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Acer Swift X 16 OLED (SFX16-61G): A technically impressive but rather boring creative laptop

Our Rating :
£1,423.99 from
Price when reviewed : £1424
inc VAT

With a superb display and potent silicon, the new Swift X should excite and delight more than it does


  • Potent CPU/GPU combination
  • Gorgeous 16in 3.2K 120Hz OLED display
  • Good selection of I/O ports


  • Dreary design
  • Unimpressive speakers
  • No display colour profiles

Life was simpler when laptops fell into two categories: those you bought for playing games and those for everything else. That line has been blurred by a new breed of laptops that pack discrete GPUs but are aimed at creative users who need the GPU for rendering, modelling and image editing.

Of course, if you combine those features with a high-refresh-rate display, by default you have a machine that is also a gaming wolf in creative sheep’s clothing. This new breed can rightly be described as multi-purpose: machines that can do just about anything and do it well.

Acer Swift X 16 OLED (SFX16-61G): What you need to know

Without wishing to sound all Bauhaus, I tend towards the idea of form following function. In the specific instance of the new Acer Swift X, I think high-end laptops aimed at creative types should exhibit some degree of stylistic excellence – or at least stylistic effort.

The Swift X is very much being pitched at creative types. With its potent 100W TGP Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU and glorious 3K 120Hz OLED screen, it is designed to excel at multimedia work, CAD and animation jobs. For the more general user, that fast screen and discrete GPU should speak to decent gaming performance.

Given that target audience, it’s disappointing that the new Swift X 16 has a rather timorous design and lacks subtleties like a multiplexer switch and display profile selector.

Acer Swift X 16 OLED (SFX16-61G) review: Price and competition

Configuration tested: AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS CPU, Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 16in, 120Hz, 3,200 x 2,000 OLED non-touch. Price when reviewed: £1,499 inc VAT

Acer lists two variants of the Swift X 16: one with an AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU, a 2TB SSD and 32GB of RAM, and another with a Ryzen 7 7840HS processor, 1 TB of storage and 16GB of RAM. UK price and availability for the Ryzen 9 model have yet to be confirmed, but the cheaper model is on sale for just under £1,500.

There are plenty of competitors out there but the doyen of 16in creative laptops is the Apple MacBook Pro with a superb Mini LED display and epic battery life. The 16in model starts at over £2,500, though, so you’ll have to make do with the 14.2in model (£1,699) to match the Swift X competition-wise.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Book 4 Pro 360 may not have a discrete GPU (you need the rather more expensive Ultra model to get an RTX 4050 GPU), but the 2.8K AMOLED touchscreen is gorgeous, the battery life superb for a Windows machine and the speaker system is best in class. It isn’t cheap, though, at £1,799.

If you want something in a smaller package, the 14in Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 has many of the same features as the new Swift X, including a fine 120Hz OLED screen and an even more powerful Nvidia GPU – the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060. It’s a superbly balanced package and very good value at around £1,450.

The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED is a design classic. At under £1,100, it’s the perfect laptop for creative types perpetually on the move who want something semi-affordable but ultra-stylish. The new Intel Meteor Lake CPU and Arc integrated GPU perform very well, while the 3K 120Hz OLED screen is uncannily colour-accurate.

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Acer Swift X 16 OLED (SFX16-61G) review: Design and build quality

Looking at recent Acer laptops like the Swift Go 14 and now the Swift X, I wonder if the design department has walked out and senior management has yet to notice.

There’s nothing hugely wrong with the Swift X; it’s a well-made all-aluminium affair, though twist the lid and there is rather more flex – and associated creak – than I would expect for this sort of money. But it’s just a bit dull to look at.

I can’t think of anything to say about the design beyond the fact it’s grey (‘Iron’ in Acer parlance) and doesn’t show fingerprints. The small differences between the 2024 Swift X and the version I tested in late 2022 are minor and forgettable. I called that machine “traditional but rather handsome”. However, alongside the latest 16in laptops from Apple and Asus, the 2024 model seems a rather uninspired piece of design.

It’s not all bad news. At 1.99kg, the Swift X is a little lighter than the 2.14kg MacBook Pro 16, and it’s almost the same size, measuring 356 x 249 x 18mm (WDH).

Acer has given the Swift X a decent range of I/O ports, too. On the left, you’ll find two USB-C ports, a DC-in jack and a 3.5mm audio jack, while on the right are two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.1 video output and a MicroSD card reader. I’d be happier if the power jack was towards the rear rather than amidships, but that’s a small gripe.

The USB-A ports are rated at 5Gbits/sec, and the USB-C ports are 10Gbits/sec. The two USB-C ports both support video output and were happy to take a charge from a 125W USB-C PD charger.

Removing the plastic base place is easy enough once you’ve undone the eleven Torx screws that secure it. Inside, you’ll find that all the RAM is soldered in place, but there is a spare 2280 PCIe 4 SSD bay, so adding extra storage is a cinch.

The wireless modem is a MediaTek RZ616 unit that supports 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, and is also easily accessible.

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Acer Swift X 16 OLED (SFX16-61G) review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

The keyboard is solid but visually mundane, with a two-stage white backlight behind the flat chiclet-style white-on-black keys. The typing action is perfectly acceptable with ample key travel, but the end stop is rather vague and the action of some of the larger keys like the spacebar and enter feel a bit loose.

