In recent years, the mobile market has been growing at a rapid pace and laptops in terms of performance have long ceased to differ from their desktop counterparts. But in the last century, it was very conservative, and laptops were only suitable for running business applications and running very undemanding games. And, of course, in laptops of that time, in most cases, Intel processors were installed, while alternative solutions were used by manufacturers only to expand the model range with available products. The situation radically changed with the release of the Athlon 4 and subsequent variations of the Athlon XP, which were able to offer customers performance comparable to that of the Pentium series competitor, or even exceeding it. The boom on the AMD platform reached its peak with the release of 64-bit processors and began to decline after the solutions of the Turion series.
The emergence of the so-called APU (accelerated processor unit) promised AMD great prospects for conquering the mass mobile market. But the relatively powerful integrated graphics core in them has become a hostage of not very productive computing units compared to the competitors of the Core series. The Bulldozer microarchitecture did not save the situation either. Ultimately, the popularity of the AMD platform has fallen and offers of mobile devices based on it now do not exceed a few percent.
Fortunately for the red camp fans, AMD has introduced the latest Zen architecture not only to the desktop segment, but also to the mobile one. Considering how well the first Ryzen processors performed, it can be assumed that in laptops they can easily compete with Intel solutions. APUs based on the Raven Ridge core with the number of cores from 2 to 4 are now available, both with and without SMT support. On one of these processors, namely the Ryzen 5 2500U, we will just consider the laptop that came to us for testing – Acer Swift 3.
Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41)
Models of the Swift 3 series are not the first time they appear on our website, and for all this time they have left only a positive impression. Stylish and elegant solutions designed for a wide range of tasks to be solved, while having a small weight, compact size and relatively low cost – this is a small list of their advantages and capabilities. But the novelty changes the whole idea of the series we have long known: the case has lost all its compactness, and the weight has added an extra pound. Now the laptop has got a larger matrix and is best suited for office work or home entertainment than anywhere on the go.
|Model||Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41)|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 2500U 2000MHz (up to 3600MHz Turbo)|
|RAM||8 GB, DDR4-2400|
|Display||15.6″, 1920×1080, glossy, IPS (BOE NV156FHM-N48)|
|Video card||Radeon Vega 8 Graphics|
|Disk subsystem||HDD 1000 GB, WDC WD10SPZX-21Z10T0 (5400 rpm, SATA 6 Gb/s)|
|I/O ports||USB 3.1 Type C, 2x USB 3.0 Type A, USB 2.0 Type A, HDMI, headphone out|
|Communications||Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.2)|
|Cartridge reader||SD (XC/HC)|
|Multimedia||Audio system 2.0, web camera|
|Power adapter, W||45|
|Dimensions, mm||370,5 x 255x 18,9|
The SF315-41 model under consideration is so far the only one in the Swift 3 series based on the Ryzen APU. A 15.6″ screen will allow you to feel comfortable when working with Full HD resolution, but the presence of a hard drive instead of the increasingly popular solid-state drives seems to be complete archaism, capable of bringing you to red heat at the next “plugging” of the system.
Contents of delivery
The laptop comes in a regular cardboard box, complete with which you can find a quick start guide, a few booklets and a 45W power adapter.
The latter is combined with a mains plug and is made so tiny that it does not differ much in size from chargers for tablet PCs and modern mobile phones.
Externally, the laptop completely repeats the design of the recently reviewed SF314-52 model, but due to the increased size, it seems thinner and more elegant. True, taking it in hand, all the euphoria from sophistication immediately disappears and the first thought that comes to mind asks you to quickly find a place to put it.
The design still uses oblong grinding, which allows you to get rid of traces of everyday use. The surface practically does not collect fingerprints and always looks like new.
The case is made of light metal alloy with a gray tint. Its edges are slightly beveled and do not dig into the palm when carrying a laptop, despite the increased weight to 2.2 kg. The dimensions of the device are 370.5×255 mm with a thickness of almost 19 mm, which is slightly larger than in models with a 14-inch matrix, while the quality of workmanship remains at the same level.
The severity of style can be traced on the inner surface of the device. The screen protector is solid and in the off state it seems that the display is completely bezel-less.
Unfortunately, they are, albeit a small width. On the top edging there is a webcam peephole.
The hinge travel is tight, even too much, while it allows you to tilt the screen 180 °, which was interesting for devices with 14″ matrices, but with this model it is no longer so convenient to use, since the dimensions of the unfolded laptop have increased significantly.
The number of available ports remains the same. On the left side of the case, the user is still available: a charging connector, an HDMI port, USB 3.1 Type C, two USB 3.0 Type-A and a headphone or headset output.
