Acer Swift 3 16
RRP $ 1,000.00
"The Acer Swift 3 16 is a bit old school, but it is good value for money."
Excellent productivity performance
Solid battery life
Above-average premium display
Thin and light
The display has an old school 16: 9 aspect ratio
Touchpad buttons are difficult to press
Build quality is a little below average
Acer's Swift 3 line has produced some excellent laptops, with the 14-inch AMD Swift 3 topping our list of the best budget laptops. The company has expanded the product line over the years to offer 13.3-inch, 13.5-inch, 14-inch, and 15.6-inch models that are a solid combination of thin and light design and offer attractive prices. Now Acer has added a 16-inch model, the largest display yet, and hopes to offer the same value as the rest of the line.
I have a $ 1,000 configuration with a 35-watt Core i7-11370H 11th CPU. And indeed, the final spec, aspect ratio, is what immediately disappoints about the laptop. Most manufacturers are moving to larger 16:10 or 3: 2 displays, and 16: 9 seems like an anachronism. Overall, it's a nice laptop with good performance and battery life, but the display keeps it from getting any better.
The first thing you'll notice about the Swift 3 16 is how wide it appears, especially if you've used other 16-inch laptops with larger 16:10 displays. A year or two ago the design would have been fine, but now the laptop seems to take up too much horizontal space on a desktop.
It's not that deep, of course, but taller displays that are deeper also allow more keyboard deck space for things like larger touchpads. Acer made good use of the space, and more on that below, but the form factor just feels a bit strange compared to other modern large-screen devices.
It's not bad for a $ 1,000 laptop loaded with the components from the Swift 3 16, but it could be better.
Compared to another 16-inch laptop with a 16:10 display, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4, the Swift 3 16 is 14.48 "versus 14.13" wider, but 9.1 "versus 9 .99 inches less deep. It's also thinner at 0.63 inches versus 0.7 inches and lighter at 3.75 pounds versus 3.99 pounds. The Swift 3 16 has display bezels similar to the Lenovo, which means they're relatively small on the top and sides, but with a more prominent chin.
The MSI Summit E16 Flip has similar top and side bezels, but an even bigger chin on the bottom, and it's slightly lower than both laptops while being about the same width as the Lenovo. It's thinner at 0.67 inches and slightly heavier at 4.4 pounds. The Swift 3 16 is nice and thin and light for a laptop with such a large display, only the width stands out too much.
In terms of build quality, the Swift 3 16 is made of aluminum, but suffers from some sagging in the lid and significant sagging in the keyboard deck and lower chassis. It's not bad for a $ 1,000 laptop loaded with the components from the Swift 3 16, but it could be better. The Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey is another new laptop that is made of aluminum and suffers from a lack of rigidity. You have to look at something like the Dell XPS 15 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 to get a machine with a solid feel.
Aesthetically, the Swift 3 16 comes in a Steel Gray shade that looks like a light black, and blends in with the minimalist movement with simple lines and angles and zero bling. Even the edges are not beveled and apart from the Acer logo on the lid, there is no chrome to be found. The Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey is similarly minimalist with a dark color scheme and chrome logo on the lid, and only a few additional moldings make it stand out. The Swift 3 16 is an attractive notebook, only very conservatively designed. My only real complaint about its appearance is that the bezels are plastic, which makes it look a little cheaper than it would otherwise.
Connectivity is solid. There's a proprietary charging port, a USB-C 3.2 port with Thunderbolt 4 support, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, and a USB-A 3.2 port on the left. It would have been better to add a second USB-C port and use that for charging rather than the proprietary power port, an anachronism that requires carrying an extra piece with you when so many USB-C chargers are typically available.
On the right side you will find another USB-A 3.2 port and a 3.5 mm audio jack. That's a good combination of current and legacy connections, with the only glaring omission being the lack of an SD card reader. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 provide wireless tasks.
The Swift 3 16 can be configured with either an 11th generation Intel Core i5-11300H or a Core i7-11370H, both 35-watt, 4-core / 8-thread CPUs. They lie between the U-series processors, which are geared towards thin and light laptops, and the faster 45-watt 8-core / 16-thread CPUs of the H-series. My test device used the Core i7-11370H along with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB PCIe solid state drive (SSD) and it lived up to expectations. The Core i5 configuration with 8GB of RAM is only $ 870, almost a budget price.
