Acer Swift 3 (SF314-52G) review – aluminum jewel by Acer

Another laptop by Acer has recently hit the shelves and it deserves a bit more attention – we are talking about the model Acer Swift 3. The notebook is equipped with an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 8GB RAM, integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 GPU, as well as an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2GB GDDR5 dedicated memory. The most interesting thing, however, is that it comes with two SSDs using M.2 slots – 128GB 2242 M.2 SATA SSD by Kingston and 512 GB M.2 SATA SSD by Micron.

We chose namely this configuration for our tests – these components should provide enough performance both for a software that needs computing power and games at low and medium settings. Considering the Full HD resolution of the display, we will check how GeForce MX150 copes with gaming in native resolution.

You can check all available configurations HERE.

Contents


Retail package

The laptop came well packed in a box. The package offers the standard 65W AC charging adapter, power cord, user manuals, as well as the notebook itself.

Design and construction

We have to admit that we were pleasantly surprised by the build quality of the device, considering the fact that this is a base model of the Swift series. The laptop is equipped with a robust construction that can hardly be bent in the lid or the chassis. Additionally, the edges around the screen are well built and guarantee a stable product.

The entire case is made of aluminum which is attached to the plastic inner chassis. Acer Swift 3 is at the same time relatively light and compact, although not so much as other 14-inch laptops on the market. It weighs around 1.5 kg and has a thickness of 18 mm, which combined with its matte body that is not easily susceptible to scratches and smudges makes it the ideal mobile computer.

Overall, the keyboard is nice, the keys have a slightly concave shape, they are pleasant to feel and react well. In addition, they are silent when pressed. The keyboard has a backlight, which can be turned on and off with a key combination (Fn+F9). You have the opportunity to choose from various backlight intensity options with a key combination (Fn+F10). Above the display you can find the 1.3 MP camera that can record 720p HD videos. The touchpad is relatively big, made of plastic and not glass as it is the case with some laptops, which is to some extent the reason why it is slightly “rougher” and sliding is not that easy as with glass touchpads but it still gets the job done. The touchpad buttons and the touchpad itself have small key travel.

The laptop is ergonomic with its blunt edges and rounded corners, easy to hold and use. The internal part of the body is also smooth and nice to touch with a comfortable palm rest area when typing and a fingerprint reader for easier signing in the Windows account. What’s more, the hinges also seem well built and hold the screen in place allowing at the same time the screen to be opened at up to 180 degrees. This makes it possible to put the laptop fully laid down. Especially this quality is one big plus for people that want to use the notebook on their lap or lying down.

One last aspect that deserves our attention, as far as the body is concerned, are the input/output ports. On both sides of the laptop you will notice two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 – Type-C port, HDMI video port and memory card reader. Also available are some discreet LED indicators on the left side.

Cooling system

The laptop features two fans located on the left. The fans are not noisy and cannot be heard even when working at higher speeds. Their speeds go down when the laptop is at idle or works at lighter mode but remain active the whole time. As far as heating is concerned, Acer Swift 3 is a relatively cold laptop during general use and gets slightly warmer during more demanding work which is normal for any notebook.


Upgrade options

Slot Unit Upgrade price
M.2 slot 128GB KINGSTON RBUSNS8180DS3128GH Upgrade options
M.2 slot 512 GB Micron 1100 MTFDDAV512TBN (2280) Upgrade options

However, we should note that the CPU, GPU and RAM are soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded.

Display quality

The display of Acer Swift 3 has a Full HD panel with an IPS matrix with model number AUO B140HAN02.1. It is protected by high-quality Corning Gorilla Glass. The diagonal is 14-inch (35.56 cm), while the resolution is 1920 x 1080p. In addition, the aspect ratio is 16:9, pixel density – 157 ppi, pixel pitch – 0.161 х 0.161 mm. The screen can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal to or greater than 56 cm (from this distance the eye stops distinguishing individual pixels and is normal for a laptop).

 

Acer Swift 3 has comfortable viewing angles. We offer photos to evaluate image quality.

