Acer Swift 3 SF314 in the test, the cheap alternative to the Dell XPS 13, Razer Blade Stealth, ASUS Zenbook

A good ultrabook is usually not cheap, see Dell XPS 13, Apple MacBook Pro, Razer Blade Stealth, etc.

Building a very compact notebook is not that easy or very cheap. Here is the Acer Swift 3 SF314 a bit “special”. The Acer Swift 3 SF314 is already available from 520 €, which is not too much for a compact aluminum notebook with decent performance and FullHD display.

Of course, this only applies in case the Acer Swift 3 SF314 is also a good notebook. This can not always be recognized by the technical data.

Therefore, the Acer Swift 3 SF314 can convince in the test? Let’s find out!

Many thanks to Acer for making the notebook available.

 

versions

As usual with notebooks, there is also the Acer Swift 3 SF314 in various versions.

The smallest current version is equipped with an Intel Core i3-7100U, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD.

The size current version is equipped with Intel Core i7-8550U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD and Nvidia MX150.

There are also plenty of versions in between. I would recommend to you at this point to a version with Intel Core i7-8550U or i5-8250U. The jump from the I CPUs of the 7 generation to the 8 generation is quite big and can be well worth it.

For this test, a medium sized Acer Swift 3 SF314 from Acer got, which is equipped with Intel Core i5-7200U, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

 

The Acer Swift 3 SF314 in the test

The Swift 3 surprised me right out of the box. Why? The notebook has a complete aluminum housing, which is not taken for granted with a device that starts at a price of 520 €.

Complete in this case means really complete, both the lid, as well as the bottom and palm rest are made of silver aluminum.

However, a “unibody” design must be avoided in this price range. Nevertheless, the Acer Swift 3 SF314 feels pleasing high quality and stable. This applies both to the lower part of the housing, as well as the display, which is almost completely torsion-resistant.

Only the slightly hard edge, at the top of the interior, is a small criticism. Here, one could have worked the transition between lower and upper aluminum shell something filigraner. Also, the display lid with the bottom is not quite flush, but I suspect this is deliberately done, since the gap dimensions are very even.

Basically, the Swift 3 SF314 makes an excellent impression, especially considering the price range.

The dimensions of the notebook I would classify as very portable. Yes, this is a bit bigger and heavier than an Apple MacBook, Dell XPS 13 or ASUS Zenbook 3, but these devices cost almost double the Swift 3.

With a thickness of around 18mm and a weight of 1.6KG, this is easily suitable for daily takeaway to school, university or work.

Let’s go around the notebook. Most ports on the notebook are on the left edge. Here we find the tiny charging port, an HDMI output, a USB C 3.0 port, two normal USB 3.0 ports and a headphone output.

The front and back have no connectors or status LEDs. The two status LEDs, for power and power, are located on the right side of the Acer Swift 3 SF314. There we also find another USB port, but this time USB 2.0, and an SD card reader.

So the port equipment is pretty complete and even bigger than most high end ultrabooks today.

 

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software 

Of course, Acer uses Windows 10 Home in the 64-bit version of the Swift 3 SF314.

Unfortunately, Acer is installing some “bonus” software. In addition to a trial version of Norton Antivirus, which is quite intrusive, is also Netflix, Booking.com, Dashlane, eBay, etc. on the notebook.

Not bad, but the added value is very limited.

Of a 256GB SSD remains after deduction of Windows, programs, recovery, etc., around 208GB at leisure.

 

display

The Acer Swift 3 SF14 has, as the name suggests, a 14 “display. My Swift 3 is a Full HD IPS panel, which is subjectively neat.

Viewpoints fit, as does the sharpness. Only the scaling was a bit high out of the box, but that’s done with one click.

Unfortunately, I was less enthusiastic about the values ​​that my meter spit out to the display of the Swift 3.

 

That the contrast and the maximum brightness is rather mediocre, was not the big surprise. The contrast is titled 640: 1 by my meter, which is okay, but not outstanding.

The same applies to the brightness which is at a maximum of 226 cd / m². Thus, the Acer Swift 3 is suitable for outdoor use rather moderately well. This is not only due to the brightness, but also the glossy glossy panel.

After all, Acer sets here on Gorilla glass, which is good for the breakage.

I was a bit disappointed by the color space coverage. This is 66% sRGB and 49% AdobeRGB.

The color fidelity / calibration is also rather mediocre. In short, for users who operate professional image editing, the Swift 3 is nothing.

In normal use, the display is perfectly fine.

 

Keyboard and trackpad

For someone who writes a lot on their notebook, the keyboard is always very important to me. Often, however, the keyboard, especially at cheaper compact devices, rather moderate. That’s why I was positively impressed with the Swift 3 SF314.

Acer uses the Swift 3 on a quite classic qwertz layout. Only the Enter key and the “#” key as well as Shift and “<” moved closer together. Apart from that, I noticed no abnormalities.

How is the feeling of pressure? The buttons of the Swift 3 are quite crisp with a good print depth. The typing on the Swift 3 was very easy for me without much time to get used to it. Basically, this is an average to slightly above average keyboard.

Only the attack could be a bit more precise. Surprisingly, the keyboard gives way a little when you put a lot of pressure on them. Amazing, because the case otherwise looks extremely robust.

Bonus points are available for the white keyboard backlight, which adds great value in the dark.

But what about the trackpad? Good, if not excellent for this price range.

The tracking is excellent and very precise. The feeling on the finger can only be described as positive. In short, no complaints here and generally with the input devices.

 

speaker

The Acer Swift 3 SF314 has two speakers, which are mounted on the lower front.

