Compared to the Intel-based Swift Lite, the AMD-based Swift Edge is larger and has an OLED display.
The Swift Edge clamshell from Acer, which was just unveiled, is a polite reminder of the so-called Intel tax. For the same price, the PC delivers a larger screen with more expensive display technology and pixels than the Acer Swift 5 lightweight. The new Swift Edge chooses AMD Ryzen 6000 processors, whereas the Swift 5 uses Intel 12th Gen CPUs. This is another significant distinction between the two laptops.
This Friday, Acer will launch the Swift Edge in the US. It has an eight-core Ryzen 7 6800U processor with 4MB of L2 cache and 16MB of L3 cache, and a base clock speed of 2.7 GHz that can be increased to 4.7 GHz. Its MSRP will be $1,500 when equipped with 1TB of PCIE 4.0 SSD storage and 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM.
The Swift 5 has the same MSRP as of this writing as it did when we evaluated it in July. For that amount, you get an Intel Core i7-1260P with the same RAM and storage specifications as the aforementioned Swift Edge configuration, four performance cores (clocked at 2.1–4.7 GHz), eight efficient cores (clocked at 1.5–3.4 GHz), and 18MB of L3 cache.
Similar port configurations are shared by the Swift Edge and Swift 5: two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports (USB 3.2 Gen 1), one HDMI 2.1 port, and a 3.5 mm jack (however the Intel PC’s ports have Thunderbolt 4 certification and can operate at up to 40Gbps, as opposed to the Swift Edge ports’ 20Gbps).
But when it comes to the screen, the Swift Edge might have a noticeable edge. Its 16-inch, 38402400 OLED non-touch display is larger than the Swift 5’s 14-inch, 25601600 IPS touchscreen. The OLED display has VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certification, up to 500 nits of brightness, and 100% DCI-P3 colour coverage. We measured 541 nits and 83.1 percent DCI-P3 coverage for the Acer Swift 5 review.
Of course, a laptop is more than just its specifications; we’d need to take a closer look at aspects like build quality (the Swift Edge has a magnesium-alloy chassis), audio, the webcam, and the display in use. However, a quick glance at those specifications reveals that if you prefer an AMD CPU over an Intel one, you may upgrade in other locations.
And there is excellent cause for it. The Swift Edge should eventually be available in the US with this CPU too, an Acer representative confirmed to Ars Technica. Our Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 review tested an equally specced Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U and found impressive performance, including generally stronger battery life and integrated Radeon 680M graphics when compared to Intel’s 12th Gen mobile chips. Although the Swift Edge won’t necessarily be as powerful as a $1,900 ThinkPad designed for businesses, Ryzen 6000 offers potential for Acer to capitalise on.
The same way that there is typically a “Intel tax” on PCs, there is typically a “OLED tax” on battery life. The Swift Edge’s 54 Wh battery, according to Acer, can support up to 10.5 hours of movie playing, eight hours of web browsing, and 7.5 hours of MobileMark 2018 usage. Those are higher figures than the tiny Swift 5’s 56 Wh battery claims (14, 14, and 7.5 hours, respectively).
The Swift Edge from Acer is a brand-new model in the company’s Swift line of ultrathin and light clamshells, which also includes the Swift 5 flagship model and the Swift X AMD and Swift X Intel models, both of which come equipped with dedicated graphics cards. The Swift Edge maintains a pattern that has emerged over the past few years, when more and more high-end laptop models are being made with AMD CPUs. The name “Edge” could also help AMD overcome its reputation as a less expensive alternative to Intel among consumers.