Sure, it's got a discrete graphics card, a quad-core Intel i7 Core processor and a superslim aluminium construction, but the most impressive thing about Gigabyte's Aero 15 ($3,000 at Amazon Marketplace) laptop is the edge-to-edge screen. A partnership with colour measurement firm X-Rite means that the Aero 15's display can reproduce true-to-life colours, and the model I tested looked superb, even when running intensive games.
- $1,899, AU$2,899 (about £1,465)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Graphics
- Intel Core i7 processor
- 5 mm bezel
- X-Rite Pantone certified display
- 15.6-inch HD 1,920x1080 or UHD 3,840x2,160 display
- 356 mm by 250 mm by 19.9 mm (14x9.8x0.7 inches)
- 2.1 kg (4.6 pounds)
- RGB backlit keyboard
- Aluminium chassis
Looking at that rundown, it's the checklist you normally ascribe to a premium laptop. Small footprint, impressive display, a ton of grunt under the hood with discrete, full-size graphics card and an i7 processor. Where it gets interesting is the X-Rite Pantone certification on the display.
Gigabyte and X-Rite Pantone have developed a version of their factory calibration process that they've rolled out across the Aero 15s. What does that actually mean? You'll see better, truer colours on the display and won't need to fiddle with colour settings yourself.
Rounding it out is the machined aluminium construction and a full suite of connections, including Thunderbolt and HDMI ports. An amazingly thin bezel also squeezes that 15.6-inch display into a petite footprint.
Let's duck under the hood. In a deceptively thin frame, Gigabyte has managed to find room for a Core i7 processor and a full nVidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card -- that's the grown-up version, not the notebook-sized card you'd probably expect.
That full-sized GTX 1060 really pulls its weight on the display, but cramming a full GPU into a laptop chassis means you're gonna get some heat issues, so unless you like to keep things toasty, "laptop" is a bit of a misnomer. The fan runs quite loud as well. Keep it on a table if you're doing anything intensive.
The RGB backlighting and dedicated graphics performance puts it in a category with other gaming laptops like the Razer Blade Stealth ($1,200 at Amazon Marketplace). You'll get 1080p gaming happening without any fuss, but it lags behind a little on both price and performance when compared to other ultrabooks, like the Dell XPS 15 ($1,500 at Amazon Marketplace) or HP Omen (which uses the model up GeForce 1070). The Alienware 13 R3 also comes with a similar spec sheet, and still beats out the Aero 15 in benchmarking.
I also found the keyboard a little cramped. Travel was perfectly fine, but I found the spacing between the keys a little too small. Granted, it was a lot of work to cram a full keyboard into the 13.1-inch frame, but there's a balance to be found, especially if you're going to be hammering at your WASD keys.
Where the Aero 15 scores points (apart from the stunning display) is astounding battery life. That slim 19 mm case is also hiding a battery that held out for seven and a half hours in our streaming tests. Even while running games and away from a power outlet, you're getting far more life out of that battery than most others.
The Aero 15 sells for $1,899 or AU$2,899. That converts to about £1,465. It'll come in a standard black or a very eye-catching orange. Go with the orange. That's the HD 1,920x1080-resolution model. There's also a UHD 4K model coming in Q3, pricing to be announced.