This article shares my impressions of the Acer Swift Edge series, the (barely)
lightest 16-inch laptop currently available on the market.
This is a premium-tier daily-use computer aiming at the market share of devices such as the
LG Gram 16 or the MSI Prestige 15/16. It’s about as thin and as compact as it can get for a 16-inch device and a little lighter than the competition, mainly because Acer implemented a featherlight magnesium-aluminum chassis here and a minimalistic hardware configuration with a minimal thermal module, but also only a 54Wh battery.
This aspect must be considered in your final decision, but thankfully is not a deal-breaker, thanks to the efficient AMD Ryzen 6000 hardware inside. Our unit is the Ryzen 5 6600U configuration, but this laptop is also available with
Ryzen 7 6800U specs, and we’ll discuss both variants in the article.
The other main selling point of this series is the beautiful high-resolution 4K OLED display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, excellent for daily use and work activities that require a high-gamut panel. It’s glossy, though, like all OLED laptop screens, so not ideal for outdoor or bright-light use.
We’ll get in-depth on all the important aspects that you need to be aware of before buying one of these Acer Swift Edge laptops down below.
Specs as previewed– Acer Swift Edge
Acer Swift Edge SFA16-41
Screen 16.0 inch, OLED, glossy non-touch
16:10 format, 3840 x 2400 px resolution, 60 Hz refresh
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 6600U, 6 core, 12 thread (up to 4.5 GHz Turbo),
Ryzen 7 6800U 8C/16T configuration also available
Video Integrated Radeon 660M Graphics
Memory 8 GB LPDDR5-6400 (soldered), up to 16 GB
Storage 1 TB, 2x 512 GB M.2 SSDs (Micron 3400) – 2x M.2 2280 slots
Connectivity Mediatek Wifi 6 with Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (with DP and Powder Delivery), HDMI 2.1 (??), headphone/mic jack, Noble Lock
Battery 54 Wh, 65W charger
Size 356 mm or 14” (w) x 251 mm or 9.5” (d) x 13.9 mm or .55” (h)
Weight 1.18 kg (2.6 lbs) + .26 kg (.57 lbs) for the charger, EU version
Extras white lit keyboard without NumPad, FHD camera, fingerprint reader in the power button, bottom-firing stereo speakers, available in two colors – light blue and dark gray
As mentioned, you can get this in multiple hardware configurations, with up to a Ryzen 7 6800U processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 1 TB of SSD storage. There’s no 32 GB configuration at the time of this article.
Design and ergonomics
This Swift Edge is a 16-inch laptop and yet is lighter than a
regular ultrabook or a MacBook Air, and under 1.2 kilos / 2.6 lbs. Sure, Acer cut a few corners in order to get it this lightweight, but thankfully the overall build quality and sturdiness are not among them.
The laptop is made from magnesium-aluminum alloys, the kind Acer and other brands have used on their lightest devices in the past. The entire case has a smooth matte texture that feels nice to the touch and offers good grip. It’s also highly resistant to smudges and fingerprints in this light-blue color variant that we have here – there’s also a darker gray model, if interested, but I feel this blue one is the winner.
Unlike past magnesium Acer designs, this one doesn’t creak or squeak in any noticeable way. I could pick it up from the corner and press on the screen without impacting the panel, but the main chassis does flex, especially when pressing on the area at the top of the keyboard, just under the screen. You’re not going to press on that part with everyday use, though, so it’s not that relevant.
The design is minimalist, with subtle branding and no lights in the line of sight, as the status LEDs have been moved to the side. The interior might feel a little weird with the keyboard centered in the middle and all the unused space on the sides – other OEMs put speaker grills for up-firing speakers here, but Acer still placed the speakers on the bottom and didn’t put much effort into making them better than on their regular Swift models.
There are some grills at the top of the keyboard, but those are for ventilation purposes. The thermal module draws fresh air through these grills and through the bottom, and then pushes the hot air out through the radiator placed just under the screen. So yes, the hot air goes into the screen, but since Acer tweaked the laptop not to run very hot, panel temperatures are not a concern. We’ll discuss these further down.