Usefully, you can use Fn+F to cycle through the four performance modes without opening Acer Sense.

The keyboard layout is good, only besmirched by the half-height up/down cursor keys and the fingerprint scanner built into the rather small power button in the top right corner. Without Window Hello IR facial recognition, the fingerprint scanner is the only biometric login available.

The trackpad is a spacious 150 x 90mm affair that sits a little to the left of the centre but not by enough to cause any ergonomic issues. The click-action on the lower two-thirds of the pad is nicely weighted and not too noisy.

There’s nothing wrong with the 1080p webcam, which produces beautifully colourful images and comes with the full suite of Windows Studio Effects, replacing Acer’s own PurifiedView system. You still get Acer’s impressive PurifiedVoice system, though, with its excellent “AI Noise Reduction” ability.

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Acer Swift X 16 OLED (SFX16-61G) review: Display and audio

The Swift X 16’s Samsung-made display has a lot going for it. First, thanks to its 3,200 x 2,000 resolution and 16in 16:10 layout, it’s both spacious and super-sharp: the 235dpi pixel density comes very close to matching the 16in MacBook Pro’s 254dpi.

It’s supremely colourful, too, with colour reproduction of 164.5% sRGB, 116.5% DCI-P3 and 113.3% AdobeRGB. Maximum brightness in SDR mode was 397cd/m2; in HDR mode, that jumped to 618cd/m2 from a 10% screen area. That’s enough to earn the VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certificate.

And motion handling is every bit as good as you’d expect from a 120Hz OLED panel, with very little ghosting or blurring. As far as the average user is concerned, then, the Swift X’s screen is a stunner – sharp, limpid, fluid and sumptuous. Strangely, there’s no option to swap between 120Hz and 60Hz refresh rates dynamically.

The fly in the ointment is that selecting different colour profiles is impossible. Asus, Apple, Samsung and Lenovo are happy to let you swap between the more common colour profiles like sRGB, DCI-P3, DisplayP3 and AdobeRGB, but that option has vanished from Acer’s “Sense” control panel and there are no options in the Windows display settings, either.

My colorimeter detected a Delta E variance of 2.3 against the DCI-P3 profile, which isn’t a bad result but hardly compares with the Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 or Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro 360, which scored 0.98 and 1.2, respectively. Both those laptops also let you choose between several other profiles.

Switching to audio, the stereo speakers produce a fair amount of volume at 75.1dB(A) from a pink noise source at a 1m distance, but the sound they make is rather brittle and aggressive, and there’s not much in the way of bass.

If this were a general-purpose laptop costing under £1,000, I’d not mark it down for poor audio performance, but it isn’t. It’s a £1,500 machine that should excel as a multimedia tool, and the sound system just does not do it justice.

Acer Swift X 16 OLED (SFX16-61G) review: Performance and battery life

Thanks to a 100W TGP Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU and an octa-core AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS processor, the Swift X does not want for performance, however. In our 4K multimedia benchmark, the Swift X scored 401 points, which is a very healthy result.

4K media benchmarksThe Swift X 16 performed well in our other tests, too. The SPECviewperf 3dsmax, 3D modelling test, scored a respectable 77 points, while the Wolfenstein: Youngblood gaming benchmark returned 90fps at 1,920 x 1,080 with Ray Tracing on but no DLSS assistance. At similar settings, Cyberpunk 2077 ran at 50fps and Returnal at 71fps.

With DLSS set to Performance and Ray Tracing set to Medium, the Returnal benchmark ran at 60fps, and with HDR turned on, it looked glorious.

You probably want to avoid trying to game at native resolution, though. The RTX 4050 is only backed by 6GB of VRAM and doing so resulted in endlessly having to dismiss “Out of vRAM” warnings and some very poor frame rates. I saw an average of only 21fps in Wolfenstein with DLSS 2 set to Balanced.

Given how potent the integrated Radeon A780M graphics chip is, it’s unfortunate that there’s no MUX switch to remove the Nvidia GPU from the picture in the name of improved battery life.

That said, battery life proved not to be too bad. In our standard video playback battery test using VLC, the Swift X ran for 8hrs 27mins – that’s only two minutes less than the Lenovo Legion Slim 5. That’s a fair performance from a 76Wh battery and it means you can go through a full day’s work as long as you don’t do anything that fires up the RTX 4050 GPU.

AS SSD _ BlackMagic Disk Speed Test storage performanceFinally, the system’s Micron 1TB SSD performed very well, producing sequential read and write times of 5,254MB/sec and 4,334MB/sec, respectively.

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Acer Swift X 16 OLED (SFX16-61G) review: Verdict

Acer’s 2024 Swift X update is by no means a bad machine. It offers very good performance for the price and the display is a joy to behold.

The problem is that nothing about it stands out from the opposition. Moreover, the absence of a MUX switch and a display colour profile selector put it at a disadvantage compared to competing machines from Asus, Samsung, Apple and Lenovo.

It’s also very hard to overcome the feeling that Acer’s design department is working to the principle of “that’ll do”. For this sort of money, I expect a laptop that makes me go “oooh” when I open the box, not “meh” and for that reason the Acer Swift X 16 2024 is not a laptop I can wholeheartedly recommend.

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