When comparing Acer Swift 3 SF314-51-57CP vs Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch), the Slant community recommends Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) for most people. In the question“What are the best ultra-portable laptops for an engineering student?” Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) is ranked 5th while Acer Swift 3 SF314-51-57CP is ranked 7th. The most important reason people chose Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) is:
The 15-inch version of the Surface Book 2 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. This is a powerful, VR-ready card that handles intensive gaming tasks. As for real-world performance, Hitman (1920 x 1080, ultra) runs at 71.9 frames per second, Grand Theft Auto V runs at 45 fps. It should also be mentioned that you need to be using the dock in order to do graphic-intensive tasks since that's where the GPU is located; using the laptop in tablet-mode will yield poor results in this regard.
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Pro Good performance for the price
The Swift 3 performs quite well for the price and laptop class it belongs to. Everyday tasks are handled without problem, multitasking is not a problem neither, and it can also play some lightweight games (DoTA, LoL, Team Fortress 2) at decent framerates as well as some more demanding software such as Photoshop and Matlab without overheating the hardware or lagging.
Pro Great trackpad
The trackpad is a bit larger than average and feels great to the touch, albeit a bit rougher than most trackpads out there. It performs really well with standard swipes, taps, and gestures and has no stuttering or jumpiness.
Pro Great build quality
For an entry model, the Acer Swift 3 has great build quality. The chassis is solid and there's absolutely no bending in either the chassis or the hood. The outer case is built from aluminum and the inner chassis is made of plastic.
The Swift 3 is a pretty light and compact laptop. It weight around 3.35 lbs and is 0.7″ thick. The screen size is 14" which is well within the small category as far as laptop screens go.
Pro Decent keyboard
The keys have a slightly concave shape and a soft finishing which makes them feel great to touch and they also provide pretty good feedback.
Pro Good battery life
The Swift 3 can get a good 10 hours of use (sometimes even more) with simple tasks such as web browsing or watching videos. This is true for both the models with i3 and i5 CPUs.
Pro Upgradeable storage
Unfortunately the CPU and RAM are soldered on the motherboard so they can't be upgraded, however the storage is not and can be easily swapped and upgraded if one needs to do so.
Pro Gaming performance on-par with gaming laptops
The 15-inch version of the Surface Book 2 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. This is a powerful, VR-ready card that handles intensive gaming tasks.
As for real-world performance, Hitman (1920 x 1080, ultra) runs at 71.9 frames per second, Grand Theft Auto V runs at 45 fps.
It should also be mentioned that you need to be using the dock in order to do graphic-intensive tasks since that's where the GPU is located; using the laptop in tablet-mode will yield poor results in this regard.
Pro One of the best performances found on a 15-inch laptop
Equiped with an Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 8GB (or 16GB) of RAM and an SSD that goes up to 1TB, the Surface Book 2 certainly packs a punch. It handles multitasking perfectly; you can open dozens of Chrome tags, stream video, and draw using the built-in software without experiencing any lag even once.
As far as benchmarks go, on the Geekbench 4 overall performance benchmark, the Surface Book 2 got a score of 12,505, better than the 15-inch laptop average (11,004) coming third after the Dell XPS 15 (13,911) and the MacBook Pro (15,170).
Pro The hinge is quite stable as far as 2-in-1 laptops go
The new fulcrum hinge that Microsoft used for the Surface Book 2 is much more stable than the one found on the previous Surface Book or even other 2-in-1 laptops for that matter.
Pro Great display for creative professionals
This laptop's display is bright and vivid, making it perfect for people who do a lot of drawing, design, or video editing work. The display offers an excellent coverage of 131% of the sRGB colour gamut (the average for this price range is 101%). The colour coverage and the bright display which measures an average of 417 nits really makes colours truly pop out and offers lifelike pictures.
Pro Great tying experience
Even though the keyboard is rather shallow (just 1.2mm of travel), the typing experience is excellent. Keys have a great amount of feedback when clicking and you rarely (if ever) bottom out when typing.
Pro The battery easily lasts a full work day on a single charge
The Surface Book 2 lasts on average 12 hours on a single charge. This should be more than enough to get anyone to the end of their workday on a single charge.
Con Comes with some bloatware
The Swift 3 comes with some bloatware out of the box which may influence performance.
Con Fairly noisy
The Acer Swift 3 has two small fans which sit on the CPU and GPU. Unfortunately they are rather agressive and start spinning even at low temperatures. Even something as simple as opening a browser will prompt both fans to start spinning quite fast. If you also keep in mind that both these fans have a fairly high pitched hum, then it's soon clear that this laptop is not the quietest on the market.
Con No Thunderbolt port
For a laptop aimed at creative professionals, the missing Thunderbolt 3 port is surprising considering the fact that Thunderbolt 3 is used to connect a laptop to peripherals such as external GPUs or power-dual 4K displays.
Con The pen must be bought separately
If you want to use the Surface Book for drawing then you will probably have to buy the Surface Pen which unfortunately does not come bundled with the laptop (it costs an additional $99).
Con Disappointing audio performance
The audio that comes out of the speakers is quite average. It's enough to fill a small room but that's it.