Gigabyte Aero 15 first look

Pros

Cons

Key Features

  • Review Price: £1999
  • Intel Core i7-8750H
  • 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU
  • 16GB DDR4 memory
  • Up to 512GB PCI-E SSD
  • Weight: 2.1kg
  • 15.6-inch Full HD / 4K display
  • Thunderbolt 3 included
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Gigabyte Aero 15: An opening look at Gigabyte’s super-swish, near bezel-less gaming laptop.

The Gigabyte Aero 14 was one of our favourite gaming laptops of last year. It featured cutting-edge specs that were neatly contained in an uber-thin and light chassis, and which made the competing Razer Blade 13 look a wee bit dated. But next to the Aero 15, it still looked like something out of the stone age.

For the larger 15-inch model, Gigabyte came out all guns blazing. The device was loaded with all the top-end specifications you could think of, contained within an alluring XPS 13-inspired design, with a near bezel-less 144Hz screen.

One year on, and the company hasn’t radically reworked the formula, instead opting for a minor refresh. But even with the lack of any significant changes, I can confirm that with this model Gigabyte may once again be a contender for gaming laptop of the year. Find out why below.

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Gigabyte Aero 15 price

Pricing for the Aero 15 will start at £1999, making it one of the more expensive gaming notebooks on the market.

Gigabyte Aero 15 release date

Gigabyte hasn’t revealed the Aero 15’s UK release date, although it’s expected to be in the near future.

Gigabyte Aero 15 preview

The Aero 15’s design takes many of its cues from the Dell XPS line, which in our opinion isn’t a bad thing. The most obvious is its 5mm screen bezel.

The bezel isn’t quite as thin as the ridiculously diminutive framing seen on Dell InfinityEdge displays, and Gigabyte’s trick of giving it a slight step makes it look more svelte than it actually is. Compared to the Razer Blade, Gigabyte Aero 14 and pretty much any other gaming laptop out there, it’s super-trim and makes the laptop look significantly more alluring than its predecessor.

Build quality also feels like it’s been improved. Unlike last year’s 14, which had a slightly cheap-feeling plastic case, the new Aero 15 has a black finish that feels far sturdier. Slight tonal design flourishes on the lid give it an extra bit of visual flare. Minus any RGB lighting on the main chassis, the Aero 15 has a pleasing, unassuming look.

Combine the above with its compact – buy gaming laptop standards – 18.9mm thickness and 2kg, and the Aero 15 is one of a select few gaming notebooks I’d be happy to carry day-to-day in my satchel, and use in public.

Despite being thin and light, Gigabyte has loaded the Aero 15 with most of the specs and features a gamer will want.

The keyboard’s NKRO (N-key roll-over) switches don’t have the pleasing tactile feeling of the Brown switches on Gigabyte’s more expensive, and significantly chunkier, Aorus series notebooks. However, they’ll be more than good enough for the majority of gamers. Travel was decent and the NKRO system means the keyboard should keep up with even the most frantic of gaming sessions hassle-free.

More ostentatious and competitive gamers will also appreciate the RGB lighting and macro customisation options built into the Aero 15, which can be accessed in the laptop’s preinstalled Gigabyte Fusion software.

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Gigabyte couldn’t tell me if the trackpad is Microsoft Precision-certified, but it felt fairly reactive and dealt with the series of multi touch commands I threw at it with zero hassle and was large enough for everyday use.

Round the laptop’s sides you’ll find a USB 3.1, two USB Type-A, a Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0 and mini-display inputs, plus a UHS-II SD card reader. The latter will be a boon for photographers looking to transfer large files on the fly.

The card reader isn’t the only new addition for which creative’s will be grateful. Gigabyte is also claiming the 15-inch screen will cover 100% of the Adobe RGB colour gamut favoured by those working in physical media. I’d take this claim with a pinch of salt, however; I’m yet to find a laptop or Ultrabook that covers the full gamut. Even the MacBook Pro, which has one of the best screens for creatives seen on a laptop, capped out in the high 70-80s. But even if the Aero can get above 80% coverage, it will still be a cut above most competing laptops – including the XPS 15 (2017).

I didn’t have a colorimeter to hand to test the claim, but initial impressions of the UHD resolution model I sampled with the naked eye were positive. Images looked sharp, colours didn’t look distorted, and there was no backlight bleed evident on the IPS panel. The upgrade to a 144Hz refresh rate is another welcome change that will make gaming significantly smoother on the new Aero 15.

Round the side you’ll also see one of the Aero 15’s most interesting features: its Dolby Atmos gaming speaker setup.The version of Dolby Atmos for gaming on show here is a virtual surround sound solution that works with set, compatible games. It should make it easier to identify the direction of incoming gunfire or footsteps, for example, and generally make experiences more immersive. Sadly, I didn’t get an opportunity to test the speakers during my hands-on out of fear of disturbing nearby co-workers. However, if the setup works as intended, it could be a key selling point for the Aero 15.

I was also unable to benchmark the device or run any demanding processes on it, which is a shame since on paper it offers some pretty impressive hardware for a such a compact device. You can see a full list of the confirmed specification options in the table below.

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Device Aero 15 Aero 15X
Screen 15.6-inch, FHD, 144Hz, 100% Adobe RGB, IPS 15.6-inch, 4K, 144Hz, 100% Adobe RGB, IPS
CPU Intel Core i7-8750H Intel Core i7-8750H
GPU GTX 1060 GTX 1070
RAM 16GB DDR4, 2666MHz 32GB DDR4, 2666MHz
SSD M.2 (PCIe) SSD 512GB M.2 (PCIe) SSD 512GB
Battery 94wh (10 hours quoted) 94wh (10 hours quoted)
Weight 18.9mm 18.9mm
Thickness 2kg 2kg
Price £1999 £ 2199

Considering the specs, the laptop should be easily be able to play modern games at 60fps in 1080p, regardless of the model you opt for. Although, even with the GeForce GTX 1070, the top version will still struggle to play most triple-A games at 4K with their graphics maxed. However, considering the Aero’s thin and light design, the absence of a GTX 1080 option is more than forgivable.

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Opening impressions

The Aero 15 is an impressive machine that on paper at least has the capability to be a contender for gaming laptop of the year. If it can deliver on its opening promise with regards to performance and battery life, it could be a great option for cash-rich gamers looking for a portable device that can be used for competitive gaming as well as creative/office work.

However, the arrival of laptops running Intel and AMD’s new G-series could throw a minor spanner in the works.

The chips pair Intel CPUs with AMD Vega graphics, and will reportedly enable thin and light Ultrabooks to play modern games, such as Rise of the Tomb Raider at 60fps. We haven’t yet had a chance to test any new laptops running G-Series chips, but if these claims are true, they would make a better choice for casual gamers who just want a laptop capable of running MOBAs or light competitive shooters, such as Overwatch.