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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons
Acer Swift 3 Andrei Girbea Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Acer Swift 3 review – a surprisingly good 14-inch ultraportable with an unbeatable price tag

77 Comments

  1. José

    October 26, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you so much for this review! It has been very useful. Also for the ICC profile.

    Did you have any problem with "blurry DPI in Windows 10"? My model is experiencing it.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 26, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      Some programs don't scale well, yes, but that's standard with all laptops. I'm not experiencing any blurriness with the Windows interface, browser (edge, firefox), etc, and I'm using 125% scaling.

  2. Raj

    October 26, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Can you tell me what trackpad hardware is being used? synaptics or elantech? If its elantech, then its better to avoid. Also, comparing this laptop with acer v13 touch, what are the downsides and upsides of swift 3?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 27, 2016 at 4:00 am

      I don't remember exactly, but I think it's Synaptics.

  3. Cristian

    October 27, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    I've been reading some of your reviews and I found them really good and in-depth. I am currently looking for a new laptop/ultrabook within a budget of 750 pounds (was checking the new razer blade stealth but it strains my budget / i live in UK) and I've stopped at three models:

    1. Aspire S 13 S5-371 (i5-6200u, 8gb ram, 256 sdd) @ 650 pounds
    2. ASUS ZenBook UX330UA (same as above) @ 750 pounds
    3. Asus Swift 3 (same as above) @ 600 (but pre-order on amazon.co.uk – not sure when they will stock it)

    Regarding the battery life, it seems s13 has a 4030 mAh li-po battery and the swift 3 a 3220 mAh li-ion one.

    Is the price difference worth to pay for the asus or should I wait for the swift 3 to be stocked on amazon? I kinda like it more than the s13 because of the build and looks and a 14 inch screen vs 13.3 but is the battery life affected by the smaller battery?

    I know it's a long comment but i've been looking for a couple of days and the options are everywhere. If you have another recommendation within the budget (750 pounds) please let me know :)

    Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 30, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      HI, I've reviewed all of them here on the site, you can read what I think about them. Unless you plan to use the computer outside or in strong light, I'd wait for the Swift 3.

      • Cristian

        November 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm

        thanks! I think i'll just do that, although the asus 330 seems like a nice option I think i'll go for the acer swift 3 as it has a better price and is a 14"

  4. Cristian

    October 27, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Update to my previous comment: it seems there is a 10% discount for the asus laptop, so the update price is 675 pounds! thanks

    • David_NY

      December 16, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Hi Cristian,
      So which laptop did you finally buy? I have the same dilemma on Swift3 vs UX330..
      Any update appreciated.

      Thanks!

  5. Wes

    October 28, 2016 at 5:38 am

    Thanks for the review! Whats the diff between swift3 and swift5? No word yet on the 14" zenbook? Im looking for a 14" premium laptop with good battery life and screen. For now istill cant find a 14" one.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      The Swift 5 is a thinner, lighter and hence more expensive 14-incher than the Swift 3. I don't have any more details on the Zenbook UX410 for now.

  6. MTN Ranger

    October 28, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Can you use the USB C port to charge the laptop? I have access to a Mac USB C charger which is very small compared to most others and better for travel.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 30, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      No, this won't charge via USB-C

      • Ryan

        November 3, 2016 at 3:00 pm

        Andrei,

        I have the Swift 3 here in front of me, and it says on the legend "USB-C data, display and charging".

        • Andrei Girbea

          November 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm

          Huh… That's wird, perhaps it means you can charge other devices via USB-C, not that the laptop can be charged via USB-C?

          • Ryan

            November 3, 2016 at 5:29 pm

            Yes, I confirmed with Acer you can charge with it, but you can't charge the laptop itself. Bummer!

