Acer Swift 3 (SF314-57-57BN) review: Thin, light, affordable, and Ice Lake, with Thunderbolt 3 to boot

    With its slim profile and featherweight kind issue, the Acer Swift 3 deftly balances measurement, energy, performance and value. Retailing for $700 and weighing in at about two and a half kilos, the Swift 3 is an enticingly inexpensive quad-core laptop computer. While its Ice Lake efficiency is decidedly center of the street, it stands toe-to-toe with its opponents with out the same old roar of cooling followers. The inclusion of a Thunderbolt 3 port is a pleasant bonus given the Swift 3’s value vary, though the IPS show is on the dim facet.


    Acer affords all kinds of Swift 3 laptops in 15.6-inch, 14-inch, and 13.3-inch configurations, together with Core i3, i5, and i7 fashions starting from Eighth-gen Kaby Lake all the way in which to 10th-gen Ice Lake (to not point out a single AMD Ryzen 5 model). At the decrease finish of the Swift 3 spectrum you’ll discover a 14-inch Core i3 Kaby Lake configuration with a stingy 4GB of RAM and 128GB of solid-state storage for $480. On the higher finish sits a 14-inch Core i7 Whiskey Lake system with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and devoted Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics for $1,000.

    The $700 (or $650 at your local MicroCenter) Ice Lake mannequin we’re reviewing sits within the higher third of the Swift 3 vary:

    • CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5-1035G1U Ice Lake processor
    • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics G1
    • Display: 14-inch 1920×1080 full-HP IPS non-touch
    • Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
    • Networking: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2×2 MU-MIMO
    • Dimensions: 12.58 x 8.54 x 0.63 inches
    • Weight: 2.51 kilos (with out energy brick), 3.46 kilos (with energy brick)

    This seems like a stable configuration at first look, with that vibrant and glossy 10th-gen Ice Lake CPU actually getting our consideration. We’re additionally enticed by the roomy solid-state drive, whereas the Wi-Fi 6 radio implies that this Swift 3 will likely be prepared the second you improve to a speedier, cutting-edge wi-fi router. The 8GB of low-power DDR4 RAM is pretty commonplace for a laptop computer on this value vary (though 16GB would have been a pleasant bonus). The built-in UHD Graphics G1 core represents (as we’ll quickly see) a considerable step up from Whiskey Lake’s built-in UHD 620 graphics, whereas nonetheless falling in need of full-on discrete graphics efficiency.

    As far because the Swift 3’s Ice Lake processor goes, you’ll need to mood your expectations. In our initial Ice Lake tests, we noticed the CPU scoring excessive marks when it got here to video encoding and different CPU-intensive duties, however that’ll solely occur if the producer provides the chip free rein. A comparatively skinny, gentle, and cheap laptop computer just like the Swift 3 gained’t have the identical cooling prowess as, say, a $1,500 or $2,000 laptop computer, so we’d anticipate Acer to dial down the efficiency of the Swift’s Ice Lake chip considerably as a heat-management measure.


    As far as seems go, our steel-gray Swift 3 assessment unit is, nicely, a bit on the uninteresting facet, with a superbly flat and featureless aluminum lid (save for the Acer emblem within the center), a sturdy hinge with the “Swift” model engraved within the center (refined however trendy), and a pair of rear vents which might be solely uncovered when the lid is open. In different phrases, nothing concerning the Swift 3 would notably stand out on the shelf of your favourite big-box retailer.

    Ben Patterson/IDG

    The Acer Swift 3’s design is perhaps on the pedestrian facet, however there’s no arguing with its pleasingly slim and light-weight design.

    That stated, you’ll most likely forgive the Swift 3’s pedestrian design when you decide it up and really feel how gentle it’s. Weighing only a hair over two and a half kilos (or practically three and a half kilos in the event you depend the ability brick) and measuring a svelte 0.63 inches thick, the Swift 3 felt nice in my arms. Toting it round in my pack for the day didn’t throw my again out of joint.

    Beyond that, the one different design factor of the Swift 3 price mentioning (in addition to its show bezels, which we’ll cowl momentarily) is the huge notch on the entrance fringe of the laptop computer, which makes the lid a little bit simpler to pry open.

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