps.

Unfortunately, the Swift X 16's AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU do the battery life no favors. Normally, a 16-inch laptop isn't the first choice for regular travel or daily commutes, but its comparatively short runtime means you'll regularly be hunting for power outlets. The smaller Swift X 14 is the better option for wandering creators because of its size and battery performance. And for something in between that provides a big display backed by plenty of power and all-day battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra sits in the sweet spot and remains our content creation laptop recommendation.

Configuration as tested

Price as reviewed $1,600
Display size/resolution 16-inch 3,200 x 2,000 120Hz OLED display
CPU 4GHz AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS w/ Radeon Graphics
Memory 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz RAM
Graphics 6GB Nvidia RTX 4050 graphics
Storage 1TB SSD
Networking IEEE 802.11ax Gigabit Ethernet Bluetooth 5.1
Operating system Windows Home 22H2

Acer sells two models of the Swift X 16. The baseline model costs $1,250 and features a 16-inch LCD display powered by a Ryzen 7 CPU and older RTX 3050 graphics. Our $1,600 test system (model SFX16-61G) features a higher-resolution 3,200x2,000-pixel OLED display along with a higher-powered Ryzen 9 processor and the latest RTX 4050 graphics. The lower-end model is available for £1,299 in the UK while the higher-end model we tested is listed on Acer's UK site but is not yet available. We found a Swift X 16 product page on Acer's Australian site, but it's not currently available for purchase.

With a Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU that has eight physical cores, 16 processing threads and a base clock of a blazing 4GHz and a maximum of 5.2GHz along with a GeForce RTX 4050 GPU with 6GB of dedicated video RAM, our Swift X 16 is a powerhouse for content creation. And the entry-level RTX 4050 dGPU also provides some gaming capability.

Acer Swift X 16 all-metal body on a green table covering
Matt Elliott/CNET

The Swift X 16 competed well with Intel-based content creation laptops on our lab tests, earning top marks on PCMark 10 and JetStream 2 application benchmarks. It was less successful on Geekbench 6, but the results were all tightly grouped with the competition on that test. 

On our graphics tests, it finished second only to the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7630 on Cinebench, but the Dell has the advantage of using RTX 4060 graphics, a step above what's in the Swift X 16 and the rest of the laptops you'll see in the charts below. The Swift X 16 did well on our game tests, too, producing playable framerates at 1080p that will let you make use of the 120Hz display. It averaged 117 frames per second on our Guardians of the Galaxy test and 119 fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which was actually a few frames per second faster than the Dell.

The flip side of getting a large, high-res OLED display and high-powered components is what this combination does to battery life: It's not good. The Swift X 16 couldn't last even five hours on our battery drain test, a decidedly poor result. You might eke out a slightly longer runtime with some power management (and if you aren't constantly streaming a YouTube video). But even then, the Swift X 16 won't let you stray too far from a wall outlet.


For many laptops, dismal battery life is a deal breaker. For the Swift X 16, it's definitely a demerit, but doesn't kill the deal. The reason the Swift X 16 merits consideration despite its short runtime is because it offers the two ingredients most important to content creators: an awesome OLED display and strong, RTX-backed performance. 

Recently, I reviewed 16-inch content creation laptops with one or the other. For example, the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7630 is a strong performer with a Core i7 H-series CPU and RTX 4060 graphics but features an average LCD display. And Acer's own Swift Go 16 supplies the same, high-resolution OLED display as the Swift X 16 but is saddled with integrated Intel graphics. Our $1,600 Swift X 16 test system costs $300 more than the Inspiron 16 Plus and $400 more than the Swift Go 16, but it's money well spent for graphics pros who need the display quality and graphics performance for work.

I've covered the Swift X 16's strong overall performance (and you can see its benchmark results in the performance charts below). The 16-inch OLED display is big, sharp and fast. OLED panels in general have fantastic contrast with bright whites and absolute black levels. And color performance is excellent. But to confirm things, I used a Spyder X Elite colorimeter to test its color range, and the Swift X 16 showed excellent coverage: it hit 100% of both sRGB and DCI-P3 and 98% of AdobeRGB.

16-inch OLED display on the Acer Swift X 16 laptop
Matt Elliott/CNET

The panel is rated for 500 nits of brightness but measured below that on the Spyder X brightness test. It reached a maximum of 390 nits and climbed only to 399 nits with HDR enabled. The display is bright enough for indoor use under artificial light, but you may struggle if you plan on using it outdoors. Whether at my desk in my home office next to a north-facing window or sitting at a sunny breakfast table in my kitchen next to south-facing windows, I had the display brightness set to around 70% for most of my time with the laptop. It's definitely not a dim display -- it's just not as bright as its rating. A bigger barrier than display brightness to using the Swift X 16 outdoors will be the battery life, especially if you need to crank the brightness to do it.

