Acer Swift 3 (2020) review

You wouldn’t be wrong to consider the Acer Swift 3 (2020) a budget laptop. And, while cheaper laptops don’t usually come with heavy expectations, the Swift line is a bit different. In our reviews, previous iterations have regularly ranked among our favorite Ultrabooks. And, the 2020 version more than delivers, continuing in the same tradition as its previous models.

For a premium Ultrabook, most would correctly look toward the Dell XPS 13, but the Acer Swift 3 (2020)’s performance is not that far off. Better yet, it offers that performance for a much lower price of entry.

It’s not a perfect computer, though. Acer Swift 3 (2020) comes with some of the previous models’ flaws, such as the tinny, downward-facing speakers. However, it does improve upon the performance and battery life over the older models.

The Acer Swift 3 (2020) is an ideal pick for anyone who wants to get a fantastic Ultrabook without breaking the bank just to get one.

The 14-inch Acer Swift 3 (2020) model we reviewed is the $699 model (around £565, AU$1070), which features a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, integrated Intel UHD graphics, and a 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD. 

The cheapest Swift 3 configuration, available for $499 (around £405, AU$765), features an AMD Ryzen 5 3500, 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics. 

For the $799 version (around £645, AU$1220), the Acer Swift 3 comes packed with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G4 CPU, 8GB of DDR4 SDRAM, an M.2 PCIe 512GB SSD with Intel Iris Plus graphics.

After running the Acer Swift 3 through a suite of benchmark tests for its CPU, GPU, and battery, we’re pleased to say that there’s a measurable improvement over last years model.

When it comes to playing video and general use, there’s little to complain about with the Acer Swift 3. Running the notoriously resource-hogging Google Chrome with two dozen tabs open was handled smoothly by the Swift 3, even when one of those tabs was playing through a Udemy course and another had an active Slack channel going. 

The system seemed to struggle a bit when trying to run several advertising-heavy tabs, but the same can be said of most systems and — really — that’s more of a societal problem than one limited to a single Acer laptop.

The Acer Swift 3 2020 also handled some light gaming through Steam without any trouble and kept a solid frame rate going through the mid-point of a game of Stellaris, but when that end-game crisis hits and the Intel UHD graphics GPU is trying to track 200+ corvettes and destroyers weaving between a couple of dozen capital ships shooting lasers and fusion torpedos, the fans are going to kick in and you will get a noticeable drop in responsiveness. 

Meanwhile, the Swift 3 handled multimedia content creation pretty well for a system with 8GB of RAM. Loading up Photoshop and doing basic photo editing with a dozen or so open files was pretty smooth without any hang-ups. 

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