It should be noted that the lack of discrete graphics and the small number of cores and threads make this more of a simple work laptop than a developer's workstation despite the display size.
Acer got very good performance out of the CPU.
Despite the inferior components for a laptop of this size, Acer has managed to get a decent performance out of this system.
In Geekbench 5, the Swift 3 16 was the third fastest in our comparison group and came fourth in Cinebench R23. In many cases, the Swift 3 16 punched above its weight class over these other machines.
For a more realistic test, I ran our Handbrake test, which encodes a 420MB video as H.265. It is impressive that the Swift 3 16 could keep up with the Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey with a 6-core / 12-thread Core i7-11600H, but lagged behind the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 and the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 .
In the PCMark 10 Complete test, the Swift 3 16 finally took fourth place behind the same devices.
These are solid results and indicate that the Swift 3 16 is a fast performer for productive users. Again, it won't be suitable for demanding creative uses, but for everyone else, but it does show that in some cases the difference between a 35-watt chip and a 45-watt chip is not as great as we often assume .
|Geekbench (single / multiple)||Handbrake
|Cinebench R23 (single / multiple)||PCMark 10||3DMark time spy|
|Acer Swift 3 16 (Core i7-11370H)||1.613 / 6.119||151||1,568 / 5,806||5.491||1.911|
|Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey (Core i7-11600H)||1,478 / 5,366||151||1.601 / 8.571||5,989||N / A|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro (Core i7-11370H)||1,578 / 5,957||202||1,514 / 5,544||5,149||1,888|
|Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (Ryzen7 5700U)||1,184 / 6,281||120||1,287 / 8,013||5.411||1,247|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (Core i7-1165G7)||1,327 / 5,201||N / A||1,469 / 4,945||5,147||1,776|
|Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio (Core i7-11370H)||1,321 / 5,131||179||1,304 / 5,450||5,091||4,266|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 (Core i7-11800H)||1,520 / 7,353||106||1,519 / 10,497||6.251||6,691|
However, the Swift 3 16 is tied to Intel's built-in Iris Xe graphics, and there's no getting around that. It is not intended as a gaming laptop or video editing tool. That makes it unusual for larger laptops, which usually come with separate graphics and can run light games.
The Swift 3 16 scores well in the 3DMark Time Spy test for an Intel Iris Xe machine and beats the other machines with integrated graphics. Still, it couldn't keep up with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti from Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio or the RTX 3060 from the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4. I ran Fortnite and saw 24 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and epic graphics, a few fps faster than most of the other Iris Xe laptops we tested, but nothing special.
As already mentioned, the Acer Swift 3 16 has a 16.1-inch Full HD IPS display with a 16: 9 aspect ratio. That makes it very wide, which is great for putting two windows side by side but not great for showing vertical information where a taller display would have been desirable. Even so, this was a pleasant display while working on this test in terms of brightness, colors, and most importantly, contrast. Subjectively, I found it to be at least as good as most of the premium displays I've tested.
According to my colorimeter, the display is a bit above average for a premium panel that is not aimed at creative people. Colors were slightly wider than average at 77% AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB, and they were very accurate with a Delta E of 1.11 (1.0 or less is considered excellent). The brightness was good at 334 nits, above our threshold of 300 nits, and the contrast was excellent at 1,530: 1 for an IPS display. In comparison, the display of the Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey – a 15.6-inch panel on a laptop that was partially aimed at creative people – was only 48% AdobeRGB and 65% sRGB, accuracy at 2.37, brightness (which was better) at. much worse 350 cd / m² and a contrast of only 800: 1.
I would have liked a much higher resolution and a larger aspect ratio for the display of the Swift 3 16, but the overall quality is beyond dispute.
The MSI Summit E16 Flip's 16-inch 16:10 IPS had wider colors than the Swift 3 16 at 89% AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB, and they were just as accurate at 1.12 and the brightness was higher at 482 nits. However, the contrast is 1,140: 1, which is good for an IPS display, but does not show as deep blacks as the Swift 3 16.
I would have liked a much higher resolution and a larger aspect ratio for the display of the Swift 3 16, but the overall quality is beyond dispute. This is a good display for productivity users, and again it is great for setting two windows side by side. The colors aren't wide enough for creative professionals, but that's not the goal of this laptop.
