Hands-on with the new Acer Swift 3 laptop for 2022
Acer introduced a refreshed model of the Swift 3 for 2022 ahead of this year’s MWC, and it comes with a few improvements. It has new processors, a tweaked design, and a new display option. While we don’t expect the laptop to be available to buy before June, Acer was kind enough to send us an early unit of the Swift 3 (2022) for us to get a feel for it. Officially, the model we have is the SF314-512.
Now, when we say it’s an early unit, we mean it. This laptop is not ready for prime time and there are a lot of things I’m not allowed to test. Not that I would want to, because performance here wouldn’t be indicative of what you’ll get with the final product. This is more so meant to let us get a feel for the hardware and a general idea of what it will feel like.
Design: Small but welcome tweaks
In terms of the design, not a whole lot has changed from last year’s model, at least as far as dimensions go. The chassis is mostly made of metal and it feels quite solid without being overly heavy. It weighs about 2.76lbs or 1.25kg, which is fairly light for a mostly aluminum laptop. While there are three colors officially available, silver is definitely the one you’ll find more easily, and that always tends to be the case. I do wish I got to see the Safari Gold or Snow Blue models, just because every laptop has a silver option right now and it’s tiring. The one part that isn’t metal is the frame of the display, which is plastic – as you might have expected for a laptop at this price.
There are some interesting things about the design, though. Acer uses a hinge mechanism that raises the bottom of the laptop when you open it, so you get better airflow and the display is closer to your eye level. I also find it interesting that there’s a fan exhaust just below the display. It’s not something I’ve ever seen, especially in a thin-and-light laptop like this. The previous model was already like this, though, so it’s not like Acer had to do this to accommodate the new Intel processors.
One cool change from last year’s model is the fingerprint reader, which is now built into the power button. For the longest time, Acer has had a dedicated fingerprint reader next to the trackpad, and while it worked fine, this definitely helps the laptop feel a lot sleeker. The power button is also integrated into the keyboard, which also helps with that. It works pretty well, too, based on my time with it so far.
Acer Swift 3 keyboard and touchpad
On that note, the keyboard feels fine to type on and it’s as comfortable as I’d want it to be, though the white backlight doesn’t pair well with the silver keys. All it means is you might want to turn off the backlight during the day and only use it when it gets harder to see the keys.
As for the touchpad, it’s decently big and comfortable to use, though I did notice a slightly annoying sound whenever I raised my fingers from it. That could just be an issue with this early unit, though.
Display: Still 16:9, but there’s a much better webcam
The display hasn’t changed significantly compared to last year’s model, either. It’s still a 14-inch panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio, which works fine for what it is. That aspect ratio is still pretty standard for mainstream devices, and you’ll have to look to the Swift 5 if you want something taller. One thing that has changed is that you can get a Quad HD display with some models, but unfortunately, that’s not the case with the unit I got to test. Some models (labeled SF314-512T) will have touch support, but that’s not the case with this unit.
Perhaps most importantly, Acer has also upgraded the webcam above that display. It’s now a 1080p 60fps camera with temporal noise reduction, and that should be a big upgrade from the previous generation. Any remarks I can make here aren’t final because the hardware isn’t final, but the image quality from the webcam seems very good based on what I got to see.
As I mentioned at the top, I can’t really go into the performance details of the Acer Swift 3 (2022), but it’s powered by Intel’s 12th-generation P-series processors, from a Core i3 all the way through a Core i7. That should deliver a significant performance upgrade over the last generation, especially with the switch from 15W of base power to 28W. The model I got has a Core i5-1240P, and it seems to work more than well enough for all kinds of daily tasks. This unit also has 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM and a 1TB SSD, so it’s maxed out in that regard.
All in all, the Acer Swift 3 (2022) definitely looks like a promising laptop, though it remains to be seen if it’s one of the best laptops this year. There aren’t any major changes in terms of design compared to last year’s model, but the ones we get are definitely good. I appreciate the cleaner look of having the fingerprint reader built into the power button and the upgraded webcam, and the new processors promise a lot more performance. Of course, we’ll have to reserve our judgement on that until we have the final product, but we’re optimistic.
The new Acer Swift 3 (2022) is now available, and you can check it out below.