Acer Swift Go 14: A workhorse in an ultraportable shell with OLED trimmings

Did Acer manage it? More or less but with some compromises.

by Justin Choo

The Acer Swift Go 14 is a bold play from Acer, and on paper, the laptop sounds too good to be true: a thin-and-light ultraportable with the guts of a workhorse that’s typically bigger and heavier. How well does that translate to real life? I have so many questions.

The reality is that I more or less have some preconceptions-namely that it will look and perform amazingly though the battery life will be, pardon my French, crap. So, if the Swift Go can exceed my expectations in this regard, this would be a big plus in my book.

It’s lightweight but certainly not that thin. But the clever bevelling can change perception.

The Swift Go is not a sleek, super-slim laptop but a thickness of 14.9 mm doesn’t sound bad. Its weight of 1.32kg more than makes up for this. The laptop is lightweight enough to be held comfortably with one hand, and the weight distribution is decent.

The understated design is not too shabby, either. Bevelled cuts frame the keyboard and the bottom of the case and make the laptop look slimmer than it is. While the Swift Go is not a head-turner, it has a look that certainly will grow on you.

Again, the bevelled edges subtly create a distinct look.

There’s another upside to the case design Acer adopted: the bottom case is held in place by eight screws, so it’s user serviceable. I’m sure Acer doesn’t like the idea of you poking around inside the case, but this is a desirable feature once the warranty period has lapsed and all bets are off.

Vents are located at the bottom and on the rear, and heat distribution is excellent as the keyboard and wrist rest never get uncomfortably warm to the touch. The backlit chiclet-style keyboard and mousepad are standard fare, so there’s not much to speak of here. They work, no better or worse than most laptop keyboards these days.

Lack of ports will never be an issue here.

Acer loves to deck out their laptops–even the slim ones–with ports, and the Swift Go is no different. If giving up a paper-thin form factor means having two speedy USB-C, two USB-A ports and an HDMI port, then I think it’s a great trade-off, especially when it’s as light as it is. In addition, Raptor Lake supports Intel Unison, so you can link your phone up with your laptop to transfer files and share notifications and contacts, regardless of whether it’s Android or iOS.

One thing that’s a little different now is that the speakers are noticeably better. It never sounds shrill or thin and strikes off the speaker system as a perennial downside of buying an Acer laptop.

The OLED display emphasises red tones.

What’s spiffy now is that OLED display, which is the visual highlight of the Swift Go and, for that matter, the Swift series. At almost full brightness, the vibrancy is something to behold, and when you consider the price of this laptop, it’s certainly a treat.

Also new is a 1440p webcam, which offers video quality that is a clear upgrade over cameras from previous generations. The best part is that the image quality doesn’t degenerate into a blotchy mess in poor lighting–it’s still quite viewable. The microphones also have some degree of noise impression, which is relatively effective for mild background noise. Unless, of course, someone is talking loudly next to you.

Paired with the ‘enthusiast-class’ performance of an i7 H-series processor (i7-13700H), the Swift Go achieves a somewhat modest PCMark 10 score of 6177 and a 3DMark score of 2032. However, using it on a daily basis, I had little to complain about. The only downside–which you already would have guessed–is the battery life. At 50% brightness and mixed use of productivity and entertainment, you get between 4-5 hours of use, which is OK if you don’t work on the road all day. And realistically, you don’t need 50% brightness in typical indoor lighting.

If you bump the brightness to 30%, you can manage around six hours on average with mixed-use. Given how bright the display is, 30% brightness is pretty usable.

And because I don’t do anything that is particularly demanding, I was able to run it on Best Power Efficiency mode with 10% display brightness (which is bright enough in many cases) and without keyboard backlighting to eke out around 8-9 hours without too much compromise in the experience.

It’s a far cry from the likes of a MacBook Pro, but you should be able to squeeze out a full day if need be. At the very least, you know you have the gears to go either way.

A decent package where its strengths outweigh its main weakness.

Final Thoughts

With Acer pretty much streamlining its lineup and delineating its offerings-Swift Go for portability, Swift X for performance, and Swift for a middle ground-I would have thought that the Swift Go would have been the model that prioritises battery life over performance. Acer’s interpretation of an ultraportable is surprisingly different; while I would prefer battery life over sheer clock speed, I think some users would want a lightweight laptop that can still offer a level of performance closer to fully-featured machines. Furthermore, not everyone will need to use their laptops non-stop for an entire workday.

If this sums up your working habits, congratulations, Acer has just made the perfect portable laptop for you. For the money, it’s a pretty compelling proposition.

  • 8/10
    Acer Swift Go 14 (SFG14-71-70VU) - 8/10

Acer Swift Go 14 (SFG14-71-70VU)

Price starts from $1,398, tested model $1,698

Value Proposition
Design & Build Quality

For something that on paper looked like a one-trick pony, the Acer Swift Go 14 offers near-uncompromised performance and an excellent multimedia experience. Its battery life leaves a lot to be desired but you can somewhat stretch it with the right settings.

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