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Acer Swift 3 (SF314-57) review – 10th Gen Intel processors + a super lightweight body

Here comes the latest Acer Swift 3 to hit the market – the SF314-57. You may also find it with a delicate “G” at the end of its name, which symbolizes the dedicated graphics card included with the specific model. Firstly, this laptop reveals a great continuity in design features plus some newly implemented stuff.

However, this is not what is most interesting about this device. Clearly, the hardware is in a good moment right now, as Swift 3 is another laptop brand that utilizes the new 10th Generation Intel CPUs. Moreover, we are talking about 10nm Ice Lake ones. It doesn’t matter whether you need it for school, for work or just for multimedia, you should be excited about this notebook. Let’s see together if the excitement and the expectations are going to be met.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-3-sf314-57-sf314-57g/

Contents

Specs Sheet

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-57) review – 10th Gen Intel processors + a super lightweight body - Specs

  • Innolux N140HCA-EAC
  • Color accuracy  5.8  3.5
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 1000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 16GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, No OS, Windows OS
  • Battery
  • 48Wh, 3-cell, 48Wh, 48Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Aluminum, Magnesium alloy
  • Dimensions
  • 320 x 217 x 15.95 mm (12.60" x 8.54" x 0.63")
  • Weight
  • 1.19 kg (2.6 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, HDMI
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 2.0
  • HDMI
  • Wi-Fi
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (2x2 MU-MIMO)
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.0
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD 720p (SHDR)
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington lock

What’s in the box?

Swift 3 (SF314-57) has a typical Acer packaging, that has the laptop hidden in a white protective cloth, and its power adapter separated in another compartment. Here, the latter is able to provide 65W of power to the laptop.

Design and construction

This laptop now features a magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum body, which makes it both strong and super lightweight. Speaking with numbers, the scales are toped at 1.19 kg, while the height of the Swift 3 (SF314-57) measures at a hair under 16 mm. All of this adds up for an extremely portable laptop that fits in almost every backpack and you might not even notice it in there.

Sadly, the lid cannot be opened with a single hand. However, on the bright side, it is strong enough to resist flex to some extent. As you can see from the photos, our unit comes with a matte display finish and a plastic frame around it.

Further below is the keyboard. We find it fairly comfortable to use and extremely quick to get used to. In terms of usability, the key travel is not too short, while the feedback is clicky. This device comes with an optional backlight, and apparently, ours had it. What is weird, however, is the placement of the arrow keys (which are incredibly small by the way) and the proximity of the “Page Up” and “Page Down” buttons. It is almost inevitable to press them instead of the arrow keys once in a while.

Additionally, there is a fingerprint reader which isn’t the fastest out there by any means. However, it is quick and accurate, making it easy and safe for use. Then, the touchpad feels quick and responsive, although we are not very happy with its dead zone at both of the lower corners. Also, the rigidity of the base material seems to be on point, as there is very little noticeable flex when you press upon it.

Traditionally, the ventilation grills and the speaker cut-outs are on the bottom, while the hot air is exhausted from in between the base and the lid of the laptop.

Ports

Connectivity-wise, the Swift 3 (SF314-57) features most of its stuff on the left. There you can see the charging plug, an HDMI connector, a USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 2) port, as well as a Thunderbolt 3 connector – not bad! Then on the right, there is a single USB Type-A 2.0 port and an audio combo jack.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

This laptop’s bottom panel is held in place by 11 Torx-headed screws. While they are not the most common out there, nowadays it is very easy to find the tools necessary in the convenience shop near your home. By the way, after you unscrew all of the screws, you need to pop the panel open with a plastic tool, which happens to be simple as a pie.

In terms of cooling, there is a single, very thin heat pipe, which cools down the processor. You can clearly see the spot of the dedicated GPU, should your laptop come with one. Additionally, above the CPU you can find the memory chips, which are sadly soldered. This means, there is no way of upgrading. On the bright side, the memory speed of the LPDDR4 modules is incredible.

On the bright side, you can upgrade the SSD via its M.2 PCIe x4 slot.

Then, there is the battery pack which is a 50Wh unit.

Display quality

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-57) has a Full HD IPS display, model number Chi Mei N140HAC-EAC (CNM14D4). 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, 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).

Its viewing angles are excellent. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 238 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 233 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 11%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6620K (average) – almost matching the 6500K optimum for sRGB. The average color temperature through the grey scale before profiling is 6540K.
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 88% Brightness (White level = 140 cd/m2, Black level = 0.127 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 – 1100:1.

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 in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is an 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 (SF314-57)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers just 54% 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 at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Acer Swift 3 (SF314-57) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display can reproduce 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 = 29 ms

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 (SF314-57)’s display is using PWM to adjust the brightness up to 60 nits. After that its flicker-free. Moreover, the PWM it uses has a very high frequency, making the display comfortable for long hours of work and safe for your eyes in this aspect.

