Acer’s design ethos for the new Swift 3 would make you think this is a much more expensive device. The 14-inch notebook features an all-aluminum design, offering a much more premium feel than what you’d normally expect on a notebook in this price range. At just 1.2 kg / 2.65 lbs, the 14-inch notebook is extremely portable, and with an 83% screen to body ratio, it is easily as compact as a 13.3-inch notebook from a couple of years ago. Acer’s choice of a 16:9 display does mean that the display has a hefty chin, but is almost certainly a choice that was made to keep the device in-budget.

Despite the thin design and the low price, the aluminum chassis is very stout, with little to no flex no matter how you pick it up. Acer has cut in a slot at the front to make opening the laptop easier, although it will not open with a single finger since the hinge is too stiff to allow this. There is no touch support either, so the hinge stiffness does not need to be quite so tight, but it does make for a solid platform once you open it up.

The keyboard provides a great typing experience. The keys themselves have single-level white backlighting, which works well. The white backlighting on silver keys can cause some contrast issues in bright light, but the effect is not as pronounced as it is on some other devices. Typing offers a surprisingly good keyboard feel, with solid keys that have a solid level of pressure and feedback. Acer has the power button as part of the keyboard, which does make it prone to accidentally turning the device off if you miss the delete key, and moving the power button out of the normal keys would be appreciated, but Acer is far from the only manufacturer to do this, and the laptop resumes instantly so even if it did happen it’s not as big of an issue as it was a few years ago, thanks to the new modern standby options built into Windows and the new CPU.

If there was one area where the notebook showcased it was a lower-cost device, it would be the trackpad. Although it offers the Precision touchpad drivers, the material is not as smooth and responsive as some higher-priced notebooks. This is not so much a knock against the device, but a reality of where it is situated in the market. It does offer the expected multi-touch capabilities you’d expect, it just doesn’t quite offer the level of refinement you’d see in more premium notebooks.

Acer has also included a fingerprint reader, which has great response. It unlocks the device in well under a second even if the display is off. It is a nice to see Windows Hello support despite the lower cost of this device, and the chosen reader seems to work very well. There is no IR camera included, and the built-in webcam is only a 1280x720 unit, so do not expect to be the belle of the Teams meeting, but it gets the job done with a properly located webcam in the top bezel.

Acer offers reasonable I/O as well, with a USB Type-C port on the left, which does support power delivery up to 15 Watts output, and support for charging the device via USB-C as well. There is no Thunderbolt 3, but it does offer DisplayPort output. This is in addition to the included HDMI port, and the laptop also has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port on the left which supports power-off charging, and a USB 2.0 port on the right, along with a headset jack.

Overall, the Acer Swift 3 is a great design, with a modern feel, and premium materials. The 14-inch notebook is compact, thin, and light, and Acer has done a great job with the look and feel of this device. There are enough ports, and the included USB-C port adds the expanded ability to charge as well as I/O. Looking at this device, you could easily mistake it for a notebook that costs hundreds more.

Introduction SPEC: Renoir vs Picasso vs Ice Lake
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  • Dug - Thursday, May 7, 2020 - link

    I had no idea they had a 3:2 aspect ratio (my favorite). Thanks!
  • Irata - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Nice review, thanks !

    What it does show is that you really need to also review a couple of Intel based notebooks in the $600 range. Until you do, showing the price as tested next to the different models would be great.

    Until then, some results like the not so great screen look bad until you realize that the units with a much better screen cost 2-3 times the amount you pay for the bargain notebook tested here. So that's kind of to be expected.

    Other than that, the results look good but it shows that if you want to get the most out of an eight core Ryzen 4000 APU, spending a little bit more may not be a bad idea.
  • csp4me - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link
    Something like this you're looking. $50 more for an Intel model, slower and less battery life than cheaper Ryzen, but the same average display and other aspects.
  • neblogai - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    There is something funny happening with cooling of this device, and it is best visible in the first power chart. Temperatures are going up slowly from 65C to 70C, but then, at constant power, they shoot up to 95C. This should not be happening unless some component (heatpipe? power delivery?) starts failing, or if fan is speed reduced mid-work (big error in tuning). Also, I have not seen such behavior in other reviews of this laptop- temperatures on them are normally high only during the initial, several minute long 25W boost, but then settle to ~65C once SPL of 18W turns on.
  • gggplaya - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    That price cant be right, for $20 you get twice the ssd storage and 2 full more cores. Why would anyone bother with the 6 core model?
  • tipoo - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    8 Ryzen 4000 series cores with a laptop wrapped around it for $649 USD seems bonkers cheap to me, we were stuck on 4 for so long and two in ULVs until very recently. Why anyone is against competition doing well is beyond me.
  • hanselltc - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Why does swift 3 not come with a chip with SMT lol
  • realbabilu - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    U series laptop has roller coaster performance because of the temp tdp small. After several second it will drop significantly.
    Maybe better had value over a hour in historical pulse continuous benchmark. But this 10 hour acer battery perform is awesome than my s460u i5-8250u. Acer is constantly giving nvme slot ssd than sata low price Asus or Msi notebook since 8th Intel gen cpu released.
  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Thanks Brett and Andrei! Did you have a chance to remove the bottom cover of your test unit and have a look at the heatpipe and heatsink? Curious what's there, how big or small it is, and how well it fits. Thermal performance is a definite fly in that laptop's ointment, still good value at $ 650 for eight cores, though.
  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Forgot to add: if you can take the bottom cover of, would be great if you could re-run a limited version of your thermal measurements without that (of course, with the unit supported at least 5 cm above the desk). Really bad case design messes with air flow and venting, and that "test" would pick that up in a heartbeat. I am sometimes amazed how poorly "high tech" companies engineer their enclosures.

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