Computing

The Acer Swift X 14: Your Ultimate MacBook Pro Alternative

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 front angled view showing display and keyboard.
Image: Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Creators have been in the spotlight lately, and there’s no shortage of laptops tailored to their needs for optimal efficiency and quality. Two such laptops, the Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 and Acer Swift X 14, are both designed with power and portability in mind. But when it comes to making a purchase decision, which one should you choose?

We’ve thoroughly tested both laptops (check out our reviews for the Lenovo Slim Pro 9i and Acer Swift X 14), and now we’re here to give you the final verdict.

Specs and Configurations

Lenovo currently offers only one configuration for the Slim Pro 9i 14, and it’s the one we reviewed. Priced at $1,900, it features a Core i7-13705H CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, and a 3K Mini-LED display.

On the other hand, the Swift X 14 has two configurations. The entry-level model starts at $1,050 and includes a Core i5-13500H, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an RTX 3050 GPU. For $1,500, you can get the Core i7-13700H variant with 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an RTX 4050, and a 2.8K OLED display.

While the Slim Pro 9i 14 boasts more RAM, it’s questionable whether it’s worth the extra $400. While it offers slightly better performance at the high end, most creators will appreciate the cost savings that come with the Acer.

Design

Acer Swift X 14 front angled view showing display and keyboard.
Image: Acer Swift X 14 Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Slim Pro 9i 14 boasts an elegant design with rounded corners borrowed from the Slim 9i, along with its iconic reverse notch at the top of the display. This makes it not only incredibly attractive but also comfortable to use. On the other hand, the Swift X 14 features a simpler design that may appear more pedestrian, although it’s still a laptop you’d be proud to carry around.

Both laptops are made of aluminum, but the Slim Pro 9i 14 feels more solid with no bending, flexing, or twisting. The Swift X 14, on the other hand, has a bit of each, which gives it a reasonably solid build but doesn’t quite match the quality of the Lenovo. Notably, both laptops have hinges that open with just one hand, which is a plus.

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Perhaps the most significant difference between the two is the thickness. The Slim Pro 9i 14 is notably chunkier, measuring 0.85 inches compared to the Swift X 14’s 0.70 inches. Additionally, it’s slightly heavier at 3.7 pounds compared to the Swift X 14’s 3.42 pounds. As a result, the Swift X 14 presents a more slender appearance overall.

Connectivity-wise, both laptops are quite similar, with the Slim Pro 9i 14 having one additional Thunderbolt 4 port and a full-size SD card reader, whereas the Swift X 14 offers a microSD card reader. The Slim Pro 9i 14 has a slight advantage in this aspect. Wireless connectivity is comparable between the two.

The Slim Pro 9i 14 also comes equipped with a 5MP webcam, while the Acer Swift X 14 features a 1080p version. Both webcams provide high-quality images for videoconferencing. Additionally, the Slim Pro 9i 14 includes an infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello facial recognition, while the Swift X 14 relies on a fingerprint reader. Both authentication methods work reliably.

Performance

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 rear view showing lid and logo.
Image: Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Both laptops are equipped with nearly identical processors, although the Slim Pro 9i has a slight variation that doesn’t appear in the specifications. Both laptops feature 45-watt 13th-gen Core i7-13700H/13705H CPUs with 14 cores (six Performance and eight Efficient) and 20 threads. In our CPU-intensive benchmarks, the Slim Pro 9i impressively outperformed the Swift X 14 in terms of single-core performance. Notably, both laptops employ the same Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, an entry-level model that can still accelerate certain creative tasks.

In the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark, which is run in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro, we tested the impact of both GPU and CPU performance. In this benchmark, the laptops performed almost identically in normal mode, but the Slim Pro 9i 14 excelled in performance mode. In fact, it competed with laptops equipped with much faster GPUs.

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Productivity users won’t notice any significant difference between the two laptops. However, creators will appreciate the faster speeds the Slim Pro 9i 14 offers when pushed to its limits. Moreover, the Slim Pro 9i 14 outperformed the Swift X 14 in 1080p gaming, achieving approximately 20 frames per second more than in Fortnite at 1200p with epic graphics.

Display and Audio

Acer Swift X 14 front view showing display.
Image: Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Slim Pro 9i 14 features a mini-LED display, while the Swift X 14 boasts an OLED panel. These two different technologies have distinct advantages. Mini-LED offers higher brightness and potentially better high dynamic range (HDR) support, while OLED provides wider and more accurate colors. Both technologies theoretically provide deep contrast.

However, the Slim Pro 9i 14’s mini-LED display is somewhat limited by Windows 11, particularly in terms of contrast when running in the default standard dynamic range (SDR) mode. In this mode, its contrast is superior to standard IPS displays but doesn’t match the depth of OLED. On the other hand, the Swift X 14’s OLED display offers a more pleasing visual experience overall, except for brightness, in which the Slim Pro 9i 14 excels. To achieve deep blacks on the Slim Pro 9i 14, you need to switch Windows to HDR mode. However, this reduces brightness and significantly affects color accuracy and width.

By default, the Swift X 14 provides a more enjoyable display with better all-around performance, except for brightness, where the Slim Pro 9i 14 shines. For creators, the Acer laptop offers a superior display, while both laptops will satisfy productivity users. Moreover, the Slim Pro 9i 14 offers better HDR capabilities for media consumers.

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Regarding audio, the Slim Pro 9i 14 features a quad-speaker setup with two upward-firing and two downward-firing speakers, providing clearer and louder sound compared to the Swift X 14’s two upward-firing speakers. However, neither laptop can match the sound quality of Apple’s MacBooks, which currently offer the best laptop audio experience.

Portability

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 left side view showing ports.
Image: Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Slim Pro 9i 14 has a slightly larger footprint than the Swift X 14, being deeper and thicker at 0.85 inches versus 0.70 inches. It’s also slightly heavier, weighing 3.7 pounds compared to the Swift X 14’s 3.42 pounds. Both laptops are still reasonably portable and won’t burden you, but the Swift X 14 does offer slightly more compact dimensions.

It’s worth noting that both laptops have poor battery life, falling below average in our battery tests. Overall, the Swift X 14 performed worse in terms of battery life, but both laptops will likely require you to reach for the charger by midday.

The Acer Swift X 14: A Cost-Saving Alternative

In conclusion, the Slim Pro 9i 14 is an excellently designed and fast laptop. However, its battery life is disappointingly short, and its mini-LED display fails to impress. On the other hand, the Swift X 14 offers almost identical performance, equally poor battery life, and a superior OLED display that truly shines for creators.

Considering the $400 price difference, we believe the Swift X 14 offers better value. Both laptops provide portable performance that rivals larger 16-inch laptops, but the Slim Pro 9i 14 isn’t worth the extra investment.


Editors’ Recommendations

  • The MacBook Pro 14 still outperforms this Windows laptop
  • The one Windows laptop that could potentially surpass the Dell XPS 15
  • MacBook Pro M2 vs. MacBook Pro M1: Max, Pro, and more
  • MacBook Pro 16-inch vs. MacBook Pro 14-inch: uncovering the differences
  • MacBook Pro M2 Pro/M2 Max buying guide: making the right choice

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