On this article we’re going to speak concerning the lightest 15-inch laptop computer obtainable as of the Fall of 2018, the Acer Swift 5 SF515-51. I’m extremely skeptical round any gadget related to the phrases “lightest” or “thinnest”, however this one is definitely a reasonably strong product with some distinctive traits.
There are many mild or full-size laptops on the market, however there are only a few that examine each packing containers, and even these usually are not extensively out there (the LG Gram 15 or the Samsung Pocket book 9). You’ll discover the Swift 5 15-inch in shops everywhere in the world although, from This fall 2018, and whereas it’s compact and lightweight (slightly below 1 kilo, or 2.2 lbs), it doesn’t sacrifice on the hardware specs, options and particularly battery-size, in contrast to the 14-inch Swift 5 we’ve reviewed up to now. It’s additionally competitively priced for what it’s, beginning at round $1100 at launch.
That is the type of laptop computer you’ll need as a daily-driver, for e-mail, shopping, video content material, music and so forth. Efficiency in demanding masses or video games usually are not amongst its strong-points, because it’s constructed on Intel Core U hardware, identical to the smaller 13 and 14-inch ultraportables on the market, so it’s just about a thin-and-light laptop computer with a full-size display.
We’ve spent the previous few weeks with the 15-inch Acer Swift 5 and gathered our impressions on this article, with the constructive features and the quirks.
Our check mannequin is nevertheless a pre-production pattern, which suggests we bumped into some points that ought to not have an effect on the ultimate retail models when these are available in shops. We’ll speak about these once we get to them, so learn on in case you’re on this laptop computer.
Specs as reviewed
Design and construct
Let’s begin with the elephant within the room: that is the lightest 15-inch laptop computer available on the market, at beneath 2.2 lbs within the configuration we received for checks. That’s principally made potential by the truth that the chassis is constructed from a magnesium-lithium alloy, a really mild and on the similar time sturdy materials, which Acer additionally used on the earlier Swift 5 14-inch fashions launched within the final yr.
Different producers have been utilizing magnesium alloys for his or her laptops as properly, like Microsoft on a number of the Floor Professional strains. Based mostly on the suggestions from present Floor Professional house owners, the fabric ages nicely for probably the most half, nevertheless it scratches simply, so it’s greatest to maintain your pc in a sleeve when touring. That apart although, magnesium alloy constructions are considerably lighter than aluminum shells, and not using a sacrifice in rigidity. This Reddit thread does a reasonably good job at explaining how magnesium and aluminum builds fare towards one another.
All in all, the Swift 5 is mild, however nonetheless feels good to the contact and durable in hand. The lid and keyboard deck flex a good bit when pressed, one thing you’ll simply have to simply accept and get used to, however in any other case the general chassis development is spotless, with none squeaks or humorous noises even if you seize this from a nook (not advisable, although). Even the plastic used for the bezel across the display is the top quality type, with a clean rubbery end.
Talking of bezels, this laptop computer isn’t solely mild, however compact, as you possibly can inform by the bezels across the display and small chin beneath, in addition to pretty skinny, but with sufficient area to permit room for some full-size ports on the edges.
The IO is nonetheless somewhat missing, with USB-A and C ports, in addition to full-size HDMI for video output and a headphone jack, however with no card-reader or Thunderbolt three. All of the connectivity is lined on the left edge, together with the PSU, which makes this perfect for right-handed customers, however may hassle the lefties amongst you that plan to hook up a mouse.
Acer did an incredible job with the general aesthetics, brushing up a number of the leftovers of the 14-inch variations. The complete shell will get a darkish blue theme, together with the hinge’s cowl and the edges, with some slight gold accents for the Acer logos and the writing on the keyboard. Branding parts have been stored to a minimal, with simply two Acer logos and a Swift engraving on the hinge, and there are not any annoying lights, accents and even stickers on the within, at the least on our pattern. The standing LEDs have been moved on the aspect, out of the best way.
Sure features could be nevertheless improved on the subject of this pc’s practicality. For one, there’s no crease on the entrance lip, so catching on the display with a view to raise it up can show just a little difficult. Then, you’ll really need each arms to open and regulate the display, which then again is maintain in place by a sturdy hinge that permits it to lean again flat to 180 levels, one thing I significantly recognize on any laptop computer.
