Guys, if you are interested in thin and light notebooks, one of the decent choices on the market would be the Swift 3 series of Acer. Provided you want to buy such a device, you have some choices to make. And the biggest one is – do you go Intel or AMD. If this was happening a couple of months earlier we would have definitely said AMD, since the Ryzen 4000U processors totally annihilated Intel when it comes to ULV processors.
However, since Intel released their Tiger Lake chips, which offered a significantly higher CPU and GPU performance than Ice Lake, things no longer stay as such. Yesterday, we showed you a review of the 13-inch Swift 3, equipped with a Tiger Lake chip, and now, we have a 14-inch device, part of the same family, that comes with the Ryzen 4000 CPUs.
In addition to that, you get an extremely lightweight chassis and a 1080p IPS panel. So, let’s see how the Swift 3 (SF314-42) performs and feels, and how good its efficiency actually is.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-3-sf314-42/
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42) – Specs
Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro
48Wh, 3-cell, 50Wh, 3-cell
323.4 x 218.9 x 17.9 mm (12.73″ x 8.62″ x 0.70″)
Aluminum, Magnesium alloy
Ports and connectivity
What’s in the box?
Inside the box, you’ll find a 65W power brick, and some paper manuals – nothing too fancy.
Design and construction
Right of the bat, we can see that the SF314-42 uses the typical Swift 3 design we saw last year – a thin body that goes even thinner on the front side. The finish of the entire notebook is matte, which prevents fingerprints from sticking to it. Once again, it’s made out of aluminum and magnesium alloy, providing good portability and structurally sound chassis. The measurements here are 1.20 kg of weight and 17.9mm of thickness in the thickest point.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to open the lid with a single hand. However, as soon as you open it, you’ll see a pretty standard picture – narrow bezels to the side, and a camera that is located on the top. And if you’re often using your laptops outdoors, you will be happy to hear that this one has an anti-glare finish.
Let’s continue with the keyboard. It has an average key travel, and rather clicky feedback, which provides a pleasant typing experience. Once again, the only issue we had (hardly an issue) was with the proximity of the “Page Up” and “Page Down” keys to the Arrow keys, which might result in some misclicks. Well, we also experienced quite a severe deck flex on the keyboard, but the palm-rest area was fine. Other than that, you get a backlight and a fingerprint reader on board.
Further down below, you will see the touchpad. Its buttons are embedded, and they have a short, satisfying click. We would rate the gliding as decent, and the tracking as acceptable.
Turn the laptop upside down, and you’ll reveal the speaker cutouts and the ventilation grill. Hot air, respectively, is exhausted from the back – between the lid and the base.
On the left side, you get the power plug, a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port that can be used for data, power delivery, and DisplayPort output. Next, there is an HDMI connector, as well as a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port. And on the right, there is one USB Type-A 2.0, predating World War I, and an audio jack.
Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance
What separates you from the internals of this notebook are 10 Phillips-head screws and some clips. After you undo the screws, just pry the panel away with a plastic tool.
Here, we see a very modest cooling setup, including only a single, thin heat pipe. Interestingly, most of the chip is exposed, so you can read some of the markings on top of it. Yep, this also means that no VRMs are actively cooled, but to be honest, the 15W TDP limit won’t put too much pressure on them.
How about upgradability? Unsurprisingly, you can only upgrade the storage via the single M.2 PCIe x4 slot. This means that the memory is soldered to the motherboard, and you can only get either 8 or 16GB before making the purchase.
For the battery, you get a 50Wh unit.
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42) has a Full HD display, model number AUO B140HAN04.0 (AUO403D). Its diagonal is 14″ (35.56 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 157 ppi, their pitch – 0.161 x 0.161 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 56 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).
Its viewing angles are great. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.
The maximum measured brightness is 269 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 259 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 10%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6700K (average) – slightly colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective.
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1430:1.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is an essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The yellow dotted line shows Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42)’s color gamut coverage.
Its display covers 50% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
Below you can compare the scores of Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).
The next figure shows how well the display can reproduce dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.
