Acer Swift 3 (2022) vs Dell XPS 13: What’s the best laptop?

In the past couple of months, many companies have introduced new versions of their laptops featuring Intel’s 12th-generation processors. One of them is Acer, which recently announced the Swift 3 (2022), featuring new P-series processors and other upgrades. But even with that in mind, can the Acer Swift 3 outclass the Dell XPS 13, which is one of the best laptops you can buy right now? We’re here to find out.

In this article, we’ll be comparing the Acer Swift 3 to the Dell XPS 13 in terms of specs, performance, display, and more. It’s worth keeping in mind that the XPS 13 has not been refreshed with new Intel processors yet (though there is the new Dell XPS 13 Plus if you want to check that one out). As such, the Acer Swift 3 automatically has some big advantages in terms of performance. Regardless, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about these laptops.

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Acer Swift 3 (2022) vs Dell XPS 13: Specs

Acer Swift 3 (2022) Dell XPS 13 (9310)
  • 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)
  • 11th generation 15W Intel Core i3-1115G4 (2-core, 4-thread, up to 4.1GHz, 6 MB cache)
  • 11th generation 15W Intel Core i5-1135G7 (4-core, 8-thread, up to 4.2 GHz, 8 MB cache)
  • 11th generation 15W Intel Core i7-1165G7 (4-core, 8-thread, up to 4.7 GHz, 12MB cache)
  • 11th generation 15W Intel Core i7-1185G7 (4-core, 8-thread, up to 4.8GHz, 12MB cache)
  • 11th generation 15W Intel Core i7-1195G7 (4-core, 8-thread, up to 5GHz, 12MB cache)
  • Intel UHD Graphics (Core i3)
  • Intel Iris Xe graphics
  • 14-inch 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS
  • 14-inch 16:9 Quad HD (2560 x 1440) IPS
  • 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge non-touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch 3.5K (3456 x 2160) InfinityEdge OLED touch, DisplayHDR 500,
    400 nits, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, anti-reflective
  • 256 GB SSD
  • 512GB SSD
  • 1TB SSD
  • 2TB SSD
  • 8GB LPDDR4
  • 16GB LPDDR4
  • 32GB LPDDR4
  • 3-cell (unspecified capacity), up to 10.5 hours
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • microSD card reader
  • Stereo speakers (2.5W x 2 = 4W peak) with Waves MaxxAudio Pro
  • Full HD 1080p webcam with temporal noise reduction
Windows Hello
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Facial recognition with IR camera
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2 x 2)
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Safari Gold
  • Snow Blue
  • Pure Silver
  • Platinum Silver with Black carbon fiber palm rest
  • Frost with Arctic White woven glass fiber palm rest
Size (WxDxH)
  • 320.04 x 210.82 x 16 mm (12.6 x 8.3 x 0.63 in)
  • 295.7  × 198.7 × 14.8mm (11.64×7.82×0.58 inches)
  • Starting at 1.25kg (2.76 lbs)
  • Starting at 1.2kg (2.64lbs)
Price Starting at $849.99 Starting at $1,119.99

Performance: Intel 12th-generation processors make a big difference

As we’ve already mentioned, one of the biggest these two laptops has to do with the processors. The new Acer Swift 3 (2022) comes with 12th-generation Intel processors, and they specifically come from the brand-new P series, which has a 28W TDP. This series didn’t exist before, and the Dell XPS 13 instead features 11th-generation 15W processors. That’s a big deal because the higher TDP means the new processors can get that much more performance, at the expense of more power consumption.

That’s not all that’s different, though. Intel’s 12th-generation processors also use a brand-new hybrid architecture, mixing performance cores and efficient cores. This hybrid design allows for more cores and threads overall, resulting in higher performance. We can get an idea of the performance differences between the processors in these laptops by looking at the Geekbench 5 benchmark scores.

Intel Core i7-1260P
(see test)
Intel Core i7-1195G7
Intel Core i5-1240P
(see test)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
Geekbench 5 (single/multi-core) 1,655 / 9,318 1,447 / 4,828 1,469 / 8,788 1,243 / 4,180

We should point out that these are early results for 12th-generation processors and they’re taken from individual tests. Once 12th-generation CPUs have been more widely tested, we should be able to get the average numbers for them but for now, this should give you an idea of the performance bump you can expect. Keep in mind that CPU performance isn’t the sole factor in determining a PC’s speed in day-to-day use, though.

One thing that won’t be very different is the GPU. Both laptops come with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, and they’ve barely changed from the 11th-generation to the 12th-generation models.

The Acer Swift 3 has a smaller battery due to the 28W processors.

There’s something else that’s worth reiterating: The new P-series CPUs in the Acer Swift 3 have a higher TDP, and that has implications on battery life. Not only can these processors use more power, but they generate more heat, which means they need a beefier cooling solution, and that removes space for other components like the battery. The Acer Swift 3 (2022) has a much smaller battery than its predecessor and it promises up to 10.5 hours of battery life, compared to the 14 hours of the Dell XPS 13.

Aside from this, you can get up to 32GB of RAM on the Dell XPS 13, while the known configurations of the Acer Swift 3 only go up to 16GB, and both laptops come with up to 2TB of SSD storage.

Display and audio: The Dell XPS 13 has a 16:10 display

Whereas the Acer Swift 3 delivers significantly more performance thanks to the new processors, it’s not as appealing when it comes to the display. Acer has stuck with a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio for the Swift 3, and it comes in either Full HD (1920 x 1080) or Quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolution. The Quad HD panel is new and it’s a very welcome upgrade if you want a sharper image. It’s a 14-inch display, so it’s slightly larger than the one on the XPS 13, good news if you prefer larger screens.