  7. Quen63

    October 29, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Hi, i'm french and i'd just want to say that this laptop is available for the same price in europe. thanks you for this review ! ( there are none currently in French )

  8. nohaybanda

    October 31, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    Hi Andrei, thank you for your review !
    I think i'm gonna buy this laptop, should i get the i5 or the i7 model ?
    Thanks

  9. Omar

    November 2, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Do you have plans on reviewing the Spin 5?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 3, 2016 at 4:37 am

      Yes, I'm working on it right now, should be up in a few days

      • Omar

        November 3, 2016 at 3:08 pm

        Nice!! thanks a lot.

  10. Mahi

    November 13, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I have a $650 budget. Now should I buy Swift 3 or should I go with Spin 5 or Aspire v13. I am really confused. I am an electrical engineering student and not a gamer. Please suggest me what should I buy.

  11. Ken

    November 14, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Any one know how to get drivers on Win 7 64bit ?
    Just can't get used to Win 10

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 15, 2016 at 7:16 am

      There are ways to make WIn 10 look like WIn 7, perhaps you can try this approach first. Google it :)

  12. Frederik Højer Andersen

    November 20, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Hey! Is the HDMI 2.0 or? I want to run it with a 4k monitor.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 21, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Good question. The thing is, I can't tell for sure because I haven't checked, but I'm pretty sure it's HDMI 1.4, due to the Skylake hardware inside.

  13. Victor

    November 21, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Andrei!

    I'm considering the purchase of this laptop, but I have some doubts regarding its build quality after reading following phrase in review of Swift 5:

    @ It looks very nice, but it's frustrating that the hood flexes significantly, especially in the area of the rear end. There is absolutely no inconvenience while using it, but there is a risk during transportation. @

    What can you say about Swift 3 and its hood? Is it a good choise for frequent travels?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Well, there's some flex, but imo it's not as bad as that quote is saying. The build quality is very good for this price range, again, imo.

      • Victor

        November 22, 2016 at 9:22 am

        I've also noticed interesting thing – judging by Acer website the Swift 3 is available in 4 different configurations including a model with !!!i5-7200U!!! at the price of $650 in US. acer.com/ac/en/US/content/models/laptops/swift3
        How do you think, can we really expect this model will be available on the market?

        • Andrei Girbea

          November 22, 2016 at 11:10 am

          I'd reckon it will be available as some point

  14. alex

    December 3, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    is there much of a difference between a panel with 60% srgb and >100% srgb? i'm trying to decide between this and the aspire s13. i went in to the store and couldn't really detect any difference in maximum brightness and colors with my naked eye. they are about the same price, with the aspire having i5, 8GB/128GB and the swift 3 having i5, 8GB/256GB. i will be using it for coding and i felt the extra .7" of diagonal screen real estate can come in very handy (my 13.3" now feels a little cramped) but then again i'm spoilt by my current toshiba chromebook 2 which has an excellent screen. do you think i'd notice the drop in color gamut in the swift 3 in day to day use once i've used it for a while, or is it not really something that should factor in to my buying decision?

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 4, 2016 at 7:47 am

      As long as both panels are IPS, I'd say you're not going to actually notice significant difference with daily use. Also, you mentioned you've already seen the screen in store and found it good enough, which means it should be a good option for you.

      • alex

        December 4, 2016 at 8:49 am

        ok, thanks for your feedback. i was just worried that with prolonged use i might actually start to notice things i didn't in the few minutes i had with it in store. just my ocd kicking in haha! anyway i think i'll have to review it a bit more. will post an update here once i make a decision. thanks!

  15. Fred

    December 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    2 brand new swift 3 got black screen after restart within 2 days. many complaints about this issue.Check online reviews and it may cause by Acer bios.

    • Maja

      December 26, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      I had the same problem. Bought a new Swift 3 which died after 11 days then the shop offered me another one, which died within 24 hours. Apart from that it was a lovely computer as long as it lasted.

  16. PAM

    December 17, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Thanks for all your helpful reviews. I am a general user considering an acer swift 3 or spin 5. Both have similar specs, core i5, 256 SSD, 8GB RAM. Both have the same price of $499. Which on do you think has a quieter fan? Do you think the swift 3 is a better buy?