We’ve recorded a maximum brightness of 212 cd/m2 in the center and 212 cd/m2 as average across the surface with just 13% maximum deviation. The brightness is enough for indoor work with high ambient lighting but may turn out to be low outside or in direct sunlight. The color temperature on while screen and maximum brightness is 6620K and it’s pretty close to the optimal 6500K in sRGB. The average color temperature (measured in the center of the display for the different grayscale levels with factory settings) is 6730K – a bit cooler.

Below you can see how the measurements change at 140 cd/m2 luminance or in other words – 64% brightness (White level = 144 cd/m2, Black level = 0.17 cd/m2). Below the gamut graphics is also shown the color temperature measured for the different degrees of grayscale.

We’ve also measured the dE2000 color deviation across the surface of the screen and the maximum value was 2.8. It’s not bad considering that usually anything above 4.0 is unwanted.

The contrast ratio is decent – 850:1.

Here we should note that we think the display behaves like one with Content Adaptive Brightness Control (CABC), which we couldn’t turn off. It may affect the accuracy of the results.

Color reproduction

 

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of 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 in HDTV and on the web. As for the 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 display covers 50% of the sRGB color gamut.

 

Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut pre and post calibration.

You can compare the results with the factory settings (on the left), and with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile on the right.

The “Design and Gaming” profile is created at 140 cd/m2 brightness, D65 (6500K) white point and optimal gamma in sRGB 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 at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

You can compare the results with the factory settings (on the left), and with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile on the 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

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

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 24 ms.

 

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 display doesn’t use PWM across all brightness levels. It provides comfort for the eyes in the considered aspect and accordingly conditions for continuous work without unnecessary eye strain.

 

Blue light emissions

Installing of 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.

You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.

The following graph shows the spectral distribution of the emitted light on a white screen and a brightness of approximately 140 cd / m2. You can compare the results with the factory settings (on the left) and with the “Health-Guard” profile on the right.


Buy our display profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for Acer Swift 3’s configurations with 14.0″ AUO B140HAN02.1 (Full HD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found HERE.

*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 has opted for two speakers located at the bottom part. They have clear, strong stereo sound. The laptop provides very good quality in the low, mid and high frequencies.

 

Specs sheet

The current specs sheet refers to this particular model – configurations may differ depending on your region.

CPU Intel Core i7-7500U (2-core, 2.70-3.50 GHz, 4MB cache)
RAM 8GB (1x 8192MB) – DDR4, 2400 MHz
GPU NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (2GB GDDR5)
HDD/SSD 128GB KINGSTON RBUSNS8180DS3128GH (M.2 slot)
512GB Micron 1100 MTFDDAV512TBN (M.2 slot)
Display 14-inch IPS Full HD (1920×1080), matte
Optical drive
Connectivity Wireless AC (Intel AC 7265), Bluetooth 4.1
Features
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • HDMI
  • Fingerprint reader
  • SD card reader
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
Battery 3-cell, 48 Wh, 65W charging adapter
Thickness 18 mm
Weight 1.525 kg


Software

For the writing of this review, we used the pre-installed Windows 10 (64-bit) but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS without the bloatware, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from Acer’s official website.

Battery

Acer has chosen a 3-cell battery with capacity of 48 Wh, which does what it is designed for well enough. However, the company could have used slightly bigger battery considering the fact that there is plenty of room in the body. All tests were run with the usual settings – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows power saving mode turned on.

Web browsing

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

Pretty good results considering the high-end CPU – 434 minutes (7 hours and 14 minutes).

Video playback

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

Slightly above the average result – 257 minutes (4 hours and 17 minutes).

Gaming

We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.

Gaming is definitely not the strong side of this laptop and therefore, the result is pretty low – 125 minutes (2 hours and 5 minutes).

