While I wasn’t a huge fan of Windows 10 when it first came out nearly six years ago, I admit it’s grown on me over time. And its performance seems to be getting better all the while. Of course, performance is also dependent on the machine it’s powering. And in the case of Acer’s new Swift 3x ($1,200), the operating system hums along without any hiccups.
What makes this particular Acer different is that it includes the Intel Iris Xe MAX discrete graphics and an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor that operates at 2.8GHz. It gives all-day battery life (17 hours), too, and weighs just 3.09 pounds. The silky 14-inch 1920 x 1080 screen looks great from pretty much any viewing angle, and is lit up by 300 nits of brightness. There’s a 1TB solid state drive included, as well as 16GB of standard memory, backlit keyboard, embedded fingerprint reader, and plenty more specs that are all impressive. The real selling point here for Acer, though, is the Iris graphics that Intel claims will get you even more performance and new capabilities for enhanced content creation. A company rep explained it this way: “It enables you to take on more creative work on the go, such as video editing, photography and streaming. It’s definitely not a gaming system or a model for professional creatives, but it’s a great system for anyone wanting better graphics for light/amateur creative works.”
I used it the way I normally would — but with a lot more things going on at once. I hooked up a desktop scanner to it and digitized stacks of documents at a time. All the while in another tab, I had a YouTube video going. I was also streaming hockey games on it, watching television, playing music, doing word processing, editing photos, surfing the web, downloading apps, etc. I never counted exactly how many tabs I opened at once, but it was a lot. Just wanted to see how this machine multi-tasked.
It was a workhorse that seriously never slowed down. No buffering ever on the videos or streaming. Plus, whatever the battery was charged at coming out of the box —- and I know it wasn’t 100 percent — I think I was able to still watch two-plus hockey games on it and accomplish several hours of other tasks before I finally got a “low battery” notification. And even then, it was still at 10 percent. Wow. Even transferring files between the web, hard drive and a USB thumb drive that I inserted was super quick.
Yet here’s what really surprised me. I’m a full-time Chromebook user but found myself using the Acer more this past week than my own laptop. That was due to a multitude of things, such as the Acer’s portability (it’s so thin, I constantly caught myself toting it around the house to work on), processing speed, display, and keyboard that just felt solid. But it made me think for the first time since 2015 that I could actually see myself using a Windows 10 laptop again on a regular basis.