Two downward facing speakers provide audio, and the Swift 3 16 joins several laptops I recently tested that emit surprisingly low volume. At least these laptops had clear sound while the Swift 3 16 is kind of distorted. Mids and highs are muddy and there is little to no bass. Sound quality isn't a forte, and you'll need headphones for almost anything.
Keyboard and touchpad
Because of the very wide display, there is plenty of horizontal space for a keyboard, and Acer makes use of most, but not all, of all. The key spacing is excellent, the keycaps are large, and there is a rather small number pad that could have been bigger with a bit of space on each side of the keyboard. The key switches offer plenty of wiggle room, with only a slightly abrupt punch-through movement that affects the overall precision of the keyboard. It's a few steps behind the best like those in the HP Specter line and Dell's XPS laptops.
The touchpad is large and takes up most of the available space on the palm rest. Its surface is comfortable to swipe and, as a Microsoft Precision touchpad, it copes well with the multitouch gestures of Windows 11. The only problem is the buttons take a lot of force to press until I gave up on them and just tapped the touchpad instead. If you prefer to use physical buttons, these won't make you happy. Unfortunately, the display cannot be touched, which I always miss.
A fingerprint reader in the upper right corner of the palm rest provides Windows 10 Hello support for passwordless logging. It worked quickly and reliably after a few attempts to register a finger. There's a button to turn off the microphone, but no way to turn off or block the webcam for privacy reasons.
The Swift 3 16 only has 58 watt hours of battery inside, which is not much for a laptop with a 35 watt CPU and a 16.1 inch display, even in Full HD. I wasn't expecting the best battery life.
However, I was pleasantly surprised. The Swift 3 16 lasted 8.75 hours in our web browser test, which ran through a number of popular and complex websites. We like to see 10 hours on this test, but almost nine hours is good enough. The Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey lasted 10.5 hours, while the Samsung Galaxy Book shut down after 8.3 hours.
However, it depends on the battery capacity, which is why the Dell XPS 15 lasted more than nine hours with 86 watt hours and a power-hungry OLED display. In our video test replaying a local 1080p movie trailer, the Swift 3 16 lasted for 13 hours, a much stronger score that was still behind the 14.3 hours of the Galaxy Book Odyssey but well ahead of the 11 hours of the Galaxy Book . The XPS 15 OLED lasted 11 hours in this test as well.
I also ran the PCMark Applications battery test which is the best indicator of productivity battery life and the Swift 3 16 lasted 9.5 hours. This is also a decent score and promises all-day battery life. The Galaxy Book Odyssey was stronger with 11.8 hours, while the Galaxy Book also did better with almost 11 hours. The XPS 15 OLED fell behind by just eight hours. In the PCMark Gaming battery test, which shows how hard a laptop runs on battery power, the Swift 3 16 lasted an average of 1.75 hours.
Overall, the Swift 3 16 has a decent battery life that can leave you with an hour or two for a full working day. This is a somewhat surprising result in view of the small battery, but somehow Acer managed to tease out an above-average longevity.
You really can't knock to get a big 16-inch laptop with great productivity performance and good battery life for $ 1,000. That is the Acer Swift 3 16 in a nutshell. My biggest complaints about the laptop are its sub-par build quality and its 16: 9 display, which makes it feel too wide.
The keyboard is sufficient and the touchpad is large, but Acer has to loosen the keys a bit. If you're looking for a large format machine for productivity with a little creative work, the Swift 3 16 is a strong candidate.
Are there alternatives?
The Surface Laptop 4 15 offers a thinner and lighter body, albeit with a slightly smaller display, and offers similar performance with its own discrete GPU. However, it is much more expensive.
You could also consider the HP Envy 15. It costs roughly the same money and offers superior performance, albeit with less battery life. The display can also be superior if you go for the OLED option (which, of course, costs more).
How long it will take?
The Acer Swift 3 16 shows some bends and bends in the lid, keyboard deck, and lower chassis, but it still feels like it should offer several years of productive use. Its components are modern and should keep Windows 11 running. As always, the one-year warranty is a disappointment.
Should you buy it?
Yes. Although the display is 16: 9, the Acer Swift 3 16 offers more than enough power for productive multitasking, and the large screen can comfortably accommodate two windows side by side.