These apart, the rubber ft on the underside are pretty small and inflexible, however they hold the laptop computer anchored on a flat floor. Nevertheless, you’ll discover that this system lifts on the underside of its display when the show leans again previous 130 levels, an strategy meant to offer a barely inclined typing place and enhance airflow beneath. Nevertheless, Acer didn’t place any rubber ft on the backside of the display, in contrast to the opposite producers who use this similar strategy, and in consequence the laptop computer sits straight on the magnesium shell, which on one hand makes it much less secure of a desk, and on the opposite will trigger the contact factors to scratch and put on off over time.
I’ll even have to say the pretty sharp front-lip of the inside deck, which corroborated with the slightly brief palm-rest that outcomes from the truth that the keyboard is positioned low onto the physique, can develop into disagreeable in your wrists when typing in cramped locations, with out ample arm help. It’s not nevertheless going to hassle you in any means so long as you set the pc on a spacious desk that may hold the wrists on prime of the sting, out of hurt’s method.
All in all, this laptop computer seems to be good, in a easy, subdued approach, and feels a lot sturdier than I might have anticipated from a “lightest” sort of pc. I can’t nevertheless look previous the varied practicality quirks that may take a toll on the general expertise, just like the stiff hinge that requires each arms to function, the sharp entrance lip and the truth that there are not any rubber ft on the backside of the display and your complete chassis lifts straight onto the magnesium shell.
Keyboard and trackpad
You’ll want time to get used to the keyboard Acer places on this laptop computer, and even you then may wrestle with it.
The format is usually fantastic, with nicely sized and spaced keys which have a pleasant delicate coating and really feel nice to the contact. There’s nevertheless an additional line of Perform keys to the suitable, and also you may find yourself hitting these when in search of Enter or Backspace, no less than on the primary encounters. There’s additionally the Energy button positioned within the top-right nook, and I’d recommendation you to disable it from Home windows in case you don’t need to by chance put the laptop computer to sleep when in search of Delete.
My knits are with the suggestions, although. As with most ultraportables obtainable nowadays, this 15-inch Swift will get a short-travel keyboard, and I’m often into this type of implementations that permit quick typing speeds and quiet operation. These keys nevertheless put little resistance and depress method too simply, which for me result in sub-par typing accuracy, even after typing a number of hundreds phrases on it. On prime of that, that is additionally pretty chattery and may distract these round you in a library or different very quiet locations.
This keyboard is backlit, in fact, however there are not any illumination ranges to select from, it’s both On or Off. As aspect notes, you’ll be able to’t activate the illumination by swiping your fingers over the clickpad, you truly should press a key to do it, and a number of the mild creeps out from underneath the keys in an annoying approach, particularly from beneath the Area key, as you’ll be able to see within the hooked up footage. Oh, and a few of you may also be bothered by the truth that there are not any indicator LEDs to let you recognize when CapsLock or NumLock are lively.
The clickpad sits simply beneath the keyboard, and it’s fairly oddly positioned in the direction of the left aspect of the laptop computer, not centered underneath the Area key like with different laptops.
It’s additionally a tad small, particularly for a 15-inch laptop computer, because the keyboard is positioned low onto the body and leaves restricted area beneath. So far as specs go, this can be a Synaptics floor with Precision drivers, and it’s made out of a clean, good feeling plastic.
I can’t inform you a lot about its conduct although, as our check unit acquired a faulty implementation that rattled when tapped and couldn’t correctly register bodily clicks, however dealt with swipes, gestures and faucets simply advantageous. Remaining retail variations will get correct touchpads although, and since Acer places the identical touchpad on the 14-inch model of the Swift 5, yow will discover our impressions of a correctly working implementation in that evaluate.
There’s additionally a finger-sensor on this laptop computer, positioned in the direction of the right-side, subsequent to the arrow keys. It’s correctly sized and works properly for logging into Home windows.
This pocket book will get a 15.6-inch display with slender bezels and a reasonably good IPS panel.
Acer nonetheless caught with the choice to make use of a shiny ending right here, identical to on the 14-inch mannequin we’ve seen prior to now, although there’s no contact, which on one hand has a slight constructive impression on the picture high quality (livelier colours, no graininess), but in addition negatively impacts visibility in vibrant environments. It’s as much as you if the trade-off is suitable or not.
