Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) review – ordinary doesn’t mean boring

After we’ve reviewed the 16-inch version of the Acer Swift 3, today, we are going back to the roots, as we’re testing the 14-inch SF314-59. It has a familiar design that is now dressed in more vibrant colors.

As with the larger model, the 13-inch device stays true to Intel, but instead of the 35W CPUs, they get the 15W Tiger Lake processors. You can max out the laptop with a Core i7-1165G7, and even though there is no dedicated graphics option, we all know how good of a job does the Iris Xe Graphics do.

Additionally, this year, the only display option is a 1080p IPS panel, which has been the standard for mobile computing for the past couple of years.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-3-sf314-59/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) - Specs

  • Innolux N140HCA-EAC
  • Color accuracy  5.8  3.5
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 16GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Home, Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, Windows 10 Pro, No OS
  • Battery
  • 48Wh, 3-cell
  • Body material
  • Aluminum, Magnesium alloy
  • Dimensions
  • 323.4 x 218.9 x 15.9 mm (12.73" x 8.62" x 0.63")
  • Weight
  • 1.20 kg (2.6 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 2.0
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.0
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2 Stereo Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • optional
  • Security Lock slot

All Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

This laptop comes in pretty standard packaging. It includes the mandatory paperwork, as well as a 65W power adapter.


Design and construction

This laptop is extremely thin and light. We are talking about a 15.9mm profile and a weight of only 1.20 kg. This is mainly thanks to the combination of aluminum and magnesium-aluminum alloy. These materials offer a lot of structural integrity as well.

Unfortunately, the lid can’t be opened with a single hand, but once you get it open, you will see a very familiar image. Thin bezels around the matte display, except the bottom one, while the top one houses the HD camera.

To be honest, the backlit keyboard here is more than decent with long key travel (given the slim profile of the device) and clicky feedback. Once again, the only letdown is the size of the Arrow keys, but that’s pretty minor in our view.

As a standard, you receive a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello sign-in. Another thing placed beneath the keyboard is the touchpad. It Is painted in the same color as the rest of the laptop and offers decent tracking and relatively smooth gliding.

If you look at the bottom panel, you will see the speaker cutouts and the ventilation grill. Speaking of which, the hot air escapes the chassis from a slot on the back of the base.

Ports

On the left side of the device, you will find the power plug, a Thunderbolt 4 connector, an HDMI connector, and a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port. Then, on the right, there is a security wedge slot, a USB Type-A 2.0 port, and an audio jack.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

This laptop’s bottom panel is held in place by 10 Phillips-head screws. After you undo them, you need to pop the panel with a plastic pry tool.

The battery here has a capacity of about 50Wh.

Sadly, all of the memory is soldered to the motherboard. On the other hand, you can choose between 8 and 16GB of dual-channel RAM. Storage-wise, you get one M.2 PCIe x4 Gen 3 slot.

Last but not least, there is the cooling solution. It employs a single heat pipe, a heat sink, and a medium-sized fan.


Display quality

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) has a Full HD IPS display, model number Chi Mei N140HCA-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.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The maximum measured brightness is 284 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 261 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 13%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6960K (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 51% Brightness (White level = 143 cd/m2, Black level = 0.10 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 good – 1480:1.

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 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 (SF314-59)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers just 53% 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 (SF314-59) 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 = 19 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 (SF314-59)’s display is using PWM to adjust the brightness up to 71 nits. After that it’s 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.

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 (SF314-59) 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 [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 (SF314-59)’s speakers produce a sound with good quality and average maximum volume. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/8652?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 battery lasts for 10 hours of Web browsing, and 10 hours and 44 minutes of video playback.

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


CPU options

This device can be paired with a Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, and Core i7-1165G7.

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) 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.


GPU options

Currently, there are not dedicated graphics options, so you have to rely on the integrated Xe Graphics G4 or Xe Graphics G7 with either 80 or 96EUs.

