Acer - Acer Swift 3 SF314-56


Acer Swift 3 SF314-56: no miracle for this entry-level PC

Aprox. 499€

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The Acer Swift 3 SF314-56 is an entry-level laptop, sold for around € 500. Is it sufficient for modest needs? This is what we determine in this test.

Our review


The Swift 3 is the entry-level ultraportable in the Acer Swift range. Unlike the Swift 5 or Swift 7 models, it does not like to be the thinnest or the lightest on the market, but bet on its aggressive price around 500 €, with frequent promotions at 400 €. This ultraportable 14 inch does not want to appear cheap with its brushed aluminum chassis and its almost premium design, something quite rare in this segment.

Acer had to accept a few concessions to lower its price. This obviously results in the choice of processor, here an 8th generation Intel Core i3, but also in the RAM. The SF314-56 has only 4 GB of RAM, which may seem very fair in 2019, most laptops, even entry level, often offering 8 GB. But can it satisfy users who only want to do simple office automation? This is what we will determine.



Acer has gone to the basics with the design of its aluminum Swift 3. No frills or fancy here, except the silver border on the edges. Note that our test model has a very classic gray dress, even a little sad, but the PC is also available in other more vivid colors, including red, blue or pink.

Once the computer cover is open, the black keys on the keyboard break this harmony somewhat. The keyboard, precisely, is not exceptional. If it has a short and effective stroke, the softness of the strike makes it a bit unpleasant. Add to this that the gap between the keys (4 mm) is a bit high, which reinforces this feeling. The PC does not have a numeric keypad, which is understandable on a 14 inch format. Finally, it is backlit on one level only (off and on).

The Acer Swift 3 offers a Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader to unlock your session. Long and narrow, however, it struggles to function. During our test, it was not uncommon to have to go through it several times to get it started, the sensor having trouble recognizing our fingerprint. A strong point at first glance that quickly turns into something annoying that we will quickly deactivate to favor the good old password.

The PC is sold with Windows 10 S, designed for low configurations. On this operating system, the user only has the option of installing those offered on the Windows Store, and will not be able to install those downloaded directly from the Internet (x64 or x86 software). It's easy - and free - to upgrade to a classic Windows 10 version in the OS options. Once this is done, the user will be free to install all Windows compatible software. But whether on Windows 10 S or Windows 10 classic, the PC is slow in use. We develop this point in the Performance section.

The PC connectivity is complete. The Swift 3 is equipped with a USB 3.1 Type-C port, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB 2.0 Type-A port, an HMDI port and an SD card reader. All that is missing is a possible Ethernet port. For wireless connection, the computer offers Wi-Fi 5 (11ac) and Bluetooth 5.0. Aside from that, it brings everything you would expect from an ultraportable in this area.

The Acer Swift 3 is very easy to disassemble with a screwdriver. Once the cover is removed, it is possible to fill the lack of RAM of the PC. Indeed, there is a suitable free space to increase it to 8 GB of RAM. The 4 GB already present on the PC are welded to the motherboard. It is also possible to replace the SSD in M.2 format (128 GB only on our test model). Acer does not provide the necessary connectors to connect a 2.5-inch hard drive or SSD. Too bad, since the Swift 3 has the necessary space.

In its version with an Intel Core i3-8145U processor, the Siwft 3 does not experience excessive heat in use thanks to its well-ventilated chassis and its low-power processor. Put to the test by the launch of a game like Diablo 3, the processor stabilizes at 69 ° C. The ventilation grille rises to 44 ° C. The rest of the chassis remains relatively cool, with the heat concentrated there. The blowing of the fans was measured by us at 37 dB. No noise pollution is therefore to be deplored, even at work.



The Acer Swift 3 is equipped with a 14 inch IPS panel with a definition of 1,920 x 1,080 px. The screen / facade ratio is 79%, which is correct. The vertical edges are thin (5 mm), while the horizontal edges are wider, allowing Acer to place the webcam there (without physical cache and with a maximum definition of 720p).

