Acer Swift 3 review – great-value budget ultraportable

79 Comments

  1. 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

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 8, 2017 at 3:51 am

      The Realtek drivers might not be automatically installed, but most others will. You'll find what's missing here, you can download them and have them on an USB stick before reinstalling Windows: acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/6938?b=1#_ga=2.262579598.364422882.1494229722-712141645.1492532475

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. Moises

    July 27, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    ¿Se le puede añadir un HDD y mas RAM?

  5. Evan

    August 8, 2017 at 2:05 am

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

    Lenovo ideapad 320s 14 – Grey Part No.80X4002WUK – 569GBP after discount promo code
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    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.

  6. 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.

    • Fred

      September 19, 2018 at 12:51 am

      Hi, I have both machines. I was very disappointed with the Swift's speakers, as I assumed they would be the same as the Chromebook. They are NOT. They sound awful compared to the Chromebook speakers. :(

  7. Ara

    August 18, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    I'm a chemical engineering student, I shortlisted my options to asus A510u, acer swift 3 and acer swift 5. I don't game at all but I'll be coding a bit so I'm taking core i5, ram at least 4GB and SSD (upgradeable version is also fine). I prefer portability, battery longevity and decent built (so that I don't accidentally break it in my bag but it's not that important) over other things. Which one should I pick? What's your take on this…

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