Final Words

Although there are a few shortcomings on the new for 2020 Acer Swift 3, overall the company has done an excellent job on a lot of the key areas of this notebook. Considering the price of just $649, including 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB NVMe SSD is very welcome, and having a processor that offers as much performance as the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U is the icing on the cake. The fact that everything is wrapped up in an attractive, sturdy aluminum shell really lets the Swift 3 punch above its weight.

AMD’s Ryzen 7 4700U is likely to be one of the more popular offerings in notebooks, and AMD has delivered. The new Zen 2 cores are much more competitive, and AMD has crammed eight cores onto this 15-Watt CPU. It is only in the last couple of generations that we saw quad-core processors in the 15-Watt range, but AMD has proven that they can make eight work in a limited power window. And while Intel appears to have a single-threaded performance advantage with their Sunny Cove CPU architecture, AMD’s Renoir simply overpowers Ice Lake with the number of full cores available.

The GPU performance is also excellent, and despite AMD cutting back on the numbers of compute units included in Renoir, they’ve made up for it not only with GPU frequency, but also with CPU performance helping feed the GPU. In all cases, the new 7 CU GPU in Renoir was able to outperform the 11 CU GPU in Picasso. Generally, a wider, slower GPU is going to offer better efficiency, but AMD has delivered the performance.

That performance does come at a cost though, and that is heat. The Acer Swift 3 could not keep up with the demands of the Renoir APU at full blast, and there was significant throttling when running at the Best Performance level in Windows 10. That is disappointing, because it prevents this notebook from being able to get the most out of the APU inside. If you were hoping to use the integrated Vega graphics for light gaming, be aware that you may run into heat issues.

It almost goes without saying that the display quality is also lacking. To hit this kind of a price point, certain areas were cut, and one of them was the display. The Acer Swift 3 does offer a 1920x1080 IPS panel, but the poor backlighting, lack of sRGB coverage, and poor color accuracy all make it a very mediocre display. It is not unexpected in this price range, but is one of the areas that reminds you why this laptop is priced where it is.

Despite the negatives, Acer has still delivered a winning combination with the Swift 3. It offers the same look, feel, and portability of a much more expensive design. The 83% screen to body ratio is not industry leading, but does offer the modern look of a thin-bezel design, and manages to make this 14-inch laptop feel much more compact than it is. It is also very light, at 2.65 lbs, making it very easy to travel with, if we ever get to travel again.

At a $649 MSRP, Acer has delivered a very solid value, thanks to the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U, 8 GB of DDR4-3200, and a 512 GB PCIe SSD. The Ryzen platform offers the same Modern Standby resume features as Intel now, so wakeup is instant. Battery life was very solid, and Acer has included features like an integrated fingerprint reader making sign-in a breeze.


Acer has been a great partner for AMD, and the new Swift 3 punches well above its weight. It is easy to be distracted by some of the top-end notebooks on the market, but if your budget is not quite there, you get a lot of the same qualities, but at a price that is very reasonable. The Acer Swift 3 SF314-42 is set to available in the early part of this month, so it should be available to purchase very soon.

Wireless, Audio, Thermals, and Software
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  • nandnandnand - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    $629 USD $649 USD

    Wow, faster processor and double the SSD for $20... X.
  • ingwe - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Wow yeah that pricing makes absolutely zero sense to me. A typo maybe?
  • neblogai - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Yes, it is interesting. In other cases (Lenovo, or HP)- 4500U to 4700U costs ~€100 extra.
  • n_gu - Sunday, May 10, 2020 - link

    acer is currently sell it in my country and the price is aroud us $650 and $750
  • Santoval - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    I found that strange as well. Since it doesn't appear to be an error perhaps Acer was able to drop the price of the 4700U (and get it so close to that of the 4500U unit) by pairing the 4700U unit with a panel of a quite lower quality. The monitor of the 4700U unit scored the worst in nearly all of the tests, so it's possible that it has a poorer panel than its smaller sibling.
  • Namisecond - Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - link

    Or they could be overcharging for the lower tier model.
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, May 7, 2020 - link

    "The laptop really struggled with its thermals, dropping the framerate into single digits often. The device attempted to run at around 18 Watts of power draw, slightly over the 15 Watt TDP, but in fact only averaged around 8 Watts during this run."

    Maybe not overcharging for any of them, considering the apparently poor cooling and the display that can't even bother to cover the ancient paltry sRGB standard with even decent results.
  • watzupken - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    The Samsung PM991, not sure if this is a 2242 drive? I have one running in my laptop and it is super toasty. Under non disk intensive load, I saw temp readings in HWMonitor up to 74 degs after 5 to 10 mins of use. As a result, the keyboard just above the SSD is super hot as well. It doesn't cause burns, but it is uncomfortable to leave your hands/ fingers on it.
  • MrCommunistGen - Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - link

    The teardown pic of the internals on Tom's Hardware shows what looks like a 2280 M.2 SSD.

    FWIW, the PM991 board is almost completely bare and it looks like all the components would probably fit on a 2242 size M.2 board if they cut down on all the bare area on the board.
  • sonny73n - Thursday, May 7, 2020 - link

    I’ve been looking to buy this laptop but it’s not available anywhere.

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