The Acer Swift X AMD Windows 11 laptop with Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics packs a lot of computing power into a compact and cool chassis. Even Full HD gaming with high details is possible. Still, the price tag is nice. It is logical that this entails some compromises.
Acer Swift X AMD SFX14-41G-R0FB
8 Score 80
- Excellent performance
- Good autonomy
- Full USB-C functionality
- Plastic parts
- Bright keyboard LED
We test one of the newer Swift X AMD models (SFX14-41G-R0FB) with hexacore Ryzen 5 5500U apu, integrated Radeon graphics, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD and Nvidia RTX 3050 laptop video card with 4 GB VRAM.
In the same package with a 14-inch IPS screen (35.6 cm) with Full HD resolution, there are several models, ranging in price from one thousand to fourteen hundred euros. All of them have, in addition to integrated AMD Radeon graphics, an additional Nvidia laptop video card, fluctuating in graphics power between GeForce GTX 1650 (Turing architecture) and GTX 3050 Ti (Ampere architecture).
The more powerful graphics chips, such as the tested RTX 3050 and the RTX 3050 Ti, which is about a quarter faster, are suitable for displaying demanding games with high details in Full HD. DLSS (sharper, smoother images) is possible with a number of games, provided that a slightly lower detail is chosen. These mobile GPUs are not suitable for most games for ‘ray tracing’ (better lighting effects).
More powerful graphics chips put more strain on the battery, which is difficult with a compact laptop such as the Swift X. Fortunately, for normal computer work, there is the integrated AMD Radeon GPU, which ensures lower energy consumption while on the road. Connected to the socket you can then let the more powerful Nvidia chip do its work.
However, don’t expect miracles if you play a game on the battery. The model we tested lasts over 13 hours in the UL PCMark10 ‘Modern Office’ and ‘Video’ battery benchmarks. During the ‘Gaming’ battery tests, this falls to less than an hour and a half. When gaming or during intensive multimedia applications, it is therefore best to connect the 120 watt power supply to the socket. That power supply is also fairly extensive and weighs 310 grams.
Thanks to a special cooling system, the Swift X AMD is quiet even under load
More powerful laptops often suffer from fan noise during more intensive tasks. With the Swift X, this problem is largely absent, even during the more demanding benchmarks such as our graphical stress tests. The laptop passes those tests without any problems and stably.
This may have to do with the double copper cooling tubes and the back of the keyboard with wide air intake. An inclined ring fan with fifty-nine blades inside increases the air intake even more. If you are still bothered by fan noise, you can still reduce productivity and therefore the noise with Fn+F.
There are some compromises, especially with regard to the housing and the screen. The relatively thick housing consists largely of plastic, with some aluminum parts for improved sturdiness. The matte screen is not as thin as on more expensive aluminum laptops, but we find the screen-to-body ratio of just under 86 percent acceptable.
The tiny “Full Function Type-C Connector,” as Acer calls it, supports a 10Gbit/s data connection, DisplayPort video, and USB power delivery, but is not an official Thunderbolt connection. There is also only one type-c port, in addition to two type-as. An HDMI2.0 connector is also present, but a memory card reader is missing. A round power connector, security lock and a 3.5mm audio port complete the number of ports.
The keyboard backlight uses one strong LED in the center of the top side of the keyboard. The top is so brightly lit that the keyboard letters and numbers are almost invisible. Fortunately, you can easily switch off the key lighting, but it would have been more convenient if you could set it in different strengths.
The screen quality is good. You can improve it further by adjusting the color temperature, contrast, gamma and amount of blue light (using the Acer ExaColor, Color Intelligence and BlueLightShield features).
The chiclet keys are quite far apart and therefore seem a bit small, but you can type on them fairly smoothly with ten fingers, although half the enter key is a bit too small for us (the other half of the key is occupied by a pipe character and a reverse slant stripe).
Positive is the full-fledged cursor island, with full PgUp/Dn keys, with only the Home and End keys needing an extra Fn keystroke. Also useful are the power key to the right above the keyboard and the fast-response, Windows Hello-compatible Egistec fingerprint sensor at the bottom right.
Wifi 6 and bluetooth 5.2 are provided by a MediaTek MT7921 chip instead of the more common Intel or Realtek chipsets. We didn’t notice any noticeable difference between the MT7921 and the more famous Intel AX200. The speed and stability of the wireless connections are comparable: at ideal wireless ax router speed, they approach that of a gigabit ethernet connection.
The Acer Swift X AMD (SFX14-41G-R0FB) performs very well for its price and equipment level. This compact general purpose laptop is powerful enough for multimedia tasks and playing fairly intensive games in Full HD. Even at full load, it does its job cool and quietly enough.
Given the competitive price, there are of course some necessary compromises, the most important being a slightly heavier and thicker housing that consists partly of plastic. But for this money you will not easily find another laptop with similar performance.