Acer Swift 5 15.6-inch is a featherlight with i7 power (SF515-51T)
4.6Overall Score
Name: Acer Swift 5 15.6-inch (SF515-51T)
Price (RRP): $from 1799
Manufacturer: Acer

The Acer Swift 5 15.6-inch does not stand out from the crowd – it’s the Ant-man of the ultra-lights at 999g – just under the magic 1kg – a feat not repeated by any other brand.

How does Acer make the Swift 5 15.6-inch so light?

Simple – it uses ultra-thin buy ultra-tough magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminium alloys. When you first pick it up, you expect at least 1.5kg, but its feather light at 999g and you are impressed – very impressed.

Acer Swift 5 15.6-inch

Channel Seven GadgetGuy Val Quin said, “You think its plastic but its not. This is amazing with almost no bezels, a huge bright screen, Core i7 and so many ports – great to travel with.”

I could not have said it better – in a sea of normality this is different.

Review: What makes the Acer Swift 5 15.6-inch so different?

  • Under 1kg
  • Two full-size USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) ports
  • One USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) port with PD 3.0 charging and DP Alt Mode video/audio/data
  • One dedicated barrel connector power port 19V/2.37A 45W
  • One full-size HDMI port
  • Micro bezels allow a 15.6-inch screen in a 14-inch body
  • PCIe NVMe SSD plus an extra M.2 expansion socket
  • Intel 8th gen Core (i5 option)
  • In a perfectly engineered and built case
  • Website here
Acer Swift 5 15.6-inch

What do you lose by this?

Everything is soldered to the motherboard – it is not upgradable. But it does have an empty M.2 PCIe socket for expansion.

Sure, a Thunderbolt 3 port would have been nice too, but USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 is fine with a dock or dongle.

Prior review – Acer Swift 5 14-inch

In March we reviewed the 14-inch version of the Swift 5 (SF514-52T). We gave it a four-out-of-five because, while the concept was excellent, the choice of some components was average. For example, the dim 250nit and highly reflective screen and a slow SATA 6 SSD. Fix both of those, and it would have been a five-out-of-five.

Well, guess what – the Acer Swift 5, 15.6-inch addresses all this and based on that it will have our strongest recommendation in the ultra-ultra-light category.

As we have reviewed the 14-inch Swift, we will keep this review briefer.

Screen – one of the best you will see

It is a 15.6”, 1920 x 1080, LG panel LP156WFA-SPG2, 142PPI, IPS screen.

Acer Swift 5 15.6-inch

In our tests, brightness peaked at 350 nits and typically was around 330 nits. Contrast is about 1100:1. It is a bright screen although the glossy finish does limit bright outdoor use.

It has 100% sRBG or about 76% Adobe RGB. DeltaE is 2.2 anything under 3 is good) and you can tweak that down further. Its colour temperature is a tad cool in default settings at 6700K but use the Intel Graphics setting, and you can get it spot on at 6500K. It is completely flicker-free. G-T-G is 38ms – fine for web-based games.

Screen summary: One of the best FHD screens I have seen and using WLED achieves far brighter colours that we all love. At 100% sRGB web designers would be very happy.

Processor, RAM

The i7-8656U 1.8/4.6GHz 10-25W TDP has a very good 9030 PassMark. But on battery power it seldom reached 2Ghz. On mains power, it would occasionally go to 3Ghz.

Yes, it is throttled to achieve good thermal efficiency. In normal use the underside reached mid-30° and after a full load test reached 45° which is warm but not uncomfortable. Fan noise ranged from 30 to 35dB – whisper quiet.