This midrange notebook PC hides Nvidia graphics power

Acer’s Swift 3 (2019) should attract the type of savvy notebook PC buyer searching for a little more graphics oomph than the standard integrated GPU provides. Combining an 8th-gen “Whiskey Lake” chip plus a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU opens up more opportunities for light gaming without breaking the bank.

Acer’s new Swift 3 clamshell is a generally solid midrange notebook, though it suffers in two key areas. First, the integrated audio isn’t much to write home about, even with headphones. We found the fingerprint reader lacking as well. But Acer’s Swift 3 also boasts excellent performance and a solid ten hours or so of battery life, with a comfortable keyboard and pleasing IPS display, too.

Acer Swift 3 2019 primary 2Mark Hachman / IDG

Acer’s Swift 3.

Acer Swift 3 (2019) (SF314-55G-78U1) basic specs:

Don’t think of Acer’s Swift 3 as a cheaper version of the Acer Swift 7, which is basically the epitome of thin-and-light PCs. Instead, the Swift 3 is a less expensive, general-purpose PC that’s somewhat thicker and heavier than the Swift 7. That allows for a more full-featured selection of ports: both USB-A and USB-C, plus HDMI, among others. We think you’d prefer 512GB of storage as opposed to the 256GB on the Swift 3, but that’s an acceptable tradeoff to keep the price low.

The Swift 3’s aluminum chassis is sturdily built, with no discernible flex either in the keyboard or the chassis itself. The clamshell notebook folds back flat. At 3 pounds, it shouldn’t weigh too heavily in your bag.

Acer Swift 3 2019 left sideMark Hachman / IDG

On the left side of the Acer Swift 3 chassis is an a Kensington lock, a USB-A port, an SD card slot, and a headphone jack.

The fan does have a tendency to kick on quickly under load, though that’s usually something beyond just typing in a document or even loading a webpage. When the fan does come on, it’s pretty quiet, helped by spacious venting underneath and at the back of the laptop. There was no discernible coil whine in our review unit.

Though it’s not immediately obvious where the Acer saved money in designing the Swift 3, the display offers some clues. For one, the 1080p IPS display isn’t touch-enabled, meaning you won’t be able to navigate with a finger or stylus. Also, the Swift 3’s maximum 280 nits of luminosity (measured at the center of the screen) is just above the 250 nits we consider appropriate for daily use. In general, though, IPS displays are pleasant to work upon, and the Swift 3’s is no exception.

Acer Swift 3 2019 right sideMark Hachman / IDG

On the left side of the Acer Swift 3 chassis is another USB-A port, an HDMI port, a USB-C port, and the power jack. Convenient labeling helps identify what each port can be used for.

Acer includes a fairly standard complement of expansion ports. There’s one USB-C, though it doesn’t include any Thunderbolt capabilities. It’s also a bit disappointing to see generic USB 3.0 Type-A ports, rather than the faster USB 3.1. Copying files to and from an external hard drive…

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