As far as practicality goes, the laptop is fairly stable on the desk despite having some small rubber feet, is comfortable to use every day, and easy to open up. The screen can be pushed up and adjusted with a single hand, and doesn’t wobble in place, but at the same time, it only leans back to about 140 degrees and not all the way back flat, as I would want on a portable laptop.
This is also compact for a 16-inch design, and has a thin-profile chassis, making it well-suited to grab along to work and school. Corroborated with slightly dulled edges and corners, this chassis is comfortable on your wrists.
The IO is lined around the edges and includes most of the needed ports, with two USB-Cs on the left side, both supporting DP and power delivery, alongside a USB-A and a full-size HDMI port. There’s an extra USB-A, a headphone jack, and a Noble Lock on the right side, as well as the status LEDs. The only thing missing is a card reader, and perhaps having those USB-Cs spread on either side for convenience when having this plugged in, but overall Acer offer a good set of ports here on such a slim product.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard on this Swift Edge is a standard Acer layout, without a NumPad section and centered on the chassis.
It’s a short-stroke design with somewhat shallow feedback, the kind you should expect on an ultraportable computer. It types well if you’re used to this sort of implementation, and all the keys are properly spaced and in the right place.
The keys are backlit, with two levels of white brightness to choose between. However, as with most Acer keyboards, you’ll have to hit a key in order to light up the keys once they time out – most modern implementations are able to light up the keys with a swipe over the clickpad, but not this Swift.
The clickpad is a spacious glass surface centered on the chassis, under the keyboard. It tracks well and handles taps and gestures as expected. The physical clicks in the corners are a bit clunky, but usable.
For biometrics, there’s a finger sensor integrated into the power button, which is the top-right key. There’s no IR camera.
Acer put a beautiful high-resolution display on this Swift Edge, a 16-inch 16:10 OLED panel with 3480 x 2400 px resolution.
This is simply stunning to look at, with punchy colors, deep blacks, and perfect contrast. You’ll find this excellent for both everyday use and for color-sensitive work, where the 100% DCI-P3 color coverage comes in handy.
At the same time, this is not necessarily made for bright light use, as it tops at about 400 nits of brightness and is a glossy reflective surface. It also doesn’t support touch and it doesn’t include a digitizer, which might be an issue for some, but at the same time allows for much sharper image quality, without the graininess and fringing noticeable around texts on the touch-enabled OLED panels. Hence, this is one of the better OLED laptops that you can use for text editing or programming or anything that has to do with text content on a bright background.
Here’s what we got in our tests,
with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
Panel HardwareID: Samsung SDC416B (ATNA60YV05-0);
Coverage: 100% sRGB, 96.9% Adobe RGB, 99.6% DCI-P3;
Type: 10-bit with HDR400;
Measured gamma: 2.09;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 399.54 cd/m2 on power;
Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 11.52 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: infinite;
White point: 6200 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.0 cd/m2;
The panel is well calibrated out of the box, but the Gamma and White Point could be further improved on our unit. That aside, you don’t have to concern yourself with light bleeding and uniformity issues. Both the luminosity and the colors are within excellent limits here.
One thing to note is that this OLED doesn’t get as dim as others on the lowest-brightness setting, something to consider if you’re using your computer at night in a pitch-dark room.
At the same time, you should be aware of the particularities and the potential quirks (black crush, flickering, burning) of using an OLED panel on a laptop, so make sure to understand and accept them, just to prevent any unwanted surprises longer term.
Hardware and performance
This unit is the mid-specced configuration of the 2022 Acer Swift Edge, code name SFA16-41, with an AMD Ryzen 5 6600U processor and Radeon 660M graphics, 8 GB of LPDDR5-6400 memory, and a fast 1 TB gen4 SSD.
Disclaimer: It was provided by Acer for this article. We tested it with the early software available as of early-October 2022 (BIOS 104), but some aspects might still change with future software updates, so I’ll publish all my results once the software matures.
Spec-wise, this is based on the lower-power 2022 AMD Rembrandt 6000 Ryzen hardware platform, with the Ryzen 5 6600 6Core/12Thread processor on this configuration. This is also a thin-and-light ultraportable implementation and supplies the processor with 18-30W of power between the various loads, thus it might not be as fast as thicker designs with higher power settings.
