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Acer Swift 3 16 Review: Old-fashioned package but good value for money

Acer’s Swift 3 series has produced some great laptops, of which14-inch AMD Swift 3in ourBest budget laptopAt the top of the list. Over the years, the company has expanded its product line to provide 13.3-inch, 13.5-inch, 14-inch, and 15.6-inch models, combining thin and light design with attractive prices. Now, Acer has added a 16-inch model, which is the largest monitor to date, and it hopes to bring the same value as other products in the series.

I reviewed the $1,000 configuration with an 11th-generation 35-watt Core i7-11370H CPU and a 16.1-inch IPS Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display with an old-fashioned 16:9 aspect ratio. In fact, the last specification, the aspect ratio, is an immediate disappointment for notebooks. Most manufacturers are moving to higher 16:10 or 3:2 displays, and 16:9 seems out of place. Overall, it is a good laptop with excellent performance and long battery life, but the display makes it impossible to get any better.

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design

The first thing you will notice about the Swift 3 16 is how wide it looks, especially if you have dealt with any other 16-inch laptop with a higher 16:10 display. A year or two ago, the design was pretty good, but now it seems that the laptop occupies too much horizontal space on the desktop.

Of course, it’s not that deep, but taller displays are also deeper, and also provide more space on the keyboard panel for things like larger touchpads. Acer has done a good job of using its space, there is more content below, but compared to other contemporary large-screen machines, the form factor feels a bit strange.

Compared with Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4, another 16-inch notebook with a 16:10 display, the Swift 3 16 is wider at 14.48 inches and 14.13 inches, but is 9.1 inches and 9.99 inches deep. 0.63 inches is thinner than 0.7 inches, and 3.75 pounds is lighter than 3.99 pounds. The Swift 3 16 has display bezels similar to Lenovo, which means they are quite small on the top and sides, but the chin is more prominent.

The top and side bezels of the MSI Summit E16 Flip are similar, but the bottom chin is larger, a bit deeper than both laptops, but as wide as Lenovo. It is thinner at 0.67 inches and heavier at 4.4 pounds. For a laptop with such a large display, the Swift 3 16 is very thin and light, only its width is too prominent.

In terms of its build quality, the Swift 3 16 is made of aluminum, but the lid is slightly curved, and the keyboard panel and bottom chassis are significantly curved. For a $1,000 laptop with Swift 3 16 components, this is not terrible, but it could be better. Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey is another recently launched laptop made of aluminum, but it lacks rigidity. You need to look at things like Dell XPS 15 or Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 to get a machine with a rock-solid feel.

Aesthetically, the Swift 3 16 uses steel gray, which looks like light black, and joins the minimalist movement with simple lines and angles and zero flash. Even the edges were not chamfered, and apart from the Acer logo on the lid, no chrome was found. The Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey also adopts a minimalist style, with a dark color scheme and a chrome logo on the lid, with only a few additional moldings that make it unique. The Swift 3 16 is an attractive notebook, but the design is very conservative. My only real complaint about its appearance is that its frame is plastic, which makes it look a little cheaper than other times.

Acer Swift 3 16 has a proprietary charging connection on the left, a USB-C 3.2 port that supports Thunderbolt 4, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, and a USB-A 3.2 port.On the right side of the Acer Swift 3 16, you will find another USB-A 3.2 port and a 3.5 mm audio jack.

The connection is firm. There is a proprietary charging connection, a USB-C 3.2 port that supports Thunderbolt 4, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port and a USB-A 3.2 port on the left. It is better to add a second USB-C port and use it for charging instead of a proprietary power connection. This is an out-of-date practice, and additional parts need to be carried when there are usually so many USB-C chargers available.

On the right side, you will find another USB-A 3.2 port and a 3.5 mm audio jack. This is a perfect combination of current and traditional connections. An obvious omission is the lack of an SD card reader. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 provide wireless functions.

Performance

The Acer Swift 3 16 is facing the camera.

