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Acer Swift 1

I decided to upgrade my laptop, and chose to get the Acer Swift 1 SF113-31-P6XP (the rose gold color). The Acer website indicated that this model would have a keyboard backlight, but it does not. It has 3 stuck pixels and a weird bright spot in the display that looks like a reflection, which I only notice when showing bright colors. Since I changed all my settings over to dark mode, I don’t notice these issues at all.

The laptop itself is slightly underpowered, so occasionally an application will behave as if it got paused for a second. Because my main use case for this device is just surfing the web in bed, I don’t mind that behavior at all, and have come to expect it even on workhorse machines. I blame javascript, plugins, and browser architecture generally. Bonus points: the device has no fan and runs completely silent. I find the trade-off worth it. The N4200 supports bursting up to 2.5GHz and Linux makes good use of that ability. I had no problem streaming videos and playing them full-screen.

My biggest complaint comes from the trackpad, which kept freezing. So, I took some steps to remedy that problem (in Ubuntu).

  1. apt install xserver-xorg-input-synaptics, for some reason this does not install with xserver-xorg-input-all. It’s presence opens up a bunch of configuration options regarding click behavior, scrolling, palm detection, etc.
  2. Create a script that will cycle the touchpad when it freezes and create global keyboard shortcut to run it. If the touchpad freezes, at least you have a button to get it back.
    #!/bin/bash
     
    declare -i ID
    ID=`xinput list | grep -Eio '(touchpad|glidepoint)\s*id\=[0-9]{1,2}' | grep -Eo '[0-9]{1,2}'`
     
    xinput disable $ID
    sleep 0.1
    xinput enable $ID

    I spent a day using this setup and must have hit the cycle button at least 50 times. Though it was quick, it got really annoying.

  3. One time the touchpad didn’t respond after resuming from sleep. So I dug deeper to see if I could virtually unplug and replug it.

    If the touchpad doesn’t come back after using the above script, then you can cycle the responsible kernel module.

    sudo modprobe -r hid_multitouch
    sudo modprobe hid_multitouch
  4. After some more research, I learned that other Acer models had similar issues, but they could be fixed with a change to the bios settings. During bootup press F2 to access the bios, then switch Main > Touchpad from Advanced to Basic.

For the past five days, I have not had to cycle the touchpad (step 2) since changing the bios flag (step 4).

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