Rating: Design 9/10, Performance 8.5/10, Value 9/10
Gaming tech producer, GIGABYTE Technology, aims high with its new flagship gaming-hybrid laptop and recipient of 2020 Red Dot Design Award the AERO 15.
GIGABYTE is carving out a niche in the market for a hybrid laptop that can appeal to the masses with the AERO line.
The AERO 15 comes in two display options: the 4K AMOLED and 144Hz high refresh rate Full HD gaming display. I reviewed the 4K AMOLED.
The AERO 15 OLED showcases GIGABYTE’s subtle shift into the content creator market, with a less ostentatious “gaming” laptop featuring higher design specs.
It feels impossibly thin for its CPU and CPU power and full array of ports.
On the left side, you’ll find a HDMI 2.0, Display Port 1.4, USB 3.2 Type-A, combo audio jack and Ethernet port.
The right-side ports include 2x USB 3.2 Type-A ports, Thunderbolt 3/Type C, UHS SD Card Reader – the display ports offer 4K output.
It has a svelte aluminium chassis with a two-tone metallic finish and sharp lines for an edgy look and feel.
The front panel Gigabyte logo has been replaced on this next-gen model with “AERO” backlit in white LED.
GIGABYTE has also redesigned the hinges to perhaps allow for better heat distribution from the fans, but the new design can result in a wobbly display.
One new element of the laptop’s design that I found both unnecessary but delightful was the inclusion of a mini lit-up AERO stainless steel logo by the laptop’s back vents.
Resembling a miniature rego plate. Unnecessary, but a really nice touch.
The front grill is a little baffling. It’s not a front facing speaker – like previous generations these are found on the base – or a vent, so it is seemingly just a design choice.
The base of the laptop features the cooling vents in a suitable Predator-esque design.
All of these design features are not stereotypical of the now traditional “gaming laptop” calling cards, except the vents and the RGB keyboard.
Day-to-day, I use a full mechanical keyboard. Switching to the much smoother (and quieter) AERO 15 OLED keyboard was not an unwelcome change.
The keyboard has a softer, shallower touch, offering very little sound – even with my ferocious typing style – as if the keys have been muted or cushioned, making it ideal for long typing sessions.
Another feature of the laptop that I loved was the tactile feel of the touchpad.
The trackpad was very responsive, with smooth transitions and a nice amount of pressure for clicking.
However, I did opt for a gaming mouse when gaming, not because the trackpad was imprecise, but because the keyboard layout places the keys close together, mistakes kept being made.
The trackpad also includes a fingerprint sensor, which worked very well and is a nice security feature.
The real star of the AERO 15 OLED is its simply spectacular 4K display, one of if not the best screen I have ever experienced.
Sporting a Samsung AMOLED display with 4K (3,840-by-2,160-pixel) resolution, it meets the VESA DisplayHDR 400 True Black specification offering the blackest blacks and luscious colours at 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut and each panel is X-Rite Pantone certified.
The colours are breathtaking, details are super sharp and brightness levels are excellent, offering great visibility even outdoors under the sun – although it is very reflective, so if you are easily distracted by your own reflection, stay inside.
Also included to boost these specs is the new GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q graphics adapter with 8GB of GDDR6 memory.
These immersive specifications are a dream for content creators, especially graphic designers and video editors.
High res imagery and streaming video are beautifully presented on screen, even this Word.doc looks incredible.
Of course, nothing is perfect. The stunning screen is given as much real estate as possible, with a thin bezel and no notch for a front-facing camera.
Instead, GIGABYTE has placed the 720p webcam below the screen above the power button and keyboard, providing a very unflattering angle for video chats – your knuckles and chin will be centre-stage.
The AERO 15 OLED does include a handy shutter for those that like to ensure their camera is not activated. Another nice security feature.
The model I reviewed included Core 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10875H 8-core 16-thread processor with base clock speed of 2.3GHz (max 5.1GHz), 16GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER MAX-Q.
It is an incredibly light notebook, at only 2kg, but the 4K screen does put a strain on the battery life, and while I didn’t experience much if any issues with app scaling, some gaming sessions weren’t the best I’ve experienced.
The AERO 15 OLED does manage to tackle the higher graphics in top gaming settings, even with its 4K resolution, thanks to its powerful GPU. But for best gaming experience, dial back some of the game display settings. I would imagine that the version with the 144Hz refresh rate would definitely meet gaming requirements.
Battery-wise, GIGABYTE claims up to 8.5 hours, however that’s without Bluetooth and other features turned on.
With regular general use, the battery on the review unit I received lasted around 6 hours when I used it for browsing and watching some videos, and a heavy gaming session for one and a half hours.
Be prepared to plug it in if you are planning to game for long, especially when gaming online.
The AERO 15 OLED includes a Control Center program which oversees the laptop’s system from CPU and GPU usage, fan speed, display settings, and toggle the RGB keyboard settings — even making your own custom-lighted keyboard layouts.
The value of the machine comes down to what its primary use will be.
GIGABYTE’s AERO 15 OLED aims to deliver the best experience for both content creation and gaming.
4K screens are not necessarily the best for gaming, especially on a 15.6-inch display. That’s a lot of pixels to fit onto one screen.
This can put a lot of strain on the GPU which is why hard core gamers often opt for lower resolution displays with a higher refresh rate of 120Hz or 144Hz allowing for smoother frame rates.
So, if you are interested in this laptop for gaming, best go for the AERO 15 with 144Hz refresh rate display option.
That being said, this is a top-quality choice for content creators and creative professionals.
The 4K AMOLED display offers stunning details, vibrant colours, super deep blacks all make for a gorgeous creative experience.
This laptop is the ideal choice for a creative professional who loves to dabble in gaming pursuits from time to time.
GIGABYTE is running EOFY promotion now until 31st July. You could check out the detailed information here: The Best EOFY GIGABYTE Laptop Deals. The GIGABYTE AERO 15 OLED is also available at Scorptec, PCCG and Umart.