The Acer Swift 3 ($499 starting; revised at $699) is not the flashiest laptop or the most powerful laptop. But what the Swift 3 lacks, it makes up for in functionality. Swift 3 is a good mainstream laptop and offers a 10th generation Intel’s CPU with integrated graphics that get the job done without complications. It also has a few bells and whistles, like a fingerprint reader. Plus, it’s priced at just $699, which should be pleasant to the ears of budget-savvy shoppers. However, battery life at less than 8 hours and a dull, dim display should give consumers pause. This is our Acer Swift 3 Review.
Acer Swift 3 Review: Design
If laptops were present at parties, the Acer Swift 3 would be the chic, minimalist dresser with articulated hair that observes from afar. Swift 3 is refined and discreet. This clamshell laptop doesn’t want to stand out from the crowd but wants you to know it’s refined and relaxed. The Swift 3 has tapered sides; the device is thicker towards the back where it houses your favorite ports and then gradually becomes thinner.
The lid of the Acer Swift 3 shows off an aluminum and magnesium alloy steel grey chassis with a silver reflective Acer logo in the center. Open the lid, and you’ll find the “Swift” stylishly branded over the hinge. The interior of the Swift 3 features an island-style keyboard with white characters on black chiclet keys. The keyboard deck, which matches the slate grey theme of the lid, features a Windows Hello fingerprint scanner, which is shaped like a small rectangle with rounded corners.
The Swift 3 is generous with gates and maybe even to give. A DC-in connection for an AC adapter, for example, perhaps somewhat unnecessary if users can opt for the faster USB Type-C port for charging their laptop. On the left side of the Swift 5, you will find a DC-in connection, an HDMI port, a USB Type-C port, which supports DisplayPort, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, Thunderbolt 3 and power supply. This means you can enjoy faster transfer speeds and connect to multiple 4K displays as it floats your boat.
On the right-hand side, you’ll find a headphone/mic jack, a USB 2.0 Type-A port, and a Kensington lock. There is no micro-SD card slot, but you can always get an external Micro-SD reader.
Keyboard and TouchPad
The re’s not much to complain about with the Swift 3’s comfortable backlit keyboard. Travel was a bit on the shallow side, but the keys were satisfyingly clicky and resilient. The Swift 3 also has a very quiet keyboard, so while you plug in your laptop at the office, you don’t disturb your colleagues while typing.
Beneath the keyboard’s arrow keys, you’ll find a Windows Hello fingerprint reader for an extra layer of security and quick access to your laptop via biometric authentication. Centered under the space bar, the Acer Swift 3’s touchpad is perfectly aligned with the sleek, undefined left and right click areas. The touchpad responds well to Windows 10 gestures, such as pinching the zoom and three-finger swipe to open all windows.
Acer Swift 3 Review: Display
The Swift 3’s 1920 x 1080 full HD display doesn’t give the most precise and crispest image, but it does the job. I watched the trailer of A Quiet Place 2, and as Emily Blunt navigated through the wilderness in the thriller, it was hard to see her pores, fine lines, and other muted facial details. But overall, the display is perfect for users who aren’t picky about spotting little sweaty pearls that you can see on competing for higher definition screens.
The colors on the Acer Swift 3’s screen are OK; the re’s nothing to throw over. My eyes were immediately drawn to a bright red stripe on an abandoned train and the shiny yellow coming from a wooden building on fire during the trailer. But in other everyday scenes, the colors were passable and inconspicuous.
In our lab, the screen of the Acer Swift 3 displayed an unspectacular 66% of the sRGB range. This is less than the category average of 92%. The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S also smoked the Swift 3 on our colorimeter (121%). However, with the Asus VivoBook S15 reproducing only 61% of the sRGB range, the Swift 3 captured its competitor Asus.
The Acer Swift 3’s brightness score is a mediocre 224 nits. This is weaker than the category average of 279 nits. The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S and the Asus VivoBook S15 crushed the Swift 3 with a brightness score of 310 nits and 252 nits, respectively.
Doja Cat sounded more like Doja Kitty on the Swift 3, but overall the audio of the Swift 3 will provide a decent audio experience for users looking for a small dance break with Spotify. I listened to Doja Cat’s “Say So” at maximum volume on the Acer Swift 3. The music coming from the lower dual speakers had trouble filling the room. However, despite the hollow audio, it seemed to flow out of the laptop from all angles. I couldn’t determine the location of the speakers if you closed your eyes and listened to the music, which is a plus. The sound was a bit thin – it lacked the full, lush quality you hear on premium speakers.
