It seems like the popular Swift 3 series has grown bigger and more diverse. Last year we were really impressed by the Swift 3X, which combined the latest Tiger Lake CPUs with the in-house DG1 dedicated graphics card from Intel. However, let’s leave the past alone, and focus on today, when we have the 16-inch Swift 3.
Yes, Acer is hopping in the 16-inch trend train, and we can’t help but enjoy that. To be precise, the screen size is 16.1 inches, it has a 1080p IPS panel, which supposedly provides full sRGB coverage. This is good news for content creators, but we have to check these claims first.
In addition to that, you are treated to a 35W Tiger Lake processor, so performance in long loads should not be a problem (with the right cooling of course). Now, let’s see what this 16-incher has to offer.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-3-sf316-51/
Acer Swift 3 (SF316-51) - Specs
All Acer Swift 3 (SF316-51) configurations
What’s in the box?
The package contents here are pretty standard. You get the regular paperwork, a 65W power adapter, and the laptop, hidden in a protective cloth.
Design and construction
Even though it has a pretty large display, its footprint is not bigger than that of most 15-inch laptops out there. This is because of the 88% screen-to-body ratio. And the full aluminum build provides strength and allows the chassis to be lightweight. This results in a weight of 1.70 kg and a profile of only 15.9mm. Some flex should be expected, but it is nothing out of the ordinary.
Opening the lid is a mission impossible for one hand. On the other hand, there is a couple of rubber feet on its bottom, which helps with gripping the surface and lifting the backside of the base from the ground. Above the matte display, you will find the HD Web camera.
Although there is a grill above the keyboard, it is not for the speakers. Think of it as more of a vent. As for the keyboard itself, it has decent key travel, and nice, clicky feedback, that doesn’t produce too much noise. Additionally, you get a NumberPad, and a fingerprint reader placed just below the Arrow keys.
Now, take a look at the touchpad. It is humongous. Also, its surface seems like glass and offers great gliding and accurate tracking. This makes the laptop a gem to be used.
Now, if you flip the device upside down, you will notice the speaker cutouts, as well as the ventilation grill. As far as the hot air exhaust, there is a pretty long slot for that in between the lid and the base.
On the left side, there is the power plug, a Thunderbolt 4 connector, an HDMI port, and a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port. Respectively, on the right, you get a Kensington lock slot, another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an audio jack.
Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance
The disassembly process here starts with the removal of 12 Torx-head screws. Then, pry the bottom panel starting from the hinge gaps, and remove the panel away from the chassis.
Before you do anything else, unplug the 60Wh battery from the motherboard.
Unfortunately, despite its large footprint, this notebook’s memory is soldered to the motherboard. It is offered with up to 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM. On the other hand, there is one M.2 PCIe Gen 4 slot for storage upgrades.
Last, but not least, there is the cooling solution. You get two heat pipes, leading to a very long heat sink. Then, two medium-sized fans blow the heat away from the device.
Acer Swift 3 (SF316-51) has an IPS panel, model number Innolux N161HCA-EA3 (CMN160B). Its diagonal is 16.1″ (41 cm), and the resolution is 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 137 ppi, and a pitch of 0.186 х 0.186 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 64cm (25″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).
It has comfortable viewing angles. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.
Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.
The measured maximum brightness of 357 nits in the middle of the screen and 329 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 11%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6410K – slightly warmer than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.
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. The contrast ratio is good – 1350:1.
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. 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 (SF316-51)’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 at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
Below you can compare the scores of Acer Swift 3 (SF316-51) 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 = 18 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.
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 (SF316-51)’s backlight uses a high-frequency PWM up until 90 nits. This makes it comfortable for long exposures.
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 individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Swift 3 (SF316-51) configurations with 16.1″ FHD IPS Innolux N161HCA-EA3 (CMN160B).
*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 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 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.
Acer Swift 3 (SF316-51)’s speakers produce a sound with decent quality. We found some deviations in the low tones, while the mids and highs are clear.
All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/8936?b=1
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 device’s 60Wh battery pack lasts for 15 hours and 25 minutes of Web browsing, and 10 hours and 17 minutes of video playback.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Currently, the available processor choices are the Core i5-11300H and Core i7-11370H. Both of them are 35W Tiger Lake devices and boast four cores and eight threads.
Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
By the time of writing this review, there are no dedicated graphics options. On the other hand, the integrated solutions are pretty powerful.
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
|DOTA 2||HD 1080p, Low (Check settings)||HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings)||HD 1080p, High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||146 fps||96 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 i5-11300H (35W TDP)||0:02 – 0:10 sec||0:15 – 0:30 sec||10:00 – 15:00 min|
|Acer Swift 3 (SF316-51)||3.38 GHz @ 94°C @ 38W||3.22 GHz @ 93°C @ 35W||3.00 GHz @ 93°C @ 30W|
Unfortunately, this laptop’s cooling system can’t maintain the rated 35W of TDP for long periods of time. Also, the temperature is pretty high. What is interesting though, is that the fans are really quiet even under an extreme workload.
Comfort during full load
Probably comfort was the first thing in Acer’s engineers’ minds. Not only do the fans stay relatively quiet, but the temperature on the outside barely surpasses the 40°C mark.
Acer definitely deserves credit for the job they did on this laptop. Its metal chassis is well built and offers good support for the internals. The cooling is not the best, but we have one relatively big issue with the device.
Yep, we are talking about the soldered memory. This is pretty much everything that this laptop lacks (besides a dedicated graphics card). Even one slot would have done the job, but Acer thought otherwise. Also, the maximum offer is 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM. On the bright side, the laptop supports Gen 4 PCIe x4 drives via its one M.2 slot.
Acer Swift 3 (SF316-51)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. Its backlight is safe when it comes to PWM, while the color coverage is about 98%. This, paired with the good color accuracy with our Gaming and Web design profile, makes the panel great for professional work, requiring accurate color representation.
Ultimately, the performance is okay for a quad-core CPU, but it still lags behind the Ryzen 7 5800U, which is a 15W processor. Nevertheless, the device feels snappy, but we doubt that it is the best choice for content creation, other than image manipulation.
On the bright side, the I/O of the Swift 3 (SF316-51) is decent, as you get a Thunderbolt 4 connector. On the other hand, there is no MicroSD card slot.
You know, the laptop is packed with features like a fingerprint login, Wake on Voice, which works even when the screen is off, but unfortunately, it is not short on compromises.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-3-sf316-51/
- 16.1-inch screen with 98% of sRGB coverage and accurate colors (when our Gaming and Web design profile is present)
- No aggressive PWM
- Up to 15 hours of Web browsing on battery
- Almost all-metal built with a lid leverage system
- Fingerprint reader
- PCIe Gen 4 support
- Wi-Fi 6, and dual M.2 SSD support
- Soldered memory
- No SD card reader
- CPU stays hot under load