Notebookcheck

Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV Notebook Review

Nino Ricchizzi (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 01/19/2017

Elegant companion. Acer combines the most important elements of a subnotebook and calls the result Swift 5. The refined yet familiar design is particularly impressive.

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For the original German review, see here.

Another new device from the IFA 2016 is the Acer Swift 5. The new subnotebook is equipped with Intel's latest Kaby Lake generation and there are currently two SKUs. Our test model is equipped with an Intel Core i5-7200U, 8 GB DDR3 memory and a 256 GB SSD, which is currently available for 900 Euros (~$947). Another 100 Euros (~$107) will get you Intel's Core i7-7500U.

Over the course of this review, the test model has to compete with some rivals. We will use more subnotebooks with similar specifications: The Dell XPS 13 9360 and the Asus Zenbook 3, both of which got a "very good" score in our reviews. We also use the Medion Akoya S3409 as well as the Lenovo IdeaPad 510S equipped with the Intel Core i7-7500U.

Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV (Swift 5 Series)
Processor
Intel Core i5-7200U, 2 cores, TDP 15W
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 620, Core: 1000 MHz, 21.20.16.4494
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR3-RAM, Dual-Channel, not expandable
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel 157 PPI, AU Optronics B140HAN3.2, IPS, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U Premium PCH
Storage
SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A, 256 GB 
, M.2 SSD SATA 3.1
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Audio combo, Card Reader: SD
Networking
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 14.6 x 327 x 228 ( = 0.57 x 12.87 x 8.98 in)
Battery
53.9 Wh Lithium-Ion, 3 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo speakers, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.353 kg ( = 47.73 oz / 2.98 pounds), Power Supply: 260 g ( = 9.17 oz / 0.57 pounds)
Price
900 Euro

 

Case

The first impression of the new Swift 5-series is that it is familiar, because the darker Obsidian design was first introduced with Acer's V-series. However, the design was limited to plastic components back then, while we now get a much more compact and sophisticated chassis. The Swift 5 is surrounded by metal elements that create a particularly elegant impression, and the lid is textured. Acer changed the looks of the base unit as well: A brushed aluminum finish, which looks nice, but also attracts fingerprints. One particularly impressive design decision is the display with small bezels, where we can only measure 8.3 mm (left and right bezel) as well as 10 mm (at the webcam).

The display hinge is not particularly taut, but you still need both hands to open the lid. The tactile feeling is very good thanks to many rounded edges and a very straightforward design. The bottom panel is also rubberized, which improves the grip, but there are no maintenance hatches and the battery cannot be accessed, either.

The lid of the new Swift 5 ...
... is covered by a line texture.
The brushed aluminum ...
... ensures that fingerprints ...
... leave visible marks.
We would like to see much better cameras.
The whole bottom panel ...
... has to be removed ...
... before you can perform upgrades.
The overall build quality is good apart from small things.
The design implies a ...
... welcome companion.

In short: The Swift 5 is a thin and very light subnotebook. We can only measure a height of 14.6 mm (~0.58 inches) and a weight of 1.35 kg (~3 pounds). For comparison: Lenovo IdeaPad 510S as well as the Medion Akoya S3409 are 150 grams (~0.33 lb) heavier and also a bit thicker. Dell's XPS 13 on the other hand is similarly slim, but 120 grams (~0.27 lb) lighter. The winner in this section is still the Asus Zenbook 3 at just 914 grams (~2 lb), and it is also 3 mm (~0.12 in) slimmer.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

Slim subnotebooks usually have a limited port variety. The Swift 5 is equipped with HDMI as well as three USB ports, and the manufacturer fortunately waives the slow USB 2.0 standard.

