PC

Upgraded wireless speeds give Swift an edge

Acer Swift 3 Premium is easy on the eye and boasts upgraded hardware, including an Intel wireless chip that supports Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds

Acer has taken its mainstream Swift 3 ultrabook and polished it to a red metallic sheen.

This, as well as its upgraded hardware, are enough to justify its Premium moniker.

The Acer Swift 3 Premium, though, has an all-too-familiar clamshell design. Its slim chassis tapers to a thin edge at the front, a design popularised by the original Apple MacBook Air.

This impression is further reinforced by the fact that, like the MacBook Air, I could open the Swift's lid with just one hand without gripping the base.

Of course, notebook designs have evolved considerably since the Air's heyday. For instance, the Swift has slim bezels around its 14-inch screen, like many modern laptops.

Its lid can also be tilted open to 180 degrees, which is not possible on Apple's laptop.

Its in-plane switching display, which is not a touchscreen, is sufficiently bright at its maximum level with good viewing angles.

There is some backlight bleed from the sides of the screen, though this is not apparent, especially in a well-lit room.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $1,698

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-8565U (1.8GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5

    RAM: 8GB DDR4

    SCREEN SIZE: 14 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, microSD card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 48 watt-hour

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Its keyboard comes with a backlight and offers decent key travel. The touchpad feels accurate and supports Windows 10's native multi-fingered gestures. It is of a standard size, not oversized like the ones on some laptops.

A fingerprint scanner below the keyboard on the right lets you log into Windows 10 with a swipe of your finger. The Swift lacks an infrared camera for facial recognition.

Along with two standard USB ports, the laptop comes with a fast USB Type-C port that offers a maximum transfer speed of 10Gbps. It is not quite as fast as Thunderbolt 3, but most users probably do not have any Thunderbolt 3 devices. This USB-C port can also be used to transmit video output to compatible monitors.

Powering the laptop is Intel's latest eighth-generation Core i7 processor. It is a recently launched quad-core model that consumes relatively little power while idling, but can produce short spurts of high performance when necessary.

Notably, the notebook also comes with an Intel wireless chip that supports Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds (up to 1,733Mbps).

On paper, this is quite an upgrade over the usual maximum Wi-Fi speed (867Mbps) available on older models.

The caveat is that you will need a fairly recent 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless router for the Swift to come close to achieving this theoretical transfer speed.

 
 

Giving its graphics performance a slight boost is the laptop's dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics chip. It is an entry-level model suitable for games with less-demanding graphical effects (or with these effects turned off).

You probably need to lower the screen resolution to 1,280 x 720 pixels to run the latest games smoothly.

The laptop has great battery stamina, lasting seven hours and 38 minutes in a video-loop battery test at maximum brightness and volume.

• Verdict: Its standard clamshell laptop design is elevated by an eye-catching red paint job. The upgraded hardware, such as a fast wireless adapter, justifies its premium billing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2018, with the headline 'Upgraded wireless speeds give Swift an edge'. Print Edition | Subscribe