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

However, the Dell XPS 13 has an advantage when it comes to the aspect ratio. It has a 13.4-inch panel and it comes in a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is taller than the more typical display of the Swift 3. Taller displays are increasingly common in premium laptops and they’re great for productivity because of the added vertical space and larger surface area. A taller display can fit more content from a webpage, or more tracks in a video editing timeline, for example.

On top of that, the Dell XPS 13 comes with some great display upgrade options. The base model has Full HD+ resolution (1920 x 1200), but you can also get a 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED panel or go for the Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS option. Those are two top-tier upgrades, and the OLED option is especially appealing since you can get true blacks, vivid colors, and a higher contrast ratio. Plus, both of these options also include touch-enabled displays.

For sound, both laptops have a dual-speaker stereo setup, though there’s a good chance you’ll prefer the speakers on the XPS 13. Dell’s XPS lineup usually has some of the best laptop speakers you can find.

As for the webcam, that’s where the Acer Swift 3 turns things around. The Dell XPS 13 makes do with a 720p webcam and on top of that, it uses a small 2.25mm sensor. That means it doesn’t capture as much light, which can result in a grainy image even in decent lighting conditions. The 2022 Acer Swift 3 is upgraded with a Full HD 1080p webcam, so it’s bound to provide much better video quality, so you look your best during meetings and calls.

The Dell XPS 13 has a worse webcam, but it supports Windows Hello facial recognition.

One advantage the Dell XPS 13 has is that it supports Windows Hello facial recognition, in addition to having a fingerprint sensor. The Acer Swift 3 only has a fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello.

Design: The Dell XPS 13 is more portable

Considering the difference in display size, it might go without saying that the Dell XPS 13 is more portable than the Acer Swift 3, but we should mention it anyway. Being compact is a key part of the XPS family, and it holds true here. The Dell XPS 13 is smaller in every dimension, including the 14.8mm of thickness compared to the 16mm of the Acer Swift 3. Even with its taller aspect ratio, the laptop as a whole is not as tall as Acer’s. It’s slightly lighter, too, though the difference is very small.

As for overall looks, it depends on your tastes, but both laptops have something going for them. The Dell XPS 13 comes in a very cool dual-tone design. You get one option that mixes a platinum (silver) exterior with a black carbon fiber interior, and another option that has a frost (which is a lighter shade of silver) exterior with a white woven fiber glass interior. Both of these make for a very unique look compared to most other laptops, and it’s up to you which one you prefer.

On the other hand, the Acer Swift 3 comes in some more interesting colors. There’s still a silver model, which is likely to be the most common one, but you can also get it in Snow Blue or Safari Gold. These two options have something of a dual-tone look to them, too. The Safari Gold model has a more vivid gold tone on the lid, while the base is a bit more subdued, and the Snow Blue model has a blue lid but the base has more of a green-ish tone to it. These are both fairly fun colors, and since the chassis is mostly aluminum either way, they’re still premium.

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

Ports: The Acer Swift 3 has more of them

The super-compact design of the Dell XPS 13 doesn’t come without its drawbacks, and the port selection on the laptop can be quite limiting. It comes with just two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. With Thunderbolt support, you can use a single port on the Dell XPS 13 laptop to charge it, connect external monitors, and other peripherals, so it’s not like you don’t have options. Still, you have to pay quite a bit to get a Thunderbolt dock, so it’s not the solution everyone will want.

The Acer Swift 3 has USB Type-A and HDMI, in addition to Thunderbolt 4.

Meanwhile, the Acer Swift 3 also has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, but on top of that, it includes two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, and a headphone jack, so you can connect a few peripherals out of the box. You can add a mouse, keyboard, and one external display without any adapters or docks, which might be a big deal. You do miss out on a microSD card reader, which may be inconvenient for some users.

As for wireless connectivity, the two laptops are similar. They both support the latest Bluetooth standard, but the Acer Swift 3 does support Wi-Fi 6E, which uses a new 6GHz band for even faster speeds. The Dell XPS 13 only supports regular Wi-Fi 6, so it can’t use the new 6GHz band.

Acer Swift 3 (2022) vs Dell XPS 13: Final thoughts

After comparing all of these aspects, choosing one of these laptops may be a bit harder than it initially appears. The Acer Swift 3 certainly has better performance, plus it has a higher-resolution webcam and more ports, so it’s more versatile out of the box. However, that added performance does come at the cost of battery life.

On the other hand, the Dell XPS 13 has a much more interesting display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and some great upgrade options. Plus, it’s more compact and lighter, making it more portable, while also promising better battery life. On the other hand, the port setup is very limiting and the webcam isn’t good.

It may also make sense to wait and see if Dell plans to refresh the Dell XPS 13 with 12th-generation processors anytime soon, or check out the Dell XPS 13 Plus we mentioned at the start. You’ll get all the same benefits as the current model has, and you’ll likely get a similar level of performance to the Acer Swift 3.

It’s also worth mentioning the price difference, since the Dell XPS 13 starts at over $1,000 and that’s with an Intel Core i3 processor (though it does already come with an Ultra HD+ display). The starting price of the Acer Swift 3 is much lower, at $849.99, and that includes a Core i5 CPU. The Acer Swift 3 is more of a mainstream laptop so you get more bang for your buck in terms of performance.

Either way, the Acer Swift 3 isn’t available to buy just yet, so you’ll need to wait a while if you prefer that one. You can check it out on Acer’s website in the meantime in case it’s gone live since we published this article. If you prefer the Dell XPS 13, you can buy it below. Otherwise, you can also check out the best Acer laptops or the best Dell laptops you can buy today to see what other options are there.

    The Acer Swift 3 is a premium-looking laptop with Intel Alder Lake processors and up to a Quad HD display.

    The Dell XPS 13 is a premium laptop with a 16:10 display and high-end Intel 11th-generation processors.

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