CPU – Intel Core i7-7500U

The Core i7-7500U is part of the latest Intel Kaby Lake generation of CPUs built upon 14nm manufacturing process – or 14nm+ as the company markets – and should offer marginal performance gains over the Skylake generation while improving overall power efficiency. It’s a direct successor to the Core i7-6500U (Skylake) and Core i7-5500 (Broadwell) but opposed to previous architecture refreshes, the Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U is bringing much higher clock rates. Now the chip is clocked at 2.7 – 3.5 GHz (compared to the 2.5 – 3.1 GHz on the Skylake Core i7-6500U) and still adopting the 2/4 core/thread count using the HyperThreading technology with a maximum 4MB cache.

However, the Core i7-7500U’s TDP is still rated at 15W including the iGPU and dual-channel memory controller that supports DDR4-2133, LPDDR3-1866 and DDR3L-1600. And as far as the iGPU is concerned, it integrates a slightly improved Intel HD Graphics 620 clocked at 300 – 1050 MHz, which is slightly higher than the iGPU on the Core i5-7200U (300 – 1000 MHz).

Check the prices of all notebooks equipped with Core i7-7500U:
http://amzn.to/2uRwfbv

You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i7-7500u/

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

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

Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)

Fritz

Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-7500U scored 6.700 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.

GPU – NVIDIA GeForce MX150

Acer Swift 3 is equipped with GeForce MX150 discreet GPU developed by NVIDIA. The GPU has 2048 MB GDDR5 memory and offers 33% better performance than the previous model GeForce 940MX. However, this might mean that MX150 is closer to 930M (X) than 940 (X) if we want to position them in terms of energy consumption. It is part of the NVIDIA low and partly mid-range.

You can browse through our GPU ranking to see where the Intel HD Graphics (Broadwell) stands: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook with this GPU that we’ve tested: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/geforce-mx150-2gb-ddr5/

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

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


Temperatures

We conducted a CPU, GPU, as well as memory test to assess the overall stability of the cooling system and its longevity in the long run. You should keep in mind, however, that there won’t be such load of all components during everyday use.

The 30-minute CPU stress test showed that the system is able to utilize the full CPU potential for this period of time (3.5 GHz). The CPU worked at its maximum frequency and reached a maximum temperature of 74°С, which is a good cooling achievement given that this is a mobile computer. During the entire test, the CPU didn’t throttle. The heat of the body was within the normal and in the zone above the cooling, the temperature reached 47.1°С. This was due to the insufficient amount of the outgoing warm airflow because of the thinner profile of the laptop. However, we think that these temperatures are within the normal for a mobile computer of such range.


Gaming tests

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average FPS 77 fps 29 fps 17 fps

Far Cry Primal Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average FPS 50 fps 29 fps 22 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average FPS 40 fps 26 fps 18 fps

 

Verdict

 

In conclusion, we can say that Acer has done a great job producing a very good model that combines a high-quality aluminum body, powerful CPU and nice display. Swift 3 is ideal for those who are looking for a relatively affordable notebook without having to invest more than $1000.

This device is a good choice, budget-friendly, portable and has a matte screen. The specs should meet all daily needs of the average user. In addition, the battery capacity is good, Acer Swift 3 can last up to 5-7 hours of autonomous work. The keyboard backlight is a big advantage especially if you have to work in a dim environment. The presence of two SSDs is a rare feature but it delivers enough performance as a whole.

You can check all available configurations HERE.

Pros

  • High build quality
  • Thin and light for a 14-inch laptop
  • Good keyboard and touchpad
  • Relatively powerful CPU
  • Good wireless network
  • Long battery life
  • Affordable price
  • Keyboard backlight
  • Two SSDs


Cons

  • Display with a small percentage of sRGB coverage
  • The fans work almost constantly

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RD001
RD001
4 years ago

I’ve purchased SF314-52G with attached 256gb SSD M.2 & Recently adding second ssd Plextor PX-512M8SeGN.
Bios can not detected the second ssd. Quite desperated, can any one help me how to make it work?!

Mike
Mike
4 years ago

I recently purchased a SF314-52-52V8, and just bought another NVMe. Will let you know if I have a similar issue , and if I can resolve it 🙂