All ports are located at the sides towards the rear, so attached cables are usually no problem at the desk or when you use an external mouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Front
Front
Left side: USB 3.0, audio combo, SD-card reader
Left side: USB 3.0, audio combo, SD-card reader
Right side: USB 3.0 Type-C, USB 3.0 Type-A, HDMI-out, AC power
Right side: USB 3.0 Type-C, USB 3.0 Type-A, HDMI-out, AC power
Rear
Rear

SD Card Reader

We use our reference memory card from Toshiba (Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II) to check the performance of the integrated SD-card reader. It manages 68.1 MB/s when we copy JPEG-files (~5 MB each), which is pretty average among our comparison group. Only the Dell XPS 13 is much better at 108 MB/s, while the Medion Akoya S3409 (16.5 MB/s) falls behind.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
107.8 MB/s ∼100% +58%
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
77.8 MB/s ∼72% +14%
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
68.1 MB/s ∼63%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
16.5 MB/s ∼15% -76%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
250.6 MB/s ∼100% +185%
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
88 MB/s ∼35%
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
84.6 MB/s ∼34% -4%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
17.7 MB/s ∼7% -80%

Communication

Acer Swift 5
Acer Swift 5
Apple iPhone 6s
Apple iPhone 6s

Network connections can be established via a WLAN module with the designation Qualcomm QCA6174. This 2x2 MIMO device manages a maximum transfer of 866 Mbps (gross). We check the real-world performance in our standardized WLAN test with iperf in a 5 GHz network. The result is an average client transfer rate of 659 Mbps (up to 690 Mbps) and 643 Mbps (up to 684 Mbps) as a server.

The Swift 5 also has a 720p webcam for video conferences, but the results are very poor, even under good lighting conditions. There is also a lot of picture noise when the environment gets darker. Colors and shapes are very distorted, and we can only hope future products will get better cameras.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Networking
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (jseb)
677 MBit/s ∼100% +5%
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174 (jseb)
643 MBit/s ∼95%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (jseb)
385 MBit/s ∼57% -40%
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
56.1 MBit/s ∼8% -91%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174 (jseb)
659 MBit/s ∼100%
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (jseb)
528 MBit/s ∼80% -20%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (jseb)
438 MBit/s ∼66% -34%
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
54.8 MBit/s ∼8% -92%

Security

Consumers do not have to waive all security standards. Acer equips the Swift 5 with TPM, a Kensington Lock as well as a swipe-style fingerprint scanner in the touchpad. The latter works very well and is pretty quick when you use it for logins.

Accessories

Acer only ships the Swift 5 with a brochure and we cannot find dedicated accessories on the product website, either.

Maintenance

You will have to remove the whole bottom panel to access the components. This requires the loosening of ten visible screws, but the lifting of the panel itself requires patience and special tools. There are numerous plastic clips and you better have some experience. Acer allows users to clean the fan and replace both the SSD the WLAN module. Unfortunate: It is not possible to upgrade the memory.

Maintainability
Maintainability

Warranty

Not always a matter of course: Acer grants a standard warranty period of 24 months starting with the purchase. If you select the rival product from Dell, you only get a one-year warranty by default and can buy additional services. We have no exact warranty details for the Swift 5 yet, but it is usually a Pickup & Return service with an additional International Traveller's Warranty.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The Swift 5 is equipped with a black chiclet keyboard. It features a two-stage background illumination, so you can also use it comfortably in darker environments. All keys have a very comfortable pressure point, but the key travel could be longer. Another drawback is that the center area of the keyboard bounces a bit. 10-finger typists will have to get used to the limited travel at first, but even longer typing sessions should not be an issue. The small distance between some keys and their adjacent keys (like shift and return) also takes some time getting used to.

We want to praise the low noise development during typing. The typing noise is very muffled and quiet.

 

Touchpad

The mouse replacement is a touchpad of 10.5 x 6.5 centimeters (~4.1 x 2.6 in), which is surrounded by a chrome strip. Inputs are executed very quickly and precisely on the smooth surface, and multi-touch gestures are no problem for the test unit, either. Acer's new laptop can also convince in the corners, where we can sometimes notice problems on other touchpads. Only the swipe-style fingerprint scanner in the upper left corner of the touchpad is a bit unusual at first. The cursor movement will be stopped if your fingers cross this area.

