What is the Gigabyte P35Xv5?
Portability or performance – this is the compromise we usually have to make when buying a gaming notebook. Traditionally, such machines are big and bulky behemoths that stretch the meaning of portable about as far as it can go.
Not the Gigabyte P35Xv5, however. This capable gaming machine, featuring Intel’s latest Skylake processor with a choice of Nvidia 970M or 980M graphics card, is one of the thinnest and lightest gaming notebooks on the market.
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But is its solid gaming performance and slimline design enough to warrant it’s £1,600 price tag? I’m not convinced.
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Gigabyte P35Xv5 – Design & Features
Let’s start with the good news. Weighing 2.4kg, the 15.6-inch Gigabyte P35Xv5 is only 350g heavier than the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro and close to half the weight of the competing Asus ROG G752. It isn't exactly featherweight though – you’ll definitely still notice it if you carry it around in your backpack – but for a gaming notebook it’s impressively light.
It also lacks the garish, F-22 fighter-jet styling of competing gaming notebooks from Asus and Alienware. Far from being a head-turner, it’s actually pretty dull – or minimalist, depending on your point of view. The dark grey plastic finish, chunky bezels and lack of any distinguishing features – aside from being relatively thin at 21mm – come across as drab and uninspiring.
The build quality leaves a lot to be desired, too. Put simply, it’s cheap, plasticky and doesn't offer the premium quality you’d expect of such an expensive laptop. There’s a gap between the bezel and the display, the body creaks and flexes, and in one model I tested, there was a distinct buzzing sound when using the headphone port. This was worse when connected to the power supply, suggesting it’s an electrical whine.
In terms of connectivity, the P35Xv5 has everything you need, including the latest USB Type-C port, 3 x USB 3, a full-size HDMI input, card reader, RJ-45 Ethernet, D-SUB, mini-DisplayPort, Kensington lock, mic in, headphones out and DC power port.
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Gigabyte hasn't made any significant changes to the body of its gaming notebooks for a few years now, and that’s evident in the fact that the smaller USB Type-C port is surrounded by a bright orange plastic filler in place of where an older standard USB port sat. Not exactly what we'd describe as an elegant solution.
Typing is reasonably comfortable on the P35Xv5’s keyboard. The chiclet-style keys are well spaced considering the addition of a full numberpad, but they do feel a bit spongy; vigorous touch-typists will notice some flex in the keyboard. Considering it’s a gaming notebook, the absence of a backlit keyboard is disappointing. Instead, we’re treated to a basic white outline on the WASD keys.
The notebook’s poor build quality comes across in the trackpad as well. On the review model, right-clicking depresses the trackpad much more than the left-click, so clicking feels uneven. Neither the keyboard or trackpad are terrible, but neither are they good enough for such an expensive notebook.
The P35 comes in various storage configurations; this review model has a 256GB SSD as well as a 1TB hard disk. With Windows 10 installed on the SSD, the P35Xv5 takes only 26 seconds to boot up.
The SSD uses the faster M.2 PCI Express interface (as opposed to SATA), which means it can reach even higher speeds. The P35 reached incredibly fast 1,861MB/sec read speeds in the AS SSD benchmark, which is around 3x faster than a traditional SATA-6 Samsung 850 EVO SSD. Write times weren’t nearly as impressive, reaching just 130MB/sec.
Overall, the fast SSD means that the P35Xv5 feels incredibly fast to use; however, you’ll struggle to fit your Steam library on it. So games, video files and larger applications are best installed on the larger 1TB 7,200rpm hard disk.
The Gigabyte P35Xv5 is one of the most portable gaming notebooks you can buy, and is ideal for gaming on the go, but its poor build quality and uninspiring design is disappointing.
Gigabyte P35Xv5 – Display
While the P35Xv5 is available with a 4K resolution display, the model on review has a far more sensible Full HD 1080p display. With a 15.6-inch screen size this equates to 141 pixels per inch, which is reasonably sharp, although individual pixels are still noticeable on closer inspection.
I say "sensible", because as nice and sharp as a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution would be, it would absolutely destroy your frame rate in games (not to mention battery life). Even the Nvidia GTX 980M in this version of the P35Xv5 would struggle to run modern games at 30fps in 4K. Sticking with a 1080p resolution means you can enjoy much higher frame rates and have a far smoother gaming experience, which is pretty important for a gaming notebook.
In terms of the screen quality, the IPS panel is actually pretty good. Viewing angles are solid and colours are vibrant. At 306 nits, it’s bright too. You won’t have a problem seeing the screen if you’re using the laptop in a bright environment.
The P35Xv5 scored 80% in the sRGB test, which means colours are reasonably accurate. It’s by no means a professionally calibrated display, so if you’re a photo or video editor who requires colour accuracy then you might want to give this one a miss – but it’s definitely good enough for most uses.
Overall I’m impressed by the display quality. Watching movies, playing games and browsing the web all look great on the P35Xv5.