Acer Swift 3 (2022) vs MacBook Air: What’s the best laptop for you?

Acer Swift 3 (2022) vs MacBook Air: What’s the best laptop for you?

In the past few months, a wide range of new laptops have been introduced with the latest processors from Intel and AMD. Both companies introduced their latest laptop CPUs in early 2022, so many popular laptop families are getting upgraded with them. That includes the Acer Swift 3, which has recently been refreshed for 2022 with Intel’s P-series 28W processors and a higher-resolution display option, and it looks to be a solid mainstream laptop. In this article, we’ll be comparing the Acer Swift 3 (2022) with the MacBook Air so you can decide which one is best for you.

These two laptops have somewhat similar price points (depending on your configuration) and they have some things in common, but also quite a few differences. Perhaps most notably, there’s the operating system, with the Acer Swift 3 running Windows 11 while the MacBook Air naturally runs macOS. That alone could make the decision for you, but let’s take a look at what else you should know about these laptops.

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Acer Swift 3 (2022) vs MacBook Air: Specs

Acer Swift 3 (2022) MacBook Air (Late 2020)
Operating system
  • Windows 11
  • macOS Monterey
CPU
  • 12th generation Intel Core i5-1240P (12 cores, 16 threads, up to 4.4GHz, 12MB cache)
  • 12th generation Intel Core i7-1260P (12 cores, 16 threads, up to 4.7GHz, 18MB cache)
  • Apple M1 (8 cores, up to 3.2GHz)
Graphics
  • Intel Iris Xe (integrated)
  • 7-core GPU (integrated)
  • 8-core GPU (integrated)
Display
  • 14-inch 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS
  • 14-inch 16:9 Quad HD (2560 x 1440) IPS
  • 13.3-inch 16:10 (2560 x 1600) IPS, 400 nits, True Tone, P3 Wide Color
Storage
  • Up to 2TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Up to 2TB PCIe NVMe SSD
RAM
  • 8GB LPDDR4X
  • 16GB LPDDR4X
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 16GB unified memory
Battery
  • 3-cell (unspecified capacity), up to 10.5 hours
    • 65W charger
  • 49.9Whr battery
    • 30W charger
Ports
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2 x USB 4 / Thunderbolt (USB-C)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
Audio
  • Dual stereo speakers
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support
  • 3-microphone array
Camera
  • Full HD 1080p webcam with temporal noise reduction
  • 720p FaceTime HD camera
Biometric authentication
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Touch ID in power butto
Connectivity
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5
Color
  • Safari Gold
  • Snow Blue
  • Pure Silver
  • Silver
  • Space Gray
  • Gold
Size (WxDxH)
  • 321.35 x 208.69 x 17.27 mm (12.65 x 8.22 x 0.68 in)
  • 304.1 × 212.4 × 16.1 mm (11.97 × 8.36 × 0.63 inches)
Weight
  • Starts at 1.25 kg (2.76 lbs)
  • Starting at 1.29 kg (2.8 lbs)
Price Starting at $849.99 Starting at $999

Operating system: Windows vs macOS

The biggest deciding factor for the majority of people will probably be the operating system. If you’re familiar with Windows or macOS, you’ll probably want to stick with what you already know. This is strictly a matter of personal preference, but if you’re wondering why you might prefer one over the other, we’ll try to help.

Windows is the most popular operating system for PCs, and there’s a very good chance you’re familiar with it already. Most apps you can find on the web are designed and support Windows first, so it may be easier to get certain functionality there that you can’t get on a Mac. Specifically, gaming on Mac can be very difficult as the vast majority of games are designed exclusively for Windows. Windows is also known for giving users a bit more freedom with what they can do with their PC. Plus, Windows 11 has a new and more streamlined design that’s a bit more user-friendly.

macOS vs Windows

Meanwhile, macOS isn’t as popular in general, but it is very popular among content creators. It’s especially known for having access to apps like iMovie and Final Cut Pro, but even third-party apps like Adobe’s Creative Cloud often focus more on macOS. Apple’s operating system is also considered to be a bit simpler and easier to get to grips with for new users. If you have an iPhone, you may also enjoy the seamless connectivity between devices with features like iMessage, for example.