There are two mouse buttons underneath the mouse replacement. The travel gets a bit longer towards the lower corners, although the resulting clicking sound is almost identical. One negative observation is that the whole keyboard unit is slightly depressed when we click.

 

 

 

Input Devices Swift 5
Input Devices Swift 5

Display

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

Acer equips the Swift 5 notebooks with glossy IPS displays, but no model will have a matte panel – contrary to the new Swift 3. Rivals like the Lenovo IdeaPad 510S and the Dell XPS 13 are alternatives if you do not want a glossy screen.

Dell and Medion also offer QHD+ panels for an additional charge. Acer stays pretty conventional with a Full HD screen. The display luminance is decent at 340 cd/m², but we can notice an uneven brightness distribution. The difference between the center and the lower right corner is 81 cd/m², for example. Backlight bleeding is no big problem and only slightly visible in the upper left corner.

The majority of the comparison devices manage very similar values for the luminance, but the brightness distribution is usually better at around 90%. Only the Lenovo IdeaPad is disappointing in terms of luminance (253 cd/m² on average).

 

 

 

 

 

 

332
cd/m²
349
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
332
cd/m²
393
cd/m²
312
cd/m²
346
cd/m²
352
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
i1 Pro
Maximum: 393 cd/m² Average: 338.2 cd/m² Minimum: 21.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 79 %
Center on Battery: 393 cd/m²
Contrast: 1355:1 (Black: 0.29 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.17 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 6.8 | - Ø
91% sRGB (Argyll) 51% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.27
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
AU Optronics B140HAN3.2, , 1920x1080, 14
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
LG Philips LP133WF2-SPL1, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
LG Philips LP133QD1-SPA3, , 3200x1800, 13.3
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Sharp SHP1449 LQ133M1, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
AUO B125HAN03.0 AUO306D, , 1920x1080, 12.5
Response Times
19%
22%
9%
24%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
51 (20, 31)
39 (14, 25)
24%
34 (15, 19)
33%
32.8 (16, 16.8)
36%
30 (13, 17)
41%
Response Time Black / White *
28 (7, 21)
24 (5, 19)
14%
25 (8, 17)
11%
33.2 (10.8, 22.4)
-19%
26 (6, 20)
7%
PWM Frequency
250 (80)
50 (10)
Screen
-10%
-13%
5%
2%
Brightness
338
253
-25%
283
-16%
325
-4%
341
1%
Brightness Distribution
79
82
4%
88
11%
89
13%
87
10%
Black Level *
0.29
0.33
-14%
0.65
-124%
0.195
33%
0.3
-3%
Contrast
1355
785
-42%
454
-66%
1801
33%
1183
-13%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.17
5.12
17%
4
35%
7.4
-20%
5.97
3%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.8
3.8
44%
3.38
50%
6.71
1%
6.45
5%
Gamma
2.27 106%
2.39 100%
2.38 101%
2.74 88%
2.45 98%
CCT
6873 95%
7405 88%
6520 100%
7222 90%
7694 84%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
51
37
-27%
57
12%
50.48
-1%
58
14%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
91
58
-36%
85
-7%
73.31
-19%
89
-2%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
5% / -4%
5% / -6%
7% / 5%
13% / 6%

* ... smaller is better

We can determine a good contrast ratio of 1355:1. Darker colors and black shades are sufficiently rich, which is particularly good for movies. Only the Dell XPS 13 manages an even higher contrast ratio at 1801:1.

The next item on our list is the CalMAN analysis. The deviations for the colors and the grayscale are only average, despite the IPS panel. A closer look at the grayscale reveals a slight green cast.

