The Gigabyte Aero 15 a thin but powerful laptop. It features an almost bezel-less 15.6 display, 7th gen Intel Core i7 (7700HQ) and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5 memory. The version I picked up has a 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM, though both of these are upgradable. The laptop has a nice selection of ports, including mini-DP, USB 3 (Type A) and Thunderbolt 3. It’s available in three colours: black, green, and orange. I went for the orange version. Gigabyte Aero 15 Available from Amazon here. (Affiliate link)
After five years, I decided to replace my MacBook Air. It was a good servant. Small, Light, and still running up to date software. The MagSafe charger was a problem as the connection takes 15 minutes of fiddling to try and get the battery to charge. So it has lost that reliability that I had with it. After a bit of research and trying to decide what I would use it for, I had decided to go with either the Dell XPS 15 or the Gigabyte Aero 15. In the end, I went with the Aero 15 because of the extra graphics grunt, the Pantone certified display, and the design of the laptop.
Both the Dell XPS and the Gigabyte Aero 15 have beautiful thin bezels. That jumps straight at you when you first open the Aero, the display is beautiful. That thin bezel keeps the chassis size down too which is nice. Its a massive jump up in size from my current MacBook Air, but that thin bezel keeps it to a manageable size. I can still throw it in my bag and carry around easily enough. It’s a little heavier than I’m used to at a little over 2KG but I got used it very fast. The orange version is not a bad in real life as I thought it was going to be. I was ready to cover it with some DBrand or Gelaskins vinyl but not sure if I will now.
One thing I have had to get used to though is the keyboard layout. I’m not used to having a numpad on any laptop I’ve ever owned so I have to get my muscle memory shifted to the left slightly. As I touch type, initially I end up with a few mistakes before I make that physical shift to the left. I’ll get used to it soon. The trackpad will take a little more work. I do get some phantom clicks when I’m moving around, so I’ll have to play around with the sensitivity on it. That said, it is big and it seems to have good palm rejection as my typing is never interrupted.
A note on the keyboard lighting, it can be pretty gaudy. I’m getting used to it - I prefer my backlighting a little more subtle. There are plenty of options and I’ve found lots of settings that I’m happy with.
Down to performance, as this is the reason that this laptop exists. It does not disappoint. I haven’t run a huge amount of software on it yet, but everything I’ve thrown at it has been perfect. There are more in-depth performance reviews online but for me, it has been perfect. I don’t play a huge amount of more graphics intensive windows games, as I haven’t owned a non-work Windows machine in years. I’ve been playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Cities: Skylines on the laptop with not a single problem. Settings are all up high and not a dropped frame in sight. These aren’t the most demanding games, but the machine has handled them well. Couldn’t do that on my old MacBook Air.
I thought fan noise might be a problem for a laptop this thin. Yet on a long train commute recently I was able to play Divinity for a couple of hours and I didn’t notice them getting loud. It wasn’t completely silent and it might be more noticeable in a quiet coffee shop. It might be different if you were gaming but for regular tasks, they don’t spin up.
Battery life seems decent for my needs. I’m not sure you will get a full day of work out of it. I was on the couch the other day browsing the internet, watching some YouTube, and it looked like it could last at least around 6 hours. Gigabyte reports 10 hours so will be interesting to see what I actually get as I haven’t put it to the test. The power brick that comes with it is nice and small so not a problem to carry around. Even has a USB Type A port on it so I can charge my phone at the same time I guess. Might be useful on a train or whatever when you’re down to one socket.
On the software side, there is a bit of included software, but most of it seems useful for some purpose or another. Pretty sure it’s removable if you need to for whatever reason. Windows 10 is fine, I use it all day in work so I’m used to it. I’ll miss OS X but will keep the Air around to keep up to date on it.
The laptop is on the expensive side. It is €200 more than a pretty similar Dell XPS 15. There is some better tech under the hood for that extra money though. You get a better graphics card, GTX 1060 6GB vs GTX 1050 4GB and a full bandwidth Thunderbolt 3 port (though only after a recent BIOS update).
I’m enjoying the laptop. Its perfect for my requirements and is a nice transition between current and future technologies. It has the ports for my current old Dell 32 inch screen but also has a nice Thunderbolt 3 port. That means I can move to it when I’ve made my mind up on what new screen to buy. At least I don’t have to live the dongle life yet. Gigabyte Aero 15 Available from Amazon here. (Affiliate link)