Performance: Intel Alder Lake or Apple M1

The latest model of the MacBook Air was introduced in late 2020, and Apple made it a point to compare its performance to Intel’s processors at the time. Indeed, it outperformed them in many ways. But now, the Acer comes with Intel’s 12th-generation processors, specifically the new P-series that has a 28W TDP. That, combined with the new hybrid architecture that mixes performance cores and efficient cores, makes for a big performance leap.

To compare CPU performance, we can look at Geekbench 5 benchmark scores. It’s still early for Intel’s 12th-generation processors, so we don’t have a proper average yet, but we can look at individual tests to get a general idea of what performance will look like.

Intel Core i7-1260P
(see test)
Intel Core i5-1240P
(see test)
MacBook Air (Apple M1)
(average)
Geekbench 5 (single/multi-core) 1,655 / 9,318 1,469 / 8,788 1,705 / 7,417

Based on these tests, it seems that Intel has managed to catch up, at least in terms of multi-core performance, but both of these laptops should still be more than fast enough for your day-to-day tasks. And it’s important to note here that the Apple M1 is based on the Arm architecture, which is generally more efficient than Intel’s processors. The new hybrid design from Intel may help with that, but you’re still likely to get better battery life from the MacBook Air – Apple touts up to 18 hours, compared to the 10.5 hours of the Acer Swift 3.

The Apple M1 has a more powerful GPU built-in.

The CPU isn’t the only aspect of performance you need to think about, though. There’s also the GPU, and Intel has barely touched the integrated Iris Xe graphics inside its processors since the previous generation. That means the Apple M1 still offers significantly more performance. Using the comparison tools on the GFXBench benchmark, you can see that the Apple M1 can deliver over double the framerate in some 3D scenes, so the difference is significant. Of course, you can’t run a lot of games on macOS anyway, so you’ll only need that powerful GPU for certain creative workloads.

Intel Iris Xe and Apple M1 GFXBench scores

Aside from this, both laptops support up to 16GB of memory – though it should be faster on the MacBook Air thanks to the unified memory architecture – and 2TB of storage. The Acer laptop may have an advantage here since the SSD is usually replaceable (based on previous models), whereas the MacBook Air’s SSD is soldered onto the motherboard.

Display: The MacBook Air has a taller screen

Moving on to the display, we have one more reason why you might prefer the MacBook Air. Apple’s laptop comes with a 13.3-inch display, but it has a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is taller than a traditional laptop display – like what’s on the Acer Swift 3. Taller screens like that are great for productivity because the added vertical space results in a larger surface area overall. With a taller screen, you get more space for text on a document, more rows in an Excel spreadsheet, or, perhaps most importantly, more space for UI elements in complex apps like video production software.

m1 MacBook Air

Additionally, the MacBook Air comes in a single configuration, but it’s a configuration that’s great for basically everyone. It’s a Quad HD+ (2560 x 1600) display, so it’s super sharp, plus it gets up to 400 nits of brightness, it supports True Tone, and P3 Wide Color. No matter your use case, this is a great display for this price point.

On the other hand, the Acer Swift 3 has a larger 14-inch display, but it comes in a more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. Of course, since it’s bigger it naturally has more space, but it’s also worth noting that the base configuration comes in Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, so it’s not as sharp as the MacBook Air. You can upgrade to a Quad HD (2560 x 1440) panel to get a better experience, though.

Acer Swift 3 laptop seen from the front with the lid open

For sound, both laptops have a dual-speaker system, as you might have expected for their size. The MacBook Air also has three microphones for voice pickup during calls, but Acer hasn’t shared details of the microphone setup on the Swift 3.

The Acer Swift 3 has a Full HD 1080p webcam.

Finally, there’s the webcam, and the Acer Swift 3 may have an advantage here. It has an upgraded Full HD (1080p) webcam, which should deliver significantly better quality compared to previous models. Apple is still using a 720p webcam for the MacBook Air, but it’s leveraging artificial intelligence inside the Apple M1 chip to improve image quality, so that might make the comparison a bit more even.