The color gamut, which is particularly important for professional applications, is 91% sRGB as well as 59% AdobeRGB. The rivals are worse in this respect, only the Asus Zenbook 3 is pretty much on par with our test model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
sRGB coverage
sRGB coverage
AdobeRGB coverage
AdobeRGB coverage

A mobile subnotebook will probably be used on the road quite often. The luminance is actually sufficient, but the glossy display is a problem. We therefore recommend places in the shade without direct light sources.

The display backlight is ...
The display backlight is ...
... not powerful enough to overcome the ...
... not powerful enough to overcome the ...
... reflections of the glossy panel outdoors.
... reflections of the glossy panel outdoors.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
28 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7 ms rise
↘ 21 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 58 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
51 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 20 ms rise
↘ 31 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 84 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (42.8 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 57 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 6668 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The implementation of an IPS panel has the advantage of wide viewing angles without distorted colors or reduced brightness values. All the other rivals use high-quality IPS screens as well.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

A brand-new Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB memory and responsive SSD storage ensure smooth operation. All in all, the subnotebook is well equipped for everyday multimedia and office applications. There is even some headroom for more demanding tasks. The manufacturer uses Intel's latest Kaby Lake architecture, but still combines it with DDR3-RAM.

Acer offers multiple SKUs with different processors and SSD capacities. The more expensive alternative for an additional 200 Euros (~$215) includes a faster Intel Core i7 processor and a 512 GB SSD. It is also possible to get just the additional CPU performance for 100 Euros (~$107) more.

 

 

 

Processor

The Core i5-7200U from Intel's latest Kaby Lake generation was announced in the end of August. It is a dual-core processor with clocks between 2.5-3.1 GHz. The performance advantage over the previous Intel Core i5-6200U is 10-15%.

We use the Cinebench R15 benchmark to determine the actual CPU performance of the Swift 5. It manages 320 points in the Multi-Core test and is therefore on par with similarly equipped CPUs. The more expensive models of the Swift 5 are equipped with the Intel Core i7-7500U, which is also available on the comparison devices from Lenovo and Medion. However, the performance difference is pretty small on our comparison laptops: 7.5% on the Medion Akoya S3409 and only 4% on the Lenovo IdeaPad 510S. It is therefore questionable whether the additional cost is worth it.

One positive aspect is the full CPU performance on battery power. Cinebench R15 determines a similar score when the power adapter is not attached.

Other comparisons with our processor are available in our benchmark list of modern notebook processors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel Core i7-7500U
144 Points ∼74% +13%
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
Intel Core i7-7500U
141 Points ∼72% +10%
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
Intel Core i5-7200U
128 Points ∼66%
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
Intel Core i5-7200U
124 Points ∼64% -3%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
124 Points ∼64% -3%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel Core i7-7500U
344 Points ∼16% +8%
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
Intel Core i7-7500U
333 Points ∼16% +4%
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
Intel Core i5-7200U
320 Points ∼15%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
318 Points ∼15% -1%
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
Intel Core i5-7200U
314 Points ∼15% -2%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
128 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
320 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
43.28 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.7 %
Help

System Performance

The result of the powerful hardware is a very responsive system. Applications are launched quickly and run smoothly. This subjective impression is supported by PCMark 8 Home with a score of 3370 points. However, the Dell XPS 13 manages almost 200 points more, and the Lenovo IdeaPad 510S is also on par with the Dell. Medion's Akoya S3409 has slightly faster components, but is 8.5% slower than our test system. The result of the Asus ZenBook 3 is a bit disappointing because it only manages 2880 points.

Note: The PCMark 8 Work benchmark repeatedly crashed, despite the most recent version. We therefore have no comparison values for this test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung MZYTY256HDHP
3574 Points ∼60% +6%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
3535 Points ∼59% +5%
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
3370 Points ∼56%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Phison S10C-512G
3085 Points ∼52% -8%
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
2880 Points ∼48% -15%
PCMark 7 Score
5367 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3370 points
Help

Storage Devices

Acer uses an M.2-SSD from SK Hynix with a storage capacity of 256 GB. It is supposed to manage transfer rates of 540 MB/s (read) and only 250 MB/s for write operations. CrystalDiskMark confirms these values, only the read speed is 34 MB/s lower than in the spec sheet. The comparison devices perform better in terms of sequential writes, and the Dell XPS 13 in particular is much faster. The rival from Dell is equipped with an NVM-Express drive, and the XPS 13 manages sequential rates of 1233 MB/s (read) as well as 733 MB/s (write).

Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
Samsung MZYTY256HDHP
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Phison S10C-512G
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
15%
25%
87%
15%
Write 4k QD32
242.5
176.4
-27%
286.4
18%
218.3
-10%
277.6
14%
Read 4k QD32
277.1
403.3
46%
316.3
14%
479.2
73%
245.7
-11%
Write 4k
77.35
96.45
25%
100.9
30%
116.9
51%
69.78
-10%
Read 4k
29.65
36.08
22%
34.07
15%
29.31
-1%
28.13
-5%
Write 512
258.5
155.5
-40%
395.5
53%
439.9
70%
413.9
60%
Read 512
355
383.9
8%
412
16%
1036
192%
335.5
-5%
Write Seq
258.1
494.1
91%
384.4
49%
732.6
184%
454.4
76%
Read Seq
516.6
494.5
-4%
522.4
1%
1233
139%
507.7
-2%
SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
Sequential Read: 516.6 MB/s
Sequential Write: 258.1 MB/s
512K Read: 355 MB/s
512K Write: 258.5 MB/s
4K Read: 29.65 MB/s
4K Write: 77.35 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 277.1 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 242.5 MB/s

GPU Performance

The integrated graphics card from the processor has the designation Intel HD Graphics 620 and handles all the graphics of our test model. The spec sheet lists a core clock between 300-1050 MHz (Boost), but GPU-Z only shows a maximum clock of 1000 MHz. The GPU benefits from the dual-channel configuration of the DDR3 memory. All comparison devices are also equipped with the same graphics adapter, but the competition reaches core clocks of 1050 MHz, and the Lenovo IdeaPad 510S is equipped with DDR4-RAM, which can improve the performance even further. We use 3DMark 11 for this comparison, but the results do not quite meet our expectations: Our test model reaches 1529 points (Performance GPU) and is therefore almost on par with the competitors. The Swift 5 does not suffer from throttling (more on that later), which can be a reason for the decent result.

More benchmarks for the graphics adapter are listed in our dedicated benchmark page for modern notebook GPUs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1550 Points ∼3% +1%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1545 Points ∼3% +1%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
1543 Points ∼3% +1%
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1529 Points ∼3%
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
1474 Points ∼3% -4%
Lenovo Yoga 710-14IKB 80V4002HGE
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1403 Points ∼3% -8%
HP 15-ay116ng
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1394 Points ∼3% -9%
3DMark - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
8219 Points ∼5%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
8177 Points ∼5% -1%
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
8171 Points ∼5% -1%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
7211 Points ∼4% -12%
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
7174 Points ∼4% -13%
HP 15-ay116ng
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
6876 Points ∼4% -16%
Lenovo Yoga 710-14IKB 80V4002HGE
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
6670 Points ∼4% -19%
3DMark 11 Performance
1684 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
6378 points
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Gaming Performance

A thin subnotebook with integrated processor GPU does not bode well with gaming performance, but some games can still be played. However, you should focus on older games from the last couple of years and reduce the details in occasional gaming sessions.