There’s nevertheless a nicer panel on this laptop computer, brighter and with pretty good colour protection. Black ranges aren’t nice although, and consequently the distinction is simply about common, however nonetheless ok for on a regular basis use. Extra particulars under, taken with a Spyder4 sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: LG Philips LGD05F7 (LP156WFA-SPG2);
- Protection: 99% sRGB, 73% NTSC, 77% AdobeRGB;
- Measured gamma: 2.three;
- Max brightness in the midst of the display: 292 cd/m2 on energy;
- Distinction at max brightness: 650:1;
- White level: 6700 Okay;
- Black on max brightness: zero.45 cd/m2;
- PWM: no.
The panel is pretty nicely calibrated out of the field, however you should use this shade profile to deal with the slight gamma and gray-level imbalances.
Our exams additionally measured some brightness uniformity points, with the decrease finish the the display being dimmer than the center and prime at mid-range brightness ranges. I didn’t discover any mild bleeding or panel pinching although, but that’s not a assure you gained’t get any together with your unit, with the type of QC we’re seeing today from all OEMs.
Hardware, efficiency and improve choices
Our check unit is a extremely specked model of the Acer Swift 15 SF315-51, with the Whiskey Lake Core i7-8565U processor, 16 GB of reminiscence and a 512 GB PCIe SSD.
Nevertheless, this pre-production pattern didn’t carry out as anticipated, so in the intervening time we can’t touch upon efficiency in demanding masses based mostly on this check unit. We’ve requested for a more moderen pattern and can hopefully replace this part sooner or later. Within the meantime, yow will discover what to anticipate of Whiskey Lake implementations from our different evaluations.
We will additionally present you ways our pattern dealt with day by day use situations like video streaming, typing or shopping. You’ll discover particulars within the HWInfo logs under.
We’ll additionally point out that whereas it’s pretty straightforward to get inside this laptop computer by eradicating the back-panel maintain in place by a handful of clearly seen Torx screws, you in all probability gained’t should do it. The CPU, the RAM and the included SSD are all soldered on the motherboard, however there’s additionally an additional M.2 80 mm slot in case you need to increase the storage.
Emissions (noise, warmth), Connectivity and audio system
Acer went with a really primary cooling implementation, with a single fan and brief heatpipe that hyperlinks a radiator to a surprisingly small CPU plate, smaller than the plate used on the 14-inch Swift 5.
In principle this implementation ought to be capable of hold the Whiskey Lake processors at bay, however we will’t affirm it based mostly on this pattern and it’d find yourself interfering with efficiency in demanding masses.
The cooling is additional helped by the ample intakes on the underbelly, in addition to by the truth that the laptop computer lifts up and will increase the hole between the main-body and the desk, for improved airflow. Scorching air is blown out by means of a grill behind the hinge, partially in the direction of the again and partially in the direction of the display, a reasonably normal answer that gained’t pose any long-term reliability points.
In contrast to on the 14-inch Swift 5 examined prior to now, the fan inside our 15-inch pattern was all the time lively, each with primary duties and with on a regular basis multitasking. I reckon that’s a quirk related to this pre-release pattern and last models will get a extra tamed down fan profile that’s going to maintain it inactive with every day use, like on the smaller Swift 5. Even so, this can be a quiet fan, averaging about 38 dB at head-level with on a regular basis multitasking and ramping as much as about 40 dB with video games, at a room ambient degree of about 34 dB based mostly on our Sound Meter.
So far as outer shell temperatures go, this laptop computer retains very cool with primary duties, and barely will get heat with multitasking, which as soon as extra suggests it might be passively cooled for more often than not, with a much less aggressive fan profile.
*Day by day Use – operating a Netflix video in EDGE for 30 minutes
*Load – multitasking and searching in Edge, 20+ tabs, for greater than 60 minutes
Usually we check temperatures beneath load whereas operating NFS: Most Needed, however we couldn’t correctly run that on this case because of the points point out within the earlier part.
For connectivity there’s a modern gen Intel Wi-fi AC 9560 wi-fi module inside this laptop computer, with Bluetooth 5. It didn’t carry out in addition to different implementations of this similar chip with our setup, solely reaching switch speeds of round 300 Mbps close to the router and 200 Mbps at 30 ft with obstacles in between, but that’s in all probability one other drivers challenge with this specific early pattern, judging by the efficiency of the equally designed 14-inch Swift 5 examined prior to now.
Acer went with totally different audio system on this laptop computer although, they usually’re truly somewhat poor, with tinny sound popping out of the cuts on the underbelly and mid-range quantity, of as much as 76 dB at head-level. I haven’t observed any distortions at larger volumes, so there’s no less than that, however you need to be cautious to not cowl the audio system when utilizing the laptop computer on the lap.
