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Hands On: GIGABYTE SabrePro 15

We’ve talked about the Sabre 15 gaming laptop, and how its business-like presentation make it an excellent all around work/play system.

The next iteration of the Sabre 15 is here, and it’s rocking a Pro designation so you know it means business. Well, business and pleasure, because it’s shipping with a better GPU and some compelling new features.

The SabrePro comes in at $1,450, which is a few hundred dollars more than the standard Sabre 15.

Things Just Ain’t the Same

The Sabre 15 (and the Pro) looks like a cross between GIGABYTE’s own P37 and Aero 15 laptops. That means it’s plastic, but classy plastic, and it means it isn't trying to be flashy. I prefer laptops that don’t advertise their powerful components with flashy lights and colors because I’m old, so this more subtle design appeals to me. It’s nice to have a laptop that can get work done, especially if that work is grinding for loot boxes without anyone knowing.

There’s been a few small changes made in the design of the SabrePro, in addition to the upgraded internals.

Instead of having all the standard allotment of ports on the side of the laptop, GIGABYTE moved the HDMI, mini DisplayPort, and the ethernet input to the back. This gives it a cleaner look when everything is plugged in, but it also means you can’t place it with the back flush against anything.

GIGABYTE also added some gamer friendly macro keys on either side of the power button. They can be programmed with build in software to switch battery profiles, lighting patterns and gaming macros if you’re so inclined.

The SabrePro is a substantial improvement over the standard Sabre, with its upgraded 1060 GPU and oodles of storage options.

The keyboard hasn’t changed much, and in this case, that’s a good thing. The keyboard on the Sabre is one of the better laptop keyboards we’ve used, with great tactile feedback. The two millimeter key travel means quick, easy typing, and super responsive WASD for locking down those headshots. The mouse is very recessed, not at all like the almost undetectable trackpads of some of the competition. This makes it easier to use, even if it doesn’t look quite as slick.

As for sound, the SabrePro isn’t going to be replacing an expensive pair of headphones any time soon, but the sound is crisp.

It’s still roughly the same weight as the standard Sabre 15 at about 5.5 pounds. This means it’s on the lighter end of the spectrum, but not as ridiculously slim as GIGABYTE’s Aero 15. The IPS display hasn’t been upgraded, it’s still the same 15.6 inch 1920x1080 screen with a 60Hz refresh rate.

Inside the Sabre

The SabrePro has some higher end tech inside compared to the vanilla Sabre, which one would expect given the higher price. The upgrade from a 1050 Ti to a GTX 1060 with 6GB of RAM is the most significant difference.

There are more powerful gaming laptops on the market including GIGABYTE’s own Aorus line, but if you want to get into 1070/1080 territory, you’re going to have to shell out the big bucks.

The GTX 1060 is an excellent middle ground, and more than capable of handling AAA at 1080p. We were consistently getting over 110 FPS on Epic settings in Overwatch, and the GPU scored a 9,314 in Firestrike.

The i7-7700HQ is a solid mobile Kaby Lake CPU, and in addition to the 16GB of DDR4 RAM, you’re looking pretty good from a performance perspective for professional use or gameplay.

Storage is where things get interesting. You have the option of getting two(!) 256GB M.2 drives in addition to a 2TB spinner. The model we have in house only has one M.2, which is fine, and the 2TB spinner is a lot more space than most gaming laptops are offering, especially in this price range. If you plan on installing tons of games on this little guy, the SabrePro has got you covered storage wise.

Cooling

Like many gaming laptops heating is an issue, but the Sabre has an interesting solution. If you find it getting too hot, there’s a shortcut on the keyboard that allows you to crank the fans up to the maximum speed.

Of course when you do this, it gets LOUD. It sounds like a miniature vacuum when it’s under full load, so you’re gonna wanna keep headphones handy if you plan on pushing those fans.

A Halfway Point

The SabrePro is a substantial improvement over the standard Sabre, with its upgraded 1060 GPU and oodles of storage options. It still looks like a business laptop in disguise, but it can push frames higher and store more games. If gaming is your thing and you like the look of the Sabre, the Pro is an easy recommendation for a few hundred more.

The Sabre 15 is a solid mid-level gaming laptop, but the SabrePro 15 is even better. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Check out the Sabre 15 here, and the upgraded SabrePro 15 here.