Design

Acer’s design ethos for the new Swift 3 would make you think this is a much more expensive device. The 14-inch notebook features an all-aluminum design, offering a much more premium feel than what you’d normally expect on a notebook in this price range. At just 1.2 kg / 2.65 lbs, the 14-inch notebook is extremely portable, and with an 83% screen to body ratio, it is easily as compact as a 13.3-inch notebook from a couple of years ago. Acer’s choice of a 16:9 display does mean that the display has a hefty chin, but is almost certainly a choice that was made to keep the device in-budget.

Despite the thin design and the low price, the aluminum chassis is very stout, with little to no flex no matter how you pick it up. Acer has cut in a slot at the front to make opening the laptop easier, although it will not open with a single finger since the hinge is too stiff to allow this. There is no touch support either, so the hinge stiffness does not need to be quite so tight, but it does make for a solid platform once you open it up.

The keyboard provides a great typing experience. The keys themselves have single-level white backlighting, which works well. The white backlighting on silver keys can cause some contrast issues in bright light, but the effect is not as pronounced as it is on some other devices. Typing offers a surprisingly good keyboard feel, with solid keys that have a solid level of pressure and feedback. Acer has the power button as part of the keyboard, which does make it prone to accidentally turning the device off if you miss the delete key, and moving the power button out of the normal keys would be appreciated, but Acer is far from the only manufacturer to do this, and the laptop resumes instantly so even if it did happen it’s not as big of an issue as it was a few years ago, thanks to the new modern standby options built into Windows and the new CPU.

If there was one area where the notebook showcased it was a lower-cost device, it would be the trackpad. Although it offers the Precision touchpad drivers, the material is not as smooth and responsive as some higher-priced notebooks. This is not so much a knock against the device, but a reality of where it is situated in the market. It does offer the expected multi-touch capabilities you’d expect, it just doesn’t quite offer the level of refinement you’d see in more premium notebooks.

Acer has also included a fingerprint reader, which has great response. It unlocks the device in well under a second even if the display is off. It is a nice to see Windows Hello support despite the lower cost of this device, and the chosen reader seems to work very well. There is no IR camera included, and the built-in webcam is only a 1280x720 unit, so do not expect to be the belle of the Teams meeting, but it gets the job done with a properly located webcam in the top bezel.

Acer offers reasonable I/O as well, with a USB Type-C port on the left, which does support power delivery up to 15 Watts output, and support for charging the device via USB-C as well. There is no Thunderbolt 3, but it does offer DisplayPort output. This is in addition to the included HDMI port, and the laptop also has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port on the left which supports power-off charging, and a USB 2.0 port on the right, along with a headset jack.

Overall, the Acer Swift 3 is a great design, with a modern feel, and premium materials. The 14-inch notebook is compact, thin, and light, and Acer has done a great job with the look and feel of this device. There are enough ports, and the included USB-C port adds the expanded ability to charge as well as I/O. Looking at this device, you could easily mistake it for a notebook that costs hundreds more.

Introduction SPEC: Renoir vs Picasso vs Ice Lake
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  • Roland00Address - Monday, May 11, 2020 - link

    MSRP prices are never rational, especially on commodities who often sell much less than their MSRP. While "branded / halo" items rarely deviate from their MSRPs. Reply
  • yeeeeman - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    "and allows them to compete not just on performance, but battery life as well" - how it allows them to compete when we clearly see in the normalized test that they are 25% worse compared to Intel? Reply
  • yeeeeman - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Nevertheless, the implementation is disappointing since it cannot sustain a stable frequency, so gaming will be hard on this...I guess that 650$ price is not without of reason... Reply
  • Steve1992 - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    The frequencies are fine: https://youtu.be/Xyns9jjEt5M Reply
  • Steve1992 - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Better example: https://youtu.be/pGgY-Aw2dZo Reply
  • neblogai - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    They are OK, but could be better. iGPU can keep the frequences in CPU-light games, but drops them in CPU heavy games like Forza Horizon, Dota2, and especially Battlefield V multiplayer. Also, in case of GTA5 benchmark you posted- note that the video starts with APU at 25W, which is while APU is still boosting (several minutes). Then it goes to sustained power limit of 18W, and will stay there, with lower power and clocks. Reply
  • Flunk - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Low priced thin and lights with integrated graphics are all pretty much useless for gaming. It's not a reasonable or use case... at least according to notebook designers. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Gaming on a laptop with an IGP will never be a great experience because you either have to turn the quality settings down a lot or play older/less graphically complex titles; but that doesn't mean people don't do it. There's no easy way to get a desktop/mobile split, but ~10% of systems in the Steam HW Survey use some Intel GPU; I suspect a majority of them are laptops because it's where you're stuck with the IGP and can't slap in even a cheap discrete GPU for faster speeds.

    The GPU here isn't a 200W discrete card, or even a 40W discrete card; but it is a step above Intel's IGPs. That makes it an attractive option for someone who wants to be able to game on a laptop without spending a lot more and sacrificing profitability.

    I do it some of the time when away from home on an old XPS13 with a i7-6xxx. It's a limited experience, especially after this many years, but is still better than mobile gaming on my phone.
    Reply
  • philehidiot - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    It has always been the case that if you want a decent gaming laptop, you're paying big bucks. I think the pricing here is pretty damned awesome. I'd never buy a laptop like this for gaming. It's that simple. The Vega GPU is kinda nice to have but integrated graphics are simply not meant for decent gaming. It's that simple. If you're looking at this and thinking "ooh gaming machine", you need to recalibrate your expectations. Reply
  • neblogai - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Well, gaming does not have to be the latest AAA specifically. Majority of best games will run on this integrated Vega very well. Most E-sports are also playble. And even a lot of best latest AAA will run well enough to experience and enjoy the game (if the game has to offer more than just graphics). Reply

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