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Acer Swift 3 16-inch review

The Acer Swift 3 offers solid performance and a decent display for the price, but the shallow keyboard and below-average battery life penalize it.

The Acer Swift 3 16-inch is available from Acer in several variations. The flagship SF316-51-75MK model for the 16.1-inch versions is available for review. The Intel Core i7-11370H processor with Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs onboard are included, together with 16 GB of quad-channel LPDDR4x RAM and a 512 GB SSD.

One of the company’s most popular laptop models, the Acer Swift 3 16-inch, has received some much-needed upgrades for the 2022 model, making it a fantastic laptop for the majority of users. It is perfect for remote learning or work thanks to Intel’s P series processors, up to a Quad HD monitor, and possibly our favorite feature a very good webcam.

Battery life is one drawback of having such a potent CPU and a sharp display, but if you don’t need to be away from an outlet for an extended period of time, it’s a terrific device. However, it is not without drawbacks. Although it’s not absolutely necessary, we would have also liked to have Windows Hello facial recognition functionality.

Design

If you have handled any other Acer Swift 3 16-inch laptops with taller 16:10 panels, you may have noticed how wide the Swift 3 16 appears to be. The design would have been OK a year or two ago, but right now it looks like the laptop occupies too much horizontal space on a desktop. Of course, it’s not as deep, but higher panels that are deeper also provide the keyboard deck more room for devices like larger touchpads. Although Acer made good use of the available space more on that later the physical factor just seems odd when compared to other modern large-screen computers.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 is another Acer Swift 3 16-inch laptop with a 16:10 display, while the Swift 3 16 is broader at 14.48 inches compared 14.13 inches but shallower at 9.1 inches versus 9.99 inches. Additionally, it weighs 3.75 pounds less than 3.99 pounds and is slimmer (0.63 inches as opposed to 0.7 inches). Similar to the Lenovo, the Swift 3 16’s display bezels are quite thin on top and along the sides but have a larger chin.

The MSI Summit E16 Flip is slightly deeper than both laptops and almost the same width as the Lenovo. It has identical top and side bezels but a wider bottom chin. It is considerably heavier at 4.4 pounds and significantly thinner at 0.67 inches. The Swift 3 16 is made of aluminum and has a poor build quality due to minor bending in the lid and severe flexing in the keyboard deck and bottom chassis. For a $1,000 laptop with the Swift 3 16’s specs, it’s not bad, but it could be better.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Acer has added a very small numeric keypad to the Acer Swift 3 16-inch casing in addition to the keyboard with good key size. The maker uses the entire width of the gadget, excluding the 2 cm broad borders on the left and right. Good typing performance and moderate noise growth are both present. The keys are quite legible even in the dark thanks to the lighting, which makes it simple to type rapidly.

The placement of the fingerprint sensor is a little plain; it is situated in the middle, below the numpad, on the top edge of the palm rest. The middle finger can be utilized without discomfort, however the thumb finds it fairly challenging to reach. Below the space bar and slightly offset to the left of the case is the touchpad. At almost 12.5 x 8 cm, it is fairly big. Regarding functioning and haptics, there are no issues. The only thing we have to complain about is the click noise made by the two “mouse buttons” that don’t actually separate; they could be a little quieter and sound better.

Display

Concerningly exposed, the vent is located at the upper right corner of the keyboard and faces the display. Even though a laptop can be threatened on any given day, working outside when there is even a 10% possibility of rain is risky due to the broad vent that leads right into the system’s internals. But even when the laptop is not operating at maximum capacity, we can hear the fan running, so the Acer Swift 3 16-inch may benefit from the wider vent’s enhanced cooling.

The Acer Swift 3 16-inch display might be its lone saving point. The anti-glare surface and moderate brightness of the display make it quite easy to read. We frequently use it outside in strong light, and we never really experience visual difficulty as we do with darker or glossy screens. The bottom-firing speakers are among of the best we’ve ever heard in a laptop and can be turned up loud enough without sounding unpleasant or tinny.

The device’s 16-inch display has a brightness rating of 300 nits and 100% sRGB colour gamut coverage. Its image quality is outstanding, however its output could be brighter for usage outside or in very bright lighting conditions. The display is compatible with Acer Color Intelligence and Acer ExaColor Technology, which produce vibrant colours with good colour accuracy.

The Swift 3 16’s display may not have the same pop as some OLED or higher brightness laptop displays, but multimedia creators will value the precision this screen offers. Thanks to the IPS panel technology, it also has reliable viewing angles. The 4.4mm bezels around the monitor are thin enough and assist reduce the overall footprint of this computer.

Audio

The bottom-firing speakers on the Acer Swift 3 16-inchare about what we’d anticipate from a laptop under $1,000 barely present and unimpressive. The vocals in “Two Oruguitas” by Sebastian Yatra from Encanto were a little too quiet and overpowered by the stringed instruments. The lack of bass did the percussion no justice at all. During the chorus, every instrument was a muddled jumble. There could be worse speakers, but that doesn’t really mean anything.

The DTS Audio Processing program that is provided by Acer allows you to adjust the audio settings based on music, movies, games, or custom presets. None of which actually made the audio better. The audio test of the Acer Swift 3 displays a fairly weak sound. This is primarily caused by the bass, which is noticeably below average for all laptops evaluated.

