The Acer Swift Edge clamshell announced today is a gentle reminder of the so-called Intel tax. The PC offers a larger screen with more expensive display technology and pixels than a similarly equipped Acer Swift 5 Ultralight at the same price. The other big difference between the two laptops is that the new Swift Edge opts for AMD Ryzen 6000 processors, while the Swift 5 uses 12th Gen Intel CPUs.
Acer is releasing the Swift Edge this Friday in the US, with a Ryzen 7 6800U sporting eight cores, 4MB L2 cache, 16MB L3 cache, and a clock speed of 2.7GHz that can be boosted to 4.7GHz . It will have an MSRP of $1,500 when paired with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 1TB of PCIE 4.0 SSD storage.
That’s the same MSRP as the Swift 5 from writing and when we checked it in July. For this price you get an Intel Core i7-1260P with four performance cores (2.1-4.7 GHz), eight efficient cores (1.5-3.4 GHz) and 18 MB L3 cache, as well as the same RAM and Storage specifications same as Swift Edge configuration above.
The Swift Edge and Swift 5 also have a similar port selection: two USB-C ports (although the Intel PC’s ports are Thunderbolt 4-certified and operate at up to 40 Gbps, rather than the 20 Gbps of the Swift Edge ports), two USB-C ports. A ports (USB 3.2 Gen 1), one HDMI 2.1 port and one 3.5mm jack.
However, the Swift Edge could have a notable advantage when it comes to the screen. It features a 16-inch OLED non-touch display with a resolution of 3840×2400, compared to the 14-inch IPS touchscreen with a resolution of 2560×1600 on the Swift 5. The OLED screen comes with 100% DCI-P3 color coverage up to 500 brightness and VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certification. In our Acer Swift 5 test, we recorded 541 nits and 83.1 percent DCI-P3 coverage.
Of course, there’s more to a laptop than its spec sheet; We’d have to take a closer look at things like the build quality (the Swift Edge has a magnesium alloy body), audio, the webcam, and the display in action. But an early look at those specs shows that there are other places to upgrade if you’re interested in an AMD CPU versus an Intel CPU.
And for a good reason. Our review of the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 tested a similarly equipped Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U (the Swift Edge would eventually be offered with this CPU in the US, an Acer rep confirmed to Ars Technica) and found impressive performance, including a generally longer one Battery life and integrated Radeon 680M graphics compared to Intel’s 12th Gen mobile chips. The Swift Edge won’t necessarily be as powerful as a business-focused $1,900 ThinkPad, but the Ryzen 6000 has potential that Acer can capitalize on.
Just as there’s often a so-called Intel tax on PCs, there’s usually also an OLED tax on battery life. Acer claims that the Swift Edge’s 54 Wh battery can last up to 10.5 hours of video playback, eight hours of web browsing, and 7.5 hours on the MobileMark 2018 benchmark. These are better rates than the smaller Swift 5 with its 56 Wh battery (14, 14, and 7.5 hours, respectively).
Acer’s Swift Edge is a new addition to Acer’s Swift range of thin and light clamshells, which also includes the ultralight flagship Swift 5 Swift-X AMD and Swift X Intel, both of which contain dedicated graphics cards. The Swift Edge continues a trend we’ve seen over the past few years as AMD chips increasingly find their way into not only more laptop models, but higher-end designs as well. The “Edge” nickname could also help AMD shake up the reputation that has led many consumers to view its chips as a budget alternative to Intel.
The Swift Edge launches this Friday for $1,500 as listed above (SKU SFA16-41-R7SU). It was eventually supposed to start at a Ryzen 5 6600U and go up to 32GB of storage, but an Acer rep told Ars it might not sell those configurations in the US.
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