The Acer Swift Edge 16 is an important laptop. It’s the first on the market with AMD’s latest Zen-4-architecture-based Ryzen 7 7840U processor which features built-in A.I. processing.
Thus far, we’ve only seen demonstrations for unreleased Intel-based laptops that can do this. That comes down to the NPUs (Neural Processing Units) that appear in Intel’s forthcoming Core Ultra (codename: Meteor Lake) processors. Apple has also built its Neural Engine into its latest Macs, iPhones and iPads. But, AMD is first to market with A.I. technology built into an x86 processor which is the type used to operate (most) Windows laptops.
There aren’t too many killer apps for A.I. yet, but at the rate that generative A.I. has been advancing this year, they won’t be too far away. The Acer Swift Edge 16 might already have one (see below). Still, the new processor promises some impressive performance and we were particularly keen to see how it fared in an incredibly thin-and-light, high-spec laptop like this 16-incher.
Table of Contents
|Screen||16-inch, glossy, 120Hz, 3,200 x 2,000, OLED display|
|Processor||3.3-5.1GHz AMD Ryzen 7 7840U CPU|
|Memory||16GB LPDDR5 RAM|
|Graphics||Integrate Radeon 780M|
2 x USB-C 4
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
3.5mm audio jack
MicroSD card slot
|Extra Security||TPM module|
Windows Hello (fingerprint and webcam)
|Dimensions||358 x 256 x 15mm|
Features, Ergonomics and Design
The Acer Swift Edge 16 is a 16-inch black ultraportable laptop that weighs an impossibly light 1.24KG. It’s reminiscent of the disappointing Asus Expertbook B5 but it doesn’t have build-quality issues like a wobbly hinge – and it’s even lighter. The black chassis is very smart and does a good job of fending off fingerprints. The small Acer moniker on the lid isn’t brash and the whole laptop sports a sophisticated, understated cool.
Opening the Acer Swift Edge 16 up reveals the 16-inch, glossy OLED screen and a touch-type, Scrabble-tile keyboard with white backlighting. It’s very smart.
The screen has a UHD 3,200 x 2,000 resolution and, being an OLED, its colours are bright and vibrant and blacks are true black. It displays a crisp and clear Windows Desktop and [checks notes] is one of the very best screens we’ve ever seen on a laptop.
This is largely down to the Acer Swift Edge 16 supporting Windows’ HDR which, when activated, produces sublimely smooth, colourful and monochromatic transitions and outstanding contrast that reveals previously hidden details in bright and dark areas alike. The way in which bright lights seem to shine out of the screen, is exactly what makes content on OLED TVs feel so immersive. The only downside is the usual OLED problem of turning into a dark mirror during dark scenes.
It also has a fast 120Hz refresh rate (which can drop down to 60Hz when prolonging battery life). This, in conjunction with the fast pixel response time, keeps fast moving objects impressively sharp to the point where some FPS shooters would approve. Oh, and it also supports 100 per cent of the tricky DCI-P3 colour space to please Creators. Whatever you’re using it for, it’s excellent.
Above the screen is a UHD, 1440p webcam which is where the A.I. benefits start kicking in. We’re still not massive fans of the improved Eye Contact feature – which artificially makes it look like you’re focusing on a webconference when you’re not – but it functions in a way that looks a little less alien than in previous iterations.
However, the Automatic Framing feature which keeps you in the middle of the screen works well and the improved A.I.-enhanced background blur is significantly more accurate than what many of us have got used to on Teams and Zoom. It also does a good job of retaining a sharp image in low light.
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The A.I. also assists the twin-microphone array. We spoke softly while a background child was instructed to make a loud noise and it was almost entirely removed by the Acer Swift Edge 16, leaving very clear vocals. This might be a killer feature for some laptop buyers.
The (unspecified) twin speakers are also impressive. Despite the thin-and-light chassis they offer good fidelity from top to bottom and there’s even enough bass to round-out the sound – whether you’re webconferencing, watching a movie, or listening to music.
The keyboard is very comfortable and accurate to type upon thanks too its low-travel keys which have just the right amount of firmness. The two-stage white backlighting might not be the strongest, but it’s functional. There’s a thin number pad at one end and our only annoyance is having squished up-and-down arrow keys.
The trackpad is smooth and accurate but its buttons feel a little hollow and even slightly lopsided in that the right-hand side has a bit more travel and requires a bit more pressure to actuate. It’s no deal killer though.
All in all, the Acer Swift Edge 16 is a joy to interact with.
