Acer Swift 3 Mini-Review Back

Photos: 10
Photo source: Acer
One of the most reviewed Ryzen 4000 laptops demonstrated its performance by outperforming laptops that cost more than 3 times as much. It is a good budget laptop but Acer had to make some sacrifices to achieve this price.

Written: 05 September 2020, Updated: 11 February 2021

  • Good performance
  • Solid Aluminum build
  • Large NVMe SSD
  • Dim display with mediocre color accuracy
  • Cooling can't keep up in demanding tasks

Specifications

General
Manufacturer Acer
Name Swift 3
Type Clamshell
Operating System(s) Windows 10 Home
Color(s) Silver
Size & Weight
Weight 2.65lbs, 1.2kg
Width 12.73", 323.4mm
Depth 8.62", 218.9mm
Thickness 0.63", 15.95mm
Performance
Gaming Score 34
Processor(s) AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
Graphics AMD Vega 6
AMD Vega 7
Storage (GB) 256; 512
Battery
Mobility Score 71
Capacity (Wh) 49
Idle (hours) 16:46
Wifi (hours) 11:03
Video (hours) 11:19
Load (hours) 1:54
Average Runtime 9:25
Memory (RAM)
Size (GB) 8
Type DDR4
Frequency (Mhz) 3200
Display
Resolution 1920x1080
Size 14"
Type IPS
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Brightness (nits) 230
Glare Matte
Refresh Rate 60
Touch No
Stylus No
Ports
USB-C 1
HDMI 1
USB 3 1
USB 2 1
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Case, design, and build quality

Acer used solid aluminum to create a laptop that is superior to most other laptops in this price range. There is minimal flex when pressing down on the display or lifting the device up. Despite the solid construction and large 14" display, the Acer Swift 3 is very light. The only nitpick we found is that the display cannot be opened with one hand.

Ports

Power, USB-C, HDMI, USB-A 3.1

3.5mm audio jack, USB-A 2.0, Kensington Lock

The Acer Swift 3 offers a solid selection of ports. Especially the HDMI port is a useful addition to quickly connect to a monitor or beamer at home or on the go. Unfortunately, there is no second USB-C port on the right, so the charging cable must be connected from the left. However, given the price class of the device, this is an acceptable tradeoff.

Inputs

The keyboard offers a good typing experience with enough key travel and backlighting. The touchpad is not quite as good, but at least it uses Windows Precision drivers so it is a big step up from the terrible Windows touchpads seen on budget laptops just a couple of years ago.

The Acer Swift 3 provides a fingerprint scanner and Windows Hello face recognition to authenticate the user. It is a pity, that the fingerprint scanner is on the inside of the device, otherwise it could have been used to authenticate if the laptop is closed (e.g. while being connected to external monitors). However, it is still great that Acer added two ways of authentication.

Processor

  • Name: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 6
  • Name: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 8
The Acer Swift 3 was the first Ryzen 4000 laptops to be reviewed by the press. Thanks to the performance uplift compared with Intel's Ice Lake processor, the Swift's performance got a lot of praise. However, now that more models with AMD Ryzen 4000 processors are on the market, it becomes clear that the Swift performs not as well as it could with better components and cooling.
For example, it reaches about the same multi threaded score in Cinebench 20 as the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 with a 4500U that has 2 cores less and a lower frequency. Having said that, the performance is still great, it is just important to know that the Swift 3 will not be able to keep up with more premium models despite having the same processor.

Display

  • Size: 14
  • Type: IPS
  • Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Aspect ratio: 19:9
  • Brightness (nits): 230
Fortunately manufacturers stopped using 720p TN panels for their budget models. However, Acer used a pretty low end FullHD ISP display. Resolution and viewing angles are fine, but color accuracy is poor. This would be acceptable on a budget laptop, but unfortunately the panel only reaches 240 nits of brightness on average. This makes it hard to use in bright environments, especially with a glossy screen (although there have been some reports that Acer sometimes uses panels with a semi-matte screen that reduces reflections).

ZenlaptopsVerdict

The Acer Swift 3 got a lot of praise when it was released for its performance and value for money. Looking at it now, a couple of month later, it did not age as well. Performance is still good, but other models showed that the Ryzen 4000 can perform at a much higher level with proper cooling. Without the benefit of performance, weaknesses such as the mediocre display become even more noticeable.

Having said that, given the price the Acer Swift 3 is still a lot of laptop for the money, it is just not the same amazing value as it was when it was compared with Intel Ice Lake laptops.