Acer Swift Go 14 (2024) review: Competent but Lacking Spark

In the competitive arena of 14-inch laptops, where innovation and cutting-edge technology often lead the charge, the Acer Swift Go 14 for 2024 enters the fray with a promise of robust performance and sleek design, all wrapped up in an $800 price tag. Marketed for its fast productivity capabilities, a commendable keyboard, and a quality IPS display, this laptop positions itself as a contender in the mid-range market. Yet, despite these merits, not all that glitters is gold. The Acer Swift Go 14, while ticking several boxes for average needs, struggles to stand out in a field where distinctiveness and higher build quality are fast becoming baseline expectations.

From a chassis that feels less than solid to a touchpad that leaves much to be desired, the Swift Go 14 presents a mixed bag of features. Having experienced a variety of 14-inch laptops—ranging from high-end to budget-friendly—the Swift Go 14 falls into a category that might have been commendable a few years ago but now finds itself overshadowed by peers offering that “something extra.” In a market driven by innovation, does the Acer Swift Go 14 do enough to justify its existence, or is it merely skating by on the basics? Let’s delve deeper into its features and performance to find out.

Acer Swift Go 14 (2024) review

Specs and configurations

 Acer Swift Go 14 SFG14-73T
Dimensions12.23 inches x 8.67 inches x 0.66-0.74 inches
Weight3.05 pounds
ProcessorIntel Core Ultra 5 125H
Intel Core Ultra 7 155H
GraphicsIntel Arc
RAM16GB
Display14.0-inch 16:10 WUXGA (1920 x 1200) IPS touch, 60Hz
Storage512GB SSD
1TB SSD
TouchYes
Ports2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x microSD card reader
WirelessWi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3
WebcamQHD (1440p)
Operating systemWindows 11
Battery65 watt-hours
Price
$800+

The Acer Swift Go 14, specifically the SFG14-73T model, is currently available in two variants through Acer’s online store. The entry-level option, priced at $830, features a Core Ultra 5 125H processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, Intel Arc graphics, and a 14.0-inch WUXGA IPS display. For those seeking more power, the upgraded model includes a Core Ultra 7 155H chipset for $950.

While these prices might have been appealing a few years back, the market landscape has changed significantly. Competitors like the Asus Zenbook 14 Q425 now offer comparable specifications at a base price of $800, including an OLED display and a sleeker design. Moreover, promotional deals have seen prices drop as low as $500 for the base model and $800 for the high-end version with similar specs.

However, there’s a silver lining for Costco members who can snag the Swift Go 14 equipped with a Core Ultra 7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD for just $800. This deal not only offers significant value due to the larger storage capacity but also makes it a more competitive option within the same price bracket.

Design

The design of the Acer Swift Go 14 harks back to the traditional aesthetics of earlier 14-inch laptops, featuring a silver body contrasted with black keys and noticeable rear vents. Although its bezels are relatively slim, they are made from plastic instead of the more modern glass integration seen in competitors. Moreover, the laptop’s “Swift” branding on the touchpad, illuminated for emphasis, might feel somewhat overstated for some users. While not lacking in visual appeal, the Swift Go 14 doesn’t quite match the modern flair of the Dell XPS 14 or Asus Zenbook 14 Q425, both of which exhibit a more current design language.

Acer Swift Go 14 front angled view showing display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

When it comes to build quality, the Swift Go 14 presents a mixed bag. Its all-aluminum chassis and lid generally hold up well against bending and twisting. However, it lacks the dense, solid feel that is often associated with more premium models. During use, I noticed a slight instability in the chassis, particularly on the right side, which tended to lift slightly and make contact with the desk when opening the lid—a detail that might be unique to my review unit but nonetheless detracted from the overall perceived quality.

Acer Swift Go 14 rear view showing lid and logo.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Portability-wise, the Swift Go 14 is average for its category. It measures 0.74 inches in thickness and weighs 3.05 pounds, positioning it as a manageable but not outstanding option for mobility. By comparison, the Asus Zenbook 14 boasts a thinner 0.59-inch profile and a lighter 2.82-pound weight, while the Dell XPS 14, though slightly thicker at 0.71 inches, is heavier at 3.7 pounds. The MacBook Air sets a higher standard in ultra-portability with its razor-thin 0.44-inch thickness and featherlight 2.7-pound weight, despite having a marginally smaller screen. Ultimately, the Swift Go 14 offers adequate ease of transport but doesn’t lead the pack in the lightweight category.

