Laptop Mag Verdict
The Acer Swift 3, armed with a Ryzen 7 4700U CPU, offers mind-blowing performance, but it has a dim display.
A beastly multitasker
Amazing internals for price
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
GPU: AMD Radeon graphics
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1080p
Size: 12.7 x. 8.6 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.65 pounds
What’s the Swift 3’s secret? A Ryzen 7 4700U CPU, baby!
Oh yeah, you heard right. Not only did the Acer Swift 3 smoke its Intel counterpart on performance (check out our Acer Swift 3 Intel review), but the AMD-packed ultrabook overshadowed high-performing premium laptops, too.
The Swift 3 also offers a vivacious 11-hour runtime of battery life. Another plus? The AMD-equipped power demon is designed for portability, so if you’re an on-the-go busy bee seeking a Herculean laptop that won’t break your back, look no further.
But of course, at such an affordable price range, there’s always going to be some trade offs, and the biggest one is the display. If having a bright, colorful screen is your thing, look elsewhere -- you won’t find the brilliant vibrancy you crave on the Swift 3’s screen.
Acer Swift 3 price and configuration options
Our Acer Swift 3 review unit costs $649 and comes with a 14-inch, 1080p display, a 2-GHz AMD Ryzen 7 4700U octa-core processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and an AMD Radeon GPU. There is another AMD configuration on the market that will set you back $629, and it’s equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU.
Acer Swift 3 design
The Swift 3 is far from ornate, strutting around in a functional silver chassis. The Acer ultrabook doesn’t care to impress, but its minimalist exterior, which consists of magnesium and aluminum, is refined and polished. On the center of the lid, you’ll find a reflective Acer logo.
Much like its Intel twin, the Swift 3 has tapered sides; the laptop is thicker toward the display where it houses six ports then it gradually becomes thinner.
The interior features more of that silver theme on the keyboard deck — even the keys are silver. An elegant font on the hinge says, “Swift.” The black side bezels are slim, but the top bezel is marginally thicker to make room for a 720p webcam. The large chin of the laptop features a reflective, chrome Acer logo.
A small, Windows Hello-enabled fingerprint reader sits below the arrow keys.
The Acer Swift 3 weighs 2.65 pounds, which is slightly lighter than its rivals: The Acer Swift 3 Intel model (2.68 pounds) and the HP Envy 13 (2.8 pounds). In terms of slimness, both Swift 3 models have similar measurements (0.6 inches thick), but the HP Envy 13 is marginally thinner (0.57 inches thick).
Acer Swift 3 ports
The Acer Swift 3 has a decent stock of ports — there are six in total.
On the left side, you’ll find a USB Type-C port, as well as an HDMI port and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port. On the right side, there is a Kensington lock port, a USB 2.0 port and a headphone jack.
Acer Swift 3 display
The Acer Swift 3 has a 14-inch, 1080p display.
When I first received the less-than-impressive lab results for the ultrabook’s screen, I expected the worst. However, despite the Swift 3’s subpar color coverage and brightness, I don’t hate the display as much as I thought I would.
I watched the Moribus trailer, and on close-ups, I could make out the tiny wrinkles on Jared Leto’s forehead as well as his dark under-eye circles. I could even even make out how Leto’s complexion gradually transitions from yellow undertones to pinkish hues.
At such a reasonable price point, it’s expected that the Swift 3 might not have the brightest, crispest and most colorful display. Overall, it’s a passable, moderately good display for casual video playback and streaming. But for serious photography, video editing and graphic design? Nah.
However, if you’re an outdoorsy person who loves sitting outside on bright and sunny days, you may want to reconsider the Swift 3. With just 251 nits of brightness, the Swift 3’s display lacks brilliance, but its Intel twin is even dimmer with 224 nits of brightness. Both fall short of the category average (285 nits of brightness). The Swift 3’s rival, the HP Envy 13, offers a brighter screen with 387 nits of brightness.
Let’s take a moment of silence for the tragic color coverage of the Swift 3’s display. According to our colorimeter, the ultrabook’s screen reproduces just 62% of the sRGB color gamut, which is four percentage points less than the Intel variant (66%). The category average crushed the Swift 3’s color coverage (91%). The HP Envy 13 is the most colorful competitor with a decent 99% sRGB gamut coverage.
Color accuracy on the Swift 3, though, isn’t half bad. The display has a Delta-E color accuracy score of 0.2 (0 is ideal). This beats the category average (0.3), the Swift 3’s Intel model (0.29) and the HP Envy 13 (0.29).
Acer Swift 3 audio
The Acer Swift 3 features two speakers on the bottom of the laptop; the audio quality that emanates from the duo is so-so.
I listened to “Savage Remix (feat. Beyonce)” by Megan Thee Stallion, and Beyonce’s full, sultry voice sounded a little hollow on the Swift 3. The sound quality lacks that wondrous, well-balanced, full sound we all yearn for when we want to drown our ears in our favorite songs. The bottom-firing speakers, in part, may be to blame for the speaker’s undistinguished sound.
Acer Swift 3 keyboard and touchpad
When it comes to the keyboard deck, the AMD Swift 3 model is more attractive than its Intel twin, which has basic black keys. On the other hand, the Ryzen 7 variant sports silver keys with a white keyboard backlight, which gives the keyboard an attractive frosty vibe.