The color temperature of the Swift 3 panel is excellent. Measured at 6,570 K, it is close to the video standard of 6,500 K. On a white page, the display is neither too red nor too blue. This is the only quality of the screen. Its 930: 1 contrast is too tight, as is its 19 ms afterglow. In practice, this means that "fuzzy streaks" during screen movements could disturb the most sensitive users.

But the real weakness of the Swift 3 slab is its lack of color. With an average delta E of 7, which is very high, the screen displays colors not at all faithful to the original ones. For example, the light greens are fluorescent while the reds are orange. Finally, note all the same that the maximum brightness of the Swift 3 is 311 cd / m², which is too little to work outside, despite a matt slab little subject to reflections with its reflectance of 19.8%.



The Acer Swift 3 SF314-56 is equipped with a modest processor: the Intel Core i3-8145U. This 8th generation low power processor is engraved in 14 nm and has 2 cores and 4 threads (maximum frequency of 3.9 GHz). It comes with only 4 GB of RAM, soldered to the motherboard (in single channel), and a 128 GB SSD. A configuration that seems limited on paper - the RAM seems too good even for office use - and which does not spark in practice.

The computer did not shine during our usual tests. Once our lab was finished, it reached the index of 23 on our scale of values. It is little, very little. Admittedly, it is slightly more powerful than the Lenovo Yoga C630 equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor, but it records the lowest score of all the PCs with a conventional processor passed in our labs. More than a score in a table, this low power translates above all into a PC slow to use. A certain slowness is felt each time you open a web page on Chrome or when watching videos. It gets even more complicated during more demanding tasks. For example, the Swift 3 proved unusable during our video encoding test, rowing and undergoing "freezes". It just isn't for it.

We decided to measure how much the Acer Swift 3 could improve once its RAM was doubled. So we added an additional bar. During our tests, the PC saw its performance improve by up to 20%. If it remains at the bottom of the basket of PCs tested by us, the power gain is still noticeable. This is felt all the more during use, web browsing no longer experiencing latency as with 4 GB of RAM. Likewise for viewing photos and videos, the latter launch instantly. Its use in office automation is more pleasant and more fluid. We will have to be satisfied with this use, the Intel Core i3 is not designed to do more, even accompanied by 8 GB of RAM.

On the game side, it is logically not more brilliant. Offering an Intel HD 620 graphics circuit, it is clearly not designed for 3D softwares, especially since this iGPU is underused here. For example, Diablo 3 operated at an average of 8 frames per second during our tests. Overwatch was not more convincing with an average of 13 fps. Impossible therefore to play serenely on this computer, that was not his goal anyway.


Mobility / Autonomy

The Swift 3 is classified in the ultraportables category, and it does not usurp its status with its weight of 1.4 kg, reasonable for this type of product. Its charger is small, not exceeding the size of that of a smartphone. In addition, it weighs only 160 g on the scale. It can therefore be discreetly slipped into a bag alongside the PC.

During our autonomy test, which consists of launching Netflix in Chrome with the screen brightness set to 200 cd / m², the Swift 3 turned off after 8 h 41 min. A very good score given that the average for this type of product is around 6 hours. The 48 W battery allows you to last a whole working day leaving your charger at home. A good point.


The Acer True Harmony software is installed by default on the Swift 3. We advise to deactivate it, the treatment it offers deteriorating the sound. Once the software is turned off, the whistling side of the voices disappears, but the sound keeps its imbalance, the bass being for subscribers absent. Note that the speakers are located under the chassis at the front, and the sound is therefore dependent on the surface on which the PC is placed. Mediocre speakers, it's all the more a shame that the headphone jack is suitable.

It gives good results in the lab. If we can regret a somewhat fair power of 115 mVrms which will only allow to connect a portable headset, the rest is convincing. It should all the same be noted that beyond 94% of the volume, it experiences difficulties in current handling which can degrade the distortion.


If not its very correct chassis for entry level and good autonomy, there is not much to save from this Acer Swift 3 S314-56. It is indeed too weak to be used serenely, its 4 GB of RAM not even allowing it to be very fluid during a simple Internet browsing or the use of office software. Even if this obstacle can be overcome by increasing the RAM, the buyer will still have to face a poor screen and an unpleasant keyboard under the fingers. Avoid it.