Keyboard and touchpad

The Acer Swift Go 14 features a commendable keyboard that, despite its smaller keycaps, offers generous spacing between keys. The keys themselves are responsive and light, with a satisfying snap and comfortable travel, making it easy to adapt to even if you’re used to different layouts like the XPS 14’s zero-lattice keyboard. It holds up well compared to the Zenbook 14’s keyboard, though it doesn’t quite reach the benchmark set by the MacBook Air. One unique feature of this keyboard is the inclusion of the Microsoft Copilot key, which provides direct access to Windows 11’s cloud-based Copilot feature, although the utility of this function might not be significant for all users.

Acer Swift Go 14 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

On the other hand, the touchpad of the Swift Go 14 leaves room for improvement. It is adequately sized but incorporates stiff mechanical buttons that lack responsiveness. Users might find themselves struggling with unregistered clicks or accidental double-clicks, which can be a source of frustration during use. This experience starkly contrasts with the smoother performance of the Zenbook 14’s mechanical touchpad and the even superior haptic touchpads found on the XPS 14 and MacBook Air.

A notable advantage of the Swift Go 14 is its touch-enabled display, which comes standard—a feature not always available or only optional on other 14-inch laptops. This adds a layer of interactivity, enhancing usability for those who prefer or benefit from direct screen manipulation.

Connectivity

The Acer Swift Go 14 distinguishes itself with its robust connectivity options, blending old-school appeal with modern technology. Unlike some competitors like the Dell XPS 14 and MacBook Air, which primarily feature Thunderbolt 4 ports, the Swift Go 14 offers a versatile array of ports catering to both current and legacy needs. Additionally, it supports cutting-edge wireless technologies with Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3, ensuring users have access to the fastest and most reliable wireless connections available today.

The webcam on the Swift Go 14 also sets a higher standard compared to many contemporary models by offering a 1440p resolution, surpassing the more typical 1080p found on most laptops. This enhancement is particularly beneficial for those who frequently participate in video calls. Acer enhances this functionality with a suite of video conferencing enhancements. These include its AI-driven Temporal Noise Reduction and PurifiedView technology, which integrates with Windows Studio effects to provide features like automatic framing, advanced background blur, and gaze correction. These improvements leverage the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) within the Meteor Lake chipset, which, while currently having limited application scope—such as in software like Gimp—holds potential for broader utility as software support expands

Performance

The Acer Swift Go 14 leverages Intel’s latest Core Ultra 7 155H processor, a powerhouse with a 28-watt draw, 16 cores divided across performance, efficient, and low power efficient categories, and 22 threads. This configuration makes the Swift Go 14 exceptionally capable for productivity tasks. While its integrated Intel Arc graphics represent a notable improvement over previous generations, they still lag behind the capabilities of entry-level discrete GPUs.

Acer Swift Go 14 side view showing lid, keyboard, and ports.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

During testing, the Swift Go 14 emerged as one of the top performers among laptops equipped with the Core Ultra 7 chipset, particularly in CPU-intensive benchmarks. Engaging the performance mode significantly enhances its capabilities, though this can cause the fans to become audibly loud during peak operations. Additionally, the laptop’s design, featuring bottom vents, necessitates careful placement on surfaces to avoid overheating and to ensure proper ventilation.

Acer Swift Go 14 side rear view showing vents.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Graphically, the Swift Go 14’s Intel Arc graphics score well, achieving strong results in the Creation segment of the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark, which in turn contributed to an elevated overall performance score. Despite these strengths, the absence of an option for a discrete GPU means the Swift Go 14 might not be the best fit for more graphics-intensive creative applications and gaming. Nonetheless, for users primarily engaged in demanding productivity tasks, this laptop remains a robust and fast option.

Geekbench 6
(single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single/multi)
PCMark 10 Complete
Acer Swift Go 14
(Core Ultra 7 155H)
Bal: 2,269 / 12,007
Perf: 2,269 / 12,119
Bal: 72
Perf: 69
Bal: 1,760 / 13,315
Perf: 1,773 / 14,948
6,767
Asus Zenbook 14 Q425
(Core Ultra 7 155H)
Bal: 2,257 / 11,820
Perf: 2,279 / 11,806
Bal: 94
Perf: 82
Bal: 1,706 / 8,684
Perf: 1,758 / 10,899
6,086
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 9
(Core Ultra 7 155H)
Bal: 2,396 / 14,270
Perf: 2,426 / 14,406
Bal: 98
Perf: 81
Bal: 1,802 / 10,576
Perf: 1,792 / 12,558
6,640
HP Spectre x360 14
(Core Ultra 7 155H)
Bal: 2,185 / 11,123
Perf: 2,176 / 11,980
Bal: 138
Perf: 83
Bal: 1,750 / 9,832
Perf: N/A
6,316
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 (Core i7-1360P)Bal: 2,509 / 10,746
Perf: 2,553 / 11,324
N/ABal: 1,846 / 8,779
Perf: 1,906 / 9,849
6,102
Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Core i7-13700H)Bal: 2,501 / 11,991
Perf: 2,512 / 11,862
N/ABal: 1,819 / 11,066 Perf: 1,826 / 12,7956,020
Apple MacBook Air
(M3)
Bal: 3,102 / 12,078
Perf: N/A
Bal: 109
Perf: N/A
N/AN/A

