Acer is getting IFA 2016 off to a wondrous start this morning with the launch of the incredibly thin Swift 7 laptop. This Windows 10 machine, powered by Intel’s brand new 7th-generation Core i5 processor, measures a scant 9.98mm, making it the first to limbo under the 1cm bar (0.39 inches). Despite beating Apple’s MacBook and HP’s Spectre 13 for the braggadocious title of being the world’s thinnest laptop, the Swift 7 doesn’t sacrifice much in the way of either ports or battery. It offers two USB-C 3.1 ports and a headphone jack, plus Acer promises a 9-hour endurance thanks to Intel’s newly updated and more efficient Y series of chips.
The display up front is a 13.3-inch Full HD IPS panel with nothing to truly distinguish it. It’s not going to be the Swift’s big selling point, but neither is it any sort of deal breaker. On the inside, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage sit alongside the Intel Kaby Lake chip, which is passively cooled — the whole system is fanless. Acer outfits the Swift 7 in an aluminum unibody chassis, which is dark on the outside and a quite classy gold on the interior.
Weighing in at 1.1kg (2.48 pounds), the Swift 7 is effortless to tote around in one hand. The keyboard is nice and comfortable to type on, even if it does have predictably shallow key travel. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it had some flex in the middle — though the overall laptop feels rigid and solid enough to survive daily use in spite of its paper-thin construction. One other peculiar thing about this notebook is its touchpad, which might be the widest on any laptop yet; are we standing on the precipice of a new era of widescreen touchpads?
I don’t usually want a touchscreen or a rotating display on my laptops, but the Swift 7 is so light that it encourages more unconventional use, which in turn makes those features feel like something of an omission. Cognizant of that, Acer is today also launching a Spin 7 model, which is similar in most respects, but adds a better Core i7 processor, larger 14-inch display, touch, and a 360-degree hinge. All that improvement for the low price of just an extra millimeter over the Swift 7.
Many people will question why Acer would go to the trouble of creating the Swift 7 if the Spin 7 is so much more capable as a computer. And they’d be right, up to a point. The odd thing is that if Acer had just launched the Spin 7 by itself, it would have been seen as a nice but incremental step forward. The Swift 7 is the ostentatious hype bringer that a company like Acer needs to attraction attention and adulation. And, unlike Taiwanese compatriot Asus, Acer isn’t just talking about its MacBook killer, it’s shipping it.
The Swift 7 launches in China in September for ¥6,999, followed by Europe and the United States in October, at prices of €1,299 and $999, respectively. This pricing isn’t actually too bad for those who prioritize style and flair over everyday practicality.