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Acer Swift 3 review (SF314-55G 2018 model

Acer Swift 3 review (SF314-55G 2018 model

When you’re purchasing for an all-day laptop computer with an reasonably priced worth, there’s a great probability you already came across one of many present Acer Swift 3s.

The unique Swift 3 was a superb pocket book at its time, the follow-up was a strong performer as nicely, however moderately cumbersome and heavy, so fast ahead to the second a part of 2018, Acer now gives a handful of up to date fashions which are value greater than jut a glance.

On this article we’re speaking concerning the extra moveable all-rounder, the Acer Swift 3 SF314-55, a 14-inch laptop computer with an all metal-construction, compact physique, mild weight, a matte IPS display, backlit keyboard and the newest hardware specs obtainable thus far: an Intel Whiskey Lake processor and Nvidia MX150 graphics, the Max-Q variant designed for thin-and-light units.

We’ve hung out with an early-production variant of this laptop computer, and gathered all our impressions under. Learn on for those who’re all in favour of the place the Swift 3 SF314-55 shines, the place it fails and the way it compares to the competitors.

Specs as reviewed

Acer Swift 3 SF314-55G Display 14.zero inch, 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, non-touch, matte Processor Intel Whiskey Lake Core i3-8145U CPU Video Intel UHD 620 + Nvidia MX150 2GB DDR5 Max-Q (non-compulsory) Reminiscence Eight GB LPDDR3 (soldered) Storage 128 M.2 SATA SSD (80 mm) Connectivity Wi-fi AC (Intel AC 9560), Bluetooth 5.zero, elective LTE Ports 2x USB-A 3.1, 1x USB-C 3.1, HDMI, card-reader, mic/headphone, Kensington lock Battery 48 Wh, 65W charger Measurement 320 mm or 12.59” (w) x 220 mm or Eight.66” (d) x 17 mm or zero.66” (h) Weight 3.00 lbs (1.36 kg)+ .70 lbs (.32 kg) charger and cables Extras backlit keyboard, HD webcam, fingerprint reader

Acer additionally gives this very same laptop computer with out devoted graphics, because the Swift 3 SF314-55, each with numerous processors, quantities of RAM and storage sizes.

There’s additionally a barely thicker and heavier (1.Four kg) variant with 2.5″ storage and a extra reasonably priced price ticket, bought because the Swift 3 SF314-56 (UHD 620 GPU) or SF314-56G (MX150 Max-Q GPU).

Design and exterior

This 2018-update of the 14-inch Swift 3 collection borrows extra design strains from the Swift 5 line than from the earlier Swift 3s. Meaning it’s extra compact and thinner than its predecessors, however nonetheless not as mild because the Swift 5, as it’s made out of aluminum and never from the magnesium alloy used on the 5s. However that’s truly a superb factor, as this laptop computer feels extra sturdy and nicer crafted.

Machined aluminum is used for the lid-cover, the inside and the underbelly, and all of them are thick and durable, with little or no give or flex even when pressed just a little more durable. The one plastic parts are the black bezels across the show, the silver hump between the hinges, and the hinges’ covers, each integrating properly with the remainder of the design.

I do have two complains about a few of the development selections: the lid’s edges are usually not beveled, like the sides of the inside, thus moderately sharp, and the underside joint between the edges and the underbelly is just not utterly flush and leaves some bity edges. This isn’t a producing flaw, it’s a design selection that I’m not on board with.

Acer presents this collection in a handful of various colour schemes. We obtained the essential silver variant, however you possibly can go for Purple, Pink and Blue variations as properly (if obtainable in your area).

The Swift 3 SF314-55 can also be extra compact and lighter than earlier than. Our model weighs 1.36 kg (3 lbs) and has a compact footprint, with 6 mm bezels across the sides, a barely thicker ~14 mm bezel on the prime (which accommodates the digital camera and microphones), in addition to a much bigger chin beneath. Asus and MSI truly supply barely lighter units with comparable options and compact construct, however I really feel that the Swift 3 compensates with its sturdier construct high quality, and I positive don’t thoughts this commerce in expense of the additional .3-.Four of a pound weight improve.