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 17, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Yes, I'd pick the Swift among the two, based on my experience with them.

  17. David NY

    December 18, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Andrei, will you review the Swift5 with Kaby Lake? Seems like a better ultra book. Better processor, lighter than Swift3, about $799.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 18, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      I can't tell for sure, but I'll ask for it in the new year.

  18. Eugene

    December 19, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Hi! Good review! Is the screen terrible dim?
    I'm gonna get this one, but it really confuses me, because I'm always using my notebook at 100% brightness and idk is it sufficient for indoors use in front of a window, thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 20, 2016 at 6:11 am

      It is one of the dimmest in this category. There are pics with the screen in front of my window in the post, should help you make an idea of what to expect

  19. sam

    December 20, 2016 at 3:19 am

    Hi i am looking for a school laptop, one which is lighter.i used to be working w a surface pro 4, so i would prefer my replacement to hv similar conditions to this. I am currently thinking on :
    Lenovo yoga 510 /asus zenbook 305 /310UQ
    /acer swift 3/ hp pavilion x360 / 14

    sorry for the long list btw i cant seem to makeup my mind. Do recommened me any good student laptops or brands w reliable service centers. Thank u so much

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 20, 2016 at 6:13 am

      All these are good options, with pros and cons. I'd look at reviews here on this site and on notebookcheck.net for each series, and then decide with which cons you can live with and pick based on this aspect.

  20. Shoogy Bee

    December 21, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    I was going to say that the Swift 3 looks an awful lot like the Acer Chromebook 14. Very similar chassis, trackpad, screen, etc. I wonder if they share the same IPS screen, even. I bought a CB 14 a few weeks ago and I don't mind the relatively dim IPS display; at least the text is sharp and clear.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 22, 2016 at 5:31 am

      I've seen review on the Chromebook 14 mentioning a max brightness of around 210 nits, so there's a fair chance it's similar to the one on the Swift. Couldn't find the exact panelID though

  21. Maja

    December 26, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    As I just commented on one of the earlier messages, I bought a new Swift 3, which died after 11 days. I shut down the computer and the next day when I wanted to turn it on the screen stayed black with the keyboard flashing on and off, so naturally I went to get it fixed at the shop I bought it from. They were kind and gave me another computer of the same model. This one lasted less than 24 hours and had the same problem as the first one. I have read that other people have experienced the same problem with their Swift 3, so it shouldn't be a result of my stupidity. Just thought people who was thinking about buying it should know before making the decision.

    • Eugene

      December 29, 2016 at 1:00 am

      idk but seems like you have problems with bios version.
      there's a solution to install latest version of bios (which is 1.07), but it's strange,that the second laptop died, i thought acer is knowing about the problem…

    • John

      January 11, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      I got the same issue….black screen….Keep away from it…

  22. Dan

    December 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks for the review! We're looking at this model to replace a 5 year old laptop, so it's quite a step up. Do you know if it can be charged through its USB 3.1 port? We'd like a laptop that can be plugged into a modern port replicator with a single cable and charge the laptop too.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 30, 2016 at 9:28 am

      I'm not 100% sure on this, but from what I know it cannot charge via USB-C. On top fo that, even the few laptops available with USB-C chargers can't charge from a Docking station via USB-C, but only with the included charger, with few exceptions. I'll look into this matter in the new year and have a post about it.

  23. Shoogy Bee

    February 10, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Looks like they have an updated model on Amazon.com and Acer.com with the Core i5-7200U processor. I wonder if it is fanless. Any ideas?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 11, 2017 at 11:23 am

      No, Core U processors (ending in an U) are not fanless.

    • Frank-da-Tank

      February 20, 2017 at 12:57 am

      $515 at Costco with the i5-7200u, 8gb ram and 256gb ssd. Really great price. Has a fan but isn't loud at all. No electrical whine either.