Response time (Gaming capabilities)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 33 ms
Health impact – PWM / Blue Light
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42)’s display doesn’t use PWM at any brightness level. This ensures comfortable work even during long periods of time.
Blue light emissions
Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight. On the downside, it covers only half of the colors on the Internet, which is a bit petty.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42) configurations with 14.0″ AUO B140HAN04.0 (AUO403D) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS panel.
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42)’s speakers produce a relatively crisp sound with decent quality, but rather shallow lows. On the bright side, the entire frequency range is clear of deviations.
All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/8263?b=1
Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This laptop’s 50Wh battery lasts for 12 hours and a half of Web browsing, and 11 hours and 50 minutes of video playback.
We found versions of this notebook, coming with the Ryzen 3 4300U, Ryzen 5 4500U, and the Ryzen 7 4700U.
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42) CPU variants
Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42) model is the best bang for your buck.
Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.
And from integrated GPU’s perspective, this leaves you with either the RX Vega 5, Vega 6, or Vega 6, since there are no dedicated options.
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42) GPU variants
Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42) model is the best bang for your buck.
Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.
Temperatures and comfort
Max CPU load
In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.
Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.
|AMD Ryzen 5 4500U (15W TDP)||0:02 – 0:10 sec||0:15 – 0:30 sec||10:00 – 15:00 min|
|Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42)||3.10 GHz (B+35%) @ 65°C||2.90 GHz (B+26%) @ 74°C||2.60 GHz (B+13%) @ 65°C|
|MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx)||3.19 GHz (B+39%) @ 54°C||3.13 GHz (B+36%) @ 63°C||3.05 GHz (B+33%) @ 81°C|
|Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 (14)||3.29 GHz (B+43%) @ 74°C||3.32 GHz (B+44%) @ 88°C||2.53 GHz (B+10%) @ 63°C|
At first, we were a bit concerned about the cooling solution of this notebook, with its thin heat pipe. However, the CPU didn’t drop beneath its Base clock at any time, and the temperature at the end was 65C – roughly in check with the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 (14).
Comfort during full load
Thankfully, the cool internal temperature resulted in cool externals and low noise levels.
Ultimately, the Swift 3 (SF314-42) is a budget-conscious thin and light notebook, aimed at students, dynamic people, or even people that take their job on the go. This means a couple of things are prioritized over others. For example, we have the super-light chassis, that weighs barely 200 grams above a kilogram. Also, you have a battery life that spans up to 12 hours and a half if you are browsing the web, and roughly 40 minutes less if you’re at a movie marathon.
So, yes, portability is the biggest priority. Does that mean that you have to sacrifice on performance? Absolutely not! The Ryzen 4000U processors work like a charm inside of this chassis, even though the cooling solution is nothing to write home about. Not only you get a very respectable computational performance for the money, but you can also enjoy some light gaming experiences.
As far as the display goes, Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight. On the downside, it covers only half of the colors on the Internet, which is a bit petty.
Yep, this is one of the sacrifices, with the other being the speakers, which are not too bad, to be honest, but they are nothing spectacular either. And if you care for Thunderbolt connectivity, you’d better go for the Intel models. You also, won’t be getting an SD card reader, but the I/O is wide enough to incorporate a dongle. Also, the USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port supports speeds of up to 10Gbps, which is more than enough for data transfers and a DisplayPort output.
Another thing we really enjoyed about this machine was the keyboard. And also, you get a fingerprint reader. To be honest, we are a bit puzzled about which device is better – the Ideapad 5 (14), or the Swift 3 (SF314-42). For the budget – the latter might just be the right choice, but keep in mind that the former has an SD card reader. Just keep in mind that no matter which one you choose, you won’t be able to upgrade your RAM, so make your purchase decisions carefully.
- Very cool and quiet under heavy load
- Reasonably comfortable keyboard with optional backlight
- Lack of PWM (AUO B173HAN04.7)
- Comfortable viewing angles and good contrast ratio (AUO B173HAN04.7)
- Efficient and powerful mobile Ryzen 4000U chips
- Covers only 50% of sRGB (AUO B173HAN04.7)
- Memory is soldered to the motherboard
- No SD card reader on board
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-swift-3-sf314-42/