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Acer Swift 3 Review - A Surprising Gaming Machine?

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When we received Acer Swift 3 review unit, we expected it to handle our daily work tasks on-the-go. However, once we did some gaming, we were surprised.
Acer Swift 3 Review - A Surprising Gaming Machine?
Acer Swift 3 Review

This is the our full review of the Acer Swift 3 that performed surprisingly well during some of our practical benchmarks.

Disclaimer: This unit has been loaned by Acer for an honest and fair review.

Acer Swift 3 Specs

Display: 15.6-inch Full HD IPS 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ Gorilla Glass protection at 141 ppi
CPU: 1.99GHz 64-bit Intel Core i7-8550U processor
GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 VRAM
RAM: 16GB
ROM: 128GB SSD+1TB HDD 
Selfie Camera: HD webcam
Battery: 48 WHr
OS: Windows 10 Home
Connectivity: WiFi ac, Bluetooth 4.0, 1x SD card reader, 1x HDMI, 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB Type-C, 2x USB 3.0
Others: Fingerprint sensor, two built-in stereo speakers, built-in microphone
Dimensions: 370.50 x 255 x 18.9 mm
Weight: 2,100 g
Price: PHP 79,999

Unboxing / Accessories

The Acer Swift 3 arrived with a big brown box with the regular inclusions inside. It has the standard Acer charger, the laptop itself, and some paper documents.

Build Quality / Design

Rubber stoppers below
Rubber stoppers below

The Acer Swift 3's build is really impressive to say the least. It has a premium feeling metal build that brings both durability and a much needed heft to it. The weight feels just right for a laptop of this size. It's dimensions are 370.50 x 255 x 18.90 mm and it weighs around 2.1 kg. It seems bulky to some but for us it is just right.
Ports at left
Ports at left

The keyboard has a pretty comfortable layout and feel that I easily got fast used it. The keyboard is also back lit and it greats pretty bright to be usable during pitch black situations. No RGB lighting though since it is not really a dedicated gaming machine.  This review is actually being written using the Acer Swift 3.
Keyboard
Keyboard

The TouchPad is on point as well. It is very responsive and smooth. This is one of the better TouchPad experiences I had in a while. There are the traditional controls such as the left and right click buttons on each side, the finger tap combinations and gestures. I never really had trouble using it.
Fingerprint scanner
Fingerprint scanner

It also has a fingerprint scanner for Windows Hello. It's a good feature to have but the performance is pretty spotty to say the least. I will try to unlock it using the fingerprint scanner after putting the Swift 3 to sleep and it will fail most of the time. To the point that it asked me to put my PIN instead.
Ports at right
Ports at right

I/O ports are well placed as well. Most of the ports are found on the left side but there are still some on the right. On the left, you have the charging port, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, 1 x USB Type-C port and a 3.55mm headphone port. On the right, you get a 1 x USB Type-C Thunderbolt port, SD card reader, 1 x USB 2.0 port. 

Our only gripe are the very sharp edges. And we mean they are very sharp. It got to a point that it was painful and cuts to my wrists. It is a design flaw that can be easily remedied in their future releases but is really bothersome and gets in the way for the Swift 3.

Display Quality

Screen!
Screen!

The Swift 3 has a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass protection that looks really good. Color reproduction is pretty accurate and it can also get really bright. I had a very comfortable time using it for work, media consumption and a bit of gaming. It has a 60Hz refresh rate which is to be expected.

The display is driven by two GPUs. One is the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 with 128 MB of memory and a dedicated rendering GPU which is an Nvidia GeForce MX150 with 2GB of dedicated VRAM. Performance for these two are to be discussed in detail later.

With Windows 10's Night Light, your eyes won't be strained as much since it will give the display a yellowish tint at night. This is to relax your eyes near the end of a work day and give a signal to your brain that it is time to take some rest.

Overall, the display is impressive and performs really well especially at its native resolution of 1080p.