  24. mey

    February 25, 2017 at 4:17 am

    is swift 3 good for programming and coding?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 25, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Depends on what you mean by that. It will do for mid-level tasks, just make sure you get a config with 8 Gb of RAM and preferably a core i7. For complex chores that demands heavy processing power might require a quad-core processor though.

  25. Ken

    March 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Have you reviewed the newest i5-7200u model yet?

  26. Vinu

    March 21, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Can the Memory be upgraded to 12 or 16 GB ?

  27. Nitesh

    March 22, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    This seems like it shares the same chassis, speakers, and maybe even display panel as the Acer Chromebook 14, eh? May as well, guess they looked at their slightly upmarket Chromebook and decided it may sell with Windows and an SSD.

  28. anthony

    April 20, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    The USB-C port will charge the laptop. The power requirements are: 19.5V 2.25A. Acer does not offer an adapter for this but you should be able to find one with these specifications.
    By Acer America MANUFACTURER on March 13, 2017 (Amazon Question)

  29. Rick

    April 29, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Andrei
    Thanks for your reviews! They are very helpful for someone like myself that knows nothing about laptops!

    I want to purchase the swift for word processing and internet surfing but can the swift i3's memory handle microsoft pro plus 2016?

    thanks for

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 30, 2017 at 10:54 am

      If that's Office, yes, it can handle it no problem. I'd suggest getting a configuration with 8 GB of RAM of possible

  30. dan

    May 5, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Sunt foarte multumit cu calculatorul asta , cred ca n as fi putut sa am ceva mai bun la asa pret ! recomand 100%

  31. Darren

    May 6, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Andrei,
    I just bought the Swift 3. I noticed you mentioned it has a lot of bloatware, and I can see how to install a fresh copy of Windows 10. Most reviewers and commentators suggest doing this, without reservation. However, i'm not a computer "geek" and I'm concerned about necessary programs being lost by installing a pristine version of Windows 10. Although I maybe don't need "Freedom VPN", I'm pretty sure I need programs such as "Intel Graphics Driver" and "Realtek High Definition Audio Driver".

    My question is, will all of these programs be erased with a fresh install of Windows 10? If so, how do I get needed programs back? How do I know what is needed and what isn't?

    Thanks

    Darren

  32. Arek

    May 18, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Dear Andrei,

    When you write in your review: "The CPU and the RAM are soldered on the motherboard, but the storage is upgradeable. " – do you mean that one can replace the current SSD drive with another M2 SSD drive? or can one add a HDD drive ? (is there a slot for that in the Swift 3?)
    Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 18, 2017 at 8:05 am

      There are pics of the internals in the article, there's no 2.5" bay for a HDD, but you can replace the existing SSD with a similar type, larger one, if needed.

  33. Juliette H.

    June 27, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Hi! I am buying this laptop (Intel Core i5-7200U, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD) this week. However, I am still in doubt about how dim the screen is. I am planning to work a lot outside this summer, on the laptop. If I work in the shade (and not directly under the sun) would it be bright enough?
    Thank you! Great review!

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 27, 2017 at 8:45 am

      Imo it wouldn't. Take it like this, I own an older XPS 13 with a matte screen that's about 250 nits and I struggle to see much on it outside in sunny days, even at shade. The Swift 3's screen is dimmer by a fair amount. Personally, for outside use I'd aim at a matte screen capable of at least 300 nits.

      Of course, your expectations might be different than mine. If you can get it from a place that allows easy returns, then do it and see if it works for you.

      You could also search for some videos showing how the screen looks in bright light, there might be some on Youtube or perhaps pictures in the users reviews on Amazon.

      • Juliette

        June 30, 2017 at 5:57 pm

        Update: I've followed your advice and got it to test it. I am definitely not returning this laptop. Perfect in every way (and it's aesthetically beautiful as well). The screen dimness seems fine, but I haven't really had the chance of testing it directly under the sunlight -British weather, alas-. Thank you for your fast reply!