BioShock Infinite
1366x768 High Preset
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
25.6 fps ∼100%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Phison S10C-512G
23.7 fps ∼93% -7%
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung MZYTY256HDHP
21.3 fps ∼83% -17%
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
20.7 fps ∼81% -19%
1366x768 Medium Preset
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
30.9 fps ∼100%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Phison S10C-512G
28.9 fps ∼94% -6%
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
27.2 fps ∼88% -12%
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung MZYTY256HDHP
25.3 fps ∼82% -18%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 5130.925.68.2fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 12.18.44.2fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 20.2311.426.424.8fps

Emissions

System Noise

Noise development
Noise development

The test model runs very quietly: We can only measure 30.5 dB(A) while idling, and the fan does not get much louder at 32.6 dB(A) under load, either. Overall, the fan noise is not unpleasant with no annoying irregularities. The resulting frequency, however, could be a bit duller for our taste.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2034.433.234.834.634.42531.136.333.739.631.13138.74037.439.938.74032.734.633.135.232.75029.133.230.832.329.16329.329.629.928.229.38027.327.427.22627.310026.725.926.22626.712525.526.126.525.425.51602423.724.623.32420024.122.723.223.824.12502322.621.722.72331522.322.421.721.622.340021.12120.520.221.150020.420.619.719.620.463019.219.619.118.619.280020.621.418.218.620.6100020.120.917.91820.1125020.821.517.617.420.8160020.120.317.517.920.1200020.621.417.817.520.6250021.621.817.817.821.6315020.520.917.817.920.5400019.420.318.11819.4500018.818.918.118.318.8630018.818.818.218.418.8800018.818.918.418.418.81000018.618.618.418.418.61250018.318.318.218.218.31600018.318.118.118.418.3SPL32.332.630.530.532.3N1.71.81.41.41.7median 20.5Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AVmedian 20.9median 18.2median 18.4median 20.5Delta1.91.41.921.932.838.240.440.739.232.835.336.840.336.637.835.332.432.334.933.931.532.432.130.634.133.131.732.13332.533.53433.3333332.433.934.9343329.630.630.730.330.929.628.629.430.232.334.328.626.92726.828.729.226.925.725.927.428.528.925.726.42627.928.32826.423.523.925.726.628.123.523.824.425.726.627.423.82222.623.825.426.42221.521.823.225.726.221.521.421.42326.126.321.420.820.623.128.72920.819.919.822.430.230.619.919.219.621.328.929.519.21919.221.730.130.41918.719.120.431.33218.718.618.819.830.531.218.618.418.919.72626.818.418.518.819.725.325.918.518.318.919.522.62318.318.318.919.52121.318.318.318.819.519.920.118.318.218.719.419.619.718.21818.419.119.319.41818.118.519.319.419.418.131.631.933.339.840.431.61.71.723.23.41.7median 19.2Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GEmedian 19.6median 21.7median 26.6median 27.4median 19.22.62.23.32.92.52.631.73331.333.231.531.732.632.831.731.130.732.635.534.433.532.235.635.530.428.23029.330.130.427.728.32828.127.227.726.729.229.328.128.826.725.926.327.126.726.925.925.925.926.927.22625.924.825.125.124.424.924.823.923.823.623.62323.922.922.823.523.322.622.92221.722.222.221.52221.220.822.622.520.821.220.121.223.522.519.920.119.720.42221.719.519.71919.222.421.718.71918.119.724.124.218.118.117.621.427.827.517.817.617.220.627.527.817.517.217.420.12726.217.217.417.419.826.826.717.417.417.418.826.626.517.417.417.518.426.72717.617.517.718.223.523.217.717.717.71821.821.717.917.7181822.922.317.81817.918.220.420.117.917.917.918.11918.71817.917.817.819.318.417.817.817.817.819.318.317.817.830.231.537.23730.130.21.41.62.62.51.41.4median 17.9Lenovo Yoga 710-14IKB 80V4002HGEmedian 19.8median 23.5median 23.2median 17.9median 17.91.41.72.21.41.41.4hearing rangehide median Fan Noise

Noise Level

Idle
30.5 / 30.5 / 30.5 dB(A)
Load
32.25 / 32.6 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.5 dB(A)

Temperature

Bottom
Bottom

The test model does not really warm up while idling and the temperatures are usually around 25 °C (77 °F). We did not notice inconveniently high temperatures in everyday situations, either. The good impression continues under load, where the hot spot (40 °C/104 °F) is located at the bottom, while the majority of the keyboard unit stays below 34 °C (93.2 °F).

