ASUS OLED family

The Acer Swift series laptops are designed for lightweight, compact and portable use and today we’re looking at the newly refreshed Acer Swift 3 that comes with the Intel Tiger Lake 11th Gen Core Processor. The one we have here is the highest-end model SF314-59 with the Core i7-1165G7.

Let’s take a look at what Acer has to offer with the refresh.

Video Review

Specs & SKUs

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Let’s get the specs out of the way. In Malaysia, we’re getting 2 configurations, Core i5 and Core i7 variants.

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Technically speaking, if you wanted the 16GB RAM option, you will have to get the Core i7 model. Apart from that, only the Core i5 model gets the blue, pink and silver colour options while the Core i7 only comes in silver.

Build

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Since the new Swift 3 is receiving a hardware refresh, aesthetically, it is 100% identical to its predecessor. The use of magnesium aluminium alloy does make this laptop feel sturdy and lightweight. I wouldn’t say this is the lightest laptop I’ve seen, but since this is the entry-level Swift model, Acer does strike a reasonable balance between the weight and rigidity.

In terms of the ports:

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Left:

  • Barrel charging port
  • Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C)
  • HDMI
  • USB 3.2 Type-A

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Right:

  • 3.5mm audio combo jack
  • USB 2.0

Honestly, I don’t understand why laptop manufacturers still continue to offer USB 2.0 in the year 2021. I know it comes as standard in the motherboard chipset but how expensive it is to offer USB 3.0 (5Gbps)?

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The white backlit keyboard is very nice to type on as it doesn’t sacrifice the travel distance for the slim build. I do have a minor complaint on the power button as it needs to be stiffer to prevent accidental press or just put it elsewhere.

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The touchpad is surprisingly good with finger and gesture tracking even though this is not one of those premium glass type touchpads. While Microsoft has done a great job on the Precision Touchpad driver, the palm rejection still requires a lot of work to offer a better user experience.

Display

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The 14-inch 1080p IPS display panel is made by Chi Mei and it is a decent choice for a laptop of this price range. It has great colour gamut coverage, about 97% sRGB and it offers a pretty wide brightness range – somewhere around 20-280 nits for different usage occasions.

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Even though Acer markets this laptop to have narrow bezel design but let’s face it, we have seen better and modern bezels on other laptops. I don’t hate it just that I think it is an okay-ish bezel.

You do get a 720p webcam but it doesn’t support Windows Hello authentication but you do get a fingerprint scanner that is supported.

Performance

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Our review sample is the top-spec configuration with Intel Tiger Lake Core i7-1165G7, 16GB LPDDR4x RAM and 512GB PCIe x4 SSD storage. The RAM is soldered so you will have to make your decision whether to get the 8GB or 16GB when purchasing the Swift 3. The SSD can be upgraded without much issue.

In terms of the performance, you won’t be disappointed by the new Swift 3. It flies through your daily tasks and even handles demanding loads such as gaming without much of an issue. Of course, you can’t expect it to run triple-A titles at high graphical settings but thanks to the Intel Iris Xe iGPU you can now game on an ultra-portable machine.

When you set the Windows power mode to Best Performance, you will experience the full potential of the i7-1165G7. Our Cinebench R23 test shows the chip stabilises at around 28W TDP while the temperature hovers at the range of 85 degrees Celcius, sometimes spiking up to 92 degrees Celcius.

Overall, Acer has done an excellent job at harvesting the chip’s performance as well as cooling it. Throughout our regular usage and testing period, I could hardly tell if the fan is actually spinning or not. The fan noise is only noticeable during benchmark sessions.

Battery Life

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Another important factor for a lightweight portable machine is battery life. 48Wh is pretty decent for entry-level portable laptops. In our actual real-life usage test which involves setting the power profile to Better Battery Mode, 50% screen brightness and browsing the web and YouTube on Microsoft Edge. We manage to get somewhere around 7 hours of battery life.

Charging is done through the conventional barrel charging port. Not a big fan of these but you do have the option to use PD compatible chargers or power banks through the USB-C port.

Conclusion

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All in all, I am very impressed with the new Acer Swift 3 SF314-59. The laptop is very well designed for portable use and competitively priced. The Core i5 model comes at RM3,299 while the Core i7 model at RM4,199.

The closest competition I can come up with is probably the ASUS VivoBook K413 for the i5 model and the MSI Modern 14 for the i7 model. They are slightly more expensive presumably because of the included dedicated GPU. Worth mentioning is that the Swift 3 and the VivoBook K413 will come included with Microsoft Office Home and Student license so that should bring up the value of them.

In a nutshell, if you’re in the market looking for a laptop for everyday use such as web conference calls, entertainment and everything else. I believe the Intel Core i5 model Acer Swift 3 is an excellent choice given that it is a whopping RM900 ringgit cheaper and you won’t be losing out too much when it comes to the performance.


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