Acer Swift 3 review: New body, familiar laptop

Intro

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I love thin, light and affordable laptops that are designed for work on the go. For me, all they need to do is handle word processing, web browsing, some rudimentary photo editing and that’s about it. Oh yeah, they should also have a long battery life, at least enough to last a working day, anyway.

The last time I checked out a laptop from Acer, it was their then brand new Aspire S 13 — a thin and light no-nonsense productivity laptop. It had a lot going for it, with a nice set of I/O ports and a nice matte display. But, there were one or two issues such as the mediocre battery life and the mostly plastic body.

Now, they’ve refreshed their laptop lineup with several new devices from Acer’s Spin and Swift series. One laptop that stood out to me as an interesting alternative to the Aspire S 13 was the Swift 3. MacBook-esque looks aside, it bears a lot of similarities with the S 13, but with a few new features and compromises. So I thought it’d be interesting to see if it’s worth the RM100 premium.

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The first thing you’d notice is the build. Instead of the mostly plastic outer shell, the Swift 3 gets an all-metal aluminium body that has a subtle curve at the end so you get a thin edge. Although it doesn’t feel as premium as most high-end laptops, it does feel pretty good. It’s certainly a nicer finish than the S 13’s plastic body.

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Acer’s Swift 3 also comes with a larger 14-inch Full HD IPS display with a matte finish on it to reduce glare. It will also open flat to 180 degrees, so you get more flexibility than you did with the S 13.

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As far as performance goes, the Swift 3 feels very similar to the older S 13 too, so it’s smooth, and I didn’t notice any big performance differences between the two. On paper, the Swift 3 comes with a 6th-generation Intel Core i5-6200U processor, 4GB of DDR4 SDRAM, Intel HD 520 integrated graphics and 256GB of SSD storage. The specs are pretty similar, with the biggest difference being the storage that has been doubled on the Swift 3 compared to the S 13. You get about 200GB of space after Windows and some of Acer’s bloatware. You can uninstall most of it, however.

Here are some benchmarks. As a whole, the Swift 3 performs very similarly to the S 13 in benchmarks with the Swift 3 pulling ahead in the write speeds (except 4K) in CrystalDiskMark.

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