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Acer's New Swift 7 Is So Thin It Doesn't Seem Real

Illustration for article titled Acers New Swift 7 Is So Thin It Doesnt Seem Real
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

At some point, Acer is going to have to give up its yearly quest to make the Swift 7 just a little bit slimmer, but that time hasn’t come yet, because at CES 2019 Acer has once again triumphed over physics to create something stupendously skinny.

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Measuring 9.95mm (0.39 inches) and weighing 1.96 pounds, the new Swift 7 surpasses other seemingly sleek systems like the HP Spectre and LG Gram in both thinness and lightness. Even when compared to a smartphone like the 8.8mm-thick Galaxy Note 9, the Swift 7 barely loses out.

But the most impressive thing about the Swift 7 aren’t its sheer dimensions, but how Acer has still managed to build an unquestionably premium laptop within the system’s incredibly limited size constraints.

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At 9.95mm, the Swift 7 is barely thicker than a Galaxy Note 9 (8.8mm).
At 9.95mm, the Swift 7 is barely thicker than a Galaxy Note 9 (8.8mm).
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Starting with its display, the Swift 7 features a 14-inch full HD touchscreen protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 6 for better durability. At the same time, Acer significantly reduced the Swift’s bezels (especially its chin), resulting in a screen-to-body ratio of 92 percent. That’s just a short throw from 97 percent seen on Asus’ new Zenbook S13, which had to do a little fudging with its numbers to get a ratio that high.

The Swift 7's magnesium and lithium body has also been reinforced so it flexes less than the previous model. And while you can bend it if you try—which is essentially a given considering its thickness—when the Swift 7 is sitting on a table or even your lap, you don’t really notice.

Illustration for article titled Acers New Swift 7 Is So Thin It Doesnt Seem Real
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)
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The biggest compromise on the Swift 7 is probably its webcam. Because there’s no room above or below the screen to put a camera, Acer took some inspiration from Huawei’s playbook and gave the Swift 7 a pop-up webcam that sits between its keyboard and screen. That said, if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t do a lot of video calling, since the webcam is buried inside the Swift 7's chassis when not in use, the added sense of security might be an OK trade-off for people having to occasionally look up at your chin.

The slight adjustment Acer made to accommodate the Swift 7's thinness, is that instead of featuring a U-series Intel Core i7 chip found on a lot of premium laptops in this price range, Acer opted for an Intel i7-8500Y CPU instead, as the Y-series chip allows for a completely fanless design.

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As for the rest of its specs, a standard Swift 7 offers 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, a fingerprint reader, and possibly the widest touchpad I’ve ever seen on a laptop. And while just two ports might sound skimpy, Acer makes up for the Swift 7's general lack of connectivity by including a dongle with a few more ports for free.

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Look, I fully admit that shaving an extra millimeter off a laptop probably doesn’t have the biggest impact on overall usability, but the simple engineering expertise needed to do it is still quite impressive. And for the few who do value peak thinness and lightness, it’s nice to know something like the Swift 7 exists.

The Swift 7 should be available in Europe in April, and in the U.S. in May starting at $1,700.

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Follow along with all of our CES 2019 coverage here.

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

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DISCUSSION

I completely fail to see the appeal of these ultra-thin laptops. It seems as though it’s a “feature” that the manufacturers are trying to force-feed us rather than one we really want. I think 90% of users would happily accept a laptop that’s as thick as my old chunky 2009 15" MacBook Pro if it had triple the battery life as this thing and a really good keyboard and trackpad.

That said, my old 2009 MacBook Pro is still chugging along, happy as a clam. The only upgraded parts were an SSD (I maxed the RAM when I bought it) and a replacement trackpad. I donated it to a friend’s daughter to use in high school because she’s into video production and I had Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier installed on it. She absolutely loves it. (I like Final Cut Pro, but she likes Adobe Premier since that’s what they use at school.)

Hell, it’s still on it’s original battery, although it doesn’t last as long as it once did. I should replace that. Maybe for her birthday.