Acer Swift 3 SF313-51-86QH Notebook Review

The all-new Acer Swift 3 SF313-51-86QH notebook is, at least in my opinion, the best model you could buy from the already iconic series from Acer. There is no definitive “best” choice, since all options compromise on certain features in order to include others. But looking at the whole lot, this one looks like a winner in terms of value for your money.

Review

So, an all-metal body, sleek lines, thin profile and fantastic portability make the new Acer Swift 3 a go-to device for users who are on the lookout for mid-range ultrabooks that don’t cost a fortune. I haven’t identified many drawbacks, as all specs and features are expected at this price (around $900 at the time of this review).

Other features such as the backlit keyboard, HD camera with Super HDR technology and Acer Purified Voice make the Swift 3 a more usable notebook, especially for people who are constantly on the go. I’ll talk more about battery life and portability further down. Also, it’s worth noting that if you don’t need such a powerful CPU, there are two other options available from Acer: the 57EQ model with an Intel Core i5 processor and the 39BU model, which comes with an Intel Core i3. Both are priced accordingly, but storage space also drops with each version. That’s why I think this version is the best future-proof one you could buy.

Performance

Now, the Acer Swift 3 SF313-51-86HQ may not have the absolute latest in processor technology from Intel, but that doesn’t mean it’s under-powered by any means. On the contrary, the quad-core Intel Core i7-8550U will handle almost anything you’ll throw at it as an average and above-average user. It’s almost 2 years old, yet capable as always: it has 4 cores, 8 threads, a base frequency of 1.8 GHz that goes up to 4.0 GHz, 8 megabytes of cache size, and a thermal design power of 15 Watts. These stats essentially boil down to one thing: you shouldn’t worry too much about working on an under-powered notebook.

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Standard memory size is rated at 8 gigabytes of DDR4 SDRAM. While this is enough for most, if not all applications you’ll want to use this ultrabook for, I don’t think there is space for any improvements here. Swift notebooks usually come with soldered memory modules, so any upgrade is rendered impossible. A shame for RAM-obsessed users, but nonetheless, quite adequate for most users. You’ll be able to edit photos and videos, multitask with ease both in browser and on Windows, stream videos and music without issues, and the list goes on.

I’m glad to say the Acer Swift 3 SF313-51-86QH has plenty of storage space for your needs. It’s equipped with a 512-gigabyte PCIe Solid State Drive. Even large media collections can be stored on this notebook without having to permanently free up space. Essentially, there are no obvious bottlenecks in terms of performance with this model. It will run smoothly on a day-to-day basis.

Graphics and display

Video games aren’t out of the Acer’s reach, however most modern releases won’t be playable on decent quality settings without stuttering. Basically, the on-board Intel HD Graphics 620 the Swift 3 SF313-51-86HQ is equipped with will handle all daily tasks. There is no need for a dedicated video card for those. However, when it comes to rendering or playing games, it will under-perform. If you’re a casual gamer who enjoys some Counter Strike, LoL or Minecraft, this laptop will suit your needs just fine. However, if you’ll want to play FIFA 18, GTA5 and other highly demanding games, the Acer will struggle to offer enjoyable frame rates.

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Display quality is top notch for a mid-range ultrabook. The 13.3-inch screen features a Full-HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display. Colors are rendered beautifully, and at angles up to 178 degrees thanks to IPS technology. Even more, it comes with Acer’s own color management system called Acer Color Intelligence, which optimizes color and brightness without over saturating images in the process.

Interface options

Interface options are pretty standard for an ultrabook. You get USB ports, but obviously no RJ-45 interface and no optic drive. However, I expect this to be a non issue with users who enjoy the freedom of an ultralight laptop. Here are the available I/O options:

  • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
  • 1 x USB 3.0 with power-off charging
  • 1 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x HDMI-out
  • 1 x Headphone-out / Microphone-in Combo
  • 1 x MicroSD card reader

Networking

Networking options are limited to a wireless card and Bluetooth technology. These options should prove sufficient for the digital nomads and commuting users who won’t use this ultrabook connected to a landline anytime soon. I know I haven’t used mine like this in a long, long time. Here are the available networking options of the Acer Swift 3 SF313-51-86QH:

  • Dual-Band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO technology
  • Bluetooth 5.0

Portability and battery life

As you’d expect for an ultrabook, extra emphasis has been put on making it light and thin. The Acer’s all-metal body gives it a premium feel, while its thinness make it an ideal companion for anyone on the road. It measures 12.2″ x 8.4″ x 0.6″, which means that it’ll fit in small backpacks. And, thanks to it’s rather small weight of 2.87 pounds, you can carry it around anywhere without feeling overburdened.

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What’s more, the Acer Swift 3 has a 4-cell, 3220 mAh Lithium-Ion battery pack which has enough juice to make the laptop run for about 12 to 13 hours under normal load. This means that for most folks who just commute to work, or school, or to cafes, carrying the charger won’t be necessary. This makes for an alluring notebook to have around as you travel as well.

Conclusion

In closing, the newly launched Acer Swift 3 SF313-51-86QH is a durable ultrabook that will perform every time you’ll need it to. There’s no compromise on performance, or portability. It may not have a dedicated video card, but if gaming won’t be an activity you’ll do often on this device, it shouldn’t be an issue at all. I think this model is the best you could buy at this price, and even among its competition it stands out as a sleek, affordable option to Apple’s lineup of ultraportable notebooks. Whether you’re a student or a traveling professional, the Acer Swift 3 should prove to be a dependable companion.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Acer Swift 3 SF313-51-86QH
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