The existence of work systems such as work from home and distance learning, a more capable laptop is needed to overcome these two needs. Looking for a powerful laptop, durable battery, thin dimensions, but not expensive? Acer Swift 3 SF314-42 comes as one of the best choices..
The criteria above are personal criteria that I use to find a laptop lately, after realizing that the battery and webcam quality of the 2014 release laptop I was really lacking for Zoom calls. As it turns out, Acer has a pretty attractive offer, through the Swift 3 series which uses AMD Ryzen 5. I am also curious to try this thin laptop, and at the same time want to prove the two issues I heard from several people when talking about Acer and AMD; poor hardware quality, as well as hot temperatures.
In terms of specifications, all my wishes for a laptop in 2021 are included in the checklist, although there are some flaws on the other side. Even so, I am quite satisfied using this laptop for several weeks. Here’s my testimonial with the Acer Swift 3 SF314-42.
In my opinion, the design of the Acer Swift 3 SF314-42 is really good. From the outside, it’s actually quite simple. On the front there is only the Acer logo, with the entire body being silver. The material is made of aluminum, making it feel sturdy when held, and safe when held at only one corner. It is also not easy to get dirty or leave fingerprints on it.
This laptop is among the thinnest and lightest in its class today. Its maximum thickness is only 15.95mm, and the left and right sides are given additional accents that make it look even thinner. Best of all, it weighs only 1.2 kg, while other 14-inch laptops still weigh 1.4 – 1.5 kg.
Even with the charger, the total weight is less than 1.5 kg. Although I personally have never used the default charger from the Acer Swift 3 SF314-42 – I will mention the reasons in the next section. For those of you who want to be different, Acer also provides a new color option, namely purple.
When this laptop is opened, you are immediately greeted with a 14-inch wide screen with a body-colored trackpad and keyboard. The screen of the Acer Swift 3 SF314-42 cannot be opened one hand. But what is fun, can be opened up to 180 degrees, so it is very flexible to use. The bezel is relatively thin, although the bottom part is still quite thick.
With a thin top, left and right, the screen-to-body ratio reaches 82.73%. Screen Acer Swift 3 SF314-42 uses an IPS panel and not “IPS-level”, so the viewing angle is very wide, aka not blurry when viewed from the side. An anti-glare type, it reaches up to 250 nits of brightness with 72% NTSC color reproduction.
For casual use, this laptop screen is quite satisfying. It’s just that because of the maximum brightness level, it will be less suitable for outdoor use during the day. And it’s still not suitable for those of you who need high color accuracy for jobs such as editing professional photos and videos
Ports and Connectivity
It has a thin physical design, it is common that the completeness of the port will be more limited. The same situation is found in the Acer Swift 3 SF314-42. On the left, there is a DC-in for the charger connector, a USB C port that supports Power Delivery, HDMI and USB 3.2 type-A inputs.
While on the right, there is only a Kensington lock, USB 2.0 type-A, and an audio combo jack. Yes, that’s all, the number of USB ports is limited and it is not equipped with an SD card slot – where this last part is actually quite crucial for me, or maybe you are using a camera to make data transfer easier.
Between the two sides of the port, there is a dimensional keyboard and a travel key that is comfortable for everyday use. Customizing with this keyboard is quite fast. There is a backlight lamp with only one level. Now, with the color of the buttons and lighting that are similar, in my opinion, it becomes a bit ‘smack’ or less clear.
The power button is fused at the top right of the keyboard. Even so, I rarely hit this button accidentally. More often than not, the sleep button is above the “1” button, although it can be turned back on very quickly. The touchpad is large, comfortable, supports multi-finger gestures and already uses Windows Precision Driver.
Acer Swift 3 SF314-42 performance
The Acer Swift 3 SF314-42 uses AMD’s own chipset, the Ryzen 5 4500U. This chipset is relatively new and is included in the middle class, having a six-core CPU with a clockspeed of 2.3GHz. Using turbo boost, it can go up to 4GHz. The RAM capacity itself is 8GB, is a dual-channel LPDDR4 type, and cannot be upgraded.
As for the storage itself, the PCIe NVMe m2 SSD can still be replaced, if the 512GB capacity is deemed insufficient. Obviously, you’ll have to remove the bottom case first, and there’s no empty slot for a 3.5-inch HDD. So what about the overall performance?
For my a-la use, namely opening several Word documents, dozens of tabs in Microsoft Edge & Google Chrome browsers, Spotify, Outlook, photo editing and video conferencing applications, all can be run smoothly at one time. Playing games like The Sims 4 or Genshin Impact is still very playable, with the default Radeon Vega 6 graphics card.
Interestingly, during use, this laptop never feels hot. Most only felt at the top of the keyboard, because the vent is underneath. The fan, which is only one, is also classified as silent, even though the processor is working intensively. For a thin laptop, this is cool in my opinion.
The 720p resolution webcam on the Acer Swift 3 SF314-42 is quite standard, and is not equipped with a built-in camera cover. Meanwhile, for multimedia capabilities, the two speakers below are actually of sufficient quality. It’s just that, because of its position, the sound will be less than optimal on certain surfaces.
In the sales package, Acer has included a free Microsoft Office Home & Student 2019 license. That way, you don’t need to buy it separately, or subscribe to Microsoft 365, aka you can save expenses. The built-in microphone is also surprisingly good enough for the purposes of Zoom call.
This section is my favorite part when reviewing this Acer Swift 3 SF314-42. The battery capacity is 48Wh, and it is claimed to be able to run for up to 12 hours. With my usage — browsing, document applications, always connected to WiFi with high brightness, able to run for more than 9 hours.
For me, the service life is very good. Not to mention the support for fast charging which makes this laptop fully charged in just two hours. Oh yes, this laptop supports charging via the USB C port. That way, I only need to bring a 65W GaN charger to charge smartphones and laptops. Very practical.