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Hands-On: GIGABYTE Aero 15X Laptop

Let’s get this out of the way...we’re big fans of the GIGABYTE Aero line around here. It’s a slick design, with a great balance of good looks and solid gaming capabilities.

We finally got our grubby paws on the updated Aero 15X, and had a blast putting it through its paces. Like the previous Aero, this is a killer production/gaming laptop with style and features to spare, now nicely upgraded.

Can confirm: the Aero is still killing it.

You can pick up the GIGABYTE Aero 15X for $2,399.

Aero What Now?

The Aero line is not as gaming-centric as GIGABYTE’s Aorus line of ultra beefy gaming laptops with dual GPUs, but it still packs a serious punch.

These laptops are all about high performance in an unassuming shell. Not everyone wants their laptop to scream gamer even if they’re up all night playing LoL, and the portability and functionality of this line helps it to blend into even the fanciest board room.

The Aero 15 was one of our favorite do everything laptops from 2017, and the Aero 15X is better.

The main aesthetic feature that sets it apart in a crowded market is the envelope-like texturing on the back of the case, the tiny bezel around the display, and the lower mounted camera. The camera placement is a little bizarre, and though the relocation makes sense given the tiny bezel, it might be time to simply ditch the camera. Anyone who is serious about filming themselves will probably have a dedicated setup, so let’s let built in cameras go the way of the ODD.

The Aero X keeps its predecessor’s snazzy design, though it’s only available in black. Gone is the garish orange and green of last year, which is certainly the right decision, though the complete lack of color options is a bit of a bummer. The Aero would look great in arctic white or crimson and black...maybe next round.

Inside Is What Counts

Where the Aero 15 has really changed is in the internal component department. This upgraded machine is fully loaded with a Max Q cooled GTX 1070, an 8th Gen i7 8750H CPU, and a high refresh rate display. It also has a 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD, and 16GB of DDR4 RAM.

The previous version of the Aero 15 shipped with a GTX 1060, which is nothing to sneeze at, but the 1070 and Coffee Lake upgrade are very welcome.

See it in action here-

We ran some quick benchmarks on the GPU with 3DMark. The Aero X pulled off a 12,750 Firestrike score, and a very respectable 31,285 Sky Diver score.

We’ve been big into liberating the Montana countryside around here lately, so we wanted to see how the Aero 15 X handled Far Cry 5. We were not disappointed.

The FPS averaged around 75, and that’s at max settings, with V-Sync on. Not bad at all. We also played some Overwatch, and as we expected, it ran incredibly smooth at 100+ FPS with everything maxed.

Performance was solid, but you could hear the fans struggling to keep up. Not a big deal if you have a pair of headphones, but it could be a bigger problem if you’re playing in bed while your significant other is trying to sleep.

You may be able to hear them, but they get the job done. The keyboard was never uncomfortably hot to the touch, even after some serious Far Cry time, and the GPU stayed right in the ideal temperature zone with no noticeable throttling. Pretty good given how thin this thing is.

If the fan noise is getting to you, fear not! If you pre-order the Aero 15X before the 15th of April, you’ll get a nifty pair of Aero branded Beats headphones along with it for free. This is a limited time offer, so make sure you check the product page for specific info.

Display Update

One of the most exciting new upgrades is the improved display.

Gone is the 60Hz refresh rate of 2017, replaced with a 144Hz, 15. 6 inch Full HD IPS panel. You can also get a 4K version if you prefer resolution over high refresh rate, but neither supports G-Sync which is a tad disappointing given the high end range this laptop lives in.

The display is still Pantone color certified, meaning every laptop’s screen is standardized to ensure accurate color replication. This is great for graphic designers.

Basically, GIGABYTE kept everything that worked and bumped up the refresh rate. We’re all for that.

Everything Else

Another area the Aero X excels is in the I/O department. It’s fully loaded with full size HDMI 2.0, mini DisplayPort 1.4 ( good for 4k 60Hz on an external display), Intel’s super versatile Thunderbolt 3, a full size UHS-2 SD card reader, and triple USB 3.1 ports, as well as ethernet for those of us who like to hardwire.

Considering how thin the Aero 15X is, having all these I/O options is a nice bonus.

The GIGABYTE Fusion keyboard is full RGB, though it’s a little more subtle than some of the more gamer focused laptops out there. The keys aren’t mechanical, but typing was a treat, and gaming was more than serviceable. The trackpad is one of the best around, with a smooth, responsive feel, and excellent accuracy.

GIGABYTE is claiming 10 hours with their 94.24 watt hour battery, though obviously that’s going to vary pretty heavily depending on how you’re using it.

Overall

The Aero 15 was one of our favorite do everything laptops from 2017, and the Aero 15X is better. The inclusion of an updated CPU and GPU, along with the higher refresh rate panel, has made a great gaming/production laptop into a strong contender for portable workhorse of the year.

Of course, the influx of 8th Gen laptops has only just begun, so check back soon for more updates.