Gigabyte Aorus X7 v2: Keyboard & Trackpad
The Auros has a fully backlit keyboard with a numberpad and a good layout. It’s also the only gaming laptop we’ve seen that’s got dedicated macro keys, with discrete buttons down the left-hand edge. The Aorus supports up to 25 macros thanks to a button that switches between five different modes, and they’re configured with the Macro Hub app included with the laptop. There’s also an option to lock the Windows key, so you don’t accidentally tap it and get dumped back to the desktop.
They’re a smart additions, and Gigabyte says its macro keys are built using a scissor switch mechanism (rather than rubber dome) for a snappy, responsive action. They feel great, but we can’t say the same about the rest of the keyboard. It’s a Scrabble tile unit that’s deeply mediocre thanks to a lack of travel and positive feedback from the lifeless keys, and it’s not helped by a squashy base. The Alienware’s traditional unit is better equipped for high-octane gaming.
The trackpad is reasonable. The two buttons built into the bottom of the pad are snappy and light – great for FPS gaming – and the glossy surface makes it easy to whizz fingers around. It’s not too big, though, and a USB unit will always be a better option.
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Should I Buy the Gigabyte Aorus X7 v2?
Gigabyte has done well to fit so much hardware inside a chassis that, in some cases, is half the thickness and more than a kilo lighter than its key rivals – even if the Aorus is still a significant lump of hardware to lug to LAN parties.
The dual graphics cards are just as quick as anything rivals can manage, the processor is similarly impressive, and the triple-SSD storage is innovative and lightning-fast.
The Aorus still suffers from traditional gaming notebook problems, though, with bad battery life, high temperatures and a screen that’s worse than its major rivals.
If you want to spend this much on a gaming machine, the Alienware 17 is thicker and heavier, but it’s got a better screen, a superior keyboard, sturdier design and it’s equally adept at gaming. If the Aorus is too expensive, the MSI GT70 is a more affordable option.
Gigabyte deserves praise for making a laptop that’s consistently quick in a chassis that’s much slimmer and lighter than rivals, but the Aorus struggles to cope in some departments. It’s loud and hot, has poor battery life, and its keyboard and screen aren’t as good as others. At this price, the Alienware 17 is a better option, and the MSI GT70 is better if you want to spend a little less cash.
Score in detail
Screen Quality 6
Build Quality 7
Heat & Noise 4
Battery Life 5