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Acer Swift 3 (2020) Review: More than your Usual Mid-Range Notebook

More reasons to consider Ryzen 4000-series processors in laptops

Verdict: For those looking for an under Php 45k laptop that offers an impressive performance-per-Peso value, Acer’s Ryzen-powered Swift 3 is an ideal choice. Aside from the proven performance of Ryzen 4000-series processors, the Swift 3 is one of the slimmer and more premium mid-range laptops you can buy today.

More brands are adopting Team Red’s processors for their laptops, and Acer is using one of the more popular Ryzen 4000-series processors for its mid-range Swift 3. With their shift to AMD, the Ryzen-powered Swift 3 offers almost all the features of its Intel counterpart at a more affordable price.  

Pros 

  • USB-C that can be used for 65w PD charging 
  • Great overall performance of Ryzen 7-4700U even with casual games

 Cons 

  • Dim display
  • Stiff trackpad 

 

Design 

Clad in aluminum for the lid and aluminum-magnesium for the frame, the Swift 3 has a stylish silver chassis, with contrasting black used for the display bezels. Both the lid and the keyboard palm rest have an anodized finish, making it resilient to smudges and fingerprints. The lid has the usual Acer branding placed dead center, while the Swift branding is found in the hinge area when you open the laptop. 

While it is a mid-range, mainstream offering, the Swift 3 is slimmer compared to its rivals at under 16mm in thickness. Despite its svelte body, you get the essential ports: barrel plug charger, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI, and USB-A 3.0 on the left side, and Kensington lock, USB-A 3.0, and combo headphone jack on the right side. The USB-C port can also be used to charge the laptop, which is great for those who already invested in USB-C GaN chargers. 

The Swift 3’s keyboard has decent spacing between keys, though they are a bit on the small side for my large hands. It took a while for me to get used to it—especially with the arrangement of the arrow keys and page up/down keys placed together—but otherwise typing articles on it (including this review) is a good experience. Below the keyboard is a fingerprint scanner that works perfectly in recognizing my registered fingerprint. 

I could not say the same about the trackpad. Aside from not fully supporting Windows gestures, the Swift 3’s trackpad feels a bit stiff. You’re better off using a mouse with the Swift 3 if you intend to use the laptop as your workhorse.  

Display and speakers 

The Swift 3 we are reviewing comes with a 14-inch IPS display with a Full HD+ resolution. The side and top bezels are modern and slim, while you get a thicker bottom bezel where you have Acer branding. My main complaint is that the panel is not bright enough for outdoor use. The Swift 3’s panel covers 65% of the sRGB gamut, which should be good enough for quick photo and video edits.  

Those who need critical color accuracy with their photo and video projects might need to think twice about getting the Swift 3, as the dim display does affect color accuracy at times.  

For audio, the Swift 3 comes with bottom-firing speakers. Audio quality is typical of a mid-range laptop: lows are weak, while mids and highs are good. Overall fidelity is maintained at almost the entire volume range, with maximizing the volume causing little audio distortion. 

Performance 

The variant we are reviewing comes with a Ryzen 7-4700U processor that is paired with 8GB RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD storage. AMD’s Ryzen 4000-series processors are manufactured using a 7nm process, making them more power-efficient compared to Intel’s 10nm Ice Lake processors. In fact, the Ryzen 7-4700U used in our review unit can match Intel’s Core i7-1065G7—a processor found on more expensive laptops like Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 5i. 

With synthetic benchmarks, the Swift 3’s Ryzen 7-4700U processor was leading over the IdeaPad Slim 5i’s Core i7-1065G7 on all metrics save for GeekBench Single Core—which is impressive considering that the IdeaPad Slim 5i costs at least 10k more than the Swift 3.

The Ryzen 4000 series is divided into two versions: the H-series, which offer better performance, and the U-series, which are more focused on power efficiency. Comparing the Ryzen 7-4700U to the Ryzen 5-4600H—a processor found on the MateBook 14 (2020), synthetic benchmarks show that the latter scored higher in tasks like CineBench R20 and GeekBench Multi-Core due to its higher thermal design power (TDP).

The same goes when it comes to gaming. Both the Ryzen 7-4700U and Ryzen 5-4600H use Vega integrated graphics, which is good enough to run popular titles like CSGO and Valorant at medium settings but not with more graphics-intensive (read: AAA) titles. However, because the Ryzen 7-4700U is a low-power processor, you are not getting the same consistency in gaming performance as the Ryzen 7-4600H. 

Games aside, the Ryzen 7-4700U works great with content creation. I’ve tried editing 4K footage using DaVinci Resolve on the Swift 3 and managed to export a 12-minute video (downscaled to Full HD) in around 15 minutes. The Swift 3 managed to be stable overall as I was scrubbing through the 4K footage I shot using a smartphone—that alone is not bad for a laptop that is priced at under Php 50k. 

Being a low-power processor, the Swift 3’s Ryzen 7-4700U processor excels when it comes to battery life. With its 50wHr battery, we were able to record 6 and a half hours with our YouTube video loop test, which is impressive considering the raw power it offers. 

Charging the battery is done either using the supplied 65w barrel port charger or any USB-C charger that supports 65w USB-Power delivery. Topping up the battery to 100% takes around 2 hours. 

Wrap up and conclusions 

Team Red’s Ryzen 4000 series processors offer great value for money for mid-range laptops like the Swift 3 in terms of raw performance and battery. While we don’t like the Swift 3’s dim display and stiff trackpad, Acer makes up for it with a slim form factor and a premium aluminum-magnesium chassis and aluminum top lid.

Currently, only the Ryzen 5-4500U version of the Swift 3 is available in the Philippines, which is priced at Php 37,999. While the Ryzen 7 version of the Swift 3 is not yet officially available in the Philippines, retailer BenStore lists the said variant at Php 42,900.

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