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.

Conclusions

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-57) has an IPS panel with comfortable viewing angles and good contrast ratio. Its main disadvantage would be the mediocre color coverage.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Swift 3 (SF314-57) configurations with 14.0″ Chi Mei N140HCA-EAC (CMN14D4) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS panel.

*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 bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

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.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount

Sound

While its speakers are not very loud, the Swift 3 (SF314-57) produces sound with relatively good quality. Its low and mid-range frequencies have some deviations, whereas the highs are crisp and clear.

Drivers

You can find all of the drivers and utilities for this laptop on Acer’s official website: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/8106?b=1

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with 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 laptop’s 50Wh battery packs some great autonomous times.

While we were never able to reach the 12.5-hour mark set by Acer on their website, we managed to get 10 hours and a half of Web browsing and around 9 hours of video playback.

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

We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.

CPU options

Currently, this notebook is available with the Core i3-1005G1 and the Core i5-1035G1. They are both 10nm CPUs, with the former being a dual-core/quad-thread configuration and the latter having four cores and eight threads.

GPU options

In addition to the Intel UHD Graphics G1, you can order the laptop with the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory.

Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GOHD 1080p, Low (Check settings)HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings)HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS51 fps34 fps20 fps

DOTA 2HD 1080p, Low (Check settings)HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings)HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS61 fps37 fps22 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 core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i3-1005G1 (15W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-57)3.07 GHz (B+156%)@ 89°C2.42 GHz (B+102%)@ 79°C2.29 GHz (B+91%)@ 74°C
Intel Core i3-8145U (15W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
ASUS VivoBook S14 S4303.34 GHz (B+59%)@ 68°C3.24 GHz (B+54%)@ 83°C1.97 GHz @ 56°C
ASUS VivoBook S13 S3303.58 GHz (B+70%)@ 68°C3.51 GHz (B+67%)@ 79°C2.77 GHz (B+32%)@ 72°C

Apparently, the thin heat pipe manages to do the job of keeping the Core i3-1005G1 above 2.00 GHz. In contrast to the Core i3-8145U, we see on other devices, however, clock speeds seem to be quite a bit lower.

Comfort during full load

Noise? What noise? This laptop seems to be almost silent during the

Verdict

Let’s wrap it up, guys. To be fair, this is actually not a bad notebook. Acer has fixed some issues with the keyboard on the previous models, and now the Swift 3 (SF314-57) has a great comfort during typing, has a great fingerprint reader, and is incredibly quiet during load.

However, you have to keep in mind that our testing machine had the Core i3-1005G1 on board, which produces slightly less heat than the Core i5-1035G1, which has double the number of cores. Moreover, the MX250 should make a big difference in terms of noise and cooling capacity but will give you significantly better framerates in 99% of the cases.

Battery-wise, the Swift 3 series was already very good. This laptop is no an exception, as we got 10 hours and a half of Web browsing and 9 hours of video playback from the 50Wh unit. Moreover, we were pretty happy to see a battery of this size, given the incredible 1.19 kg weight of this notebook, as well as the super-thin front side.

On the downside, the 1080p IPS panel, used on the Swift 3 (SF314-57) is one of the budget solutions out there, as it has a rather low maximum brightness and covers only 54% of sRGB. However, it doesn’t use aggressive PWM to adjust its levels of brightness, has comfortable viewing angles and a very decent contrast ratio.

Moreover, this model is equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 port, which Acer repeatedly refused to put on their Swift 3 notebooks. Sadly, it comes at the expense of an SD card reader. Another petty moment about this machine is the lack of RAM DIMMs on its motherboard, which leaves you with the amount of memory you have purchased the laptop with. Then again, the soldered memory is of LPDDR4 type, which works at a significantly higher frequency than the LPDDR3 for example.

So if you are into the Magnesium-bodied laptops, that are rather rigid and super lightweight, give this notebook a try. In our view, the pros outweigh the cons and make it the perfect little ultrabook for everybody.

Pros

  • Very good battery life
  • Super light thanks to its Magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum alloy combination
  • Has a Thunderbolt 3 port
  • It doesn’t use aggressive PWM to adjust screen brightness (Chi Mei N140HCA-EAC (CMN14D4))
  • Barely audible under heavy load
  • Supports PCIe x4 M.2 drives


Cons

  • Lacks an SD card reader
  • Not very high maximum brightness and narrow color coverage – 54% of sRGB (Chi Mei N140HCA-EAC (CMN14D4))
  • Memory is soldered to the motherboard

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-3-sf314-57-sf314-57g/