Acer is an established and reliable name in the PC market, and a key OEM partner for Microsoft. When Acer offered me an opportunity to test out the Swift 3 laptop, I gladly accepted. Acer seems to offer a solid mix between performance and price, and I felt like the Swift 3 would be something you—the TechSpective audience—would appreciate.
Here is my review of the Acer Swift 3.
The unit Acer shared with me is a Swift 3 model SF314-52-517Z. It has an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD for storage.
The Swift 3 comes in a few different colors. The one I used is the typical silver—Acer technically calls it “Sparkly Silver”. It is relatively slim and light—although not the slimmest or lightest laptop I’ve used. The device is 13.31 inches wide, 9.21 inches deep, and 0.71 inches thick. It weighs 3.75 pounds.
Within that brushed metal shell, the Swift 3 has a 14-inch, full-HD display. It is LED-backlit, has a 16:9 aspect ratio, and a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. The graphics for the laptop are driven by an Intel HD Graphics 620 processor.
It has a good selection of ports. Like most thin laptops, it does not have a built-in ethernet port—you’ll have to use a USB-to-ethernet adapter of some sort. It does, however, have a USB-C port, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI out with HDCP support, a combo headphone / speaker jack, and an SD card reader slot. It also has 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity.
The Swift 3 comes with Windows 10 Home. The built-in webcam is not capable of performing the Windows Hello facial recognition, but the device has a fingerprint scanner that lets you log in through Windows Hello with a touch of your fingertip.
The keyboard is very nice. It has raised keys that are very responsive, but with enough travel and resistance so you know you’re typing on it. The keyboard is also backlit, which comes in handy when trying to use the laptop in dim or dark conditions—especially if you’re not a traditional touch typist and actually need to see the keys to know what you’re typing.
Acer claims the battery life is 10 hours. As with every single battery-life claim ever made, your mileage will absolutely vary. Those battery endurance tests revolve around very specific scenarios that don’t accurately reflect real-world usage. Suffice it to say, 10-hour battery life translates to an adequate amount of disconnected power to get things done.
The speakers on the Swift 3 are respectable. When I am home I am typically connected to my Logitech surround sound speakers, though, and when I am out and about—like working from a Starbucks—I use headphones of some sort because I don’t want to be “that guy”. Still, if I did want to use the speakers on the laptop, these are admirable.
I used the Swift 3 as my primary laptop for a few weeks and I did not come up with any serious complaints. I do, however, have two minor ones.
First, the hinge is really tight. It is a testament to the quality of construction, and is certainly better than a hinge that’s too loose, but I had to wrestle with the Swift 3 to get it open a few times. It’s particularly challenging if you only have one hand to try and open the laptop while you’re holding a cup of hot coffee in the other. Just sayin’.
Second, the power key is at the upper right of the keyboard. The problem is—that’s where the DEL key belongs. On the Swift 3, the DEL key is right next to power key, just to the left. I frequently hit the power key on accident when I was trying to hit DEL. I am sure I would get used to it over time, but then I’d have a problem on the vast majority of keyboards because—in almost all cases—that’s where the DEL is found.
Aside from that, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the Swift 3.
The Acer Swift 3 is not the slimmest, nor the lightest, nor the most powerful laptop I’ve used, but it’s also significantly more affordable than those other options. The line includes models with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD for $499, all the way up to a model with an Intel Core i7 processor, discreet NVIDIA GPU, 8GB RAM and a 256 SSD for $999. The model I tested out falls in the middle and retails for $680.
Aside from the different configurations available, the Swift 3 also comes in different colors. You can choose the silver one like I used, or a blue or pink metal laptop.
Overall, this is a great laptop that I would highly recommend. It has a variety of great features and benefits, only a couple minor issues, and a reasonable price.
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