The Acer Swift 3 SF315-41 Review: Ryzen Meets Laptopby Brett Howse on May 3, 2018 8:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Ryzen Mobile
- Raven Ridge
The industry has come a long way in the last couple of years, and Acer has stepped up their game with the Swift 3’s design. It features an all-aluminum exterior with a brushed finish, and compared to any plastic model, it offers significantly better looks, along with that cool-to-the-touch metal feel that always adds a bit of luxury.
Opening the lid shows off the 15.6-inch display, which isn’t a thin-bezel design, but that’s not really expected in this category. The larger display as a percentage of the total size helps mask the bezels too.
Taking a look at the keyboard, we see the first issue with the Swift 3 on the 15.6-inch models, which feature a number pad squeezed in on the right. The 14-inch models don’t offer the number pad, and frankly, the 15-inch version shouldn’t either. It’s just too cramped. There’s likely some market that wants the number pad on a 15.6-inch notebook, but it just tends to not offer a great experience since there’s not really enough room to offer the correct size one. This one is missing the addition and enter keys that should be on the right, which really takes away from the reason to even have one to start with. You’ll also notice that the power key is part of the keyboard, which is something that can tend to be an issue, but since it’s above the number pad rather than replacing the delete key as it is on some notebooks, it’s not as big of an issue.
Keeping with the keyboard, Acer has added backlighting to this model, which is great to see. Unfortunately, the backlight isn’t tied to the trackpad use, so it will shut off if you’re just using the trackpad. It would be great to see Acer tie the trackpad to the backlighting so you have an easier time keeping it activated when you’re using the laptop.
Finally, the keyboard itself is not the greatest. There’s not a lot of travel on the keys, and the keys themselves are somewhat slippery, so trying to touch-type on this notebook is a bit of a challenge. With a larger, thicker notebook in the 15.6-inch model, it would be nice to see a better keyboard than this. Of the entire system, the keyboard is one of the most disappointing features.
The keyboard does offer backlighting though, which is always welcome, but the keyboard backlighting isn’t tied to the trackpad use like on most systems, so when using it in a dark room, the lighting turns off when you are moving the pointer, and then it’s hard to find where the keys are again.
Luckily the same isn’t the case for the trackpad. Acer’s generously sized trackpad features Microsoft Precision drivers, and has a nice smooth finish. It’s large, but not distractingly so, and works very well. Trackpads can still be a hit or miss item, somehow, but this one is a hit.
Looking at the sides we can see all of the I/O, and there’s plenty here for almost anyone. With a 0.75-inch thick notebook, you may have expected to see an Ethernet port as well, but it’s not there, and on a model such as this it makes sense to omit it. If this was a business focused machine, it would be important, but most consumers are going to want to keep this untethered you’d have to think. If they do need Ethernet, there’s plenty of USB ports to hook it to.
The Acer Swift 3 is a well-designed notebook, with plenty of inputs, a smart looking aluminum finish, and creature comforts like a fingerprint reader to make your life easier. It’s only let down by the less than stellar keyboard, and that’s a shame.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
Flunk - Thursday, May 3, 2018 - linkOr it hits a point where it can't fit the frame-buffer into the cache memory and has to draw it in main memory instead. I think that's pretty likely, there is only so much you can do with 128MB of memory, this is the same problem the Xbox One suffers from. Performance falls off a cliff once you overflow the eDRAM cache.
IntelUser2000 - Thursday, May 3, 2018 - linkNope, which is why I talked about Notebookcheck's result.
MamiyaOtaru - Thursday, May 3, 2018 - linkOK "IntelUser2000". It's great to have your objective input.
IntelUser2000 - Thursday, May 3, 2018 - linkOkay Mr. Objective.
oynaz - Friday, May 4, 2018 - linkThe Internet. The place where usernames like "FartsOnChickens" are more trustworthy than ones like "IntelUser"
Krysto - Thursday, May 3, 2018 - linkThrottling maybe?
DanNeely - Thursday, May 3, 2018 - linkthose're certainly interesting configurations. The only way to get a 512GB SSD is AMD, the only way to get 16GB of ram is Intel. The latter's especially sad since the AMD configuration's more powerful GPU is capable of using more of the system memory for VRAM.
I'll second the comment about the 3 column num-pad being an awful idea. If you're part of the majority of people who don't use one, it adds to the BOM and is guilty of putting the main keyboard and trackpad off center. If you do want a numpad, you probably touchtype it and the truncated layout means you're not able to on this one anyway.
The 15.6" laptop numpad needs to be limited to models that are either thick enough to do ports under the keyboard or that have so few ports that they can put them all in the hinge area and still run the keys out to the edge of the chassis. Or using oldschool inch thick chunky bezels I guess; but if you're making the chassis that large you might as put a slim bezel 17.3" screen in instead.
Targon - Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - linkAnd due to the nature of these things, a bad keyboard is going to keep people from buying a given laptop. This is all about Acer, and really the few companies that are releasing Ryzen based laptops not really being focused on sales. What are the deal breakers when it comes to laptops? You have keyboard, you have screen, and you have battery life. If you don't provide good choices for these things, people will not buy the laptop, even if the CPU is amazing.
Some of this may have to do with the NVIDIA GPP and companies really trying not to get cut off by NVIDIA, or there is another reason.
LarryTempleton - Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - linkWhat is it then? Sheer incompetence? Why can’t a laptop PC maker ever get all the parts right at the same time? Is there an in-built insecurity to actually challenging Apple with a truly thought through design?
Even when Apple really drops the ball (as they have with their current MacBook Pro) PC laptop makers still can’t even figure out a functional keyboard option... It’s embarrassing.
Jimster480 - Monday, May 28, 2018 - linkits called being paid by intel to make sure a specific set of components never ends up in a laptop. As the DIY market has shown.... everyone is choosing Ryzen over inferior Intel chips riddled with bugs, exploits, slowdowns and other nonsense. And Intel giving everyone the finger in terms of fixing these bugs..