Product Reviews

Three new Tiger Lake-powered laptop models are coming from Acer

Enlarge / Left to right: Swift 3 14″ model, Swift 5 14″ model, Swift 3 13.5″ model. All three models feature Intel Tiger Lake CPUs, HD displays, and promise long battery life.

Acer is launching three new laptop models in coordination with today’s Intel Tiger Lake CPU launch event. The three models are the Swift 3 SF313-53, Swift 3 SF314-59, and Swift 5 SF514-55; all feature the upcoming Tiger Lake CPUs with integrated Intel Xe graphics and Intel Wi-Fi 6.

Recently, we thoroughly tested and reviewed Acer’s Ryzen 7 4700u-powered Swift 3 SF314-42, and we liked it a lot. Many reviewers dinged the SF314-42 for its lower-than-average display brightness—although we found it more than adequate for indoor use, even in harsh lighting. Two of the three new models promise much brighter displays, if that’s your sticking point—the 13.5-inch Swift 3 is rated at a whopping 400 nits, while the Swift 5 comes in at 340 nits.

All three models feature thin, lightweight metal chassis with (so far unspecified) i5 and i7 Tiger Lake CPUs and up to 16GiB of RAM. Acer hasn’t specified whether the laptops are upgradeable, but we suspect the Swift 3 models at least will not be, judging by their thin (16mm) design. The laptops are all part of Intel’s “Project Athena” innovation program, with the Swift 5 already boasting Intel Evo platform verification and both Swift 3 models targeting the same verification pending possible further tuning.

If you’re not familiar with Intel Evo platform verification, it seems largely to boil down to having an Intel processor and Intel not being embarrassed about it. However, it does specify some minimums that would otherwise be outside Intel’s control—including better than 9 hours of battery life on a mixed workload. The mixed workload, available in the fine print of Intel’s Evo landing page, looks pretty similar to PCMark 10’s Modern Office battery test, which includes Web browsing, video conferencing, office applications, and idle periods.

By itself, a target time of 9 hours on that sort of mixed workload isn’t particularly impressive—but we noticed the fine print specified that the screen must include 250 nit LCD screen brightness. That also means a relatively bright screen—our Spyder 5 Pro colorimeter measured the maximum brightness of the Ryzen 4700u powered SF314-42 at only 160 nits. This may also explain some of the “possible tuning” to get the newer, Tiger Lake-powered SF314-59 certified; it was the only one of the three models not to have a specified brightness in Acer’s press release today.

The 14″ Swift 3 is expected to retail at $700, the 13.5″ Swift 3 at $800, and the Swift 5 at $1000. We hope to test and review at least one model of the new Tiger Lake-powered Swift laptops as soon as they become available.

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