Battery life

The Acer Swift Go 14 is equipped with a 65-watt-hour battery paired with an FHD+ IPS display, setting the stage for promising battery performance. Given the variability in battery life observed with laptops running the Core Ultra 7 processor, expectations were cautiously optimistic.

In our standardized web browsing battery test, the Swift Go 14 delivered an impressive 11 hours of battery life, marking a robust performance for a 14-inch laptop. To put this in context, the Dell XPS 14 achieved approximately 12 hours under similar conditions, while the Asus Zenbook 14 Q425, with its FHD+ OLED display, edged slightly ahead at 12.5 hours. However, it’s worth noting that these figures surpass many competitors that hover around the eight-hour mark.

Acer Swift Go 14 side view showing lid and ports.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Further testing involved looping a local video, where the Swift Go 14 lasted for 12.5 hours. This performance is competitive, though still trailing behind the XPS 14’s 15 hours and significantly behind the Zenbook’s remarkable 18 hours. The MacBook Air leads the category with even stronger battery life, although the Swift Go 14’s results are more aligned with the average performance seen across many tested laptops.

In summary, while the Swift Go 14 offers solid battery life, it does not set a new benchmark in its category. It’s likely sufficient for a full day’s use under light to moderate conditions, but heavy users might find the need for a mid-day charge depending on their usage patterns.

Display and audio

The Acer Swift Go 14 is equipped with a 14.0-inch 16:10 IPS panel that boasts an FHD+ resolution (1920×1200) and a refresh rate of 60Hz. While this setup is beneficial for extending battery life, it’s worth noting that many competitors in the 14-inch laptop category now offer OLED screens and higher resolutions, enhancing visual quality significantly.

In terms of brightness, the Swift Go 14’s display shines at 448 nits, exceeding the once-standard 300 nits, reflecting a trend toward much brighter laptop displays. Its contrast ratio is also impressive for an IPS panel, reaching 1,620:1, well above the old standard of 1,000:1. Despite these strong metrics, the display faces stiff competition from OLED screens, which are renowned for their near-infinite contrast ratios and deeper blacks.

Acer Swift Go 14 front view showing display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Color reproduction on the Swift Go 14 is adequate, covering 99% of the sRGB spectrum and 76% of both AdobeRGB and DCI-P3—typical for IPS displays but less impressive compared to the vibrant color profiles offered by OLED displays and some of Apple’s IPS panels. Color accuracy is quite good, with a DeltaE of 1.23, where a score under 1.0 is deemed excellent. However, OLED panels generally deliver superior color accuracy.

While the display is more than satisfactory for general productivity tasks, it may not meet the needs of content creators or provide the best experience for HDR media consumption. As such, it might not appeal to users with high demands for media viewing.

Audio output on the Swift Go 14 comes from two downward-firing speakers, which are adequate for casual use like streaming short videos or listening to system sounds. However, for more immersive audio experiences, whether watching movies, listening to music, or gaming, using a good pair of headphones or an external speaker system is advisable to enhance audio quality significantly.

A laptop with too many flaws

The Acer Swift Go 14 positions itself as a high-performing productivity laptop within the upper spectrum of its Core Ultra 7 chipset category. It features a respectable IPS display and offers commendable keyboard functionality and connectivity options. While these attributes render it a satisfactory choice for basic needs, it fails to distinguish itself in a competitive market where higher standards are quickly becoming the norm.

However, there are several drawbacks that hinder a full recommendation of this model. The primary concern is the laptop’s chassis, which exhibits a noticeable wobble, casting doubts about its durability and build quality. Additionally, the touchpad’s performance falls short of expectations, proving less responsive and comfortable compared to those found on comparable models.

Given these issues, potential buyers might find better value elsewhere. There are numerous alternatives available at similar or even lower price points that offer superior build quality and user experience, making them more compelling choices in the current laptop market.

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