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Acer Swift 3 SF315-52 review: Looks the part but lacks the power

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £580
inc VAT

A good looker and not a bad performer – but it’s held back by a so-so screen and mediocre battery life


  • Appealing design
  • Good performance


  • Low battery life
  • Poor sRGB coverage
  • Cramped keyboard

The Swift 3 makes a great first impression. It’s slim, measuring just 17mm thick when closed, and when you open it up you are greeted by an expansive 15.6in screen with nice slim bezels.

It performs well, too: Acer uses the same Core i5-8250U processor as the HP Pavilion x360, but manages to deliver slightly better benchmark scores. We surmise that’s down to better cooling, because the Swift 3 was a lot quieter than the Pavilion while the tests were running. It might not feel so slick in use, however, as the Swift 3’s SATA SSD is less than half as fast as the HP’s.

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Acer Swift 3 SF315-52 review: Design and features

Around the edges, two USB 3 ports, one USB 2 port and a USB-C connector should suffice for hooking up whatever peripherals you like. There’s also a full-sized HDMI port, and a full-sized SD card reader – great for those of us who aren’t in a hurry to upgrade our DSLRs.

Acer tries to make the most of the large chassis by squeezing in a numeric keypad next to the main keyboard, but these keys are only around two-thirds of the standard width, so it feels a bit cramped. Ordinary typing is pleasant enough, though, and the trackpad is lovely and large.

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Acer Swift 3 SF315-52 review: Display and specifications

If there’s a but, it’s mostly to do with the screen. Out of the box, the Swift 3 has a cold blue cast; you can tweak it to make it warmer, but you can’t fix the fundamental limitations of the panel, which manages only a poor 59% sRGB coverage and an appalling average Delta E of 5.91. On the upside, a maximum brightness of 276cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 1,231:1 lend the screen a good degree of vibrance and solidity: the colours may be wrong, but they’re confidently wrong.

The screen also doesn’t support touch, and its native resolution is only 1,920 x 1,080, which results in a relatively low pixel density of 141ppi. The big backlight also impacts on battery life: the Swift 3 managed 6hrs 50mins of video playback before powering down, placing it towards the bottom of the pack.

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Acer Swift 3 SF315-52 review: Verdict

The Acer Swift 3 is a competent machine, but it has its foibles. If you’re in the market for a 15.6in laptop, therefore, we suggest you take a look at the PC Specialist Lafité instead, which has a better screen and more storage for a price that’s barely any higher.

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