On the sensible aspect of issues, I like the truth that the display can lean again all-the-way flat to 180 levels and might be simply lifted and adjusted with a single hand. Nevertheless, the hinges are somewhat weak; they hold the display in place with on a regular basis use simply high-quality, however not whenever you seize it and transfer it round. It’s a minor nit, however nonetheless value mentioning.

This apart, the 2018 Swift 3 SF314 sits comfortably on a desk because of its giant and grippy rubber ft on the underside, will get a spacious palm-rest, properly beveled edges across the inside and a normal choice of ports on the edges. Acer went with full-size ports and there’s nothing lacking besides Thunderbolt 3, which might have made it extra future-proof.

Down on the stomach you’ll additionally discover the audio system’ cuts, in addition to beneficiant consumption admission on prime of the elements. This laptop computer makes use of a single-fan cooling design to maintain the processor and devoted graphics at bay, so the additional consumption is appreciated. Scorching air is blown by means of the grill on the again edge. You’ll discover there are two of those cuts, however just one is used as an exhaust, the opposite can also be used as an admission.

All in all, Acer did an excellent job with this redesign of the Acer Swift Four SF314-55 line, even with these debatable selections that depart some sharp bits round and the moderately weak display hinges. On the finish of the day, the strong construct high quality, sturdy supplies and general wonderful ergonomics are much more essential within the grand scheme of issues.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard on this laptop computer, then again, won’t be for everybody.

It’s not a nasty keyboard by any means, nevertheless it’s a type of very brief journey variants with an abrupt actuation. Even I, who I’m used to this type of keyboards, had a tough time typing on it at first, however a number of hundreds of phrases latter, I truly prefer it and I’m capable of sort quicker than on most different laptops, with good accuracy.

Thus, when you’re into short-stroke keys, give this one an opportunity. The suggestions goes to really feel bizarre first, however I consider you will get used to it. Should you’re coming from an older laptop computer otherwise you’re not conversant in the typing expertise offered by thin-and-light notebooks today, there’s a very good probability you’ll discover this shallow and bizarre.

I’ll additionally add that this keyboard is a bit chattery and never as quiet as others, however to not the purpose the place you’d be kicked out of the library or classroom. It’s additionally backlit, with a single illumination degree. As for the format, I’ve little to complain about, nevertheless it may take a while to get used to the cramped arrow keys and the Energy button built-in because the top-right key.

A Precision touchpad with a clean plastic floor is built-in on this 2018 Swift 3, with beveled edges separating it from the palm-rest. It’s a reasonably good implementation and responds nicely to on a regular basis swipes, gestures and faucets, and even the bodily clicks are fairly respectable too.

It feels a bit bizarre in on a regular basis use although, because the floor is considerably weak and provides in a bit every time you contact it, even with probably the most mild of faucets. I’m undoubtedly nitpicking and most of you gained’t in all probability discover this quirk, however I did and it bothered me.

Acer additionally implements a finger-sensor on this laptop computer, just about just like what they placed on all their different Swifts and Spins. It’s positioned in the direction of the best aspect of the palm-rest and works advantageous for shortly logging into Home windows.

Display

For the display Acer went with a 14-inch Chi Mei panel with a matte ending.

It’s a reasonably good panel, just like what we’ve additionally seen on different mid-range laptops earlier than, just like the Asus VivoBook Flip TP401, the Lenovo ThinkPad T450s or the unique Zenbook UX430 variants.

It’s not as luminous as what you will get on a number of the premium laptops on the market, however at round 300 nits, it’s usable in brilliant mild and gives good distinction, blacks and viewing angles. Shade protection is only a tad above common, thus ok for day by day use and video games, however not that correct for color-graded work.

Right here’s what to anticipate (date recorded with the Spyder Four).

  • Panel HardwareID: Chi Mei CMN14D5 (N140HCE-EN2);
  • Protection: 100% sRGB, 73% NTSC, 78% AdobeRGB;
  • Measured gamma: 2.1;
  • Max brightness in the midst of the display: 295 cd/m2 on energy;
  • Distinction at max brightness: 750:1;
  • White level: 7400 Okay;
  • Black on max brightness: zero.39 cd/m2.