Graphics are handled by the integrated Radeon 660M chip, an RDNA2 design with 6 Graphics Cores and frequencies of up to 1.9 GHz.
In comparison, the higher specced variant of this laptop comes with a Ryzen 7 6800U 8C/16T processor with
significantly more capable Radeon 680M graphics, with 12 Cores and frequencies up to 2.1 GHz. We’ll discuss the differences between the two configurations down below.
That aside, our configuration also comes with 8 GB of LPDDR5-6400 memory, in dual-channel. The memory is onboard and non-upgradeable, and you can get up to 16 GB of RAM on the Ryzen 7 model.
For storage, Acer opted for two PCIe gen4 Micron 3400 drives here, which performed well in our tests. They’re both a standard-sized M.2 2280 format, so can be upgraded if needed.
It is possible to open up this device to get to the internals, and it’s a fairly simple process, requiring removing the back panel held in place by a handful of Torx screws. Careful when you pull out the back panel, it’s made from a very thin piece of magnesium alloys and you should treat it with the utmost care. The wifi module and the SSDs are upgradeable, but Acer placed one of the SSDs underneath a connector ribbon and you’ll have to unslot it in order to get to that M.2 drive – the other is easily accessible next to the CPU.
As far as the software goes, this is a standard Acer setup with a fair bit of bloatware that I’d recommend getting rid of. There’s no control over the power profiles other than what’s offered by Windows 11, so I used Best Performance when using the laptop plugged-in, and Best Power Efficiency when having it unplugged.
Here’s what to expect in terms of speeds and temperatures with daily multitasking and light use. The fan is always active even with the lightest of activities, but it’s completely inaudible with light use, even in a silent room, and will only ramp up with heavier multitasking.
Performance and benchmarks
This unit is an early sample with early software, since the laptop is not yet available in stores at the time of this article, so I’m not convinced it works entirely as the retail models will. That’s why, for now, we’re going to get in-depth on all our detailed benchmarks and performance findings, as per out agreement with Acer when they accept to share these units with us.
I will share a few details, though, and hopefully, I will be able to update the article to the full results in the near future.
The Ryzen processor peaks at around 30W of power for short loads, but stabilizes at around 18-20W in sustained tasks, both CPU-only tests such as Cinebench, as well as combined workloads and games. This means the performance of the Ryzen chips is about on par with ultraportable designs such as the
ZenBook S 13 reviewed here.
However, the fan only ramps up to about 35 dBA on this sample with the current software, and this setting might be changed for the retail units and it might allow for improved performance if the fan is pushed towards 40 dBA. Keep that in mind when looking at the results below. Placing the laptop on a raiser stand in order to facilitate the airflow of fresh air into the fan also helps the performance a little bit, allowing for 10-15% higher sustained power settings.
Here’s a brief peak of the Cinebench R15 loop test performance, vs. a few other platforms implemented in ultraportable notebooks.
And a few benchmark results for this Ryzen 5 6600U + Radeon 660M configuration:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike – on desk: 3601 (Graphics – 3924, Physics – 14545, Combined – 1312);
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike – on stand: 4006 (Graphics – 4481, Physics – 16764, Combined – 1365);
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 2943 cb, CPU Single Core 548 CB;
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 11m 34s;
The limitations are a result of Acer aiming to keep the hardware within middling temperature limits, around 80-85 degrees Celsius in Cinebench and 70-75 C in combined loads and games. These are corroborated with the low fan speed settings mentioned earlier.
Now, perhaps you were expecting better for a 16-inch chassis, but I think these early findings are right, given the thinness of this chassis and the minimal thermal design with a single fan, heatpipe, and radiator.
It’s also worth noting that the cooling design blows hot air into the screen, due to the radiator being positioned just under the screen, but the plastic bezel soaks up most of the heat and the panel rarely goes over temperatures in the mid-30s Celsius, so no worries about it. The fan keeps quiet, at 35 dBA with Cinebench or games.
