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With prices starting at $1,299, the Acer Swift Edge 16 delivers solid performance and a stunning OLED screen in a razor-thin form factor.
The Swift Edge 16 can handle heavy workloads with ease thanks to the AMD Ryzen 7 7735U processor, and you'll look good in meetings thanks to its 1440p webcam.
The laptop does suffer from its flimsy, magnesium-aluminum construction and mushy keyboard that makes typing less satisfying.
Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee -- no other laptop perfectly encapsulates Muhammad Ali's famous saying quite like Acer's Swift Edge 16. I say that because the computer is incredibly lightweight, measuring half an inch thick when closed and clocking in at a measly 2.73 pounds. But contrary to its thin visage, the laptop comes with a gorgeous 16-inch 3.2K resolution (3,200 x 2,000 pixels) OLED display that I instantly fell in love with.
The high-quality output is made possible thanks to the laptop's support of the VESA DisplayHDR TrueBlack 500 format and the fact that it covers the entirety of the DCI-P3 color space. The former allows for deep, abyssal blacks, while the latter enables rich, saturated colors. It's a feast for the eyes.
For testing, I watched a couple of episodes of the anime series Demon Slayer and noticed a fabric-like texture in the show's opening that I had never seen before. The amount of detail could even highlight the individual striations in the flower on the default wallpaper. What's more, the bezels surrounding the glass are skinny, making the display seem bigger than what it is. But there's more to the Swift Edge 16 than meets the eye. Let me break it down.
A screen this nice needs to have the right set of hardware to go along with it. Under the hood, my review unit came with an AMD Ryzen 7840U processor paired with an integrated AMD Radeon graphics card. This isn't the greatest configuration in the world, but the Swift Edge 16's performance was still adequate for the majority of my use cases in my experience.
I opened up about 50 tabs on Google Chrome with videos playing in the background. Not once did I experience any drops in framerates; everything ran smoothly. I should mention that my unit came with 16GB of RAM, which certainly helped push the Swift Edge 16 to perform at its absolute best. You should also be aware this laptop has a big appetite.
As usual, I tested the battery by running an endlessly playing YouTube video at 720p and 50 percent brightness. It lasted almost six hours before running out of juice, which is only sufficient for users who require low-to-moderate power consumption.
There is one other crowning jewel feature on this laptop: its fantastic 1440p webcam. It blows the competition out of the water with crystal-clear capturing and is only made better thanks to Windows Studio Effects. These software tools can automatically blur the background, as well as adjust the frame so that you're always in the center as the star of the show. I enjoyed having the laptop doing everything for me and ensuring I looked good in video calls.
Not everything on the Swift Edge 16 is peachy, however. I found the overall design to be rather plain-looking. It's your standard, all-black laptop; the kind I'm sure you've seen a thousand times before. But if a discrete machine is what you're after, than you'll absolutely love this.
When it comes to the keyboard, I have mixed feelings about it. I like that it's full-sized, complete with a number pad on the side. I am someone who prefers full-size keyboards as they're more comfortable for my hands. Plus, it can double as a larger set of directional keys if you find the ones at the bottom too small.
But even though it was spacious, the keyboard had a horrible typing feel. The keys felt mushy, lacking the clicker, more tactile response that I typically look for on laptops. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the laptop is made entirely out of magnesium-aluminum. Though lightweight, the material can feel cheap and fragile to some, which I find strange because this is essentially a bigger version of an ultraportable laptop. I would've liked it if Acer made the device more sturdy for travel.
Additionally, I'm not a fan of the backlighting. Only if you sit in a reclined position can you can see the lights more clearly. But that would mean forcing you to sit in a position that may not be all that comfortable. No amount of switching between the modes fixes this. You could make the lights less dim, but it doesn't solve the problem. Also, the backspace key lacks lighting.
ZDNET's buying advice
In the past two years or so, 16-inch laptops have carved out an interesting niche for themselves. They provide great all-around performance in a premium form factor. I see the Swift Edge 16 as a sign of things to come. I can envision this type of laptop becoming more commonplace as it delivers on multiple fronts with ease. I thoroughly enjoyed this computer despite its misgivings. It has a great-looking screen (one of the best I've seen in a while) and solid all-around performance.