Acer Swift 1 SF114-34 Review: The Best Budget Laptop?

By Duane Beckett

The Acer Swift 1 SF114-34 is a beefy budget laptop option. Packing long battery life and a great typing experience.

The SF114-34 comes with an FHD screen and a thin, sleek, and light design. Making it perfect for people on the move:

In fact, this Windows-based laptop seems ideal for those hunting a lightweight and compact device for under $500 (currently available on Amazon for $449).

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Read our Acer Swift 1 SF114-34 Review below:

Display Quality?

One of the areas budget laptops skimp on is in the display:

However, this laptop is equipped with a 14” diagonal FHD IPS display, running at a resolution of 1920×1080 (HD). The screen is perfect for browsing, writing, and viewable from most angles.

The middle of the screen consists of 277 nits brightness, whereas the whole screen is averaged at 260 nits brightness, with a maximum deviation of 12%. Additionally, the screen’s contrast is 1350:1.

Conclusion: It’s a fine display for general use, especially since it doesn’t use PWM at all, so prolonged use is safe.

What is PWM?

Pulse-Width Modulation, or PWM, is a technique that controls brightness. It has drawbacks, including screen flicker which can induce headaches and eye strain.

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Performance?

The Acer Swift 1 has a basic entry-level 1.1 GHz Intel Pentium N4200 processor:

Yet, this is more than powerful enough to stream video, web surf, write blogs, and frequent social media.

The device includes 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM, the same frequency and model RAM Google Chromebooks offers:

You can do low-level multi-tasking with this RAM and processor combination, but you may experience slow-down if you have too many tabs open – or if running multiple apps.

When it comes to storage, the basic model includes 128 GB of flash storage. Yet, once you take away what Windows needs, the device is only packing 87 GB of free storage.

Finally, the Acer Swift 1 includes 128MB Intel HD Graphics 505. It’s a very odd integrated GPU that won’t be able to handle modern or even last-generation games.

Conclusion: If you are after a laptop for writing, surfing, or watching videos, this is perfect. If you need anything beyond that, this laptop will disappoint.

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Connectivity Ports?

The Acer Swift 1 comes packed with ports:

  • 3 x Type-A USB ports (rectangular);
  • 1 x Type-C USB port (oval-shaped);
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0 port;
  • 1 x full-sized SD card reader;
  • Usual 3.5mm jack for headphones;
  • Kensington lock slot;
  • 1 x port for the AC adapter.

The model 2SF114-34 doesn’t come with a dedicated Ethernet port, but you can plug in an Ethernet with a separate USB-C-to-Ethernet adapter for about $10 (available here on Amazon.com)

Battery?

The 12-hour battery life is something you won’t find in many other budget laptops. According to notebookcheck.net, the laptop lasts 12 hours and more when web browsing, and 11 hours in video playback tests.

Test Conditions: The display settings were “Windows Better performance,” screen brightness set to 120 nits. They had closed all the programs, and there were only applications running on which they were testing the battery.

Conclusion: If battery life is as important to you as budget, the Acer Swift 1 nails it.

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Well-Built Keyboard?

Firstly, the Acer Swift 1 offers a well-spaced keyboard, giving it a leg up over many other budget options:

And when using it to write, your palm rests naturally on the south side of the deck, your fingers don’t need to travel far to reach the keys, and it includes an accurate trackpad.

Conclusion: It isn’t the best laptop for typing, but you’ll need to spend much more on that. At this price point, the Acer Swift 1 might just be the best laptop to type with.

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Final Conclusion

Pros

  • Highly competitive budget laptop, that can be found online for less than $400
  • Great battery life for people on the move
  • The keyboard is fantastic at this price range
  • It is Windows, and supports the Windows 11 upgrade

Cons

  • The performance keeps activities limited
  • There are Chromebooks on the market packing similar power and performance
  • No Ethernet port
  • No touchscreen

The Acer Swift 1 is a top-budget Windows laptop, that does the basics well. And better yet, if you shop around, you can pick it up for between $300 and $400 (currently available on Amazon for $449).