You should use this calibrated profile to deal with the slight gamma and white-point imbalances.

I also needs to add that I didn’t discover any apparent display bleeding on our pattern, which as soon as extra attends to this unit’s strong craftsmanship, and the truth that this panel makes use of high-frequency (25Okay Hz) PWM modulation for brightness adjustment, so not one thing you’ll discover with on a regular basis use.

Hardware and efficiency

Our pattern is an entry degree configuration of the Swift 3 SF314-55G model, with merely a Core i3-8145U proccesor, Eight GB of RAM and 128 GB pf PCIe SSD storage, in addition to the Nvidia MX150 Max-Q graphics chip.

Greater finish variations will ship with the Core i5-8265U and i7-8565 CPUs, 16 GB of RAM and as much as 512 GB of storage, however I really feel there’s a whole lot of worth on this base configuration and you shouldn’t disconsider it.

The Core i3-8145U is a dual-core quad-thread processor and whereas it’s not as succesful because the quad-core i5 and i7, it’s truly quicker than the Skylake i7-6500U, a top-performer merely two years in the past. Meaning it’s a very good choice for on a regular basis use, films and a fair-bit of multitasking, and it could actually deal with some primary video games as properly, that are extra closely depending on the GPU.

The CPU, GPU and RAM are soldered on the motherboard, however the storage just isn’t. The PCIe SSD Acer placed on our test-sample is pretty sluggish, with respectable read-speeds, however sluggish write talents, so you must think about upgrading it with a extra succesful choice. For that you simply’ll have to take away the back-panel and get entry to the internals. It’s a easy activity, because it’s maintain in place by a handful of Torx T4 screws, all seen on the edges.

Inside you’ll discover that the motherboard is the wrong way up, with the heatpipes beneath it, however you possibly can entry the M.2 slot with out eradicating the motherboard. It’s nevertheless trickier than with different laptops, as you’d have ti disconnect the ribbons that go on prime of it, in addition to take away the thermal defend that isolates it from the opposite elements.

So far as efficiency goes, I discussed earlier that the i3 powered Swift 3 is completely able to dealing with on a regular basis duties and searching. The logs under will present you what to anticipate when it comes to efficiency and temperatures in these instances.

The Whiskey Lake processor can also be pretty able to dealing with demanding masses too, albeit you must get the quad-core i5s and i7s for those who’re planning on operating such duties, they’re considerably quicker. Nonetheless, when you’re desirous about benchmark outcomes, right here’s what we obtained on our pattern:

  • 3DMark 11: P9061 (Graphics: 9289, Physics: 8961);
  • 3DMark 13 – Hearth Strike: 6896 (Graphics – 7683, Physics – 14993);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 2527 (Graphics – 2332, CPU – 4820);
  • PCMark 08: House Typical – 3491;
  • PCMark 10: 3980;
  • PassMark: Score: 4676, CPU mark: 12257, 3D Graphics Mark: 6394;
  • GeekBench 3.Four.2 32-bit: Single-Core: 3805, Multi-core: 21284;
  • GeekBench Four.2.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 4825, Multi-core: 18127;
  • CineBench R15: OpenGL 107.52 fps, CPU 1177 cb, CPU Single Core 178 cb;
  • x264 HD Benchmark Four.zero 32-bit: Move 1 – 192.38 fps, Cross 2 – 71.89 fps.

The i3-8145U on this unit has a TDP threshold on 15 W, which suggests its Turbo Velocity frequency adjusts mechanically when operating demanding masses for an extended time, as a way to keep inside the boundaries of this TDP and hold temperatures at bay. The Cinebench R15 check is an ideal method of showcasing this conduct.

Undervolting the CPU lowers voltage and temperatures, and consequently, the CPU is ready to run at greater frequencies inside the similar TDP threashold. We undervolted this check unit at -100 mV (this text explains what undervolting means and the way you are able to do it too) and this translated in a slight 10% improve in Cinebench frequencies and marginally improved benchmarks leads to some checks.

