A lovely OLED display, powerful processor and impressively low price tag make the Go 14 instantly recommendable
- Sumptuous 90Hz OLED display
- Outstanding value
- Excellent 1440p webcam
- Shallow keyboard travel
- No support for Windows Hello facial recognition
- Display colour accuracy a little wayward
If you want an ultra-compact laptop with a high-end OLED display you need to be prepared to dig deep into your bank account. All the major PC manufacturers make them and most are very desirable machines with price tags well north of £1,500. You can, of course, pick up a Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro for considerably less than that but you’ll have to compromise on the specification.
The new Acer Go 14 breaks the paradigm. It combines a 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM and a high-end 13th Gen Core i7 CPU with a very nice OLED display and costs less than £1,000.
Acer Swift Go 14 review: What you need to know
The Swift Go 14 in effect replaces the highly regarded Acer Swift 3 OLED which is currently one of our favourite ultra compacts at Expert Reviews. If you were to think of the Go 14 as a Swift 3 with a different shape display and a 13th Gen rather than a 12th Gen Intel processor you wouldn’t be far off the mark.
There are also some more peripheral upgrades here, though, like the webcam, which jumps from 1080p to 1440p, and the preinstallation of Intel’s new Unison smartphone integration software, which seems to be destined to become part of the Intel Evo standard.
Acer has resisted the temptation to go for a radical design overhaul, presumably in the name of economy, and this brings us to what is, arguably, the most interesting thing about the Swift Go 14: it’s cheaper than the Swift 3 OLED.
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Acer Swift Go 14 review: Price and competition
Configuration tested: Intel Core i7-13700H CPU, Intel Iris Xe iGPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 14in, 90Hz, 2,880 x 1,800 OLED non-touchscreen.
When it goes on sale in July, the Acer Swift Go 14 range will start at £699 for the model with a 16:9 Full HD IPS panel, an AMD Ryzen 7 7530U CPU, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Paying £849 will get you a more powerful Ryzen 7 7730U chip, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.
If you want a 16:10 1,920 x 1,200 IPS touch screen you can choose between an Intel Core i5-13500H with 8GB of RAM for £799 or a Core i7-13700H CPU with 16GB of RAM for £999. Both have 512GB SSDs. Finally, there is a non-touch OLED model with a 2.8K screen and a Ryzen 7 7840U CPU for £999.
The observant among you will notice I’ve not given a price for the precise model on test with the 2.8K OLED screen and an Intel Core i7-13700H chip. That’s because the model we’ve been sent isn’t currently confirmed for the UK. You can, however, buy it in the USA for $1,049).
The M2 Apple MacBook Air is almost the default choice in this category but although prices start at £1,249 if you want a model matching the Swift Go 14’s specification, with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, you’ll need to part with £1,949, making it much more expensive. The MacBook Air’s battery life is far superior but the IPS display is smaller and less impressive.
The new Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro has the best display we’ve ever seen on a laptop, it’s very light and compact and prices start at a reasonable £1,349 but, as with the MacBook Air, to get close to Swift Go 14’s specification means spending more – in this case £1,649. And even then you’ll still have to make do with a less-powerful P-series Raptor Lake CPU.
The award for the most stylish 14in compact has to go to the new Asus Zenbook 14X OLED. The Inkwell Grey version looks good but the Sandstone Beige model is an absolute stunner. The upscale aesthetics are matched by a superb 14.5in 2.8K OLED touchscreen and a very competent speaker system. Prices start at £1,499.
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Acer Swift Go 14 review: Design and build quality
The Swift Go isn’t much of a looker compared to the competition from Asus and Apple or even the dowdier Samsung. In fact, it looks much like the old Swift 3 and the aluminium unibody construction is much the same, too. And it’s available in rose gold/beige and dark grey for those who want something different from the usual boring silver.
It’s a solidly made laptop, too. Give it a twist and there’s only a minor amount of flex in the lid and a similarly small amount of give in the middle of the keyboard deck if you press down hard. Like most Acer laptops, the bottom of the lid acts as a cantilever when you open it, lifting the back of the laptop up by a few millimetres to improve typing angle and air circulation.
I’ve no complaints about the dimensions at 313 x 218 x 14.9mm – the Swift Go 14 is compact enough to slip into even a small backpack. And at only 1.25kg, it’s just as easy to forget you are carrying it. The same goes for the petite 100W power brick that comes with it.
Connectivity is good, too. It’s kitted out with a pair of Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C 4.0 ports and two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 sockets as well as an HDMI 2.1 video output, a 3.5mm audio jack and a micro-SD card slot. You will need to use one of the Type-C ports for charging but that’s the norm these days.
Getting inside the Swift Go is a simple operation but, once you’ve removed the base, all you can do is upgrade the SSD and wireless card. The RAM is soldered to the motherboard and there’s no second SSD mount. Again, for a machine of this type, this is not unusual. At least removing the battery is a simple operation, just undo a couple of screws, unclip the power cable and out it comes.