The integrated Intel UHD graphics on our review unit scored 1,635 on the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark, culminating in the integrated chips on the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S (1,154) and VivoBook S15 (1,130). But the Swift 3 couldn’t beat the average of the regular laptop (2.013). At 44 frames per second, the racing game Dirt 3 ran smoother on the Swift 3 than the VivoBook S15 (31 fps). But the category average and the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S smoked the Swift 3 at 57 fps and 60 fps respectively. Intensive gaming on the Swift 3 won’t be a good idea, but the laptop should be able to handle less demanding titles along with basic photo editing and video editing.
Acer Swift 3 Review: Performance
The 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1U processor of the Acer Swift 3 with 8GB of RAM treated my deluge of 27 Google Chrome tabs (three played 1080p YouTube videos) like a champion.
I picked up Google Docs and went through typing several paragraphs without experiencing any system slowdown. It’s worth mentioning, though, that the fans started kicking in when I pulled up the 20th Chrome tab, but it was barely audible (as quiet as a whisper). So if you’re guilty of continually leaving too many tabs open for your good, don’t worry – the Swift 3 can easily manage your resource-heavy Chrome habits.
On our Geekbench 4.3 overall performance benchmark, the Swift 3’s 14,641 scores exceeded the category average (13,913) and the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S’ Intel Core i5-8265U and 8GB RAM (14,270). But Swift 3 could not compete with Asus VivoBook S15’s Intel Core i5-8265U and 8GB RAM (15,068).
This Acer machine dragged its feet on our File Transfer Test. The Swift 3’s 512GB SSD took 16 seconds to duplicate 4.97GB of mixed media files, equivalent to a transfer rate of 311 megabytes per second. This is slower than the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S (256GB SSD, 552MBps) and Asus VivoBook S15 (512GB SSD, 452MBps). Compared to the category average (110 MBps), Acer Swift 3 had the upper hand.
Acer Swift 3 Review: Battery Life
The Acer Swift 3 lasted 7 hours and 31 minutes on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits), which won our category on average (6:46), but not our preferred 8 hours run time (for a full day of work or school). Swift 3 also beat its competitors: the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S (7:02) and the Asus VivoBook S15 (7:05).
The Acer Swift 3 kept it cool under pressure on our heat test, playing a 15-minute, full-screen video in 1080p resolution. Even the hottest part of the chassis, the region above the F8 key, remained below our 95-degree comfort threshold at 89 degrees Fahrenheit. The touchpad (81 degrees), the center of the keyboard (86 degrees), and the bottom (92 degrees) kept the heat away.
Price and Configuration Options
Acer sells a wide range of Swift 3 configurations. The $499 basic model comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, 4GB RAM, a 128GB SSD, and an AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU. The 14-inch Acer Swift 3 I review costs $699. The ultrabook features a 10th generation Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and integrated Intel UHD graphics. You can configure it up to $799, which comes with a 10th generation Intel Core i5-1035G4 CPU, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Intel Iris Plus graphics.
Acer Swift 3 Review: Conclusion
The Acer Swift 3 is your trustworthy travel companion. It is reliable, but it will never stand out in a crowd. With a Core i5 processor and integrated GPU, the laptop is a capable workhorse and can handle most productivity and multimedia tasks. And with a wide variety of ports, you can put together a walkable work machine. And the $699 price tag is immensely attractive. However, Acer has made some severe compromises in pursuit of a cheaper price point.
Consumers should consider Swift 3’s slow SSD, mediocre display, and less than 8 hours of battery life before making a decision. For better performance and a more vivid display, shoppers should choose the $749 Asus VivoBook S15. But if you’re looking for a reliable multitasker, you can’t be wrong about the Acer Swift 3.
Looking for budget laptops? Check out our list of Best Laptops Under $500
The Acer Swift 3 is an affordable, portable laptop with solid multitasking chops, but it doesn't have the best battery life.
- Portable, lightweight chassis
- Multitasking muscle
- Mediocre battery life
- Dim display
- Sluggish SSD