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) 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.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 179 fps 130 fps 73 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 138 fps 87 fps 63 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 i5-1135G7 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59) 3.60 GHz (B+50%) @ 91°C @ 45W 3.22 GHz (B+34%) @ 91°C @ 36W 2.76 GHz (B+15%) @ 91°C @ 27W
ASUS ZenBook Duo 14 UX482 3.13 GHz (B+30%) @ 92°C @ 39W 3.01 GHz (B+25%) @ 92°C @ 33W 2.44 GHz (B+2%) @ 73°C @ 22W
Lenovo ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 3.79 GHz (B+58%) @ 90°C @ 47W 3.47 GHz (B+45%) @ 90°C @ 39W 3.05 GHz (B+27%) @ 79°C @ 28W
Dell XPS 13 9310 3.15 GHz (B+31%) @ 100°C @ 40W 2.73 GHz (B+14%) @ 100°C @ 30W 1.65 GHz @ 73°C @ 15W
Dell Vostro 14 5402 3.02 GHz (B+26%) @ 99°C @ 29W 2.61 GHz (B+9%) @ 99°C @ 25W 2.00 GHz @ 76°C @ 15W
MSI Modern 15 (A11X) 3.59 GHz (B+50%) @ 94°C @ 44W 3.45 GHz (B+44%) @ 95°C @ 40W 3.18 GHz (B+33%) @ 91°C @ 34W
Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga 3.52 GHz (B+47%) @ 94°C 3.24 GHz (B+35%) @ 94°C 2.63 GHz (B+10%) @ 75°C
Lenovo Yoga 7 (14) 3.34 GHz (B+39%) @ 94°C 2.97 GHz (B+24%) @ 94°C 2.39 GHz @ 75°C
Acer Aspire 5 (A514-54) 3.54 GHz (B+48%) @ 87°C 2.01 GHz @ 66°C 2.03 GHz @ 67°C

This notebook’s cooling was not as good as that of the Lenovo ThinkBook 14 Gen 2, but we like Acer’s aggressive approach. It ran at 91°C throughout the entire test, but the clock speed was always above the Base (and with a good amount over).

Comfort during full load

Although the laptop was fairly quiet during this test, we monitored a pretty warm temperature on the outside. Especially around the WASD area.


Verdict

Without being too harsh on this laptop, we feel that its biggest perk is that it’s … ordinary. There are no bold design choices, nor extremities. This means you get plenty for a reasonable price. Take its performance for example. No matter if you are mainly using the CPU, or its integrated graphics, you will be satisfied. Sure, your expectations should be on merit with what this notebook has to offer.

Also, it is made out of aluminum and magnesium-aluminum alloy, which leads to a super slim profile and low weight. At the same time, the laptop feels rigid, and has a decent I/O, which includes a Thunderbolt 4 connector, but omits an SD card reader. Also, one of the USB Type-A ports runs at 2.0 speeds.

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-59)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, non-harmful backlight, and a good contrast ratio. Unfortunately, the color coverage is quite limited with 53% of sRGB coverage.

There is one more thing we were a bit disappointed by – the memory. It is not the performance, but the actual lack of possibility to upgrade it. We are getting tired of repeating this over and over, but laptops lately are built around the principle of compromise. They give you, but they also don’t allow you to have everything. Especially in this price range.

So, if you want a notebook that will be good for work, school, and an occasional gaming session of your favorite non-graphically intensive title – the Swift 3 (SF314-59) is definitely a good choice. On the other hand, because of its display, it can’t be really used for anything more than that. At least the battery should last you through an entire workday.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-3-sf314-59/

Pros

  • Adequate price
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Comfortable backlit keyboard
  • Thunderbolt 4 connection and an M.2 slot for storage upgrades
  • Good battery life
  • Its Full HD IPS panel has comfortable viewing angles and a good contrast ratio (Chi Mei N140HCA-EAC (CNM14D4))
  • No aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment (Chi Mei N140HCA-EAC (CNM14D4))
  • Excellent performance


Cons

  • Memory is soldered to the motherboard
  • Covers only 54% of sRGB (Chi Mei N140HCA-EAC (CNM14D4))
  • Slow USB Type-A 2.0 port

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