Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) review

Acer has Swiftly announced a lot of laptops this year. Now, we finally have the opportunity to take the Swift 3 (SF314-512) ourselves, and it aspires to be one of the biggest improvements of a laptop in its class.

Well, truth be told, there is no big difference in the exterior of this machine. It is very similar to the entire Swift 3 lineup of devices. However, Acer made sure that the Swift 3 (SF314-512) will be on top of its competitors, by choosing the 12th Gen Intel family. Not only that, but it picked 28W chips in the face of the Core i5-1240P, and the Core i7-1260P.

If cooled properly, these two chips have the power to match and even overhaul their 45W cousins from the Tiger Lake architecture. But before we go there, we have to give some credit to the design team. Also, we are going to check out the display and put it through the full LaptopMedia treatment.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-3-sf314-512/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) - Specs

  • AUO B140HAN06.8 (AUO683D)
  • Color accuracy  3.0  1.0
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 1000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 4.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 16GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home
  • Battery
  • 54.6Wh
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 320.04 x 210.82 x 16 mm (12.60" x 8.30" x 0.63")
  • Weight
  • 1.25 kg (2.8 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 4.0, Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD)
  • HDMI
  • 2.1
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • FHD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • 2x Microphones
  • Speakers
  • 2x Stereo Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington Lock

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will not find more than the laptop itself, some paperwork, and a 65W USB Type-C power adapter.


Design and construction

This laptop has a no-nonsense design with sleek lines and all-metal construction. The material in use is aluminum, which is pretty resilient. However, it shows some flex from both the lid and the base, which is probably normal, considering the form factor of the machine.

We are talking about a profile of 16mm and a weight of 1.25 kg. This puts it on the low end of the portability spectrum, where lower is clearly better. We are wondering if this is going to have a negative effect on the cooling performance.

Although the hinges are rather stiff, the lid can be opened with a single hand. We were surprised by the fact that it lifts the backside of the base by a good amount. This provides more air for the fans. In addition to that, the side bezels of the laptop are thin, while the bottom and the top are a bit thicker. To keep up with the trends, Acer has put a Full HD shooter above the matte display, and it comes with a Temporal Noise Reduction, which should greatly improve the image quality.

Moving further below, e see the base and the huge cutout at its top part. It is for heat exhaust, and kind of settles down the unease over the cooling department. In addition, there is the keyboard, which has a backlight. To be frank, we didn’t find it super comfortable, due to the average key travel and a bit of soft feedback.

On the bright side, the power button doubles as a fingerprint reader. Respectively, the touchpad is a bit small, especially in 2022. Its surface is smooth, but we have experienced some laggy moments, despite the generally accurate tracking.

Now, turn the laptop upside down, and you will find the two speaker cutouts, as well as the ventilation grill.

Ports

On the left side, there are two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, either of which can be used for charging. Then, there is an HDMI 2.1 connector and a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) port. Switch sides, and you will find a Kensington lock slot, another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, as well as an audio jack.


Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

To get inside this device, you need to undo a total of 10 Torx-head screws. Then, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool or a guitar pick, and lift it away from the chassis.

Here, we find a 54.6Wh battery pack. To remove it, you just need to unplug the connector from the motherboard and undo the two Phillips-head screws, keeping it attached to the device.

Unfortunately, all of the memory is soldered to the motherboard. It is of LPDDR4x type and runs at 4267MHz. Storage-wise, you get one M.2 PCIe x4 slot.

The cooling looks quite capable with two heat pipes, two fans, and a heat sink of decent size. On the other hand, the VRMs are not being cooled.


Display quality

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) uses a Full HD IPS panel, model number AUO B140HAN06.8 (AUO683D). Its diagonal is 14″ (35.56 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 157 ppi, and their pitch – 0.161 x 0.161 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 56 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Viewing angles are comfortable. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The maximum measured brightness is 359 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 360 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 4%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6670K (average) – slightly colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 27% Brightness (White level = 140 cd/m2, Black level = 0.07 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is very good – 1920:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 98% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results in factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 25 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512)’s backlight doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment. This makes it comfortable for long periods of use.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Gloss level measurement

Glossy-coated displays are sometimes inconvenient in high ambient light conditions. We show the level of reflection on the screen for the respective laptop when the display is turned off and the measurement angle is 60° (in this case, the result is 60.7 GU).


Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) configurations with 14.0″ AUO B140HAN06.8 (AUO683D) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512)’s speakers produce a sound of good quality. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/9281?b=1

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This device’s 54.6Wh battery pack lasts for 12 hours and 26 minutes of Web browsing, or 9 hours and 10 minutes of video playback.