With daily use, the fan rests mostly idle, and the laptop is passively cooled. I haven’t noticed coil whine or electronic noises on my unit, but that’s not a guarantee you won’t on yours.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Normal Mode, fan idle
*Gaming – High mode – playing Withcer 3 for 30 minutes, fan at 35+ dB
For connectivity, there’s WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 through a Mediatek module on this laptop. It performed well with our setup and the signal and performance remained strong at 30 feet, with obstacles in between.
Audio is handled by a set of stereo speakers that fire through grills placed on the underside, which means they can be easily muffled while using the laptop on the lap.
The audio quality isn’t much, with volumes of around 76-78 dBA and head level and little details in the lows. They also push vibrations into the chassis at volumes over 70%, so expect to use them at 50-70% tops. There’s plenty of room inside this chassis for some better speakers, but Acer didn’t fully take advantage of that space here, and implemented the same kind of mediocre speakers they’re offering with most of their other Swift laptops.
The camera, on the other hand, is a FHD 2 MPx shooter, better than the average laptop shooter. It’s placed at the top of the screen, where it makes the most sense, and is flanked by OK microphones. It doesn’t have IR functionality.
There’s only a 54 Wh battery inside this Acer Swift Edge, a small capacity for a 16-inch laptop.
Here’s what we got in terms of battery life, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness).
9 W (~5-6+ h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Best Efficiency Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
7 W (7+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Best Efficiency Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
6 W (8+ h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Best Efficiency Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
12 W (~4-5 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
These are some good runtimes given the 4K screen and the smaller battery, but could have been stellar if Acer haven’t chased this “lightest 16-inch laptop” title and put an 80Wh battery inside, as the competition does on their units.
The laptop comes with a compact and lightweight 65W charger that plugs in via USB-C. It’s a dual-piece design with long cables. A full recharge takes about 1.5 hours.
Price and availability- Acer Swift Edge
The Acer Swift Edge is not widely available in stores at the time of this article.
The Ryzen 7 6800U / 16 GB RAM / 1 TB SSD configuration is listed on Acer’s website and at Costco in the US at $1499, and the same should be available for £1499 in the UK and 1499 EUR in most European countries.
The Ryzen 5 6600U model will sell for less, but Acer might only offer it with 8 GB of RAM, which paired with the significant difference in GPU performance between the Radeon 660M and 680M chips, makes the Ryzen 7 variant the obvious choice between the two, unless that price difference is significant and you’re shopping on a budget.
We’ll update once we know more, and in the meantime,
follow this link for updated prices and configurations in your region.
Final thoughts- Acer Swift Edge
This Acer Swift Edge is an interesting option meant for those of you looking for a lightweight ultrabook with a full-size display.
That means it’s not as powerful and competent in demanding loads as most other full-size laptops, but compensates by being thinner and significantly lighter. Thus, it’s made for daily activities and multitasking, where the AMD Ryzen 6000 hardware specs are more than capable of delivering a balanced use experience. The beautiful OLED display, the alright inputs, and the good IO add up to the versatility of this whole package.
On the other hand, Acer could have made this better if they weren’t focusing on making it the lightest 16-inch laptop available in stores. The build quality is fine, no real complaints there, but they only implemented a basic thermal module, a mid-sized battery, and mediocre speakers. There’s plenty of room inside for a dual-fan dual-heatpipe thermal module that would have offered 30+W of sustained performance, allowing the AMD platform to truly show its abilities here. There’s also room for better speakers or/and a bigger battery.
Sure, those would have added 100-200 grams to the overall weight, but would have also made this laptop an unbeatable offer in its class. As it is, it’s fine for daily use, but not necessarily a best-buy for everyone looking for a lightweight full-size laptop. The
LG Gram 16 with its snappier Intel processor and the larger battery is an alternative worth considering, especially as it’s also more affordable these days. It’s no match in GPU capabilities, though.
Furthermore, if you’re OK with a heavier laptop around 2 kilos, there are multiple other laptops with extra features and significantly faster performance to consider instead. But the extra difference in weight is also significant.
That wraps up my time with this Acer Swift Edge series, and hopefully, I’ll get to finish up and update the benchmarks on a finalized product in the near future. In the meantime, let me know in the comments section what you think about this combo and Acer’s decisions here.
Our content is reader-supported. If you buy through some of the links on our site, we may earn a commission.