However, the gray characters may be a little bit difficult to see because the gray lettering against the silver keys doesn’t provide enough contrast. Touch typists won’t care too much about this, but hunt-and-peck types with poor eyesight may want to steer clear of this keyboard.
Overall, I absolutely adored typing on the Acer Swift 3’s island-style keyboard — it’s got springy feedback and I tapped away on the keys as if I’ve used the Swift 3 for years. There’s also a satisfying, audible click with each keystroke. On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I reached 90 words per minute, which is slightly higher than my 87-wpm average.
The Acer Swift 3 has a wide, silver touchpad that measures 4.2 x 2.6 inches. It’s a little too grippy on my fingertips for my tastes (I prefer a smoother surface), but I had no problems using Windows 10 gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom or two-finger swiping to revisit previous pages.
Acer Swift 3 performance
I challenged the Swift 3’s Ryzen 7 4700Uu processor and 8GB of RAM with 41 Google Chrome tabs, plus two YouTube pages playing 1080p videos. I’m almost certain the Swift 3 smirked at me and said, “That’s all you’ve got?”
I pulled up a new page on Google Docs and started typing away, and based on how speedy and smooth my experience was, one would never guess that there were 40-plus tabs running in the background. I also pulled up Spotify, Netflix and Disney+, and the Swift 3 didn’t even flinch.
The Acer Swift 3’s score on our Geekbench 4.3 overall -performance test blew our minds with a whopping 19,163. Not only did this number crush the Swift 3 Intel model (14,641), the HP Envy 13 (15,738) and the category average (14,197), but the Swift 3’s Ryzen 4700U CPU also ate the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s 10th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU with 8GB of RAM (18,221) and the Dell XPS 13’s 10th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU with 16GB of RAM (19,053). Ah, the taste of sweet victory.
We don’t usually compare $649 ultrabooks with $2,000 MacBook Pros and XPS 13s, but we thought we’d make an exception with this review to showcase the massive power behind the eight-core, eight-thread AMD Ryzen 4700U CPU.
Acer Swift 3 graphics
With its AMD Radeon graphics, the Swift 3 produced 79 frames per second on the Dirt 3 gaming benchmark, which crushed its Swift 3 Intel twin (44 fps) and the category average (47 fps). However, the HP Envy 13’s NvidiaVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU bested the Swift 3 with 92 fps.
The Swift 3 got back on its feet when we compared it to the 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Iris Plus Graphics GPU) and the Dell XPS 13 (Intel UHD Graphics); both produced 38 fps and 59 fps, respectively. The Acer Swift 3 is no gaming laptop, but our test shows you can surely enjoy some light entertainment with this performance beast.
We don’t usually compare $649 ultrabooks with $2,000 MacBook Pros and XPS 13s, but we thought we’d make an exception with this review to showcase the massive power behind the eight-core, eight-thread AMD Ryzen 4700u CPU.
Acer Swift 3 battery life
The AMD-packed Swift 3 will last you a full day, so you don’t have to worry about the battery draining too quickly.
The ultrabook lasted 11 hours and 9 minutes on our battery life test, which involves continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. The Intel model of the Swift 3 gassed out after 7 hours and 31 minutes. As for the HP Envy 13, the FHD model lasted 2 minutes longer than the Swift 3 (11 hours and 11 minutes). The Acer Swift 3 also outlasted the category average (7 hours and 56 minutes).
Acer Swift 3 webcam
The 1280 x 720 HD webcam, located on the top bezel, supports super-high dynamic range imaging.
Like many other built-in laptop webcams, the camera on the Swift 3 is less-than-impressive — it’s got a great deal of visual noise, and it lacks detail and crispness.
Acer Swift 3 software and warranty
There’s also some Acer apps that no one asked for.
The Acer Swift 3 ships with a one-year limited warranty.
Why is Acer so generous? An AMD Ryzen 7 4700U CPU for only $649? Trust me — I’m not complaining.
The mind-blowing performance that you can get on the Swift 3 for its reasonable price tag is nothing short of jaw dropping. On our performance benchmarks, the Swift 3 not only bested its Intel variant, but also top-tier laptops such as the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro and the Dell XPS 13.
Of course, at such a budget-friendly price, you’ll have to sacrifice something. And with the Swift 3, display brightness and color reproduction isn’t its strong suit. But if you’re a homebody who spends most of your time indoors, brightness it’s not going to be much of an issue. However, if you’re finicky about having a brilliant display with high color reproduction capabilities, you’ll want to skip the Swift 3 and opt for the HP Envy 13, which is within the same price range.
With a herculean processor that whizzes past all its competitors, the Acer Swift 3 certainly deserves a spot as one of the best Acer laptops.
Acer Swift 3 Specs
|CPU||1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-8250U|
|Card Slots||SD memory reader|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Hard Drive Size||256GB SSD|
|Hard Drive Type||M.2 PCIe 3.0 SSD|
|Highest Available Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI, Headphone/Mic, Kensington Lock, USB Type-C, SD card slot, USB 3.1 with Type-C, USB 3.0, USB 2.0|
|Size||14.6 x 10 x 0.7 inches|
|Touchpad Size||4.2 x 3.0|
|Warranty/Support||1-year limited warranty|
|Wi-Fi Model||802.11ac wireless LAN|
Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!