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Hands On: GIGABYTE P37 1070 VR Laptop

One issue some people have with the awesome new VR ready laptops that are hitting the market is the size. Of course there is going to a trade off, you can’t expect a tablet sized PC to have a 1080 GPU, but some of these machines are outright massive, which could be a problem for those who do a lot of traveling. Some are big, but not all. The $2,400 GIGABYTE P37 is large compared to other laptops, but thin compared to its bigger brothers like the GIGABYTE P57. It’s the size of a large laptop, but still rocks enough power to run any of the currently available VR games.

It’s about time.

Business and Pleasure

The first thing you’ll notice about the P37 is that it is fairly unremarkable from a design perspective. It’s simple black, with no color or embellishments to speak of, which is both a blessing and a curse. It could be called boring, with none of the flashy design and visual bells and whistles of some of its competition. On the other hand, not everyone likes garish designs, and this would be great for say, a business person who wants a laptop they can use for work, and can then play games when they get home. Not everyone is lucky enough to get to play games at work!

The 17.3 inch display is bright and clear, and running games in 4K (3840x2160) on a laptop is always a pleasure. For those of you who want higher refresh rates, there’s also a 1920 x 1080 version available with the same screen size for $100 dollars cheaper.

The keyboard (again, like the P57,) is chock full of shortcuts. It includes a number pad, so you really can use this laptop for work as well as play. As a huge fan of shortcuts I like this keyboard, everything from toggling Wi-Fi to the backlight can be controlled without ever touching a mouse. The backlight is a rather boring white, keeping in line with the unremarkable design. I do wish it was a bit brighter, but I like that you can control brightness and whether it’s on or off from the space bar.

As far as VR ready laptops go, the P37 is up there with the most functional, all contained within an unassuming case.

The keyboard is great, but the trackpad is a bit of a disappointment. It was difficult to tell where the pad ended and the molded plastic of the case began. Most people probably won’t be playing games with a trackpad so it isn’t a huge complaint, but I wish it were better defined.

On the left side of the keyboard are five macro keys, really the only feature that makes this laptop stand out from a visual perspective. These macros can be very useful as you can assign them to complete complex tasks with the simple press of a button. They’re great for gamers.

Along the sides of the P37 are numerous I/O options which I always appreciate. On the left is an ethernet port for those who want a more stable connection, a USB 3.0 port, a SD card reader, and the standard audio jacks. On the right side is a mini display port, another USB 3.0, and a USB-C connector. USB-C is quick at 10 Gb/s maximum throughput, but hopefully the days of standard Thunderbolt 3 connectors and 40 Gb/s maximum throughput will be upon us soon. There’s also a VGA and HDMI output. It’s great to see GIGABYTE using the space available to these larger computers and not skimping on the options.

Big Power, Little Body

The specs on the P37 are solid given the relatively small size of the case. This guy rocks a GTX 1070 8G GPU, so you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to games. GIGABYTE went with an  i7 -6700HQ processor and 16GB of DDR4 RAM in the model they provided us. It’s not the fastest laptop on the market, but it is VR ready and is a pretty serious gaming rig in a portable body.

Storage options are solid too; the P37 comes with a M.2 512G SSD (awesome!), and a 1TB 7200 HDD. Considering the relatively large size of the SSD and the optional storage, I’d be ok without the 1TB HDD and a lower price tag.

Hiding in Plain Sight

As far as VR ready laptops go, the P37 is up there with the most functional, all contained within an unassuming case. Though it lacks the cool backlighting and crazy aesthetics of some of the competition, the simplicity of design might be great for a professional who still wants access to powerful components. It’s a bit more expensive than some of the GTX 1070 laptop competition, even in GIGABYTE’s own lineup, but the M.2 SSD and the option to pay more for 4K, along with the thin profile and the unassuming design set the P37 apart.

As more and more VR ready laptops hit the market, it’s great to see the vast array of choices available, from the most garish to the unassuming. The GIGABYTE P37 is definitely in the latter category, but that’s not at all a bad thing.

Like they always say, never judge a PC by its case.