Design: Two premium-feeling laptops

In terms of the design, the Acer Swift 3 and MacBook Air both feel fairly premium with their all-metal chassis. At 16.1mm, the MacBook Air is noticeably thinner than the 17.27mm of the Acer Swift 3, but it’s ever-so-slightly heavier (2.8 lbs versus 2.76lbs). Still, these are both portable enough for most users.

In terms of looks, the differences are a bit more noticeable. The Acer Swift 3 has a more angular look with flat edges and surfaces, while the MacBook Air has more curves. However, the Acer Swift 3 is a bit more interesting due to the three colors it comes in. In addition to the basic Pure Silver, you can go for Safari Gold, which has a vivid yellow tone, or Snow Blue, which has a blue lid and a green-ish blue base.

The Acer Swift 3 laptop in various position and three color options

Acer Swift 3 colors

Meanwhile, the MacBook Air comes in more boring colors overall. There’s silver, space grey (which is basically dark silver), and gold. These are all neutral tones and admittedly, they feel premium. However, if you’re like me, these are also very safe and boring colors.

Ports and connectivity: The Acer Swift 3 is so much more versatile

Finally, we come around to the ports, which is where the Acer Swift 3 pulls a massive victory over the MacBook Air. Apple’s laptop has an extremely basic setup – two USB4 / Thunderbolt ports and a headphone jack. Granted, you can use a Thunderbolt dock or USB-C hub to connect peripherals, but only one external monitor is supported anyway due to limitations of the Apple M1 chip, and you can’t connect external GPUs, so it’s not as useful as you might think.

Side view of a laptop with the lid closed showing two USB-C ports

Meanwhile, the Acer Swift 3 has two Thunderbolt 4 ports – with support for multiple displays, external GPUs, and other peripherals – plus two USB Type-A ports, HDMI to connect external monitors more easily, and a headphone jack. You get a very complete setup out of the box, plus if you have a Thunderbolt dock, you can get even more out of them than you can with the MacBook Air.

The Acer Swift 3 external GPUs and multiple displays.

In terms of wireless connectivity, the two laptops support the latest version of Bluetooth, but the Acer Swift 3 supports Wi-Fi 6E, meaning it can use the new 6GHz band, while the MacBook Air only supports standard Wi-Fi 6.

Acer Swit 3 (2022) vs MacBook Air: Final thoughts

With all of this in mind, which laptop should you choose? Well, it’s ultimately up to you, but both of them have significant pros and cons. The MacBook Air has a more powerful integrated GPU and the processor as a whole is more efficient, so you get significantly better battery life out of it compared to the Acer Swift 3. Plus, it has a taller display with a higher resolution by default. It’s also the right choice if you’re already a fan of macOS, since you won’t be getting that on Acer’s laptop.

Meanwhile, the Acer Swift 3 has a potentially more powerful CPU, and while it has a weaker integrated GPU, it can actually use the Thunderbolt ports to connect an external GPU and become a bona fide gaming PC. In fact, it just has more ports overall, including USB Type-A and HDMI, which are still important to a lot of people. It also supports multiple external displays, and again, you can’t say that for the MacBook Air. And, of course, it’s the one you’ll want to go with if you want to run Windows apps and games.

Personally speaking, between these two, I’d go with the Acer Swift 3 for the additional ports, the ability to run Windows, and because it has more interesting colors to choose from. But there are very good reasons to go with the MacBook Air, too.

If you prefer the MacBook Air, you can buy it below. The Acer Swift 3 isn’t available to buy just yet, but you can check it out on Acer’s website if you want to see more about it and check if it has been released in the meantime. Otherwise, you can check the best Acer laptops or the best Macs to see what else these companies have to offer you right now.

    The MacBook Air is powered by the Apple M1 chip, providing fantastic performance with low power consumption. It's also got a premium design and a great display.
    The 2022 Acer Swift 3 is powered by Intel's 12th-generation P-series processors, it has up to a Quad HD display, and it comes in some fun colors.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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