The next thing we check is the core temperature under load and how it affects the clock of the CPU. Such a scenario is rare in practice and often limited in time during gaming or when you run very demanding applications. We use the tools FurMark and Prime95 to stress the SoC, but there is no throttling after our one-hour test. The CPU can always maintain slightly more than 2.5 GHz. Such a result is not a matter of course, which is shown by the rivals: The Asus Zenbook as well as Dell XPS 13, for example, throttle heavily.

You should pay attention to the power adapter under load. It reaches temperatures of more than 50 °C (122 °F), so it should not be hidden under pillows or blankets.

 

 

 

 

Max. Load
 30.6 °C39.4 °C27.8 °C 
 26.7 °C33.5 °C31.5 °C 
 26.3 °C27.1 °C27.3 °C 
Maximum: 39.4 °C
Average: 30 °C
40 °C39.9 °C26.8 °C
32 °C31.1 °C27.1 °C
27.8 °C28 °C26.6 °C
Maximum: 40 °C
Average: 31 °C
Power Supply (max.)  50.4 °C | Room Temperature 21.8 °C | FIRT 550-Pocket
Top of the base unit – idle
Top of the base unit – idle
Bottom – idle
Bottom – idle
Top of the base unit – load
Top of the base unit – load
Bottom – load
Bottom – load

Speakers

Speaker measurements
Speaker measurements

Unfortunately, there are not many positive things we can say about the speakers. Music sounds unbalanced and a bit scratchy. This impression is also confirmed by our audio analysis. The volume is insufficient at a median of 57 dB(A). One positive aspect is the clean and clear voice output.

Right next to the keyboard is the microphone, which records voices clearly. Background noises are not suppressed and we notice a constant cheeping, even though there is no active software enhancement.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2034.734.634.7253539.6353139.539.939.5403635.2365040.132.340.1632928.2298029.92629.910037.22637.212541.825.441.816041.723.341.720037.223.837.225044.322.744.331551.921.651.940056.120.256.150057.619.657.663056.318.656.380065.218.665.2100065.31865.3125064.117.464.1160066.917.966.9200064.117.564.125006717.867315063.817.963.8400058.71858.7500057.118.357.1630061.418.461.4800061.218.461.21000056.818.456.81250052.318.252.31600047.618.447.6SPL75.430.575.4N34.51.434.5median 57.1Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AVmedian 18.4median 57.1Delta8.828.835.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (66 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 14.7% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.3% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.9% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (19.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 58% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 34% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 38% of all tested devices were better, 5% similar, 57% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 1% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkboxes select/deselectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption is very low – as per usual for a subnotebook. The Swift 5 does not consume more than 10 watts while idling; only the Dell XPS 13 is more efficient at up to 5 watts.

Our measurement device shows up to 37 watts under load, and the consumption levels off at around 33 watts during our stress test with the tools FurMark and Prime95. All comparison devices except for the Medion Akoya S3409 only consume up to 30 watts, which can be explained by the throttling.

 

 

 

 

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.19 / 0.28 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.6 / 7 / 9.3 Watt
Load midlight 37 / 32.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
7200U, HD Graphics 620, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
7500U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung MZYTY256HDHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
7500U, HD Graphics 620, Phison S10C-512G, IPS, 3200x1800, 13.3
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
7200U, HD Graphics 620, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
7200U, HD Graphics 620, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND), IPS, 1920x1080, 12.5
Power Consumption
16%
-11%
24%
10%
Idle Minimum *
3.6
3.3
8%
4.2
-17%
4.1
-14%
3.3
8%
Idle Average *
7
5.8
17%
9
-29%
4.2
40%
6.2
11%
Idle Maximum *
9.3
7.4
20%
10.6
-14%
5.1
45%
10.4
-12%
Load Average *
37
29.2
21%
34
8%
22.1
40%
28
24%
Load Maximum *
32.6
28.6
12%
33
-1%
29.4
10%
25.7
21%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

Acer equips its new subnotebook with a 3-cell battery and a capacity of 53.9 Wh. The capacity of our battery is 51.2 Wh according to HWiNFO.