Our Acer Swift Edge 16 review features an M&M peanut butter egg bought while at Intel’s developer conference in San Jose.
AMD is keen to point out that the star of the show is the 3.3 – 5.1GHz Ryzen 7 7840U processor with its eight cores and 16 threads. It’s flanked by 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a (slightly small) speedy 512GB NVMe hard drive.
In the PCMark 10 benchmark, which apes general computer usage, the Acer Swift Edge 16 scored 6,860 which is well above average and very impressive for a thin-and-light ultraportable.
In the quick, Cinebench R15 CPU rendering test, it scored 2,016 which is slightly below average in the big wide world of laptops but good for an ultraportable. In the longer Cinebench R23 test it scored 12,517 which rates similarly.
3D Performance comes via the integrated Radeon 780M GPU. Unlike integrated Intel GPUs, it actually ran the difficult 3DMark ray-tracing tests. However, scores of 869 in Port Royal and 213 in Speed Way equate to frame rates of just 4fps and 2.1fps respectively so, yeah…
In the AAA-gaming-title-mimicking tests, Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme, the Acer Swift Edge 16 scored 2,365 (13.1fps) and 3,014 (13.6fps) respectively. These scores mean that you’ll have to dramatically drop the resolution and detail settings to make similar games playable, but it’s not totally without potential here.
Fortunately, in the lesser, 3DMark Night Raid test, the Acer Swift Edge 16 scored 24,341 which equates to 147.8fps which shows it can play casual and competitive games… and they’ll look great on the fast, 120Hz, HDR, OLED screen.
We were unable to run our CS:GO test as Valve has just updated the game to Counter-Strike 2. Doing so fixes the archaic coding which helpfully stressed the whole system when it came to benchmarking. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and look to potentially replace this test in the new year.
Cooling comes via two fans and a venting system which draws air through the keyboard. It generally does a good job of keeping the laptop cool but it can still get warm when under sustained load. The fans can regularly run with a low whoosh, but we were unable to adjust them at the time of testing. We’ll revisit this after talking to AMD. They’re not distracting though.
Inside there’s Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6E although some variants of the Acer Swift Edge 16 have promised to come with Wi-Fi 7. While 7 sounds better, we’re a long way from Wi-Fi 7 routers hitting the market and Wi-Fi 6E is still nascent. Ultimately, it’s a very good collection of ports and sockets.
The Acer Swift Edge 16 is just 15mm thick and only weighs 1.24KG. On top of that, it comes with a phone-like charger which adds just 182g to the mix. This makes it one of the lightest laptops we’ve tested which is extraordinary for a 16-incher.
Impressively, despite being lightweight, it feels very rigid and robust. The chassis is solid and the lid barely flexes when a twisting force is applied. The screen hinge (which almost folds down flat) is also strong and stops the big screen wobbling too much. We expect it to survive life on the road.
There’s a 54Wh battery inside and AMD assures us that it will last for 10 hours. We’re having to test it again because of unrelated issues, so we’ll update this asap.
Price and Availability
The Acer Swift Edge 16 is very new indeed and it’s not available for sale in Australia yet. You can buy an almost-identical spec in the UK for £1,300 and this suggests it will appear here for around $2,500. If so, it will be one of the best value laptops we’ve tested, but we’ll reserve judgement on that.
Alternatives to the Acer Swift Edge 16
Asus Expertbook B5 – It aims to be very similar but it’s got a poor hinge and poor webcam. It is actually available to buy at the present time, though.
HP Envy X360 – It’s smaller, cheaper and convertible with longer battery life. But, it’s not as powerful and the screen isn’t as good.
Asus Vivobook Pro 15 – A great, 15-inch Creator laptop with an OLED screen that costs relatively little.
Acer Swift Go 16 – Acer’s excellent 16-inch sibling isn’t as thin as the Edge, but it’s much cheaper.
Conclusion: Should you buy the Acer Swift Edge 16?
If you’re after a relatively powerful ultraportable there’s currently nothing better than the Acer Swift Edge 16. Its combination of power, ergonomics, features and portability are superb and we hope it lands on these shores sooner rather than later. It’s likely going to be our daily driver until AMD demands it back. In which case we’ll hide it.
The Acer Swift Edge 16 is likely to win a few more awards once we lock down its price and battery life. For now, it gets our Highly Recommended Award.
Trackpad buttons aren’t great
Hard to buy right now
Acer Swift Edge 16 Scores
The Acer Swift Edge 16 isn’t just ridiculously light for its size it’s powerful, has A.I. enhancements and excellent ergonomics which include a fast, HDR, OLED screen.