Acer Swift 3 (2020) Review

If someone says “surface laptop” again, you could immediately suggest the new Acer Swift 3 as the perhaps better alternative. The Windows notebook with Project Athena seal of approval makes a pretty good impression in the test and costs only half as much.

Test conclusion: There’s hardly anything to complain about

The Acer Swift 3 (2020) is one of the first notebooks designed under Intel’s Project Athena leadership. And the first legitimate successor to the Ultrabooks is already doing such a good job that we can look forward to the notebook future with confidence. Long battery life? Check. Power reserves? Check. Plus a great display in a practical format and a good weight – all this is available at a fair price. A card reader, better speakers and a webcam would have been nice.

Pros

  • Light and well processed
  • Sufficient power reserves
  • Quiet
  • Bright display in practical format
  • WiFi 6

Cons

  • No card reader installed
  • Webcam and speakers moderate
  • Non-upgradeable

We have the Acer Swift 3 with the product designation SF313-52-71Y7 for this test. The “13” and the “7” indicate 13.5 inch display, Intel Core i7 processor.

If you’re interested in the top model of the series, which we’ve taken a closer look at here, you’ll have to reckon with an online price of currently around 80000 INR. You can find some good laptops under 30000 rupees. A quick overview of the technical features of our test device:

Processor: Intel Core i7-1065G7 (Ice Lake)
RAM: 16 Gigabyte (LPDDR4)
Memory: 1 Terabyte
Display: 13.5 inch in 3:2 format
Resolution: 2,256 x 1,504 pixels
Graphic: Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7
Connections: USB Type A, USB Type C, HDMI, headphones

Design and processing

There’s a little rattling when we shake the Acer notebook vigorously back and forth. Normally not a good sign, but in this case rather harmless. The touchpad, which sits somewhat loosely in the case, quickly turns out to be the noise source. It’s only noticeable when we hold the Swift 3 upside down and then shake it. You can therefore neglect this circumstance in everyday life. The completely silver-colored case is otherwise flawlessly manufactured and doesn’t give reason for criticism. But that was hardly different with the predecessor.

The weight is striking: 1,150 grams is shown on the scale. The notebook feels lighter in the hands. In any case, the Acer Swift 3 vintage 2020 is a laptop that you like to take in your hand, that doesn’t weigh heavy there and fortunately you don’t have to touch it with kid gloves. The silver-colored case proves to be scratch-resistant in practice and less susceptible to fingerprints.

Display: Unusual format that goes down well

We like the narrow edges, but the real specialty of the Swift display is the format itself. The Taiwanese manufacturer decided against 16:9 and, like Microsoft, decided to use an aspect ratio of 3:2 for the Surface Laptop, which is also the reason why the diagonal has grown minimally from the former 13.3 to now 13.5 inches. This means that you have more space available for viewing documents or surfing the net, which you can buy with thicker edges on the other side when watching movies.

What Acer notebooks have long been good at is the wide display opening angle. While all MacBooks and many other Windows notebooks without exception limit the opening angle, the Swift display can be folded back a full 180 degrees. Great!

At the same time another positive characteristic of the laptop is quite prominent. It shines very brightly and even from the extreme 180 degree angle, which is far from practice, there isn’t a brightness drop or fading colors. The same also applies when we look at the screen diagonally from the side. In return, there is no touchscreen. We didn’t miss it during the test period.

We subjectively have nothing to complain about in terms of brightness, fading and contrast. The LED illumination is even. When displaying flat black in the Eizo monitor test, we only recognize slight halos in the corners that don’t disturb everyday life. The display’s extremely reflective surface is rather annoying. But with a laptop, you can usually choose a place in the (home) office that doesn’t have a window in the back.

Keyboard and trackpad

The 84 keys are all illuminated (two levels possible). A point of criticism: The transparent letters are not always easy to read. Depending on the ambient light and the illumination level you are more or less flying blind. Except for the fact that the arrow keys stick too close together, you can type on the keyboard excellently and also quietly. Stroke and pressure point are rather subjective criteria, but the latter elicits an “excellent”. We have to get used to long stroke a little bit first. After all, the notebook keyboards have become more and more “flat” in this regard in the last few years.

The trackpad offers the fingers enough room to unfold on an area of 11 x 9 centimeters and of course supports all common gestures. Unfortunately, it requires more effort for a click in the upper third than in the lower area.

Performance, fan volume and battery life

Weight, display, keyboard and appearance recommend the Acer notebook for office tasks. On the other hand, our test device is almost too lavishly equipped for writing emails, working with spreadsheets and surfing the net. Even image editing, 20 open chrome windows and heavy multitasking barely get the Ice Lake generation Core i7, including Iris Plus Graphics G7 and 16 gigabyte RAM, out of its step. For many users, the cheaper version of Swift 3 with a Core i5 processor will probably suffice.

The test configuration achieves an average of 560 CPU points in 10 runs in the benchmark loop under Cinebench R15 (multi-core test). The performance levels off after the first run, a heat-related throttling isn’t noticeable.

The test candidate dissipates the waste heat via hidden slots underneath the continuous display hinge. This succeeded so effectively in the test period that we only became aware of the built-in fan in the stress test. When the fan starts up, it makes itself noticeable with a constant noise with a slight whistling sound, which stays within a tolerable range at all times. Annoying coil whistling in idle or other working noises are alient to the Swift 3.

Battery life for a whole working day? The Acer Swift 3 (2020) offers that in a nutshell. Unless your working day is longer than 10 hours, you always work at full screen brightness and never miss an opportunity to use the system’s reserves. If you surf, write and edit pictures like we do, you can expect battery life well above the 10 hour mark. Strong! A 65 watt adapter with a proprietary connection is included in the scope of delivery. Fortunately, you can also connect an existing USB-C power adapter to the left Thunderbolt input, which we also did in the test period.

We also noticed the following

  • The stereo speakers installed on the bottom of the laptop are at best class average
  • Despite the restrained fan, the housing remains relatively cool
  • The built-in webcam provides only average results. We are missing a mechanical switch-off possibility in form of a slider or similar

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