On the right side, there is an SD/SDHC/SDXC card reader, a USB 2.0 Type A connector, and a slot for a Kensingston lock. A minimum of unclaimed ports on this side will allow you to use the mouse without problems, if necessary, while in the old Swift models there was a headset output, and this, in turn, affected the usability of peripherals.
There are two speakers in the bottom corners, thanks to which you can enjoy watching a movie or listening to music in moments of relaxation, but you should not count on exorbitant volume – after all, the level of the device is not the same. Next to the slots of the sound emitters are rubber feet and with one common near the rear edge, they are responsible for the stable position of the laptop on a hard surface.
The increase in the size of the laptop had a positive effect on the keyboard used – it has become not only wider, but also acquired a numeric keypad, which adds comfort in working with the device.
Island-style keyboard with short key travel. Like the model discussed earlier, there is a two-level backlight here, which will improve reading in the dark, although its brightness is not very high.
The on / off button is already located in the usual upper right corner of the common block. In 14-inch Swift 3 devices, it is adjacent to Del and Backspace and the chance of accidentally pressing it is very high, but in our ward it was surrounded by rarely used keys. Only when calculating on a calculator, it will be possible to accidentally turn off the laptop, if, out of habit, look for a minus on the right. But all this can be corrected during adaptation.
The touchpad is medium in size, provides good cursor positioning accuracy, and all gestures and touches available in the Windows 10 operating system environment are supported.
For lovers of personal data protection, a fingerprint scanner is provided, located on the edge under the digital block.
The SF315-41 uses a BOE 15.6-inch NV156FHM-N48 IPS panel as a matrix. The maximum supported screen resolution is 1920×1080 pixels, the refresh rate is 60 Hz.
The matrix coating is glossy, due to which, at a low brightness level, the screen will reflect objects in front of it.
The backlight intensity adjustment range is available from 14 to 207 cd/m². This will be enough to work comfortably for the eyes in the evening, but in order to resist the fading of colors in the sun, it is desirable that the upper brightness threshold is still higher. The contrast ratio is very stable and averages 1086:1.
The factory settings of the matrix are typical for inexpensive office panels, that is, they are far from accurate color reproduction. The color gamut covers 59.6% of the sRGB color space. The color temperature is noticeably underestimated throughout the entire brightness range and averages 5250 kelvins. This leads to the dominance of cold shades in the output image. Gamma curves are scattered on both sides of the reference curve.
The maximum color deviation, according to the Argyll utility, reaches 20.19 units. The average deviation is 5.25 units.
Viewing angles are at an acceptable level. From most viewpoints, the picture looks bright and contrasty. The loss of color saturation can be manifested by a significant deviation of the point along the vertical. No manifestations of SHI modulation were recorded.
The screen of the review hero is suitable for viewing any multimedia or office content, while it will no longer be enough for serious work with graphics. In this case, most likely, the general policy of manufacturers regarding the selection of components for their budget laptop models is manifested, when the screen resolution and viewing angles are put in the first place, and the color gamut and color accuracy are in the second place, which can be neglected in order to reduce the overall cost of the final product. devices.
Similar to the Swift 3 models already reviewed, in order to access the internal components of the laptop, you need to unscrew nine screws located along the edges of the case and unfasten several latches.
The internal layout, due to the increased dimensions and the use of a different platform, has changed somewhat. The battery, with a capacity of 48 Wh, is shifted as far as possible to the right, freeing up space for a slot for installing a classic 2.5-inch drive. RAM, the volume of which in the tested model was 8 gigabytes, is soldered directly on the board and is not subject to further upgrade.
The cooling system has been redesigned with respect to the previously reviewed Swift 3 SF314-52 model. Now it has two heat pipes, which complement the set of a single heatsink and a radial fan.
The heart of the SF315-51 is the mobile processor of the AMD Ryzen 5 family – 2500U. The CPU is manufactured according to the 14-nm process technology, operates with four processing cores capable of running in eight threads, and supports clock speeds from 2000 to 3600 MHz. The third level cache is 4 MB, the TDP level is limited to 15 watts. This feature set puts the Ryzen 5 2500U on par with the latest mobile Core i5 processors from Intel, and in a certain task pool, it is able to impose a fight on the more powerful Core i7 line.
The main advantage of the product from AMD is the high speed of the integrated graphics adapter Radeon RX Vega 8, which is more than twice the performance of the competitive Intel HD Graphics 620. RX Vega 8 contains eight compute clusters operating at frequencies up to 1100 MHz, and also supports DirectX 12.
The role of the disk storage subsystem is performed by the Western Digital WD10SPZX-21Z10T0 hard disk with a capacity of one terabyte. In the realities of the availability of solid-state drives, in a modern laptop I would like to see an SSD drive, albeit a budget one, but still.