In contrast, the gadget accurately reproduces the mids and highs, ensuring that there isn’t at least perceptible distortion. In other words, music is lacking a little punch. Here, using Bluetooth or the audio jack for headphones is advised. However, due to its balance, sound reproduction is attractive and suitable for video calls and similar tasks.

Graphics

Be ready to adjust the graphics settings or play at a lower resolution if you intend to combine some gaming with your work. Unless we switched to a low graphics preset and manually adjusted complex settings like resolution scaling, frame rates in our testing were inconsistent. Control and Total War: Warhammer 2 are playable above 30 frames per second, thus there is possibilities for mild gaming, but graphically demanding games will not be possible.

Even though these laptops aren’t designed as gaming systems, integrated graphics have advanced significantly, and they can now run simple to moderately complicated games at respectable resolutions and frame rates. Given the basic hardware that drives the Acer Swift 3 16-inch, these findings are not surprising. Video editing, rendering, and gaming are difficult tasks for a quad-core CPU without a dedicated graphics card. But if you’re prepared to be patient and lower the visual settings, it is achievable.

The 3DMark test suite for Windows, which includes a number of subtests for various GPU operations and software APIs, is the first graphical benchmark we run. We specifically queue up the 3DMark Night Raid and 3DMark Time Spy DirectX 12 tests. In this test, the Swift 3 performed admirably, outperforming rival laptops with integrated graphics. Without a doubt, the Dell Inspiron delivered the greatest results, once again due to its dedicated GPU.

Performance

The Acer Swift 3 16-inch operates cool under duress in terms of thermal performance. The laptop’s temperature throughout testing never exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit at the top of the keyboard. As you can see from the graph above, the usual temperature under load stayed close to 87 degrees. The laptop should never feel more than slightly warm but comfortable while it is on your lap. Heat seems to be concentrated around the number 2 and 3 keys on the keyboard.

The performance of the Acer Swift 3 might compensate for its appearance. It may be the same feature that puts it ahead of comparably equipped Ultrabook’s that choose for a more spectacular construction, like the Dell XPS 13, despite the upward-facing exhaust vent that we find unattractive. In fact, despite using the same processor, the Acer Swift 3 outperformed that laptop in every single one of our performance tests. In our tests, the Acer Swift 3 displays reliable results.

Although we’ve seen the Ryzen 7 5700U give superior multi-core performance because of its additional cores, single-core performance is strong for a laptop and multi-core performance is no slouch either. When the Acer Swift 3 16-inch is working hard, the fans do start to spin up a little, but the noise is nothing compared to the howling that gaming laptops’ cooling systems produce.

Battery Life and Heat

This is the first time we are really getting to grips with testing performance and battery life on a tablet using Intel’s P-series processors after using the Acer Swift 3 and Swift 5 earlier this year. These new chips, which have a 28W TDP, are obviously designed to offer Intel a performance edge over Apple’s M1 and M2 processors.

After all, Intel used to only produce 28W processors for a select few MacBook models, so it only makes sense that they are now available on Windows laptops since Apple has moved on. The Intel P-series has the drawback of using battery power at a rate that is roughly twice as fast. If these new processors are added to a laptop like the Acer Swift 3 without a corresponding improvement in battery capacity. Battery life will decrease.

The Acer Swift 3 16-inch battery life has varied somewhat for us, but typically it hovers around 3.5 hours, which is hardly long enough to get me through a morning at work. We got a maximum of 4 hours and 11 minutes out of it on a brighter day, and a maximum of just 3 hours when we left the brightness set to 100% for an extended amount of time. If you have to be away from an outlet all day, that’s really not ideal.

Configuration Options

The Intel Core i5-1135G7 model with 8GB of memory and 512GB of storage costs $799 (about £585, AU$1,095), while the Intel Core i7-1165G7 model with 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage costs $999 (roughly £735, AU$1,370). The Acer Swift 3 16-inch is currently available in the US in a variety of configurations. The UK market has not yet received these new versions.

The $729 model (SF313-52-526M) includes a 13.5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2256 x 1504 pixels, an Intel Core i5-1035G4 processor with a maximum frequency of 3.7 GHz, Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 8 GB of DD4 memory, 256 GB of SSD storage, 802.11ax wireless, a fingerprint reader, and 802.11ax wireless. Better still, you get a 4.2-GHz Core i5-1135G7 processor with a bigger 8 MB cache, Iris Xe graphics, and a 512 GB SSD for only $799 (SF313-53-56UU).

Final Words

The screen is the main focus of Acer’s Swift 3. Only Lenovo’s 16-inch IdeaPad comes close to matching its price for 16-inch laptops. Despite this, the Swift 3 offers an excellent 1080p screen with a strong contrast ratio and true colors. It’s perfect for multitasking while streaming movies and television shows.

However, once you look past the display, the laptop is less interesting. Even while Intel’s Xe integrated manages to win, the Intel Core i7-11370H typically falls short of AMD’s Ryzen 7 in demanding applications. Despite having a thin, sleek design, the Acer Swift 3 16-inch battery life is a concern that limits its usefulness for travel.

Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams is in charge of coverage for laptops and desktops, and he stays current on the most recent developments in the gaming and technology industries. You can find him enjoying video games, watching social media, and waiting for the next Marvel movie when he isn't writing about technology.

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The screen is the selling point of Acer's Swift 3. Only Lenovo's 16-inch IdeaPad comes close to its price point for 16-inch laptops. Nevertheless, the Swift 3 offers an excellent 1080p screen with a strong contrast ratio and true colors.Acer Swift 3 16-inch review