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.

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  • LaMpiR - Friday, May 8, 2020 - link

    So, a 649$ laptop costs in Europe 890$. How is this possible?
  • neblogai - Saturday, May 9, 2020 - link

    Something was probably wrong with the sample Anandtech got. Here is a video of FarCry5- Swift 3 4700U temps stay at nice and cool ~69C even in the long and action packed scene: . There is also another test with a 4500U model from the same channel- no temperature issues there either, nor in any of the ~20 games tested. Other channels, like Dave Lee, also say that cooling is just so capable and quiet, that Acer should have upped cTDP higher.
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, May 9, 2020 - link

    Maybe it's just me, but the whole article seems very deceptive.

    The headline should be: "The Acer Swift 3 SF314 Notebook Review: Swift Gets Slower With Kneecapped Ryzen 4000"

    The little TDP graphic should be 8+ watts, not 15.
  • neblogai - Sunday, May 10, 2020 - link

    It is just you. Acer would not be wrong to call Intel models 'Swift 3', and AMD models - 'Swifter 3'.
  • watzupken - Sunday, May 10, 2020 - link

    The throttling is to be expected when you see a 1.2kg laptop. Where can they cut in order to lose few hundred grams, when the battery size is the same? Surely its got to be the cooling solution. If you are looking for performance, these ultra slim laptops are not for you. The same problem plagues Intel based laptops as well. As PC maker/ manufacturers go crazy about cutting weight and size of laptops, a lot of these thin laptops suffer from thermal throttling, poor upgradeability and missing port convenience.

    In this case, I think there may be something wrong with the fan curve and should be resolved through some software updates. The cooling solution looks normal to me after cracking open a few of these laptops with low power processors. Only observation is that the heatsink is getting thinner over the years, which will certainly impact cooling. Mid end models should have a longer heatsink with slightly bigger fan to cover the longer heatsink, while high end models may end up with dual heatsink and fan cooling solution to get around the slimness.
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, May 11, 2020 - link

    Yes, it's "just me" because apparently 8 watts is "Swifter" than the 15 it's supposed to run at.

    At least the 15W graphic appears to have been removed. That's something.
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, May 11, 2020 - link

    "The throttling is to be expected when you see a 1.2kg laptop. Where can they cut in order to lose few hundred grams, when the battery size is the same? Surely its got to be the cooling solution. If you are looking for performance, these ultra slim laptops are not for you."

    I don't buy this excuse.

    When a company sells a product it shouldn't be a bait and switch deal.

    If Acer wants to post "8+ watts" as the TDP of the CPU in a prominent place that's one thing. If it lists 15W and/or just the CPU model then that's not good enough.

    Moreover, it should be made clear to the consumer that the CPU is throttled to get to that 8 watts, not that it's just so efficient it can function at 8 watts to do the equivalent of what should take 15 for the same CPU because of something special about the machine's design.

    If the machine can't handle a 15 watt CPU then it should be throttled to what it can handle and that should be the spec sold to consumers, not the spec it can't handle.
  • ReallyBigMistake - Sunday, May 17, 2020 - link

    "Key to this is a much-needed jump from GlobalFoundries' 12nm process to TSMC's class-leading 7nm process"

    I am calling it but GF days are numbered.
  • Cirecomputers12 - Sunday, June 7, 2020 - link

    What you guys don't get is the internals are great at the price of a very CRAP display. Just look up the srgb and the Adobe rgb its terrible. The brightness nits are 250 which is pretty much as dark as you can go with laptops. SO if the display doesn't mean that much, this an awesome deal. If it does all the power in the world isn't going to make that Display any better. It's also made out of plastic......It's up to you ......
  • AdriaticAdrian2 - Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - link

    Does someone know if I charge it with anything lower than 65w through USB-C? I have it but I don't want to buy anything that will not work

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