Acer Swift 3 with OLED: surprisingly enjoyable

Compact and great for content creation or entertainment.

by Justin Choo

The new Acer Swift 3 (SF314-71) has an OLED display option, and the result is a pretty decent portable workhorse.

The Swift 3 won’t win any awards for sleekness, but all the same, it is relatively compact and light (1.4kg). The gentle curves along the edge make the laptop look and feel slimmer than it is, so there’s that little bit of ingenuity there.

But it’s not a bad trade as the upside is that you have one HDMI 2.1 port along with four USB ports; the Swift 3 is very well-equipped in this department. Acer provides two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports–one can be used for power-off charging of your phone–and two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports.

The Swift 3 has a respectable number of ports.

Nothing much to write home about when it comes to the keyboard and mousepad; they’re pretty much standard fare. I can say that the keyboard area doesn’t get too hot when under load, which is a good thing. If you have a habit of typing hard, however, you might notice the frame sinking in. Yes, the frame isn’t the most rigid, probably to save weight, and moves slightly if you press hard enough. It doesn’t flex in normal circumstances, but I do think it’s worth noting.

But short of a biometric webcam and a card reader, Acer pretty much has thrown in everything in this little laptop. A fingerprint reader is embedded in the power button to make logins convenient, while the webcam itself is Full HD resolution. It sports Acer’s Temporal Noise Reduction tech that cleans up the image in low light conditions so you don’t look like a hot mess; it’s great that laptops are generally stepping up on their webcam game and this one’s pretty decent for work calls.

You won’t be able to take your eyes off that OLED display.

The highlight, undoubtedly, is that 14″, 16:10 display. It’s a pleasant middle ground, and more importantly, it’s OLED. The bright, richly coloured panel is likely the first thing that grabs your attention and rightfully so. As such, the Swift 3 is well-suited for entertainment or if you need a fairly colour-accurate screen for photo editing. The down-firing speakers here aren’t the best, but there’s clarity, and they don’t sound shrill.

Our Swift 3 came specced with an Intel i7-12700H processor with Iris Xe, 16GB RAM and 1TB of storage. Coupled with the OLED display, you have a setup that’s perfectly suited for content creation. I certainly have no complaints here; the zippy Swift 3 has been a great all-around workhorse.

Servicing is easy as it’s held together by conventional screws.

But there’s a cost that comes with performance: battery life. Understandably, this is not a fair expectation given the 45W processor and vibrant display, but all the same, I have to point it out for context. With mixed use of web browsing, light productivity and content consumption, the battery life works out to over six hours on average on Balanced power settings but you can stretch it out to over eight in Power Efficiency mode and by lowering the display brightness; maybe more if you use battery saver.

But if you’re using this laptop as intended and making the most of that i7 CPU then you probably need a power adapter on you at all times anyway. You power the Swift 3 via one of the Thunderbolt 4 ports, which means you can use a regular fast-charging brick in an emergency.

It’s not slim by any means but it’s certainly very portable.

I’m always complaining about laptops having extraneous power adapter ports when you can now charge over USB, but in this case, I wish there was one so you can use both Thunderbolt 4 ports at the same time (not that everyone needs to).

Despite the weaker battery performance, the Swift 3 OLED for the most part balances power and portability well enough, and with an OLED display, no less. For the price of $1,698, the Acer Swift 3 isn’t a bad proposition at all.

  • 7.8/10
    Acer Swift 3 (SF314-71) - 7.8/10

Acer Swift 3 (SF314-71)

Price starting from $1,698

Value Proposition
Design & Build Quality

Good performance and ergonomics for the price. The OLED Swift 3 is a great portable workhorse for content creation and entertainment.

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