If the notebook is standing on a table, the sound is reflected from the table to you. This works quite well.

It’s hard to tell with closed eyes exactly where the sound comes from the notebook. Blind, I would rather tap anywhere on the keyboard than from the bottom.

In addition, the speakers sound pretty good. The Swift 3 has a relatively large volume of sound. Speaking of bass on a compact notebook is always a bit brave, of course, but the SF314 does produce some depth and volume.

More even than for example a Dell XPS 13. Also the heights are as far as clear and tidy. Something weakens the Acer at most in the precision and cleanliness of the sound.

However, I have heard of gaming notebooks worse here! That’s why the Swift 3 SF314 is perfect for watching a video or listening to music while working.

Only if you have the notebook standing on a blanket, the sound can be slightly dampened. But even watching an evening movie in bed is nothing in the way.

To the headphone output, I can not say anything big, neither positive nor negative. Here the Swift 3 offers reasonable standard quality.

 

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Performance and performance

The performance of the Swift 3 SF314 depends significantly on the version you choose and there are many of them.

The Swift 3 SF314 is currently available with the following CPUs:

  • Intel Core i3-7100U
  • Intel Core i5-7200U
  • Intel Core i7-7500U
  • Intel Core i5-8250U
  • Intel Core i7-8550U

I sorted them out in ascending order of approximate performance. If you have the financial opportunity I would clearly advise the i5-8250U or i7-8550U.

The 8th generation of the Intel I CPUs has made a good leap compared to the 7th generation.

Also choose the RAM wisely! This can not be upgraded, in contrast to the SSD.

For this test, however, Acer has sent me a Swift 3 SF314 with i5-7200U, as well as 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

Let’s start with a few simple benchmarks.

But benchmarks are often only half the story. How does the Swift 3 with i5-7200U beat itself in everyday life?

This depends on what you do, but basically the answer is, it works out well!

The i5-7200U easily has enough power for web browsing, video watching, office and even easy photo editing. For video editing you should have a version with i5-8250U or i7-8550U, since these are quad cores.

The i5-7200U also comes with multitasking problem-free. X Web Browser Tabs open + Microsoft Word + Spotify + Skype + Excel is no problem for the i5, for example.

Only if you have only 4GB of RAM, this could restrict the multitasking. 8GB of RAM is usually good enough.

Even Photoshop, unless you’re working on 40 megapixel images with x levels, runs as far as liquid and fast enough.

Only gaming you can completely forget. The Intel HD Graphics 620 in combination with the i5 is no guarantee for good 3D performance. Older games or even less demanding games like League of Legends or Overwatch can work well. However, in the case of Overwatch only at 720P and low details.

However, the Swift 3 SF314 is also available with the NVIDIA GeForce MX150. Although the MX150 is not a gaming monster, it is able to play the most current games fluently at low to medium details.

If you’re interested in gaming, watch out for the NVIDIA GeForce MX150. If not, the Intel graphics card is not enough.

The built-in SSD in the Swift 3 SF314 surprised me. In this I even had an NVME SSD from Intel! Although this is only the “small” Intel SSD 600p, it also does a good job of writing 1566MB / s read and 593MB / s.

In a less than 1000 ¬ notebook, an NVME SSD is not self-evident! Thumbs up for Acer.

 

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Fan and temperature

Once again, I can speak as regards the volume of the Swift 3 only for the version with i5-7200U. Larger versions could do worse here!

With the i5-7200U, the Acer Swift 3 SF314 offers almost perfect performance in terms of both fan and temperature.

In normal everyday life, the notebook is completely quiet. The fan either does not rotate at all or only so quietly that it is not audible.

Even under constant 100% full load, the Swift 3 SF314 remains quiet! The fan rotates very gently, but only so little that you almost have to put your head on the keyboard to hear it at all.

The Acer Swift 3 SF314 is the quietest notebook I’ve ever had in my hands!

All the more pleasing that the i5-7200U is sufficiently cooled. Under 100% load this settles at 66-68 degrees, which is absolutely in the frame (the CPU can withstand about 100 degrees).

I also think that the bigger versions will perform similarly well here. The i5 is just so well handled by the notebook.

 

Battery life

Acer advertises the Swift 3 SF314 with a battery life of up to 10 hours. Is this a realistic indication?

The answer is yes! In my test, I was able to reach just under 9-10 hours of battery life, with low display brightness and surfing the Internet via WLAN. In a video playback even just over 10 hours are possible.

Therefore, the Swift 3 can certainly convince with its battery!

Small note, charging via USB C is not supported by the Swift 3 Sf314!

 

Conclusion

Finally, one can say that the Acer Swift 3 SF314 impressed me a bit. For a very fair price of 520-1000 €, depending on the equipment, this offers a performance which can compete in many ways with much more expensive Ultrabooks.

The case is sturdy and well made, off the slightly rough edge on the front, the size and weight of the Swift is pleasantly portable and the input devices are great as well.

The performance varies greatly according to the option chosen. Acer has something for every budget, from the small Core i3, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD to the modern i7-8550U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD and GeForce MX150.

I also noticed very positively the cooling construction, which remained completely quiet in all situations in combination with the i5-7200U.

If I had something to complain about, this would most likely be the display. Acer uses a Full HD IPS panel, but this is at best of medium quality. But this is also the almost only point which more expensive Untrabooks, as the Dell XPS 13 managed much better.

Apart from that, the half-expensive Acer Swift 3 SF314 is almost always within striking distance.

Therefore, if you are looking for a cheap, good and portable notebook I can fully recommend the Acer Swift 3 SF314!

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