TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- Gigabyte just unveiled the latest additions to its gaming laptop catalog, and they're lean, sexy and hella powerful. Targeting gamers and content creators, respectively, the Aero 17 (available starting in August, pricing TBD) and Aero 15 (available starting June 15, pricing TBD) prove Gigabyte is ready to make a major statement in the gaming laptop space.
The Aero 17 marks the first time Gigabyte has made a 17-inch gaming laptop for this line. The laptop measures 15.5 x 10.6 x 0.9 inches and weighs 5.5 pounds, putting it head-to-head with the Alienware m17 (6.2 pounds, 16.1 x 11.5 x 0.7~0.9 inches) and MSI GS75 Stealth (5 pounds, 15.6 x 10.2 x 0.7 inches).
At 4.7-pounds and 14 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches, the Aero 15 is a little slimmer than its bigger brother, but on par with competing systems like the Lenovo Legion Y740 (5 pounds, 14.2 x 10.5 x 0.9 inches) and the Razer Blade 15 (4.7 pounds, 14 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches).
Gigabyte laptops have always been slim, but after they ditched the bright green and orange paint jobs, they tended to fade into the background. Not anymore. Gigabyte has updated the Aero line, starting with the lid. Instead of a Gigabyte logo, a backlit Aero emblem dominates the center of the aluminum lid. Toward the bottom, you’ll find a cool bird-like design. Flip the laptop over to expose the undercarriage and you’ll see the large vents, which are also shaped like a bird and reminiscent of an Aorus laptop, Gigabyte’s high-end gaming notebook line.
While the Aero 17’s chassis is made of black aluminum, Gigabyte is looking to start playing with color again. I was shown a potentially limited-edition Aero 15 in a stunning white that puts up a direct challenge to Razer and its Mercury White finish. I’m hoping Gigabyte will bring the white to market and also consider playing with color again, as it did in the early 2000s.
When the Aero 17 comes to market, it will have several display options to choose from. There’s the 1920 x 1080 (FHD) panel with a 144-Hertz refresh rate for entry-level systems, and a 240Hz FHD screen for enthusiasts. But if you’re looking for the best color and contrast available, you’ll want to consider the 4K UHD panel, which is gorgeous in person.
You can get the Aero 15 with either an FHD Sharp IGZO panel with a 240Hz refresh rate or a 4K Samsung AMOLED panel. When I watched a short video of flowers blooming, I was captivated by a sprig of blue flowers slowly blooming, showing off a small catalog of blues, whites and greens.
Gigabyte has partnered with Pantone to ensure the Aeros' displays are individually factory calibrated with the former’s XRite software.
At 0.1 inches, the bezels on these Gigabyte laptops are some of the slimmest in the game. That means the webcam is still located in the bottom bezel, making it a nose cam. However, this time around, the company’s added a physical shutter, so out of sight, out of mind, I guess.
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So what’s under the hood of these sleek stunners? Both systems can be configured with up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i9 processor with up to 64GB of RAM and up to 2TB of Intel M.2 SSD storage. For the graphics cards, the laptops start with a base Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU and max out at an RTX 2080 Max-Q. In terms of networking, both systems will feature a Killer Ethernet E2600 controller and a Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 module, which is powered by Intel.
Both Aero systems will have better heat dispersion by way of a fan redesign. Gigabyte has outfitted the notebooks with a pair of fans sporting 71 blades each. Gigabyte claims the revamped fans will offer 30% better cooling than the previous Aero 15.
During my demo, a Gigabyte representative stated that the company is giving the systems an estimated battery life of 8-9 hours. While that might be feasible with the FHD panel, I’m not too sure about the AMOLED screen, especially if you’re performing more demanding tasks like gaming or video editing. But I’m eager to put the claim to the test once the notebooks become available.
Move over Aorus, it's Gigabyte's time to shine. Instead of doling out all the high-end goodies to its enthusiast brand, Gigabyte is serving up two impressive systems that, while focused on creators, will make a gamer plenty happy. Pricing has yet to be announced, but I’m hoping that with the addition of lower-end specs, these laptops won’t be too pricey. But we’ll just have to wait and see.
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.