Hands-On, Laptop

Acer Swift 3X Hands-On: Well-Rounded Productivity Laptop

Acer’s range of thin and light Swift laptops got more interesting with the Acer Swift 3X. Not only is it the first laptop to come with Intel’s very own dedicated GPU – the Iris Xe Max – it’s also a well-rounded (and premium) productivity machine that doesn’t cost too much money.

After spending a brief time with the Swift 3X, I’m quite impressed with its feature set and performance. Of course, it does have a number of shortcomings here and there, but overall, it’s definitely a thin and light productivity laptop worth considering.

First, let’s talk about hardware. The Swift 3X I tested is the top-of-the-line RM4,599 model with a Core i7-1165G7 processor paired with 16GB of RAM, the aforementioned Iris Xe Max discrete GPU, a 14-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS screen, and a 512GB SSD. There’s also the more affordable Core i5-1135G7 model with 8GB of RAM that costs RM3,799; its other specifications are the same as the Core i7 configuration.

Yes, the Swift 3X is not exactly a super affordable productivity laptop, but this has always been the case with the company’s Swift series. After all, for that kind of money, you are getting a slim and light machine. The Swift 3X weighs only 1.37kg with a 17.95mm chassis, so it’s really quite a portable laptop that you can easily lug around.

Now then, let’s talk about the user experience of the Swift 3X, starting with performance. Naturally, powered by a Core i7-1165G7 processor, this laptop feels very fast and responsive. As for the Iris Xe Max dedicated GPU, it can run less demanding games like Genshin Impact, Dota 2, and Diablo III without much issue, though don’t expect to get particularly high frame rates in more graphically intensive games without tweaking the graphics settings.

Moving on, we have the 14-inch 1080p IPS display of the Swift 3X, which is quite good. It’s a bright panel with vibrant colours and wide viewing angles, making it ideal for both content consumption and productivity tasks. I do wish the bottom bezel of the screen was a bit smaller for a sleeker-looking design, but the laptop still has a screen-to-body ratio of 84%; a respectable figure.

Given its focus as a productivity laptop, the battery life of the Swift 3X has to be good. According to Acer, this laptop’s 58.7WHr battery can return up to 17.5 hours of use on a single charge. This is a very lofty estimate, so I’ll definitely put it to the test in a full review.

When it comes to port selection, the Swift 3X is…alright in this regard. It offers two USB-A ports, a single USB-C connection with Thunderbolt 4 support, and an HDMI output. Not the best connectivity options we’ve seen on a productivity laptop, but it’s not exactly the worst either. Besides that, the fingerprint reader is quite fast too.

And then there’s my biggest qualm with the Swift 3X: its keyboard. While it’s great that it has a standard keyboard layout, the typing experience itself leaves a lot to be desired. The keys have very limited travel, which make for a shallow typing experience. The tactile feedback isn’t particularly pronounced either, so I tend to mistype quite a bit with this keyboard. Granted, I’m sure I can get used to it over time, but as far as first impressions go, it’s not very favourable.

What about the trackpad of the Swift 3X? For the most part, it’s serviceable. I wish it was a tad bit more responsive with a smoother surface, but overall, the trackpad is accurate enough to not feel cumbersome to use. It can recognise gestures without any issue either.

Even though the Acer Swift 3X’s input devices are not particularly great (especially the keyboard), it’s still a well-rounded productivity-focused laptop. It offers a good level of performance, the screen is bright and vibrant, and its lightweight, slim chassis makes it easy to lug around, which can be an important factor for folks who are always on the go.

But whether or not it’s worth spending RM4,599 for the Swift 3X – or RM3,799 for the Core i5 model – only a full review can shed some light on this. If the laptop can really deliver up to 17.5 hours of use on a single charge, I will wholeheartedly recommend the Swift 3X to anyone that wants a good productivity machine.

Besides that, it’s great that the Swift 3X also comes with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2019 pre-installed. This will be especially useful to those that need access to this software.