The Acer Swift 3 is a budget ultrabook that is at the same time surprisingly good for its price point. This ultraportable delivers looks, build quality, a great typing experience, performance, and a long battery life for a fraction of what many other ultraportables cost. There are a few flaws, such as a dim screen and fuzzy speakers. Be sure to check out our full coverage of Swift 3 as well.
There is a big market for ultraportables with a low price, slick looks, fast hardware, and a good screen, and the Acer Swift 3 is one of the better budget devices with these features.
In other words, the Swift 3 is a portable computer that starts at $499 in the US and for that price you get a well-built device with a metallic case and a slim profile, a 14-inch FHD matte screen with an IPS panel, a backlit keyboard, Core U hardware with SSD storage, and a 48 Wh battery. Those are all available for $499 for the Core i3 configuration, or around $650 for the Core i5 configuration with more RAM and storage space. There are a few corners that were cut to make this a real product, as you’ll see in the article, but that said, there’s nothing utterly wrong with it, so those of you on a budget should definitely have it on your list.
The built quality of this laptop has surprised me, given that it is the entry level model in the Swift line, and given Acer’s past choices in materials and builds. It has a solid case with little to no flex in the hood or chassis, and even the bezel around the screen is well-made. Despite the fact that it causes no significant bleeding on the panel, you can press on it without ever causing warping to occur. An aluminum outer case and a plastic inner chassis are used for the entire device.
However, the laptop is also available in a more subtle Silver option. I’ve added a picture of the Swift next to my XPS 13 so you can see how the Gold and Silver shades compare. Also black are the hinge, the large frame around the camera, and the rubberized strip around the display, which I personally find ugly.
Swift 3 features a 14-inch matte screen with an IPS panel. It’s not the best IPS panel out there, due to its dimness and poor color accuracy, but it’s still much better than TN panels, and if you keep it indoors, you should find it to be fine.
Keyboard and trackpad
Acer Swift 3 gets the keyboard we’ve seen on many Acer ultraportables before, with a rather odd layout that includes an extra row of keys on the right. Though it’s nice to have dedicated keys for Home, End, PgUp and PgDw, this layout will take some time to get used to and might cause some missed strokes when searching for Enter or Backspace.
Acer’s Swift 3 comes with a 48 Wh battery, but they could have gone with a larger one, as there’s plenty of space inside. Still, we shouldn’t forget this is a budget laptop, and a 48 Wh battery in its class is not bad, especially since the laptop runs efficiently.
Acer did a really good job with the Swift 3, and I expect it to be popular in the months to come, especially in the US where it’s priced aggressively.