The Aorus X5 is being marketed as “the most powerful 15-inch gaming laptop ever” – and if it’s internal specifications are anything to go by, there may well be some truth to Gigabyte’s boast.
The super-slick machine is chock-a-block full of top-end hardware and custom features designed to make it the ultimate mobile gaming station. But, with the Alienware 15 having wooed us with its gaming charms earlier this year – while also costing a staggering £700 less – the Aorus X5 has plenty to live up to.
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The Aorus X5's design is slightly predatory, a look synonymous with gaming laptops. The hard lines and a slightly raised beak of this metal laptop's top cover make it look hawkish, almost otherworldly.
I’ve never understood why so many OEMs feel the need to make gaming machines look so aggressive – maybe it’s so competitive gamers can feel even more "badass" while racking up their kill count.
I’d have preferred a laptop with a more minimalist design, similar to the Gigabyte P37X – but this is a small quibble. The X5 is a well-designed gaming machine that ticks all the right boxes for gamers when it comes to functionality.
The X5 is very well connected, including four USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI and mini-DisplayPort connectors. Rounding off its connection options are D-Sub, RJ-45, SD card and surround-sound inputs.
The laptop also features a Killer LAN as opposed to Intel NIC chip. The chip has been designed to improve online gaming performance by reducing lag and increasing the ping rate. There’s been ongoing debate about whether the tech significantly benefits performance, but its inclusion will still be a bonus for most competitive gamers.
The quadruple storage system will also ensure that most gamers won’t have to worry about running out of space, providing up to 3.5TB of disk space.
By gaming laptop standards the Aorus X5 is fairly thin and light. It measures 390 x 272 x 22.9mm when closed and weighs 2.5kg. By comparison, the Alienware 15 is 385.8 x 270.2 x 34mm and weighs in at a heftier 3.03kg.
Even so, you won't be keen to lug the laptop around London with you on a daily basis. However, the Aorus X5 will easily fit into most moderately sized satchels and carry on luggage for flights.
This sounds great, but the X5’s slim dimensions are a bit of a double-edged sword. The laptop’s backlit keyboard has been compromised in order to maintain the laptop's slender frame. This would be fine if the keys were reactive – but sadly, they’re not great.
The keys have a little less travel than I’d like and they don’t feel terribly tactile, or clicky. I regularly found myself smashing the wrong key in heated CounterStrike or Rocket League engages. I’m also not entirely sold on the programmable Macro keys' proprietary software – which isn’t very user friendly and makes setting up the left-hand keys a little tricky.
The Aorus X5 comes with a few gaming software packages preinstalled that make it easier to video-stream games. The most useful of these is the ability to add a dedicated hardware encoder. The feature lets you diminish the performance hit you normally suffer when live-streaming matches on a laptop.
The X5 also comes with XSplit Gamecaster preinstalled, which makes it quicker and easier to share streamed content on common platforms such as Twitch. I found the streaming tech worked well, although still noticed a drop in frame rate when playing games with the feature turned on.
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The Aorus X5’s 15.6-inch WQHD display is one of its biggest selling points. The 2,880 x 1,620 resolution ensures text, icons and games always look super-sharp. The IPS panel also ensures colours look reasonably balanced, plus the laptop benefits from superb viewing angles.
The inclusion of Nvidia's G-Sync technology further adds to the display's gaming allure. G-Sync is a custom tech similar to AMD’s FreeSync. It reduces screen tearing and input lag by synchronising the display’s refresh rates to the GPU. The tech works a treat on the X5 and ensures that games being played continue to run smoothly.
The X5’s mini-DisplayPort ensures that those who prefer to play on a bigger screen can connect three, 5,750 x 1,080 resolution monitors – although I didn’t get a chance to test the functionality during my review.