New Acer Swift laptop range has an AI feature I might actually use

Acer Swift Go 14 2024 announcement
Image: supplied.
100% human

After teasing its 2024 laptop range at CES, Acer has lifted the lid on its new Swift Edge 16 and Swift Go 14 laptops, sporting speedy AMD chips and crisp OLED screens.

Like just about every computer manufacturer on the planet, AI is a big focus of the new devices. Equipped with the AMD Ryzen 8040 series processors the fresh Acer Swift laptops wield a neural processing unit (NPU) designed to tackle AI-based tasks. Similar to the competing Intel Core Ultra chips, AMD’s tech is designed to spread computing loads across the CPU, GPU and NPU.

In theory, this should help prolong battery life – or increase performance without needing more power – by reducing the strain on the more power-hungry CPU and GPU components. Tasks like background blurring in video calls and noise cancelling should be largely handled by the NPU.

Interestingly, in an effort to push the concept of AI PCs further, Acer’s Swift laptops include a dedicated button to access AcerSense, the brand’s software aimed at fostering “a smoother, more user-friendly AI experience”. It’s not clear what this means in practice but it’s intriguing nonetheless.

What does look nifty, however, is the LiveArt image editing tool that automatically removes backgrounds from images, letting you edit the results. If it works as advertised, that’d be a big help to my daily workflow. There’s also the dedicated Windows Copilot key for generative AI functions, which has been known to conjure strange results.

Pushed to the edge

Considered the flagship laptop of the bunch, the Acer Swift Edge 16 is an ultra-thin model made to be an all-around productivity device. It only weighs 1.23kg, which is incredibly light for a 16-inch laptop. One of its big selling points is the vibrant 3,200 x 2,000 OLED display that supports a smooth 120Hz refresh rate.

On the inside, you can get the Swift Edge 16 with up to an AMD Ryzen 7 8840U octa-core processor, accompanied by Radeon 780M graphics. Depending on your needs, there’s up to 32GB of LPDDR5 SDRAM available, alongside 2TB of SSD storage. Its 54Wh battery isn’t huge, although the AI tech might help it last through the day.

Acer Swift Edge 16 laptop
Although light, the Swift Edge 16 still has room for plenty of ports. Image: supplied.

Networking nerds will be delighted to see the Acer Swift Edge 16 supports tri-band Wi-Fi 7 connectivity. It means that, with a Wi-Fi 7 router like TP-Link’s Archer BE800, you’ll benefit from a wider 6GHz channel and Multi-Link Operation (MLO), enabling simultaneous use of the 5GHz and 6GHz bands. In other words, faster, more stable, and better Wi-Fi overall.

There are plenty of connectivity options on this laptop, which is good to see. There are two type-C USB4 ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.1 port, and a MicroSD card slot.

Available in Australia sometime in Q2 2024, the Acer Swift Edge 16 (SFE16-44) starts at $2,199.99.

Acer Swift Go faster

In exchange for a little more weight (1.32kg), the Swift Go 14 model offers increased power. Most of its internals are the same, except for the option of the higher-tier AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS processor. It also packs a larger 65Wh battery capacity, too.

Despite the slightly heftier build, the Swift Go is still a thin laptop. You can open the hinge at a 180-degree angle to lay it out completely flat. Acer also claims that this year’s touchpad is 44% larger than the previous generation, using its OceanGlass material made from recycled plastics.

There are three 14-inch display options available for the 2024 Swift Go 14 laptop. Two are IPS sRGB 100% panels, in addition to a more colourful OLED 2880×1800 panel that supports the full DCI-P3 colour gamut. All options max out at 90Hz, which is still reasonably smooth for general productivity tasks.

Acer Swift Go 14 hinge
A little heavier, the Swift Go 14 also has the option of a more powerful processor. Image: supplied.

Instead of Wi-Fi 7, the Swift Go 14 uses Wi-Fi 6E technology. It’s still a fast tri-band wireless protocol, albeit not as quick as the latest generation. As for ports, it comes with two type-C USB4 ports, an HDMI 2.1 slot, and a MicroSD card connector. Plus, Bluetooth 5.3 is supported.

Out soon in the next few months, the Acer Swift Go 14 (SFG14-63) starts at $1,399.99 for the base configuration.

Between the likes of Intel, AMD, and Apple, there’s a lot of competition in the laptop technology space. Acer’s entries look like solid competitors for Team Red as versatile laptops that won’t take up much space.

I will make one early judgement call, though: Acer missed a trick by not making some Taylor Swift-related pun given the current Eras Tour fever sweeping the nation.

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