Swift 3 16 can be configured with Intel’s 11th-generation Core i5-11300H or Core i7-11370H, both of which are 35-watt 4-core/8-thread CPUs. They are between the U-series processors for thin and light notebook computers and the faster 45-watt 8-core/16-thread H-series CPUs. My evaluation unit used Core i7-11370H with 16GB RAM and 512GB PCIe solid state drive (SSD), and it performed as expected. The Core i5 configuration with 8GB RAM only costs $870, which is close to the budget price.

It should be noted that despite the large display size, it is more like a basic work laptop than a creator’s workstation due to the lack of a discrete graphics card and a low number of cores and threads.

Despite the lower power of components in a laptop of this size, Acer managed to squeeze some good performance out of the system.

In Geekbench 5, Swift 3 16 ranked third in our comparison group and fourth in Cinebench R23. In many cases, Swift 3 16 has a higher weight class compared to other machines.

For a more realistic test, I ran the Handbrake test, encoding a 420MB video into H.265. Impressively, the Swift 3 16 is tied with the Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey, which runs 6-core/12-thread Core i7-11600H, but lags behind the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 and Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1.

Finally, in the PCMark 10 Complete test, Swift 3 16 again ranked fourth after the same machine.

These are reliable results, showing that Swift 3 16 is a fast performer for productivity users. Likewise, it won’t deal with demanding creative applications, but for everyone else, but it shows that in some cases, the difference between a 35-watt chip and a 45-watt chip is not as big as we usually assume .

Geekbench (single/multiple) Handbrake
(second)
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 Not applicable
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro (Core i7-11370H) 1,578 / 5,957 202 1,514 / 5,544 5,149 1,888
Dell Inspiron 14Two in one (Ryzen 7 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 Not applicable 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, Swift 3 16 stuck Intel’s Iris Xe integrated graphics, and there is no way to solve this problem. It is not a gaming laptop or video editing tool. This makes it unusual in large laptops that are usually equipped with a discrete graphics card and can play some light games.

Swift 3 16 performed well in the 3DMark Time Spy test of the Intel Iris Xe machine, beating other machines with integrated graphics. Nevertheless, it naturally cannot keep up with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti of Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio or the RTX 3060 of ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4.I runFortniteAnd seeing 1080p and epic graphics at 24 frames per second (fps), some fps is faster than most other Iris Xe laptops we tested, but there is nothing to write about.

exhibit

The display of the Acer Swift 3 16.

As mentioned earlier, the Acer Swift 3 16 is equipped with a 16.1-inch full HD IPS display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. This makes it very wide, which is very useful for setting two windows side by side, but not very good for viewing vertical information, in which case taller displays will be welcome. Even so, at the time of this review, its brightness, color, and especially contrast, are still very pleasant to use. I found it to be at least as good as most premium monitors I have reviewed, subjectively.

According to my colorimeter, the display effect is slightly above average for advanced panels that are not aimed at creators. At 77% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, the colors are slightly wider than the average, and they are very accurate at Delta E of 1.11 (1.0 or lower is considered excellent). The brightness is 334 nits, which is higher than our threshold of 300 nits, and the contrast is excellent for a 1,530:1 IPS display. In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey’s display-the 15.6-inch panel on the laptop, partly aimed at creators-is much worse, only 48% of AdobeRGB and 65% of sRGB, with an accuracy of 2.37 , The brightness (better) is 350 nits, and the contrast ratio is only 800:1.

MSI Summit E16 Flip’s 16-inch 16:10 IPS has wider colors than Swift 3 16, AdobeRGB is 89%, sRGB is 100%, accuracy is 1.12, and brightness is higher at 482 nits. However, it has a contrast ratio of 1,140:1, which is suitable for IPS displays, but not as dark as the Swift 3 16.

I prefer the higher resolution and higher aspect ratio of the Swift 3 16 display, but its overall quality is indisputable. For productivity users, this is a good display, and again, it is very suitable for setting up two windows side by side. For creative professionals, the colors are not wide enough, but that is not the goal of this laptop.

Two downward-emitting speakers provide audio, and the Swift 3 16 has been added to several notebooks I reviewed recently, and their volume is surprisingly low. These laptops have at least clear sound, and the Swift 3 16 somehow managed to distort it. The midrange and treble are muddy, and the bass is almost absent. Sound quality is not a strong point, you almost need a pair of headphones.