CPU options

As of the time of writing this review, we were only able to find the laptop equipped with the Core i5-1240P, or Core i7-1260P.

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

Results are from the Cinebench R23 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)


GPU options

Respectively, the graphics card choice is basically nonexistent, since you get what is integrated inside your CPU.

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.

Results are from the 3DMark: Time Spy (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Wild Life (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 144 fps 94 fps 64 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 152 fps 107 fps 58 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average P-core frequency; Average E-core frequency; CPU temp.; Package Power

Intel Core i5-1240P (28W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) 3.11 GHz @ 2.68 GHz @ 72°C @ 63W 2.64 GHz @ 2.36 GHz @ 77°C @ 48W 2.16 GHz @ 1.82 GHz @ 75°C @ 34W
ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3402) 2.47 GHz @ 2.17 GHz @ 65°C @ 43W 2.44 GHz @ 2.17 GHz @ 83°C @ 43W 1.96 GHz @ 1.75 GHz @ 75°C @ 30W
MSI Prestige 14 (A12M) 3.18 GHz @ 2.46 GHz @ 71°C @ 64W 2.22 GHz @ 1.97 GHz @ 73°C @ 37W 1.79 GHz @ 1.69 GHz @ 81°C @ 31W
Lenovo Yoga 7i (14″, 2022) 3.30 GHz @ 2.56 GHz @ 76°C @ 64W 2.95 GHz @ 2.38 GHz @ 90°C @ 53W 2.13 GHz @ 1.82 GHz @ 68°C @ 31W

Well, cooling is NOT an issue with this device. As you can see, it sits in joint first place with the Lenovo Yoga 7i (14″, 2022) for the most effectively cooled Core i5-1240P, leaving the MSI Prestige 14 (A12M), and the Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3402) in the dust.

Comfort during full load

Furthermore, the laptop doesn’t heat up too much, although most of the temperature is concentrated in the “WASD” area of the keyboard. Fan noise is also not an issue. Here is the moment to say that you get three performance presets, which can be toggled by pressing the “Function” and “F” buttons. All of our performance-related tests were executed with the most powerful preset.


Verdict

After seeing the performance results, one might think that Acer got absolutely carried by Intel. But this is not entirely true. As we saw with the far more expensive Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 10th Gen, where the cooling didn’t have the capacity to take care of Intel’s 28W Alder Lake chips. And Acer clearly did a good job with the Swift 3 (SF314-512) in this department.

Battery life is also pretty good with more than 12 hours of Web browsing or 9 hours of video playback on a single charge. This will definitely ensure that you finish all your work with some juice to spare.

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a very good contrast ratio. It covers 97% of the sRGB color gamut, which is great, especially when combined with our Gaming and Web design profile. It improves color accuracy to an extent that allows you to work on color-sensitive content. Furthermore, the screen doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment, which makes the panel safe for long periods of continuous work.

Although the memory of the laptop is soldered to its motherboard, the bandwidth is pretty high, thanks to the quad-channel mode. This is really visible in games like CS:GO and DOTA2, where the higher memory bandwidth allows for decent scores at all graphics settings.

On the other hand, it’s unfortunate not to be able to upgrade your RAM. Also, there is no SD card slot, and the keyboard is not that comfortable for typing. Some people might be offset by the backlight which turns itself off after a very short time of inactivity and won’t light back up again unless you press a key.

However, Acer was kind enough to provide a BIOS function that can be toggled on and off. It is called “keyboard backlight timeout”, and you need to disable it in order to keep the backlight constantly on.

Despite the lack of an SD card slot we are pretty happy with the I/O, which features two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) ports, and an HDMI 2.1 connector. Not that this is unexpected in this class, but we were pretty thrilled to see it.

In our view, the Acer Swift 3 (SF314-512) is perfect for photo editing, and even some video manipulation. The processors behind it are really fast, and you can definitely rely on the integrated graphics. However, you may not be that happy with the input devices, which puts the machine on the backfoot against laptops like the ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3402).

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-3-sf314-512/

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment (AUO B140HAN06.8 (AUO683D))
  • Light and thin metal build
  • Thunderbolt 4 and HDMI 2.1
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Covers 98% of sRGB colors and offers accurate color representation thanks to our Gaming and Web design profile (AUO B140HAN06.8 (AUO683D))
  • Good battery life


Cons

  • Not the best input devices
  • Memory is soldered to the motherboard (although it works in quad-channel mode)

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