  • 3DMark 13 – Hearth Strike: 6938 (Graphics – 7711, Physics – 15837);
  • GeekBench Four.2.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 4680, Multi-core: 18233;
  • CineBench R15: OpenGL 98.06 fps, CPU 1218 cb, CPU Single Core 177 cb;
  • x264 HD Benchmark Four.zero 32-bit: Cross 1 – 192.37 fps, Move 2 – 76.37 fps.

So far as gaming goes, the Swift 3 SF314-55 comes with the Max-Q variant of the Nvidia MX150 grahpics chip, and it performs pretty properly. Nevertheless, because the CPU and GPU share a standard cooling answer and undervolting is one thing we advocate on any laptop computer lately, we ran our gaming checks on the -100 mV undervolted profile.

Right here’s what we acquired.

FHD Max  FHD Excessive
Bioshock Infinite 29 fps 46 fps
Far Cry Four 23 fps 26 fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider 11 fps 22 fps
Shadow of Mordor 24 fps 29 fps
Tomb Raider 23 fps 45 fps

The logs under additionally present you what to anticipate when it comes to hardware temperatures and CPU/GPU efficiency whereas enjoying video games, on the undervolted CPU profile. Efficiency is fairly strong, with each the CPU and GPU operating at excessive speeds.

Out of the field although, each the CPU and GPU truly run at decrease frequencies with video games, which interprets in a slight efficiency lower. On prime of that, Gaming on battery continues to be a no-go, because of the stuttering brought on by the throttled CPU. Particulars under.

In conclusion, the Swift 3 SF314-55G is on no account a gaming pocket book, however it could deal with older and easier titles at FHD decision and mid-level graphics settings, which is just about what the MX150 Max-Q chip was designed to do. I do nevertheless advise you to take a look at detailed evaluations of the i5 and i7 implementations, simply to see how these quad-core processors deal with the cooling on this unit and if undervolting permits to squeeze nice efficiency out of these configurations as properly.

In case you don’t thoughts sacrificing portability a good bit for a slight 15-25% improve in gaming efficiency, Acer additionally provides a Swift 3 SF314-54 variant (sure, they’re naming schemes are atrocious) with the full-power model of the Nvidia MX150 graphics chip. That’s nonetheless compact and reasonably priced, however slightly thicker, heavier and in the meanwhile, solely obtainable with KabyLake-R processors. You may also think about the MSI Status PS42 or the Asus Zenbook UX433, each compact and lightweight 14-inchers with full-voltage MX150 graphics, simply be certain that to learn critiques to learn how they really carry out in real-life use.

Emissions (noise, warmth), Connectivity and audio system

The 2018 Swift 3 implements a easy cooling answer, with a single fan and single heat-pipes masking each the CPU and GPU, complimented by ample consumption grills on the underside and again edge. Scorching air is pushed out by way of the exhaust grill on the again, the one on the laptop computer’s left aspect.

The fan is lively just about on a regular basis with day by day use and spins quicker with multitasking, however retains to about 36-37 dB  more often than not, with solely occasional spikes to 38-40 dB at head-level. Regardless, you’ll nonetheless hear it in a quiet room. I didn’t nevertheless discover any digital noise or coil whine on our check unit.

The fan doesn’t ramp up a lot when performing demanding CPU+GPU actions, like modifying a video or enjoying a recreation, because it settles at merely 40 dB at head-level, making this Swift 3 one of many quietest players in its class.

This nevertheless interprets in pretty excessive case temperatures within the mid to excessive 40s, each on the again and on prime of the keyboard. These are inside good cause for a thin-and-light laptop computer with devoted graphics, however are nonetheless excessive sufficient to make gaming on the lap uncomfortable. Acer might have allowed the fan to spin just a little quicker, which might have lowered these temperatures and permit the elements to run at excessive frequencies out of the field, with out having to undervolt the CPU.

*Day by day Use – 1080p Youtube clip in EDGE for 30 minutes
*Load – enjoying FarCry Four for about 30 minutes on extremely FHD settings

The Swift 3 will get one of many new Intel 9560 Wave 2 wi-fi modules, however it didn’t carry out in addition to different implementations with our setup, solely hitting switch speeds of round 250-300 Mbps, whereas different units stretched to 500 Mbps in comparable circumstances. You’re undoubtedly not going to note this until you switch lots of content material on a regular basis. I’ll additionally add that we didn’t encounter any drops or some other points, and the sign’s power and switch speeds stay strong at 30+ ft away from the router, with partitions in between.

