Design

The industry has come a long way in the last couple of years, and Acer has stepped up their game with the Swift 3’s design. It features an all-aluminum exterior with a brushed finish, and compared to any plastic model, it offers significantly better looks, along with that cool-to-the-touch metal feel that always adds a bit of luxury.

Opening the lid shows off the 15.6-inch display, which isn’t a thin-bezel design, but that’s not really expected in this category. The larger display as a percentage of the total size helps mask the bezels too.

Taking a look at the keyboard, we see the first issue with the Swift 3 on the 15.6-inch models, which feature a number pad squeezed in on the right. The 14-inch models don’t offer the number pad, and frankly, the 15-inch version shouldn’t either. It’s just too cramped. There’s likely some market that wants the number pad on a 15.6-inch notebook, but it just tends to not offer a great experience since there’s not really enough room to offer the correct size one. This one is missing the addition and enter keys that should be on the right, which really takes away from the reason to even have one to start with. You’ll also notice that the power key is part of the keyboard, which is something that can tend to be an issue, but since it’s above the number pad rather than replacing the delete key as it is on some notebooks, it’s not as big of an issue.

Keeping with the keyboard, Acer has added backlighting to this model, which is great to see. Unfortunately, the backlight isn’t tied to the trackpad use, so it will shut off if you’re just using the trackpad. It would be great to see Acer tie the trackpad to the backlighting so you have an easier time keeping it activated when you’re using the laptop.

Finally, the keyboard itself is not the greatest. There’s not a lot of travel on the keys, and the keys themselves are somewhat slippery, so trying to touch-type on this notebook is a bit of a challenge. With a larger, thicker notebook in the 15.6-inch model, it would be nice to see a better keyboard than this. Of the entire system, the keyboard is one of the most disappointing features.

The keyboard does offer backlighting though, which is always welcome, but the keyboard backlighting isn’t tied to the trackpad use like on most systems, so when using it in a dark room, the lighting turns off when you are moving the pointer, and then it’s hard to find where the keys are again.

Luckily the same isn’t the case for the trackpad. Acer’s generously sized trackpad features Microsoft Precision drivers, and has a nice smooth finish. It’s large, but not distractingly so, and works very well. Trackpads can still be a hit or miss item, somehow, but this one is a hit.

Looking at the sides we can see all of the I/O, and there’s plenty here for almost anyone. With a 0.75-inch thick notebook, you may have expected to see an Ethernet port as well, but it’s not there, and on a model such as this it makes sense to omit it. If this was a business focused machine, it would be important, but most consumers are going to want to keep this untethered you’d have to think. If they do need Ethernet, there’s plenty of USB ports to hook it to.

The Acer Swift 3 is a well-designed notebook, with plenty of inputs, a smart looking aluminum finish, and creature comforts like a fingerprint reader to make your life easier. It’s only let down by the less than stellar keyboard, and that’s a shame.

Introduction System Performance: Testing the AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
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  • Zan Lynx - Friday, May 4, 2018 - link

    It might be something to do with power plans. Is it running default Windows Balanced, Ryzen Balanced, or some other thing? It matters.

    I know that in Linux using the standard cpufreq settings is a bad idea for Ryzen. It disables in-cpu speed setting and limits it to 2 GHz until the driver gets around to noticing the extra load. Just setting the CPU to its maximum allowed speed is better. The CPU can then decide to run slower when there isn't anything to do, but is instantly ready for high speed.
    Reply
  • neblogai - Friday, May 4, 2018 - link

    On the other hand- Acer Aspire with 2200U runs games better with it's CPU limited to 1600MHz- because then more power is directed towards the iGPU, it boosts higher, and provides better fps. Reply
  • darkich - Saturday, May 5, 2018 - link

    See my comment above..the iPhone also crushes it on GPU side. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, May 7, 2018 - link

    "No, it can’t compete with the GTX 1060 in the Surface Book 2, but it does outperform the GT 940MX in the original Surface Book. The GPU in the Ryzen 7 2700U is just impressive."

    I'd like to see this pitted against the MX150 in its sibling Intel model. That also beats the 940MX by a fair bit per watt.
    Reply
  • AnthonyJohn - Monday, May 7, 2018 - link

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  • lmcd - Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - link

    If you still have this laptop, please give us an overview of its Linux performance. Doesn't have to be anything super great and could just be a pipeline piece.

    Reason I ask: old AMD laptop CPUs stunk. Intel IGPs still stink. Nvidia graphics on Linux stinks. Graphics switching with discrete AMD on Intel stinks. Net result: this might be the best option. Even if you just ran an old bench like Unigine Heaven and did web browser rundown tests or something like that, I would be extremely grateful.
    Reply
  • ballsystemlord - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    I am in agreement with Imcd. Linux gets lost when it comes to the laptop.
    I must point out Imcd, that xonotic and openarena would be better benchmarks by far for linux than Unigine Heaven as they are native programs not requiring the luser to purchase them and are both highly optimized.
    As for Linux CPU benchmarks, a linux kernel compile would be standard. A web one would be firefox or webkit based. A pdf render could be done with gv. A few imagemagick benchmarks can use openmp and opencl. Blender is also a native program and can render on both CPU and GPU. You could transcode video with ffmpeg. Audio with the included tool (flac, oggenc, etc.), would also be good.
    Reply
  • Jimster480 - Monday, May 28, 2018 - link

    Personally.... this laptop is actually HORRIBLE for the price.
    Another work of Intel's anticompetitive hand in the jar.

    Ryzen parts are cheaper than Intel parts.... but for some reason they have to make the laptop with bottom-tier specs and a top-tier price... FOr this price I can buy a full 15.6 i7 HQ laptop with a dedicated GPU and a nice IPS screen and M.2 or NVMe drive...
    Instead I get a forced 8GB soldered 2133 (probably single channel) memory to gimp Ryzen as much as possible... and atrocious screen and a subpar battery.
    Just so that NOBODY will actually purchase this. ANd this type of gimped trash configuration is the same across all brands.
    Every company is making the same overpriced garbage, meaning that nobody will buy Ryzen laptops just due to the outragous uncompetitive pricing and performance.

    None of these MFG's have a justification for these prices... and every OEM that has announced any good Ryzen laptop.... well it hasn't ever shown up. Just like Acers own Nitro 5 Ryzen laptop (looking to be the first good Ryzen laptop that will launch) and they just pulled the plug on it some days ago after being 40 days late with launching it...
    Reply

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