Battery

Using the High Performance battery option, the Swift 3's battery life is top notch. Doing some of the usual load such as Google Chrome web browsing, WiFi, typing with Spotify, I usually get 7-8 hours from 100% - 10%. That is a full day of work for me usually.

At heavier loads such as gaming, the battery life at High Performance is around 4-5 hours. When I say gaming, I mean heavy gaming like GTA V, NBA 2k17, Tekken 7 and The Witcher 3. At that rate, it is still a pretty lengthy battery life as I usually use 100% screen brightness when I benchmark battery life.

Audio Quality

The speakers are loud. There are two speakers on the Swift 3 and they are a joy to listen to. Music comes out really clear and punchy. However, if you want to watch some movies, YouTube and Netflix here, I still highly suggest using a pair of headphones. Sometimes the dialogues are overpowered by the sound effects and music.

The laptop's mic is pretty clear as well. I used it mainly for gaming when I am talking to my buddies online and we haven't had issues regarding my audio specifically except when the internet acts up and it becomes choppy.

This is really a laptop designed with Skype and video calling.

Camera

Selfie cam needs improvement
Selfie cam needs improvement

There is not much to say when it comes to the camera. It is going to be mainly used for video calls which it does really well. However, taking selfies using the Swift 3's camera is not recommended. Even in great lighting it comes out grainy and darker that it really is.

It can record videos at 720p at 30 fps and 360p at 60 fps.

Performance

Geekbench
Geekbench

This is the one that really matters to most of you guys. The Acer Swift 3 surprised us with the  performance it provided us. During our work load, I usually have Google Chrome open with multiple tabs (around 8 - 10 tabs) open, Adobe Photoshop, Spotify, MS Word and multiple windows of Windows Explorer. It doesn't even give a bit of a hint of struggling. Switching between tabs is sappy, rendering edited photos is as quick as a blink of an eye and multitasking is basically instant.

The Acer Swift 3 surprised us with the  performance it provided us!

However, the most surprising part is its gaming capabilities. The review unit that we have is housing an Intel Core i7-8550U CPU that runs at 1.8GHz to 1.99GHz, 16GB of RAM, and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU with 2GB of memory.
Graphics bench!
Graphics bench!

At first I thought that maybe it can run AAA games like NBA 2k17 and GTA V at 30fps at 720p at the most. However, booting up both games at 1080p with a mix of Medium to High Settings, they actually garnered an average of 30fps which is console quality framerate.
Windows 10 Home
Windows 10 Home

So we decided to take a step down and go to 720p but with High graphical settings in both games and, to our surprise, it ran both games at 60 fps! Therefore, after transferring most of our Steam Library, we decided to run all games at 720p and we manage to get an average of 60 fps in all games at medium to High Settings except the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt which ran at 60 fps but at Low Settings.

However, when gaming, we tend to notice some stuttering when the Swift 3 heats up which brings me to one of my main concern which is thermals. We understand that the Swift 3 isn't geared to play games but performance is really hampered by the lack of air vents. The only vents that we saw are found under the laptop which is not good enough since it is usually blocked by the table, bed or any surface you put the Swift 3 on. This is even present when I watch Netflix and try to chill. It sometimes freezes and crashes the app because it got hot.

Overall, the performance is very good in fact impressive. However, the thermal management on the Swift 3 needs to be improved.

Pros - Sturdy all metal build, speedy performance, gaming capable GPU, large RAM, nice keyboard ergonomics with backlighting, many useful ports, good audio
Cons - Design is a bit outdated, quite heavy, fingerprint is not accurate, thermal management needs improvement

Verdict

The Acer Swift 3 is a pleasant surprise to say the least. Going in, I did not know what to expect. I thought it will just be a review of a work computer.

But, when I decided to game on it, I was impressed. The display is gorgeous, audio is on point, the build and design is premium and the performance is near perfect. With better thermal management, this could be a great gaming or work machine.

Build / Design - 4
Display - 4.5
Audio - 5
Battery - 5
Camera - 2
Performance - 4.5
Average - 4.16 / 5
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