Nicely Done, Gigabyte!
The Aero 15 is the best laptop I’ve tested from Gigabyte so far. It’s a reasonably portable 15.6-inch laptop with great internals, making it suitable for both workstation and gaming use. It’s not the cheapest laptop with this hardware going around, but for the right user, it’ll be worth the price.
Perhaps the best aspect of the Aero 15 is its slim-bezel design. Gigabyte has managed to cram a 15.6-inch display into a portable chassis, with Dell XPS-like minimal bezels providing an awesome viewing experience. Its footprint is still larger than the Razer Blade, and at 2.1kg its slightly heavier than the slimmest 15.6-inch gaming laptops, but these are sacrifices I’m willing to make for the enormous 94Wh battery Gigabyte has included.
The keyboard is solid with decent tactile feedback for both typists and gamers, while the ELAN trackpad isn’t as terrible as I imagined. You get full RGB backlighting for the keyboard – an awesome inclusion for all the RGB fans out there – as well as a great selection of I/O that includes Ethernet and Thunderbolt 3.
There’s a lot to like about the Aero 15’s performance, even though the hardware inside isn’t anything special. The quad-core Core i7-7700HQ and GTX 1060 GPU lead to a powerful workstation experience, and there’s enough power here to game comfortably at 1080p. Across a range of titles I tested, the Aero 15 achieved around 60 FPS when playing at very high to ultra quality settings, which is what you’d want to see. Thermals and fan noise are well managed across the board thanks to a fantastic cooling solution.
The Aero 15 is complemented by a very fast Samsung SM961 SSD, with an additional M.2 slot available under the hood for easy upgrades. Memory performance is limited by the single-channel 16GB configuration, although again, there’s a free slot under the hood that allows easy upgrades to 32GB of memory.
There's an enormous 94 Wh battery inside the Aero 15, and it delivers decent though not outstanding battery life. I was expecting slightly better performance considering the size of the battery, and I wouldn't necessarily claim it delivers all-day battery life, but the Aero 15 outperforms most gaming laptops on the market in this department.
The display included on the Aero 15 is outstanding, particularly for creative professionals. Thanks to a partnership with X-Rite Pantone, the Aero 15 is calibrated to near-perfect accuracy out of the box: a first for laptops I’ve reviewed. It is only 1080p and 60 Hz, so not the best on the market for gaming, but the panel looks fantastic and there’s a 4K option coming soon.
As for pricing, the Aero 15’s only configuration with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD is available for $1,899, which is on the upper end for GTX 1060 laptops. It is cheaper than the Razer Blade by $200 for the same configuration, and in most regards the Aero 15 is better suited to gaming due to its larger display, cooler temperatures and much quieter fans. It’s also $150 cheaper than MSI’s GS63VR, making it hard to pass up for those wanting a portable gaming machine.
It seems Gigabyte is on to a winner with their Aero line and the new Aero 15 in particular. It’s a solid laptop that I can comfortably recommend.
Pros: Fantastic portable design with slim bezels. Color accurate 1080p display. Fast hardware is well suited to 1080p gaming, with a great cooling solution and easy upgradeability. Cheaper than alternatives.
Cons: Minor build quality issues. Battery life is decent, but not as awesome as I expected considering the enormous capacity.