To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Snapdragon X series portables like the Acer Swift 14 AI are just laptops – but that’s the whole point

The Acer Swift 14 AI pictured on a stand at the Computex trade show, 2024

Acer’s Swift 14 AI doesn’t look exciting but with claims of lofty performance and long battery life it could shake up the laptop market

Acer launched its first Snapdragon X Series laptop on 21 May but it wasn’t until I got to Computex in Taiwan that I was able to see what its new breed of laptops look like in the flesh.

The Acer Swift 14 AI is one of a series of laptops launched alongside the Microsoft Surface Pro 11 and the Surface Laptop 7 and comes with a choice of Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite or Plus chipsets inside. If the claims are true about performance and battery life, it and its contemporaries are set to revolutionise what we can expect from Windows laptops.

READ NEXT: Best laptops for students

Acer Swift 14 AI hands-on: Specifications

  • 14.5in 16:20 120Hz 2,560 x 1,600 resolution IPS display
  • 12-core 3.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite / 10-core 3.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon X Plus processor, both with 45 TOPS Hexagon NPU
  • Supports Microsoft Copilot+ features
  • Up to 32GB RAM, up to 1TB SSD
  • 1440p QHD IR camera
  • 75Wh battery
  • 1.36kg
  • Price: From £1,199 inc VAT
  • Availability: July 2024 | Check price at Currys

The keyboard of the Acer Swift 14 AI pictured in close up

Acer Swift 14 AI hands-on: Key features and first impressions

Chief among the benefits of Snapdragon X silicon is great battery life, and the Acer Swift 14 AI certainly appears to deliver on that front. It promises an astonishing battery life of up to 26 hours (if true, it will better the Apple MacBook Air).

There’s also enough performance to meet the minimum requirements for Microsoft Copilot+ status – the NPU is rated at 40 TOPS (trillion operations per second) – so you will be able to use Cocreator in Microsoft Paint to help you create polished AI images from your scribbles, and scrub backwards to see what you’ve been doing on your laptop using Recall, among other things. I tried both of these features out and they work as advertised, although I’m yet to be convinced they’re the killer features that on-device AI has been looking for.

Inside the laptop is a Qualcomm processor with up to 32GB of RAM, up to 1TB of PCIe Gen4 SSD storage, and there’s now also an even more powerful Swift 14 AI in the offing, with Acer having introduced a model that comes with the recently announced AMD Ryzen 9 AI HX 370 CPU. This CPU has an NPU with a potent 50 TOPS of AI capability.

Using the Acer Swift 14 AI running Microsoft Paint with Cocreate to create an image of a desert island

Perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay the Acer Swift 14 AI, however, is that in terms of its looks and design, it comes across as just a normal laptop.

The Acer Swift 14 AI, showing details of the Snapdragon X Plus processor on screen

I fired up one of the demo machines up on the stand at Computex out in Taipei and it ran just like any other Windows 11 machine, with almost nothing to distinguish it from a regular Windows 11 laptop.

It comes with a fairly nice 120Hz 14.5in IPS 2,560 x 1,600 display that can be folded back 180 degrees. The keyboard and touchpad are nice enough to use but again nothing out of the ordinary.

Acer Swift 14 AI

It weighs a middling 1.36kg and is finished in a smart but fairly ordinary matte grey. The one aspect where it does stand out from the crowd is that it has a rather natty squiggly pattern stencilled subtly onto the top-right corner of the touchpad, which pulses gently whenever AI operations such as Windows Studio Effects, Recall or Cocreate are called into action.

Other specifications include a 1440p IR webcam that supports Windows Hello plus support for Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4. As with all recent Windows machines, it has a dedicated Copilot key for launching Microsoft’s ubiquitous AI chatbot, and physical connectivity seems decent, with two USB-C ports and a USB-A port on the left edge.

READ NEXT: The Asus Zenbook S 16 is one of the best-looking big, slim laptops ever

Acer Swift 14 AI hands-on: Early verdict

The Acer Swift 14 AI is a perfectly decent Windows productivity laptop, then, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Even Microsoft’s Copilot+ features fail to excite.

It’s the silicon lurking under the surface that’s the really interesting thing here. According to Qualcomm’s claims, and early benchmark results, it should outperform Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155H CPUs both on raw speed and battery life, come close to Apple’s M3 on speed and beat the MacBook Air on battery life.

With prices starting at £1,199 inc VAT, this would make the Swift 14 AI a tempting proposition. Now, all that remains is for these new laptops to live up to their billing. We hope to be getting our hands on one for some real-world use and benchmarking very soon.

The Acer Swift 14 AI closed, pictured on the Acer stand at Computex 2024

Read more

First Look