Gigabyte Aero 15 Review

Discussion in 'Gigabyte and Aorus' started by scrod, Jun 13, 2017.

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  1. scrod

    scrod Notebook Consultant

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    Since a few people have asked, here are a couple pictures of the X-Stand I ordered. I bought it because it is light, portable, inconspicuous and doesn't obstruct the air intakes at all. Other cooling pad designs potentially obstruct airflow with mesh surfaces under the intakes, even some lower quality designs with fans that mount underneath. I bought the Bosvision folding X-Stand on Amazon but there appear to be a number of identical ones, so I got the cheapest at the time that had decent reviews.

    I have the extendable arms adjusted to the 4.5 setting. This results in the least incline, as the rear legs are just behind the Aero's rubber feet all the way back. You can shorten the stand's legs and that will result in a bit more incline. Since it's passive, it doesn't add any noise. It's only benefit is to raise the intake vents on the bottom above the surface more than the rubber pads do, and also raise the exhaust vents above any clutter on the desk. That will allow the internal cooling system to work more efficiently. It seems pretty stable with no wobble on the desk.

    For those that want active cooling, I wonder if those side-mounted fan systems like OPOLAR could be combined with the X-Stand and allow for more cooling without any obstruction of the intake ducts. Some I've seen look like they might block port access, though:-( Any small AC or USB powered desk fan blowing across the notebook should provide some extra cooling when used with an X-stand. This will also circulate air across the keyboard and hot spots on top, something no bottom-mounted fan will do.

    gigabyteaero15xtand (2).jpg gigabyteaero15xtand (1).jpg
     
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  2. agent_pires

    agent_pires Notebook Consultant

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    My take on the Aero 15...


    Gigabyte is a brand that is known for computer components and gaming laptops. However this machine is more geared towards content creation. This is not to say it can't game because it can. It has a powerful NVidia 1060 (6GB) graphics card inside.

    For my uses (digital design) I wanted something that covered the following points:

    - Powerful
    - Great screen with colour reproduction (high sRGB coverage)
    - Lightweight at 2.1kg (2.3kg with power brick)
    - Large selection of ports
    - Small footprint
    - Thin bezels
    - Quiet
    - Great battery life

    There were a few machines that fit this spec. The Dell XPS 15 9560, Razer Blade and the Alienware R13. I did originally have the XPS 15 but after some quality control issues I decided to return it. The Razer Blade was much more expensive and had thicker bezels and limited upgrade options.

    The Alienware R13 looked great. But the weight of the laptop and smaller screen with large screen bezels put me off (2.6kg to 3.2kg with powerbrick). The Gigabyte instead had ticked all of the above boxes so I settled on it.

    It is an expensive machine so you'd expect it to be great and it excels in many areas.

    Screen - The screen is factory calibrated to give excellent colour reproduction and helps when editing photos or doing any design work. 1920x1080 is a good balance for a 15" screen and with windows 10 scaling set to 100% with small icons on the taskbar and desktop you have enough real estate. Combined with the 5mm thin bezels it’s a delight to use.

    Build Quality - The machine is put together very well. It feels quite solid haven't experienced any flex or issues. It is mostly aluminium but some parts are high grade plastic. It doesn't feel cheap and lives up to the premium. I originally had the black version of the laptop which looks professional but decided to change it for the orange. Which is even better the finish doesn’t look garish in any light and is a refreshing change from the typical silver and black laptops you see.

    Keyboard - You have per key RGB keyboard lighting which at first does sound gimmicky (it is to a degree) but can be useful as you can configure it to highlight shortcuts and other access you might want in your favourite applications. The keyboard is a little stiff compared to other keyboards and did find I had to hit some keys twice or harder to make it register properly but nothing major.

    Performance - Is very good am able to play most games and edit videos without issues.

    Quiet - The laptop comes with software that lets you control the fan profiles on the laptop when you run it in 'Silent' mode you literally can't hear it at all. It's brilliant it's as quiet as a fanless machine. This is great if you're surfing the web etc or doing light 2D work. In gaming mode though you can expect the fans to ramp up as you would in any gaming laptop.

    Connectivity – Compared to the XPS 15 you’re getting a much better selection of ports:

    3 x USB 3.0 Type-A ports
    USB-C Gen 2 Thunderbolt 3
    Ethernet LAN port
    SD Card slot
    Mini Displayport 1.3 (supports 5K)
    HDMI 2.0 (4k @ 60Hz)

    The fact you can drive 4K @ 60 Hz screens out of the box without dongles or adapters is a big bonus. The dell only had an HDMI 1.4 port and half speed Thunderbolt 3 ports. For such an expensive machine that’s a joke. No issues with this one though everything runs full speed!