It’s value noting that some Swift 3 configurations additionally get an built-in LTE modem.

Acer put some good audio system on this pocket book. They’re pretty loud, peaking at about 80 dB at head-level, and to my ears they sound cleaner and richer than the audio system you’d usually discover on a thin-and-light. I used to be truly anticipating such efficiency once I opened the laptop computer and noticed these huge speaker chambers inside, they’re even greater than what most OEMs placed on their full-size 15-inch laptops.

These audio system do hearth on the stomach and could be muffled when utilizing the laptop computer on the lap, which takes a slight toll on the audio high quality.

The digital camera shouldn’t be dangerous both. It’s a bit grainy, however takes respectable photographs in properly lit rooms, is positioned on the prime of the display (the place it ought to be) and is flanked by a set of near-field microphones that work with Cortana and Alexa.

Battery life

There’s a 48 Wh battery contained in the Swift 3, which is bellow common for its class as of the second a part of 2018. Paired with the environment friendly hardware and display although, you possibly can anticipate Four-6 hours of day by day multitasking an Eight-10 hours of video.

Right here’s what we received in our checks, with the display set at 30% brightness, roughly 120 nits.

  • 5.2 W (~9 h of use) – very mild shopping and textual content modifying in Google Drive, Higher Battery Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • Four.6 W (~10 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Higher Battery Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • Four.5 W (~10 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen .mkv video within the Film app, Higher Battery Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • Four.Eight W (~10 h of use) – 4K fullscreen .mkv video within the Film app, Higher Battery Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 9 W (~5h 20 min of use) – heavy shopping in Edge, Higher Efficiency Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 26.zero W (~1 h 45 min of use) – gaming, Greatest Efficiency Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON.

This laptop computer comes with a regular 65 Wh energy brick and no quick-charging, so a full cost takes about 2 hours.

Worth and availability

The 14-inch Acer Swift SF314-55 is predicted in shops in November 2018, with costs beginning at $799.

That’s just about all we all know proper now, however we’ll replace as soon as we discover out extra.

Ultimate ideas

This laptop computer is a wonderful replace of the earlier 14-inch Swift 3s. It’s a barely costlier product, however on the similar time it fixes lots of their points and inherits only a few compromises, thus is among the greatest moveable all-rounders in its class.

The compact form-factor, the superb construct high quality, the IO, the quick and correct keyboard, the matte IPS display, the hardware specs, the efficiency and the audio system are amongst this one’s prime promoting factors. It’s additionally one of many quietest thin-and-light on the market whereas dealing with taxing masses, and presents good battery life, even when it doesn’t match a few of the competitors on this finish. This Swift 3 can also be a bit heavier than different 14-inchers with comparable specs, and requires undervolting to get the elements to work as they’re purported to.

High quality management is one thing else it is best to think about at this degree, that’s why I’d solely advocate shopping for from shops that professionally deal with returns and guarantee claims, simply in case you find yourself drawing a short-stick. Until that occurs although, I’d anticipate most of you to be proud of this 2018 replace of the Acer Swift 3.

You must nevertheless contemplate the competitors as properly, particularly the Acer Zenbook UX433 and MSI Status PS42, each lighter and powered by Whiskey Lake CPUs and the 25W variant of the MX150 graphics chip, but in addition the reasonably priced Lenovo IdeaPad 720s and the compact and lightweight 13-inch Asus Zenbook UX331 collection. Every have their execs and cons, and none is a greater purchase than the Swift 3 SF314-55, however some may higher suit your specific wants and price range, so it’s value checking all of them out with a purpose to make a nicely documented choice.

That’s about it for our review of the 14-inch Acer Swift 3 SF314-55G. The feedback part under is in fact open for dialogue, and awaits your suggestions and questions.

Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I have been masking cellular computer systems because the 2000s and you will principally discover critiques and thorough guides written by me right here on the location.