We check the battery performance in three scenarios and start with the maximum runtime you can expect. The Windows power profile is set to "Power-Saver" and the luminance is set to its lowest level before we start a reading script. Our test model runs for almost 17 hours, only the Dell XPS 13 lasts another 4 hours.

Probably the most important scenario is web browsing. The Swift 5 lasts almost nine hours at an adjusted luminance of 150 nits; the XPS 13 almost manages 11 hours.

Finally, we determine the minimum battery runtime with the maximum luminance and the "High Performance" power plan. The Swift 5 shuts down after little more than 1.5 hours. The XPS 13 is once again better at 2.5 hours, closely followed by the Lenovo IdeaPad 510S at around two hours.

 

 

 

 

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
16h 54min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
9h 9min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
9h 15min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 40min
Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 53.9 Wh
Lenovo IdeaPad 510S-13IKB 80V00026GE
7500U, HD Graphics 620, 35 Wh
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
7500U, HD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 60 Wh
Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UA-GS041T
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 40 Wh
Battery Runtime
-24%
-35%
36%
-18%
Reader / Idle
1014
650
-36%
722
-29%
1295
28%
844
-17%
H.264
555
330
-41%
243
-56%
383
-31%
WiFi v1.3
549
340
-38%
278
-49%
677
23%
397
-28%
Load
100
118
18%
96
-4%
157
57%
105
5%

Pros

+ design
+ swipe-style fingerprint scanner
+ no throttling under load
+ heat development
+ quiet operation
+ battery runtime

Cons

- keyboard attracts fingerprints
- keyboard bounces a bit
- slightly uneven brightness distribution
- poor webcam
- speakers

Verdict

In review: Acer Swift 5. Test model courtesy of Acer Germany.
In review: Acer Swift 5. Test model courtesy of Acer Germany.

Successful mixture: Acer combines elegant design with sufficient performance, but does not forget the important emissions. We liked the elegant chassis design with the extremely thin bezels in particular. But that's not all: Acer uses solid metal elements and convinces with good build quality, only the keyboard unit can be pushed in. The key travel is also rather short, but the keys can convince with a firm pressure point and low noise development during typing. The glossy IPS display features the Full HD resolution and manages decent results for both the luminance and the contrast. The hardware equipment of the Swift 5 is very balanced, and the processor can almost utilize its maximum performance under load, which cannot be said for the comparison devices. The temperature development is also okay when you consider the performance. The last important aspect for a subnotebook is the battery runtime. The Swift 5 does not last as long as the Dell XPS 13, but you can still manage a full business day without a socket.

The new Acer Swift 5 combines almost all the important aspects for a subnotebook and is available for a fair entry-level price of 900 Euros (~$947).

You should definitely have a look at the Dell XPS 13 9360 if you are on the road most of the time. It convinces with a matte display and very long battery runtimes. Even lighter and slimmer: the rival from Asus for 1,500 Euros (~$1610).

Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV - 12/22/2016 v6
Nino Ricchizzi

Chassis
90 /  98 → 91%
Keyboard
79%
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
47 / 80 → 59%
Weight
71 / 78 → 83%
Battery
92%
Display
82%
Games Performance
56 / 68 → 82%
Application Performance
86 / 87 → 99%
Temperature
94 / 91 → 100%
Noise
92%
Audio
29 / 91 → 32%
Camera
32 / 85 → 37%
Average
72%
84%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Acer Swift 5 SF514-51-59AV Notebook Review
Nino Ricchizzi, 2017-01-19 (Update: 2017-01-24)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.