Rounding things off, wireless communications are handled by a Killer Wireless Wi-Fi 6E 1675i card, which supports 6GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.2.
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Acer Swift Go 14 review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam
Acer has, thankfully, ditched the almost-illegible silver keycaps of the Swift 3 for more traditional black ones here, which are much easier to read. The keys themselves have a rather shallow action but the movement is precise and the end-stop is positive so you soon get used to them. I’ve no issues with the layout other than the half-height up and down arrow keys.
The touchpad is a little on the small side at just 100 x 65mm but the surface – made from ocean-reclaimed plastic – is perfectly smooth and offers no resistance to the touch. The click-action is crisp and precise and not too loud.
The webcam can shoot video at 1440p, which is a trick very few laptops can pull off and it comes with a full raft of image manipulation features, including background blurring, gaze tracking and automatic framing. The camera’s image quality is very good but it’s disappointing it doesn’t support Windows Hello IR facial recognition. There is a fingerprint scanner built into the power button but facial scanning is always more convenient.
Acer Swift Go 14 review: Display and audio
The Swift Go lineup marks Acer’s transition from the Swift 3’s 16:9 format to the increasingly common 16:10 thanks to a 2,880 x 1,800 matrix. According to Acer the display now takes up 90% of the lid rather than 85% as in the Swift 3 which looking at the 4.2mm side bezels seems about right.
Technically, the screen is a very solid performer. It refreshes at 90Hz and has a pixel density of 243ppi so it’s smooth and sharp. And it’s bright, too, hitting peaks of 502cd/m2 in my tests. That’s not quite a match for the Samsung Galaxy Book’s 526cd/m2 but this is still a very good result. There’s an abundance of colour with the panel able to reproduce 119% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut (equivalent to 116% of Adobe RGB or 169% of sRGB).
Like the OLED screens on some other Acer laptops I’ve encountered, it isn’t the most colour-accurate, however, with a measured Delta E of 2.95 vs the sRGB profile. That’s not a problem for everyday users – to my eye, the screen looks beautifully colourful and natural – but trained professionals who want to use their laptop for image grading tend to want a Delta E of less than 2 and certainly less than 3, which is a bar the Go 14 only just ducks under.
Acer doesn’t load its Swift machines with any sort of display colour profile manager or adjustment tool so you are left with just the Intel graphics control panel but that should be good enough to let you recalibrate just as long as you own a colorimeter. Metrics to one side, videos look superb on the little Acer, as does HDR content, which shouldn’t come as a shock as the Go 14 is VESA-certified DisplayHDR True Black 500.
The laptop performs well on the audio front as well. The speaker system pumps out an impressive 76.3dBA measured at a distance of 1m, although the sound is a little on the harsh side at high volumes and could do with more bass. It’s still perfectly listenable though and certainly par for a £1,000 laptop.
Acer Swift Go 14 review: Performance and battery life
The Intel Core i7-13700H chip in the Go 14 is a 14-core affair with 8 efficiency and 6 performance cores, and with HyperThreading enabled it’s capable of addressing up to 20 threads simultaneously.
Like all Intel’s H-series 13th Gen processors it has some legs on it and is capable of giving modern laptops a level of performance that would have been unthinkable just two years ago.
Our standard 4K multimedia benchmark returned a score of 317, which is more than double the figure you’d see from an equivalent Intel Core i7-1165G7 machine back in the spring of 2021. The GeekBench 5 multi-core score of 11,142 tells exactly the same tale. Both those benchmark scores also leave the MacBook Air floundering in the Swift Go’s wake.
Without a discrete GPU, the Go 14 is clearly not intended as a gaming machine but it still ran Metro: Last Light Redux on High settings at 38fps at a resolution of 1,980 x 1,200 and Serious Sam 4 at 60fps and 2,880 x 1,800, which means that light gaming with relatively undemanding titles is well within its capabilities.
The Micron 1TB SSD that shipped with my review machine had fast sequential write speeds, too, at 3,127MB/sec while the sequential read speed of 3,110MB/sec was only meaningfully beaten by the Samsung Galaxy Book 3.
Despite the fact that the ultra-compact Swift Go 14 is capable of genuine desktop performance, the performance delivered by its 65Wh battery was genuinely impressive: it lasted 10hrs 7mins in our standard battery run-down test. That’s the best of all its main Windows-based rivals, although it still can’t hold a candle to the M2 MacBook Air, which can run for 17 hours on a charge.
Acer Swift Go 14 review: Verdict
Considering the price of the Go 14 and what you get for your money it feels a little churlish to pick any holes in the thing. To get this much performance, display quality, storage and memory for £1,000 is a very impressive achievement.
Yes, it looks a little plain next to the Asus Zenbook 14X and the OLED display could be more colour-accurate but the former is a matter of taste and the latter can be improved by some judicious recalibration. I like this laptop; I like it a lot.