Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Acer’s Swift Edge could be the 16-inch OLED laptop we’ve all been waiting for

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The race to bring a truly portable, affordable and durable OLED laptop to the market has begun. Asus is currently the main player. Not only has it made several attempts this year, but it’s come closest so far with its AMD-powered Zenbook S 13.

But Acer is throwing in his hat today. The new Swift Edge is a 16-inch, 3840 x 2400 OLED device that weighs just 2.58 pounds — which would make it the lightest 16-inch laptop on the market today (though LG’s Gram 16 is very close).

And here’s the really good news: there’s AMD Ryzen in it. Notably, the model sold in North America includes the Ryzen 7 6800U, the same eight-core processor that powers the Zenbook S 13.

The Acer Swift Edge on a white background, open.  The screen shows the Acer logo over running water.

That’s a screen, okay.
Image: Acer

It’s always exciting to see OLEDs become more accessible and portable. But among some promising OLED notebooks released this year, including Dell’s XPS 13 Plus and Asus’ Vivobook S, battery life has proved challenging. The first model only took me five hours to charge, while the latter tended to die about four and a half.

These models have one thing in common, in addition to the OLED screen: Intel processors. Across the board, Intel’s 12th-generation chips have suffered this year in terms of efficiency — and that’s all the more evident in high-resolution OLED laptops, which are notorious battery hogs.

A user holds the Acer Swift Edge under his left arm and stands on a hill in a wooded area outside, looking over his left shoulder.

Who doesn’t need to take their OLED laptop with them on wilderness treks?
Image: Acer

But there’s one machine that bucks that trend that still gives me hope for this form factor: the aforementioned Zenbook S 13. That OLED, 2880 x 1800 13-incher is also powered by AMD’s Ryzen 7 6800U. Not only did this laptop show some of the best performance we’ve ever seen with integrated graphics, but it also took nearly eight hours to recharge under my workload.

This Zenbook is, of course, a sample size of one, but it’s not a surprising result at all; AMD laptops have delivered better battery life in all categories this year. I’m more confident in an AMD-powered OLED laptop than an Intel-powered one at this point in the cycle, so I’m all for this Swift Edge – and a groundbreaking OLED 16-incher that’s really portable, powerful, and efficient would be great to have on the market.

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