Acer Swift 3 (SF314-42-R7LH) - $579.00 at Amazon
If you want the closest thing to an Apple MacBook Air, but don’t want to pay the hefty price tag, you can’t really go wrong with the AMD-powered Acer Swift 3. At almost half the price, it wallops the Apple device with a more than 2x performance increase.
Credit where credit is due, Apple’s MacBook Air truly kickstarted the thin-and-light revolution when it was released 12 years ago. It has since triggered a tsunami of clones and challengers all over the world that have tried to emulate the design philosophy of Apple’s paradigm shifter.
The closest rival right now is the SF314-42-R7LH, part of the Acer Swift 3 family, which is currently available at $574 from Amazon. It is cheaper than the MacBook Air (by a staggering 42%), but where it really shines is in sheer compute performance.
The Acer laptop is powered by a 6-core AMD Ryzen processor, while its alter ego runs on a dual-core Intel Core i3 CPU. In terms of numbers, there’s no real comparison, with the former more than twice as fast as the latter by popular benchmarks such as CPUBenchmark.
Both have the same amount of system memory and onboard storage, a fingerprint sensor and a backlit keyboard.
Apple wins out when it comes to the software bundle (MacOS, plus its goodies), the screen resolution (almost twice the resolution), the availability of Thunderbolt 3 and an ever so slightly longer battery life.
But Acer has the upper hand in the connectivity category (more ports and Wi-FI 6) and is lighter (by a tiny fraction).
At the end of the day, embracing Apple’s device is a much bigger commitment than just buying a laptop as it sits in a vertically integrated ecosystem that also includes smartphones, tablets, smart home devices, smartwatches and more.
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