Acer Swift 3 Review: Built for basics

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When it comes to notebooks the market is fairly well segmented in terms of consumer needs and wants.

If you’re keen on getting gaming notebook there are a plethora of options out there, all of which sporting the latest components available. The same goes for entry-level devices which place more of an emphasis on ease of use and taking care of the basic requirements for any user.

As such I’m in a bit of a pickle when trying to decide where the new Acer Swift 3 fits into the mix.

It’s a notebook that costs around R11k depending on the retailer you head to, which means it’s not the cheapest option out there. At the same time it’s sporting an array of specifications that aren’t class-leading, but are good enough to get the job done.

What kind of consumer is it meant for? That’s what we aimed to find out having spent the past two weeks reviewing the Acer Swift 3.

Deceptive looks

Let’s start with design. Our review model came in a rose pink finish, which is subtle enough to grab onlooker’s attention, but luckily not garish as some pink coloured notebooks can be.

The Swift 3 also distinguishes itself from other Acer predecessors by shifting the company logo to the middle of the lid cover. There’s also some Swift lettering engraved inside the hinge to greet you every time you open this notebook.

While it’s stylings might point to something sleek and refined, the Acer Swift 3 is quite bulky compared to other notebooks in the lineup.

It tips the scale at around 1.45kg which may not sound like much, but if you’re lugging this notebook around all day can begin to feel quite weighty.

As such for consumers looking for something a bit more svelte, the Swift 5 might be a better choice, despite costing extra.

Solid components

Now it’s time to talk about the components that Acer has opted for on this notebook.

It’s fairly standard affair for a mid-range offering, with a 14″ FullHD LED screen present (1 920 X 1 080). Added to this is an Intel Core i5 (i5-8250U) under the hood that clocks in at a respectable 1.60GHz, which is paired with an Intel UHD Graphics 620 and 8GB of DDR4 SDRAM on this particular model.

You can get an i7 processor and few more bumps in specs with a better model of Swift 3, but naturally the price goes up too.

Other elements include a 256GB SSD, as well as a bevy of ports including an HDMI, one USB 2.0, two USB 3.0 and a single USB 3.1 option. There’s also a 3 320mAh battery which should get you around six to seven hours with heavy use and the screen brightness turned up.

Middle of the pack

All in all the Acer Swift 3 provides a solid performance, if a little ordinary.

As such it’s not going to blow you away with its multitasking capabilities, but is more than powerful enough to handle a few basic applications at a time.

This proved evident both in real-world use and in bechmarking. The latter was conducted on UserBenchmark. The Swift 3 placed in the 52nd percentile, which means it truly lies in the middle of the pack when it comes to processor performance. This makes it solid enough at handling general computing tasks, but definitely not as a workstation or heavy-duty kind of notebook.

For a prosumer for lack of a better term, something a bit more powerful would prove better, so you may want to consider the i7 sporting option instead.

The standouts

While the Acer Swift 3 did not stand out as a whole, there were elements of the notebook that did.

More specifically the 14″ display was surprisingly pleasing. It affords you enough screen real estate to have a few different windows open at the same time without straining your eyes to see what’s going on.

It’s also bright and crisp enough for you to watch a few hours of videos or movies on. The Swift 3 is not an “entertainment” notebook, but can handle some when asked.

One of the other more pleasant elements of the Swift 3 are the keyboard and trackpad experiences. The keys provide a satisfying amount of feedback when pressed, and yield that coveted clacking sound that often let’s you know that someone else is working furiously.

No frills or fuss

As has been the case with previous Acer Swift 3 notebooks, this latest offering ticks all the necessary boxes.

The problem is that there are no bells and whistles, which one expects there to be a couple of considering the notebook costs R11k.

Yes, it will take care of the basics and see you through a normal work day, but there is nothing about the Swift 3 that makes you want to open it after you clock off.

For consumers that want something a little more compelling, it’s worthwhile looking at what else Acer has in its Swift stable.

That said, the Acer Swift 3 won’t let you down. It’s just not a device you’ll rant or rave about.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.