In case you’ll peak inside you’ll discover that the audio system are literally actually small, and there was loads of room to suit bigger ones, but they have been in all probability sacrificed on the altar of ” the lightest”.
There’s additionally a webcam positioned on the prime of the display, able to taking respectable photographs in a properly lit room. It’s nothing to brag about, in fact, however ought to do high-quality for infrequent calls. An array of mics flank the webcam, and Acer additionally positioned a set of far-field microphones on that higher bezel, helpful when you’re into “talking” with Cortana.
This 15-inch Acer Swift three SF515-51 will get a 54 Wh battery inside, so fortunately this isn’t one other necessary facet Acer sacrificed with a purpose to attain the standing of “the lightest 15-inch laptop”.
Right here’s what we obtained on our pattern when it comes to battery life in numerous situations, with the display set at 30%, roughly 120 nits of brightness. Consider we’re coping with a pre-production pattern right here, and based mostly on our expertise with different Core i7 U laptops I’d anticipate these to enhance by about 20% with higher optimized drivers and an undervolted CPU profile, so take that into consideration.
- 9.5 W (~5 h 40 min of use) – textual content modifying in Google Drive, Higher Battery Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 7 W (~7 h 45 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Higher Battery Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 6.5 W (~ eight h 15 min of use) – 4K fullscreen .mkv video within the Film app, Higher Battery Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 7 W (~7 h 45 min of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Higher Battery Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 10.2 W (~5 h of use) – searching in Edge, Higher Efficiency Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON.
Our check unit got here with a normal 45 Wh energy brick and a full cost takes round two and a half hours. This additionally expenses by way of USB-C, however slower, at solely about 15W per hour with the 45W energy adapter from the Acer Chromebook Spin, so a full-charge took about four hours on this case.
Worth and availability
The 15-inch Acer Swift 5 SF515-51T is scheduled to start out at $1099 within the US and 1099 EUR over right here in Europe, for the essential configurations with the Whiskey Lake Core i5-8265U processor, eight GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, whereas the higher-specked model with the i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD ought to be obtainable for round 1400 USD/EUR.
On the time of this text that is already out there in Europe, whereas clients in North America ought to get it round January 2019.
We’ll replace this part as soon as we all know extra, and within the meantime you possibly can comply with this hyperlink for extra particulars, up to date configurations and costs.
As a aspect word, Acer additionally provides a smaller 14-inch variant of this laptop computer, the Swift 5 SF514-53T. It’s about the identical weight and about the identical when it comes to hardware specs, however a tad extra compact and cheaper by 100 USD/EUR. We haven’t but reviewed this collection, so be sure to search for some critiques, simply to see how and if Acer addressed the problems of the earlier Swift 5 514-52T line.
Should you’re after a light-weight and compact pc for on a regular basis use, searching, text-editing, films and common multitasking, the Acer Swift 5 SF515-51T might supply all these at the side of a full-size display and a good worth.
It weighs only one kilo, so it’s some of the snug to hold round laptops on the market, and it doesn’t’ sacrifice on the appears, the construct high quality, the display or battery life. We didn’t get to correctly check the efficiency in additional demanding masses, however I carried out nicely with the informal chores, and if demanding masses will not be even on the listing, I might undoubtedly recommend going with one of many extra reasonably priced Core i5 configurations.
You’ll nonetheless pay a premium over the opposite 15-inch laptops of the second, principally for the light-weight construct, and have to simply accept its specific design quirks, the pretty awful audio system, a shiny display and a quite bizarre, shallow keyboard. It’s as much as you if these are well worth the traded off for the design and light-weight construct.
You also needs to contemplate the competitors, principally the LG Gram 15 if out there in your area, which is just obtainable with KabyLake-R hardware in the intervening time, is barely heavier (about 1.1 kilos / 2.four lbs) and never as properly constructed, nevertheless it’s additionally a tad cheaper, simpler to improve and will get a bigger 72 Wh battery. Comply with up this hyperlink for extra particulars on the 15-inch LG Gram. The 15-inch Samsung Pocket book 9 15 is perhaps one other various, at about 2.7 lbs, in addition to a few of the mild 14-inch ultraportables on the market, though most of these are considerably costlier.
That’s about it for this early assessment of the Acer Swift 5 SF515-15, the lightest 15-inch laptop computer available on the market as of November 2018. Look additional for our future updates, and within the meantime get in contact in case you have any suggestions or feedback.