Acer's Swift 7 is the first laptop thinner than a centimeter

Vlad Savov

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.

Read next: Ultra-thin laptops aren't what we need, but we want them anyway

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.

Comments

I know it’s not practical, but I want it!

Not sure how it is a "Macbook killer", though, as the latter has a Retina screen, which makes it a significantly different product that hardly competes.

Nice thread hijack with your nonsense. I give it a 9.5 out of 10.

Where is the "hijacking"? I literally quoted what the article says in confirmation to an earlier comment that mentioned that Swift 7 purchase would not be practical.

It’s hijacking because your comment had nothing to do with iMukeshB’s comment. His comment did not mention the Macbook and the screen has no effect on practicality. This shouldn’t have been a reply to the top comment, but a new comment since it’s completely unrelated. You’re intentionally replying to the top comment in a shameless attempt to get more visibility for your flame bait.

Did you read the reply? The commentator wrote that Swift 7 is not practical, and I laid out the reason, why. You are spending considerable money for a good looking notebook that does not even have a Retina screen. If you are into spending in the first place, you should go for other models such as Dell’s or even Macbook itself. There is no way this particular Swift 7 model is a "MacBook killer" with such difference in the characteristics.

To be really honnest, it’s more like a Sony Vaio Note 505 killer, the really first (that I know of) laptop under 1cm of thickness!
TheVerge gave the thinness crown to Acer a bit easily, but we can forget it since the Note 505 is now 13 years old.

Please stop using that dumb "Retina" marketing term as though it actually means something, and compare actual resolutions.

Yes, the MacBook has a higher resolution screen, and that’s pretty cool. But a higher resolution screen doesn’t put it in a completely different class of machine; that’s a ridiculous assertion.

Retina is not just a marketing term; it is universal because resolution in figures can be different, but what important is angular density. The definition was promoted by Jobs back in 2010, but it is still as current as ever.

And yes, it makes a qualitative difference versus quantitative. The appearance of Retina-class screens, starting with iPhone, then continuing to iPads and other devices, brought the quality of image to a point where users can finally forget about it and not care.

This is, by the way, whole principle of Apple’s approach: they try to leapfrog competition, not participates in empty marketing figures races (notes that competition has nothing left other than to tout the number of cores, gigahertz, gigabytes, megapixels, even in cases where it does not really make an advantage over Apple).

The problem is that Apple’s version of "Retina" been thoroughly debunked. So instead of being a standard where you "don’t need to care," it’s a pointless, arbitrary standard used for marketing rather than having any true meaning.

As a consequence, it’s only useful for comparing 2 generations of Apple products, or used to up-sell customers to a more expensive option.

Apple’s Retina was not debunked. Vision professionals confirmed that angular density of pixel is a valid way to estimate the quality of a screen. There is nothing arbitrary about the definition, which says that at a distance of 30 cm 300 ppi would be enough for people to stop noticing the difference. (But there is a disclaimer: anti-aliasing should be on; otherwise in a high contrast setting even 600 ppi might be not enough).

Vision professionals do indeed all agree that at some point, a single pixel cannot be visually distinguished from another by the human eye at typical viewing distances. What they don’t agree on is at where that point is.

The biggest problem with Apple’s marketing propaganda is that it uses "20/20 vision" as the arbitrary baseline for their assumptions on pixel density. While many people assume that this means "perfect vision," the truth is that it actually means "normal" or "average" vision and isn’t actually a very high, or even a very scientific baseline. A large proportion of the population (eg most people under 30) have considerably better than 20/20 visual acuity and are therefore perfectly capable of seeing individual pixels at 300dpi at 30cm.

Moreover, the ability to see individual pixels or not is not neccesarily the best way of deciding when pixel density increases should cease. Testing has shown that the human eye can discern the improvement in image quality with greater pixel density up to much higher limits, long after they can no longer see the pixels themselves. From memory, this was observed up to about 650ppi, but I can’t find the article now.

Speaking for myself, I can easily spot the difference between a 1080p screen and a 1440p screen at 5.5" from a typical viewing distance. The image just looks smoother and more natural.

As I mentioned above, Apple’s concept includes the use of smoothing (anti-aliasing), so even if your vision is better than 20/20 it does not matter. You will still see no difference in practice.

What a ridiculous assertion. Anti-aliasing is no substitute for higher resolution….and also, is also in common use on Android for the same reason, even at much higher resolutions.

There is nothing ridiculous about that. How would you able to see the difference, if there are no steps/pixels to see?

The pixels are still there and still visible, just as before. The only thing AA does is make the pixels a slightly different colour.

Anti-aliasing is not some kind of dark magic, it’s just a bit of transition smoothing to the more jagged edges of an image, so that grid arrangement of pixels is a bit less obvious to the eye.

A higher resolution gives a better result than anti-aliasing, because it can render the image more accurately. Anti-aliasing is both more effective at higher resolutions (because the smoothing effect is less visible) and also less necessary (because there are more pixels to accurately reproduce the image).

See here for some useful reading: http://www.cultofmac.com/173702/why-retina-isnt-enough-feature/

At 30 cm distance (12") with smoothing/anti-aliasing you do not see pixels any more. Without the smoothing it would require, as I wrote above, more than 600 ppi (something about 900 ppi as the article you linked states).

That’s just so wrong, and so silly, I don’t know where to start…..I bow to your superior ignorance.

Read the article again – you will note that it makes no mention of anti-aliasing because AA is not relevant. The pixels can’t just disappear due to a bit of software trickery – they’re still there and still visible. While each pixel can only be one colour at a time, it’s still going to be visible.

It is not visible is its colour ever so slightly shades away from a neighbouring pixel — what is whole point of smoothing/anti-aliasing.

Since there is no ladder effect as result of smoothing, there is no difference beyond 300 ppi @ 12 inches distance. Human eye can catch up 900 ppi resolution/pixels only in high contrast setting, and anti-aliasing makes it impossible for the ladder effect to appear.

Sorry, that’s just bollocks. If you want to keep denying the truth and deluding yourself, feel free. I’ve given up on trying to educate you.

You’re right, they’re not in the same class. The Swift 7 has a proper i5 dual-core U class processor, not the under-powered Core M in the Macbook.

Unfortunately it’s using a netbook-class processor like the Macbook. Same deal with the Spin 7.

HP managed to cram an ultrabook-class processor into their thin & light notebook, but it comes at the expense of battery.

My bad… I blame Intel for messing with their model naming conventions again.

No it doesn’t. It’s the same ‘core-m’ processors as the MacBook but Intel has for whatever reason re-branded the faster two models this year as ‘i5’ and ‘i7’. Still Y-series processors though.

That "underpowered" processor in the rMB is comparable to a 5th gen i5 and i7, and allows for the computer to go fanless, as well as have better battery life.

Regardless, they’re made for different purposes.

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