    Weight – For a 15” laptop in a 14” chassis I think it is very well balanced especially when you consider it’s thin (19mm) and weighs 2.3kg with it’s powerbrick. Many people forget to consider the whole package weight and this is one of the most portable 15” machines with such powerful components in it. The powerbrick is a 150W unit and comes along with a 2.1a USB port for additional device charging.

    Battery Life – For someone that intends to use this machine unplugged for extended periods of time you can safely be assured this machine delivers very well. In light use (web browsing and a few videos) I’ve exceeded 7 hours easily. On average you can get 8-9 hours. If you push it a bit harder you can expect around 5 hours of moderate use. This is pretty good considering how powerful the components are.

    Cons – While I personally don’t think these are major it may affect some of your purchasing decisions.

    Webcam position – It’s a chin camera so like the XPS 15 is positioned at the bottom of the screen. This could be an issue but don’t feel it’s a deal breaker. If you use your laptop on a stand it won’t pose much of an issue if raised to eye level.

    Keyboard – As mentioned before the keys are require much harder presses to activate. After extended typing sessions you might want to take a break. Don’t expect to be typing quietly with this laptop. While you can, but you might likely miss a few keystrokes because of the pressure required to activate the key. It’s a matter of getting used to it but found the longer I use the keyboard the less of an issue it becomes but still worth mentioning it.

    Trackpad – Uses ELAN drivers which aren’t the best. The trackpad isn’t fantastic out of the box but with a few tweaks to sensitivity it’ll become lovely to use. I further enhanced it by finding Microsoft Precision drivers. This made the experience much better than the using the factory drivers.

    Price – It’s an expensive machine at nearly £2k there are other machines out there that might have more RAM or HDD space etc but if you’re after something that satisfies the categories of lightweight, powerful, great screen and a small footprint your choices are limited and this machine excels in these areas very well. If you shop around though you can get better deals than seen on here. (Game bundles etc thrown in).

    Overall if you’re looking for a powerful lightweight portable laptop for work and games that just works out of the box then the Gigabyte Aero 15 is one of the best choices you can make right now on the market. There are few that can compare to it’s footprint, specifications, range of ports and screen combination.
     
  3. namaiki

    namaiki "basically rocks" Super Moderator

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    Wow, that stand really shows off how slim the Gigabyte Aero 15 is. It looks amazing.
     
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  4. scrod

    scrod Notebook Consultant

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    It does look sleek when open, the bezels help a lot. When the lid is closed it looks a little chunky, but more due to the ports and grooves on the edge and the awkward way the lid aligns to the body, rather than the actual thickness that isn't too bad. It's not all that much thicker than a Razer Blade 14 or MSI GS63VR on a table, but to me it looks thicker on its own. The same is true of the XPS15, it looks thicker to me than measurements indicate.

    Great review! Thanks for taking the time. For me, reading genuine owner reviews is often more helpful than many of the expert reviews on the big PC websites.
     
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  5. Rinx7

    Rinx7 Notebook Guru

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    Hey Scrod, how long did it take Gentech to build your Aero? I just ordered one last week and I wanted to know about how long it's gonna take
     
  6. scrod

    scrod Notebook Consultant

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    I pre-ordered, so I'm not sure exactly. Based on my emails, it looks like they got their shipment in on a Tuesday and shipped mine that Thursday. I ordered right after it went up on their webpage, so I think I might have been the first or one of the first few they built on the Aero 15, so I probably didn't have to wait behind many others in the queue.
     
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  7. agent_pires

    agent_pires Notebook Consultant

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    @scrod - What's the webcam cover you've put on your laptop looks like it's a perfect fit
     
  8. scrod

    scrod Notebook Consultant

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    It was swag from a trade show, but all the ones I've seen are virtually identical. I think it actually prevents the notebook from closing completely ever so slightly. Also, the opening isn't quite big enough because the light sensor is also there, which isn't ideal, either. On my ultrabook, the webcam is in the usual spot on top and the sensor is elsewhere so it works fine.
     
  9. bernieyee

    bernieyee Notebook Evangelist

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    How do you find the sound and fan noise? Thinking of possibly picking one up later today.
     
  10. scrod

    scrod Notebook Consultant

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    The built-in speakers are mediocre, but pretty similar to the few other thin and light gaming notebooks I saw.

    Fan noise is essentially silent on Silent mode for surfing, videos, etc. It gets reasonably loud on Gaming mode when you have a game running. Wasn't as loud as an older Gigabyte P35.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
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