  34. Moises

    July 27, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    ¿Se le puede añadir un HDD y mas RAM?

  35. Evan

    August 8, 2017 at 2:05 am

    Hey Andrei – I have been looking at your reviews and trying to decide on either the

    Acer Swift SF314-51 2.50GHz i5-7200U 14" (EAN: 4713392820359) – 539GBP (Gold Model)
    http://www.argos.co.uk/product/6729897
    or
    Lenovo ideapad 320s 14 – Grey Part No.80X4002WUK – 569GBP after discount promo code
    http://www3.lenovo.com/gb/en/laptops/ideapad/300-series/Lenovo-IdeaPad-320S-14IKB/p/88IP30S0823

    I really want Intel WI-DI, having read about it for years and never having a laptop with an Intel WI-FI card and would be looking to install a Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 card. You advise in the Lenovo review that upgrading the WI-FI chip would be easy – will it be easy enough to do on the Swift 3?

    I am leaning towards the Lenovo as you say it is the quieter of the 2 models and appears to have a slightly brighter screen, however you also mention that the Swift was a pre-production model – do you know if they improved the fan activation on the production models?

    The Lenovo only comes with a 128GB SSD so would probably swap this out in the future.
    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks for the regular and solid output,

    Cheers

    Evan

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 10, 2017 at 3:37 am

      The wi-fi chip is easily replaceable on both as far as I remember. About the retail Swifts, you should read reviews on amazon and other places and see if people complain about the fans, I didn't get my hands on a final versions and can't tell if Acer didn't tweak the fans with software updates and so on. Still, my guess is that the retail units performed just like thine test unit.

      My big nit with the Lenovo is the lack of a backlit keyboard. It gets a nicer screen though, which is going to matter if you plan to use the laptop in brighter rooms. Otherwise, the Acer will do just fine for indoor use.

      Overall I think I'd probably go with the Acer, it's cheaper and includes a bigger SSD, so a better value product imo. You'd just have to make sure you can live with the screen and those speakers and fans.

      • Evan

        August 10, 2017 at 9:46 am

        Hey – thanks for the reply.

        The other option I have been considering is the Asus UX410UA which I can get for similar £'s but admittedly with core i3 and 128gb ssd. Nicer looking laptop and great screen but as you mentioned the fan is always active. So my question is – would it be possible to order a replacement LCD panel for the Asus and install it in the Acer? That way if I can live with the fans on the Acer then I would have a pretty sweet laptop.

        Also

        Have you tested WI-DI with a Samsung/LG/Smart TV(Miracast) 2016/17 – reviews are few and far between but I have been using a Toshiba protege z835 for years with a HDMI cable and VLC for most media consumption and the idea of running WI-DI instead really appeals – so would welcome any advice/suggestions.

        Thanks again.

        • Andrei Girbea

          August 11, 2017 at 3:22 am

          I don't use Wi-Di consistently so I'm not in the position to comment on it. User reviews on forums and online shops should be of good help though, just keep in mind people tend to post negative feedback online more often than good experiences.

          The UX410 UA is a good laptop too and the fan can be tamed with Notebook Fan Control. The i3 should do fine for everyday use but multitasking can get a little sluggish. ALso, you'll probably want to add a storage device int he 2.5" bay to supplement for that small SSD.

          As far as replacing the panel goes, that should be possible, but it's not that easy and will void warranty. I'd recommend getting someone skilled in this kind of things to do the swap, but you can find guides online that can help if you want to do it yourself.

  36. Nitesh

    August 15, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Andrei, do you know if the speakers on this are any different than the ones on the Acer Chromebook 14? The chassis looks very similar, I wonder if they're sharing that part too.

    I'm thinking of going from the Chromebook to this, a boost in volume or quality from the speakers would be a bonus.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 15, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      I don't, I didn't review the Chromebook 14, but I'm looking at internal pics for both these laptops and the speakers on the Swift are larger, so they should be better as well.

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