It's tempting to compare every laptop that's released to the best of the best. And maybe we should. Apple's MacBook line is excellent, and the likes of the Surface line has done wonders to put some form into Windows' function. But there's still plenty of room for mid-range computers.
And that's what you get with the Acer Swift 3.
For the average user
Starts at $579Bottom line: It's a typical non-touch Windows laptop. It looks decent and gets the job done but misses out on the power and finishing touches of a high-end device.
Pros:Decent design.Big but not huge.Completely usable.
Cons:Sharp edge on keyboard.Fair bit of wiggle in the display hinge.Offset trackpad is annoying.
What you'll like about the Acer Swift 3
This isn't a high-end laptop, but it at least attempts to look like one. The brushed metal finish looks nicer than the materials feel, leading you to think that maybe it's nicer than it actually is. Maybe it's metal, and maybe it's not. Just don't look too close ...
|Form factor||Non-touch laptop.|
|Display||14-inch IPS (1920 x 1080).|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5GHz dual-core.|
|Storage||256GB SSD (about 237GB available).|
|Size||338 mm x 234 mm x 17.95 mm.|
|Weight||1.8kg (3.5 lbs).|
|Ports||Two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, HDMI, one USB-C.|
It's a 14-inch laptop that does its job fairly well. It's not overly flashy. It's not the thinnest. It doesn't sport the best display you'll ever find. You won't be playing high-end games on this thing. But it also looks and feels pretty decent considering the price. It's a solid laptop for someone who just wants to get things done without being shackled to a desk.
The Swift 3 gives a nice smattering of ports, too, with a couple USB 30, a single USB 2.0 and a lone USB-C port for some future compatibility. (And that's for data, not charging.) Having a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) in this level laptop is nice, too, and probably should be standard at this point.
Battery life is average. Don't look for the Swift 3 to get you through a full day's work without plugging in. Five hours of light use shouldn't be out of the question, and you won't want to subject your wrists to the cheese-cutter bezels any longer than that anyway. The cooling fan isn't quite silent during all this, but neither has it been a nuisance.
The downward-firing speakers produce an adequate amount of muddy sound into your legs if you're using the Swift as a true laptop. Things are marginally better if placed on a flat surface, though the low end still lacks any real sort of oomph.
What you'll loathe about the Acer Swift 3
The Swift 3 isn't a top-shelf laptop. It'd be easy to pile on the shortcomings, but you have to keep it in context. Still, a few flaws definitely stand out.
There's more flex in the keyboard that I'd like, especially toward the middle. It definitely could benefit from some extra support there. Having a backlight is nice, but the light bleed around a number of the keys quickly reminds you that it's a nice machine, but not too nice.
The 14-inch IPS display does a nice job showing individual pixels thanks to the 1920 x 1080 resolution. If you've never used anything with a density higher than 157 pixels per inch (PPI), you'll be right at home. But chances are you have, so this will be at the lower end of desirability. There's also plenty of play in the hinge, allowing the screen to prove that it's not actually frozen in one position at any given time as it responds much like an excited dog to every tap of the keys.
The bezel on the front edge digs into your wrists, so either employ proper posture or suffer the consequences.
The trackpad's default sensitivity would be forgiven if it weren't also offset to the left. That's nothing you can't get used to, but it means I've been right-clicking way more than I've meant to. It does, however, leave plenty of room for the fingerprint scanner.
Bottom line on the Acer Swift 3
The Swift 3 is definitely a middle-of-the-road laptop. It's not for gaming. It's not for someone who has to spend hours and hours away from a wall plug. It's not for someone who has to have the best of the best.
It's for someone who just wants an above-average laptop and doesn't mind spending a bit to get it. If that's you, you'll appreciate what Acer's done here.
Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!