If you plan to work frequently with intensive software such as video editors or rendering programs, having a powerful PC that you can drive daily is essential. However, if you also need to stay mobile and can’t tether yourself to a desktop setup all day, a traditional desktop computer won’t meet your needs. Instead, you should look to the laptop market; there are plenty of laptops available that feature robust specs and robust performance, and they’re easy to slip into a bag and take with you on the go.
Workstation-grade laptops like these are great, but they’re usually quite expensive and can often be heavy too. However, Acer has addressed both caveats with the Acer Swift X SFX14, an affordable 14-inch device that packs some of the industry’s best specs into a slim chassis that weighs just 3 pounds. And while you can get better raw performance elsewhere, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a laptop that offers as much value as the Acer Swift X SFX14 for a similar price.
At the end of the line : While storage options are limited and the trackpad could be better, the Acer Swift X SFX14 is nonetheless an excellent thin and light laptop that offers impressive performance at a great price.
- Excellent specs and performance
- Nice display
- Strong battery life
- Solid overall build quality
- More affordable than many alternatives
- Storage options are limited
- The top half of the trackpad is rigid
- Bloatware is annoying
Acer Swift X SFX14: Price, availability and specs
Acer provided Windows Central with a review unit of the Acer Swift X SFX14. It was configured by the manufacturer with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor, an NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti, 16 GB of LPDDR4X RAM, a 512 GB SSD and a 14-inch FHD non-touch display.
This model retails for $1,100 on Amazon and the Acer Store at the time of writing. Other models are also available, including versions of the device with the standard RTX 3050 processor and either an AMD Ryzen 5 5600U processor or an AMD Ryzen 7 5825U processor. Note that all versions of the device come with Windows 11 pre-installed.
Below are all the different specs you can customize an Acer Swift X SFX14 with:
|SE||Windows 11 Home|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 5600U
AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
AMD Ryzen 7 5825U
|RAM||16 GB LPDDR4X|
NVIDIA RTX 3050Ti
|Storage||512 GB SSD|
|Display||14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080), IPS, non-touch (300 nits)|
1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
Kensington lock slot
Until 10-11 hours
|Dimensions||12.71 x 8.35 x 0.70 inches (322.8mm x 212.2mm x 17.9mm)|
|Mass||3.06 pounds (1.39 kg)|
Acer Swift X SFX14: What I like
The most impressive thing about the Acer Swift X SFX14 is its excellent specs and performance for its price. Most laptops with hardware like the NVIDIA RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti cost at least $1,500 or more, but the Swift X comes in at a top price of just $1,100. For a fraction of the price of other workstation-grade 14- and 15-inch laptops, you get something that’s nearly as good. The Ryzen 7 5800U processor may not be as as powerful as some of Intel’s H-series chips you’ll find in more expensive options, but it definitely gives them a run for their money. The Swift X’s 16GB of DDR4 memory is plenty for creative tasks like video editing; an option for 32GB would have been nice, but that would have driven the price up.
The Acer Swift X’s LED-backlit display is also excellent, and it’s sure to satisfy anyone who doesn’t need resolutions beyond FHD 1080p. It offers excellent color accuracy, strong contrast, a wide viewing angle of 170 degrees and a peak brightness of 300 nits. It’s not as crisp or sleek as the 4K panels you’ll find on more expensive laptops, but for an FHD display it’s a treat to use.
The battery life of the Acer Swift X SFX14 is quite strong. At about 50% brightness, it lasts about 5-6 hours when working hard and 10-11 hours when performing lighter tasks like text editing or web browsing. For a 14-inch laptop with a Ryzen 7 CPU and an RTX 3050 Ti, that’s pretty impressive. You’ll likely get even better battery life if you go with the standard RTX 3050, though you’ll sacrifice power.
Finally, the Acer Swift X SFX14 is well built and has a sleek yet modest design. The keyboard is comfortable to type on and features a bright backlight, and a fingerprint reader and Kensington lock slot are included for effective security. The design also includes solid I/O between the USB-C port and the two USB-A slots, and there’s also a standard 3.5mm audio jack as well as an HDMI 2.0 port.
Acer Swift X SFX14: What I don’t like
Although the Acer Swift X SFX14 doesn’t have many issues, one of its caveats – the lack of storage expansion options – may be a deal breaker for many. It is not possible to configure the laptop with an SSD larger than 512 GB, which is unusual for devices like this. On top of that, there’s not even an SD or microSD card slot, which is surprising. That means your only option is to use an external drive if you want more storage, and while the best external hard drives are great, they can also be expensive. Ultimately, it’s odd and disappointing that Acer didn’t give buyers a few options here.
Another issue I have with the Swift X is that the top half of its trackpad feels stiff and unresponsive, making the mouse experience frustrating at times. It is far from unusablebut there’s a noticeable (and annoying) difference between the softness of the bottom half of the trackpad and the inconsistency of its top half.
Finally, the Acer Swift X SFX14 comes with annoying bloatware apps including Booking.com, Dropbox, Evernote, ExpressVPN, Planet9 Link, etc. Luckily, these can all be easily uninstalled, but getting rid of apps is tedious nonetheless. Out of the box, the user should be the one who decides what to download and install on their system, not the manufacturer.
Acer Swift X SFX14: Competition
The Acer Swift X SFX14 is a great creator-friendly laptop for people who want something affordable, but if you’re willing to spend a bit more, there are plenty of great alternatives to consider. The 14-inch HP ENVY 14 immediately comes to mind with its GTX 1650 Ti GPU, 11th Gen Intel processors, brighter display, and up to 2TB of SSD storage. It also comes with a Thunderbolt 4 port, which is nice.
The Swift X is capable of delivering a solid gaming experience, but if gaming is something you enjoy serious around, you’ll probably be better off with the Razer Blade 14 instead. It’s a lot more expensive, but it can be configured with top specs like the Ryzen 9 6900HX, RTX 3080 Ti, and DDR5 memory. This hardware allows it to crush the most demanding games on the market, not to mention creative applications.
If you don’t mind the 15-inch options, the Dell XPS 15 is also a fantastic alternative. The latest models of the device feature Intel’s newest and most capable 12th Gen H-series processors, along with the same RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti that you can get with the Acer Swift X SFX14. On top of that, it’s also available with a variety of high-end displays, including FHD, 3.5K OLED, and 4K UHD options.
Acer Swift X SFX14: Should you buy it?
You should buy it if…
- You need workstation-grade performance
- You need a device with good battery life
- You need something affordable
You shouldn’t buy it if…
- You want a 4K screen
- You need a lot of storage
- You can’t stand rigid touchpads
While there are workstation-grade laptops capable of better performance than you get with the Acer Swift X SFX14, the Swift X is lighter and more affordable than the vast majority of its competition. If you’re okay with sacrificing luxuries like 4K panels and Thunderbolt 4 support, the Swift X’s price-performance balance will no doubt impress you.
The Swift X’s lack of storage expansion options is very disappointing, and it’s a shame that the top half of the trackpad can also be difficult to use. Even with those caveats, however, there’s no denying that the Acer Swift X SFX14 is one of the best Windows laptops on the market for people looking for big power at an affordable price.