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Acer Swift 3 Core i5 ultrabook review

Acer Swift 3 Core i5 laptop

£670
8.2

Build quality

8.5/10

Design

8.0/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Performace

8.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Looks and feels quality
  • Great multitasking
  • Light and portable
  • Decent keyboard, great trackpad
  • Screen good for most tasks

Cons

  • Display is quite reflective

acer swift 3The Acer Swift 3 saw another revision this year. This latest version of Acer’s 14-inch ultraportable laptop still packs a metal body and premium looks, but does it still deliver?

The lightweight Swift range from Acer is touted at being perfect for those constantly on the go. Their slender bodies and MacBook good looks certainly talk the talk.

The latest iteration I have here comes packing Intel’s Core i5 and a full HD screen.

Let’s see if the rest of the Swift 3 can back up its boasts with action.

Acer Swift 3 design

The Swift 3 is encased in lovely aluminium. The lid, keyboard surround and base are all made of the lightweight metal.

acer swift 3 open angleThis not only makes it look really great, but it feels like you’re handling a premium product.

The 14-inch 1080p Full HD screen is surrounded by quite chunky bezels.

This means it measures 338 x 234mm but only 18mm thin. Although, the Swift 3 weighs in at just 3.3lbs (1.5kg).

Unlike a MacBook, you get plenty of connectivity options.

acer swift 3 hdmi usb 3 usb cThere is a full-size HDMI, USB Type-C, USB 3.0 ports on the left edge of the device.

You’ll also find a couple of indicator lights here to show whether the laptop is on, off, sat in standby, or charging.

acer swift 3 sd slot usb and powerOver on the right-hand side, there’s the SD card reader, headphone port and an additional USB 2.0 port.

Finally, there’s a webcam to be found in the usual spot, just above the screen.

Acer Swift 3 performance

Sat in front of the opened Swift is a pleasant place to be on the whole.

The Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution screen with added ‘ComfyView’ is the main event, obviously.

Saying that, the expanse of silver aluminium around the monochrome, backlit keyboard is none-to-shabby either.

Power

Under the hood of my review device is an Intel Core i5-6200U dual-core processor running at 2.30 GHz.

This is mated with Intel HD Graphics 520, 8 GB of DDR4 SDRAM and a 256 GB SSD for storage.

acer swift 3 core i5 and 1080pNo gaming on ultimate here then. But that’s not the Swift’s remit. Where it does work well is multitasking.

Having a variety of applications, browsers and music going at the same time is all handled well. This means that a word doc, a couple of social networks open and a Skype call will be no hardship here.

Keyboard

The keyboard will be the part you will most be interacting with – this is not a touchscreen machine.

The island-style keyboard sits nicely in its recessed area surrounded by chamfered aluminium.

acer swift 3 backlit keyboardAs the Swift 3 measures a little more than some similarly-screen-sized lappys, this means there’s more room for a good-sized keyboard.

There’s still no room for a separate numpad, but what you do get is a spacious layout and full-sized keys to type on.

There’s what at first appears to be a full-fat Enter key but it is sharing real estate with the ~/# key.

Along the top is a row of smaller function keys that ends with a slightly larger power button.

I found the keyboard reasonable for typing on the go. The feedback from the keys is pretty good and I found no real issue with banging out a couple of reviews using the Swift 3.

The key spacing is nice and the key presses not too spongy. Granted, I would not swap it for my usual keyboard but, for a laptop, it does its job.

Trackpad

The trackpad is an absolute joy, and definitely a jewel in the Swift’s crown.

Its large, gliding surface works extremely well. It’s not clunky at all. It takes light yet firm clicks and multi-touch gestures work seamlessly.

acer swift 3 fingerprint sensorOver to the right of the trackpad is a fingerprint reader. This makes logging into Windows 10 an absolute breeze: no more the risk of someone watching you type in your password when working on the train.

Display

The glass-fronted screen looks good and colours have great contrast.

Unfortunately, the glass also brings more reflections to the party than matte covered screens.

Its 1080p resolution is good enough for the majority of people, especially those that intend on using the Swift as designed – working on the go.

Acer Swift 3 coloursViewing angles from the IPS LCD screen are also good.

Colour temperature is reasonably accurate but the 61.4% sRGB colour space coverage isn’t going to win any photography friends.

As I said before though, this is more of an admin warrior than editing tool.

Audio

Audio is handled by a pair of down-firing ‘True Harmony’ speakers on the underside of the laptop.

They do a decent-enough job as long as you don’t cover the speakers with your thighs.

Sound quality isn’t actually that bad for a skinny lappy. There’s no separate woofer so don’t be expecting any block rockin’ beats though.

However, the speakers are clear and produce a good level of volume without distorting horribly.

Other bits

The 720p resolution webcam can shoot at up to 30fps.

Not the most thrilling thing out there but it does pack automatic exposure and facial recognition in Windows Camera.

It’s plenty good enough for Skype vid calls.

Battery Life

Acer claims ten hours of battery life for the Swift 3 but I honestly could not replicate that whilst using it.

Employing it for drafting reviews with some background tunes, and social networking I saw 8 hours-ish. This is still decent, mind.

Slapping on a film over Plex saw it drop by around 12% from full. So, just using it for video watching could get it around the 9+ hour mark.

Not the most scientific tests, I know, but at least you get some idea.

Acer Swift 3 review conclusion

The 2017 edition of the Acer Swift 3 2017 is a stylish, slim and superb workhorse.

You get around 8-9 hours of working battery life and good connectivity. Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth are both strong on the Swift 3 too.

It might not exactly be in super-bargain territory, but it is still in the more affordable bracket. Furthermore, that metal outer, decent keyboard and excellent trackpad do help its case.

A classy business machine or one for style-conscious students.

Acer Swift 3 price and availability

You can get the Core i3 version from Amazon from £612 or the Core i5 in luxury gold for £685 from the same place.

For the model exactly as reviewed, you can grab one for £670 from Amazon UK. The Amazon reviews seem to be favourable too.

Acer Swift 3 Core i5 ultrabook review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 4 min
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