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard and trackpad of the Acer Swift 3 16.
Mark Kobok/Digital Trends

Considering the very wide display and the keyboard has enough horizontal space, Acer used most but not all of it. The key spacing is very good, the keycaps are large, and there is a fairly small numeric keypad, which could have been bigger if you left some space on each side of the keyboard. The key switch provides enough travel, the bottoming action is only a little sudden, so it will reduce the overall accuracy of the keyboard. It is a few steps behind the best products, such as the HP Spectre series and Dell’s XPS laptops.

The touchpad is large and takes up most of the available space on the palm rest. Its surface is very suitable for sliding, as a Microsoft Precision touchpad, it can handle Windows 11 multi-touch gestures well. The only problem is that the buttons require a lot of force to press, so much so that I gave up using them and just tapped the touchpad. If you prefer to use physical buttons, these will not satisfy you. Unfortunately, the display does not support touch control, which I have always missed.

The fingerprint reader in the upper right corner of the palm rest provides Windows 10 Hello passwordless login support. After several attempts to register the finger, it can work quickly and reliably. There is a button to turn off the microphone, but there is no way to turn off or block the webcam for privacy purposes.

Battery Life

A close-up of the Acer Swift 3 16 webcam.

The Swift 3 16 only contains a 58 watt-hour battery, which is not too much for a laptop with a 35-watt CPU and a 16.1-inch display, even if it runs in Full HD mode. I did not expect the best battery life.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. Swift 3 16 reached 8.75 hours in our web browsing test, which cycles through a series of popular and complex websites. We like to see 10 hours in this test, but nearly 9 hours is enough. The battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey was extended by 10.5 hours, while the Samsung Galaxy Book shuts down after 8.3 hours.

However, battery capacity is important, which is why the Dell XPS 15 with 86 watt-hours and a power-hungry OLED display managed to exceed 9 hours. In our video test of looping local 1080p movie trailers, the Swift 3 16 lasted 13 hours, which is much better than the Galaxy Book Odyssey’s 14.3 hours, but far ahead of the Galaxy Book’s 11 hours. XPS 15 OLED also reached 11 hours in this test.

I also performed the PCMark Applications battery test, which is the best indicator of productivity and battery life. The Swift 3 16 lasted 9.5 hours. Again, this is a good score and promises full-day battery life. Galaxy Book Odyssey performed better at 11.8 hours, and Galaxy Book performed better at nearly 11 hours. XPS 15 OLED is only 8 hours behind. In the PCMark Gaming battery test, the Swift 3 16 lasted an average of 1.75 hours. This test shows the operating strength of the laptop when using the battery.

Overall, the Swift 3 16 has a good battery life, allowing you to complete a full day’s work in the remaining one or two hours. This is a somewhat surprising result considering that the battery is small, but somehow Acer managed to squeeze out an above-average lifespan.

Our take

You really can’t buy a large 16-inch laptop with excellent productivity performance and good battery life for $1,000. In short, this is the Acer Swift 3 16. My biggest complaint about this laptop is that its build quality is slightly lower than the standard and the 16:9 display makes it feel too wide.

But the keyboard is good enough, and the touchpad is large, although Acer needs to release the buttons slightly. If you are looking for a large format machine for productivity purposes and put in some creative work, then Swift 3 16 is a strong candidate.

Are there any other options?

Surface Laptop 4 15Provides a thinner and lighter chassis, although the display is slightly smaller, but given its own integrated graphics, it will provide similar performance. However, it is much more expensive.

You can also consider usingHP Envy 15 . It costs about the same, but has excellent performance, but has a shorter battery life. If you choose the OLED option (of course, it costs more), its display effect will also be better.

How long will it last?

The Acer Swift 3 16 shows some flexing and bending in the cover, keyboard panel, and bottom chassis, but it still feels that it should provide several years of production use. Its components are modern and should allow Windows 11 to continue to run. As always, the one-year warranty is disappointing.

Should you buy it?

Yes. Even if its display is 16:9, the Acer Swift 3 16 also provides sufficient performance for efficient multitasking, and the large screen can comfortably place two windows side by side.

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