The 1080p webcam produces crisp, well-balanced images but lacks both a physical privacy shutter and an IR sensor that would allow for facial recognition logins. All is not lost, however, on the biometric front: a fingerprint sensor is built into the power button.

The Swift X 16 is better for content creation than content consumption. Many 16-inch laptops feature four speakers for fuller sound, but the Swift X 16 has just the standard stereo set and produces underwhelming audio. The sound is tinny with little to no bass, which is a disappointment on such a large laptop at this price.

Keyboard and number pad of the Acer Swift X 16 laptop
Matt Elliott/CNET

The rest of the Swift X 16 package is undeniably ordinary. The all-metal chassis is fairly rigid but otherwise average, offering no interesting design flourishes. The laptop weighs 4.3 pounds, which is average for a 16-inch model. If you are willing to ditch the RTX graphics, Acer's own Swift Go 16 not only costs less but is lighter at 3.6 pounds. And the Swift Edge 16 weighs just 2.6 pounds.

The keyboard felt comfortable, but I question the inclusion of a number pad. With RTX graphics, the laptop is overkill for data entry. I'd prefer to ditch the numpad and have the keyboard centered below the display. The touchpad is generously proportioned and felt accurate with a firm click response that had just a bit too much travel to my liking.

Ports on the left side of the Acer Swift X 16 laptop
Matt Elliott/CNET

The port selection has no glaring omissions. You get a pair of Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, a pair of USB Type-A ports, an HDMI out, a headphone jack and a microSD card slot. The power connector is located in the middle of the left edge instead of the more common and useful spot near the rear of the laptop. This placement means you might find yourself fighting the power cord in certain situations, depending on where the nearest outlet is located.

The Acer Swift X 16 hits the mark by giving creators a roomy OLED display backed by a powerful CPU/GPU combo. Without those two items, it's difficult to recommend a laptop to design professionals and enthusiasts. That said, it's difficult to recommend the Swift X 16 over the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra because Samsung's model not only provides a fantastic OLED display and a strong CPU/GPU pair, but it also boasts a sleeker design and much better battery life.

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How we test computers

The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device's aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both objective and subjective judgments. 

The list of benchmarking software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important core tests we're currently running on every compatible computer include: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

A more detailed description of each benchmark and how we use it can be found in our How We Test Computers page. 

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Geekbench 6 (multicore)

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7630 13,250Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra 12,717Acer Swift X 14 12,628Acer Swift X 16 12,473MSI Cyborg 15 A13VE 11,871
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

PCMark 10 Pro Edition

Acer Swift X 16 7,645Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra 7,545Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7630 7,071Acer Swift X 14 6,888MSI Cyborg 15 A13VE 6,541
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R23 (multicore)

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7630 17,167Acer Swift X 16 16,689Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra 15,965Acer Swift X 14 14,760MSI Cyborg 15 A13VE 13,673
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

JetStream2 (JavaScript and WebAssembly benchmark) in Chrome

Acer Swift X 16 319.268MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2023) 303.318Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7630 289.113MSI Cyborg 15 A13VE 275.556Acer Swift X 14 266.062Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra 256.561
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Guardians of the Galaxy (High @1920 x 1080)

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7630 144Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra 131Acer Swift X 14 127Acer Swift X 16 117MSI Cyborg 15 A13VE 100
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Highest @ 1920 x 1080)

Acer Swift X 16 SFX16-61G 119Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7630 109Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra 105Acer Swift X 14 87MSI Cyborg 15 A13VE 75
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Online streaming battery drain test

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2023) 1,474Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra 634Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7630 608Acer Swift X 14 446MSI Cyborg 15 A13VE 310Acer Swift X 16 267
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

System configurations

Acer Swift X 16 SFX16-61G Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 4GHz AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz RAM; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050; 1TB SSD
MSI Cyborg 15 A13VE Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-13620H; 16GB DDR5 5,600MHz RAM; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050; 512GB SSD
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7630 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-13700H; 16GB DDR5 4,800MHz RAM; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060; 1TB SSD
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-13700H 16GB DDR5 6,000MHz RAM; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050; 1TB SSD
Acer Swift X 14 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.4GHz Intel Core i713700H; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz RAM; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050; 1TB SSD
MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2023) Apple MacOS Ventura 13.2; Apple M2 Pro (12 CPU cores, 19 GPU cores); 32GB LPDDR5 RAM; 1TB SSD