We really liked the original Acer Swift Edge 16, and Acer’s update to it is surprisingly intriguing: It’s even thinner, though heavier, with a step down in both the display quality and price. And there’s now AI, too!
In our original review of the Acer Swift Edge 16 we noted that “we’ve not seen a laptop with a larger screen that weighs less.” But reviewer Matt Elliott went on to note that he wouldn’t mind seeing Acer invest in a bit more material to stabilize the laptop. Acer apparently rejected that advice, went the other direction, and this $1,299 Ryzen 7000-based laptop is the result.
As a consequence, the Acer Swift Edge 16 (SFE16-43-R98R) will be a tad thinner at 0.51 inches thick, but will weigh 2.73 pounds, a 0.14-pound increase over the previous generation.
(The earlier generation sloped from 0.55 inches thick to 0.51 inches thick; the latest version is 0.51 inches, front to back. Acer also offered the previous generation at either $1,499 or $1,299; the 2023 refresh will be sold in a single model for North America, at $1,299. )
The contrasts continue. Although both Acer Swift Edge models include an OLED panel, the earlier generation uses a 16-inch 16:10 4K(3840×2400) display. The current model steps down to what Acer calls “WQXGA+”: a 16:10 (3200×2000) display instead. On the other hand, the newest Swift Edge’s display runs at 120Hz, a quality-of-life improvement that will generally just be easier on your eyes. (Like some OLED displays, it’s not a touchscreen.) Still, the improved refresh rate has a cost attached to it: The battery-life rating of “8+” hours sounds like a dip from the 10 or so hours that the original Swift Edge lasted in our tests.
The interesting twist is the processor: the Ryzen 7 7840U. Like certain members of Intel’s 13th-gen mobile Core family, the AMD Ryzen 7040 Mobile family includes Ryzen AI, which an AMD executive explained is vital to the company’s processor development going forward. (Because of AMD’s weird naming scheme, the Ryzen 7040 family includes the Ryzen 7 7840U, the chip inside the latest Swift Edge 16.)
Ryzen AI is AMD’s secret sauce toward enabling AI. Unfortunately, there is little public knowledge about applications for Ryzen AI and Intel’s AI-infused Core chips, other than, say, Windows Studio Effects, which provide video enhancements during video calls. But with Microsoft announcing Windows Copilot at its Build conference in May, there may be further uses for AI-powered chips.
Other intriguing features include a 1440p webcam, a substantial step up from the 1080p webcam that most laptops include. The laptop’s audio is also powered by DTS:X, via a pair of front-facing speakers. Finally, the I/O ports support USB4, which is essentially the open version of the Thunderbolt protocol found on Thunderbolt docking stations. An Acer representative also explained the additional weight: enhanced cooling mechanisms, and improvements to the keyboard. Acer added a number pad, and increased the key travel from 1mm to 1.3mm, making it easier and more comfortable to type upon.
Acer is scheduled to ship the Acer Swift 16 in July for $1,299. We’ve summarized the features below.
Acer Swift Edge 16 (2023) basic features:
- Display: 16-inch (3200×2000) OLED, 120Hz at 400 nits (HDR500) (non-touch)
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 7840U
- Graphics: Radeon 780M
- Memory: 16GB LPDDR5
- Storage: 1TB PCIe Gen 4
- Ports: 2x USB-C (USB4) with 65W charging; 2x 10Gbps USB-A, 1 HDMI 2.1, microSD, 3.5mm mic/headphone jack
- Camera: 1440p
- Battery: up to 8.5 hours
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1
- Operating system: Windows 11 Home
- Dimensions (inches): 14.08 x 9.68 x 0.51 inches (12.95mm)
- Weight: 2.73lb
- Color: Black
- Price: $1,299
This story was updated at 8:35 AM with additional details.