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Hands On Review: GIGABYTE P57 1070 VR-Ready Laptop

VR looks like it’s here to stay. Up until now portability has been a problem, which is why the new $1999 GIGABYTE P57 laptop with a GTX 1070 graphics card (yes, 1070, not 1070m) is so exciting. For this model, GIGABYTE is changing up the fancy name and calling it the GIGABYTE P57Xv6, as opposed to the last gen called the P57W. 

We’ve talked before about mini, affordable VR builds, but even then they weren’t fully portable. For true movability we need a laptop, but VR simply requires too much power to fit inside a case that small.

The first thing we noticed about the P57 is that it’s HUGE and it’s heavy. Not a surprise given the size of the components inside, but a diminutive laptop this is not. It measures 16.42" x 11.46" x 0.96" with a hefty weight profile of 6.39 lbs, and a 17.3 inch IPS 1920x1080 screen.

The design is fairly straightforward, and hasn’t changed from the previous P57, a black plastic case with orange accents on the side of the laptop and the hinge. The fact it is plastic is not terribly exciting, the bulky weight and large profile make it feel like a laptop from ten years ago. That being said, it isn’t overtly screaming for attention like so many gaming laptops, and some people prefer simplicity.

The power button is a diamond above the massive keyboard, and when I say massive I am not exaggerating. If you’re not familiar with the size of gaming laptops, the keyboard here is only a bit smaller than the full size desktop keyboard I’m using to type this. I personally prefer a bigger keyboard, so I was happy; with so much space, might as well use it all. The keyboard has optional backlighting with variable brightness that you can toggle on and off, perfect for playing in the dark. There is just one color -- white -- so no RGB lightshows here. GIGABYTE went all out on keyboard shortcuts which I love, everything from sleep mode toggle to ODD ejection (more on that in a second) has a keyboard shortcut, great for people like me who are allergic to mice.

The speakers are located underneath and facing forward. They sound fine for a laptop, but if you’re holding it in...you know...your LAP it tends to muffle the sound.

We have no issue with ODD inclusion; when a computer is this big you might as well utilize the space. Most laptops that have still support this almost obsolete tech have the good sense to place the bay on the side. On the P57 the drive faces forward, meaning that it ejects from the front like an awkward tongue just waiting to be snapped off. The eject button is very responsive, which normally would be ideal, but in this case not so much. A touchy eject button is not great when you’re holding the P57 in your lap as the name laptop suggests you ought to. The quality of the ODD is less than stellar as well; it’s wobbly and feels cheap, not what you expect from a $2000 dollar PC.

Normally this would be a substantial negative, but GIGABYTE had the good sense to provide a replacement option. If you don’t want an overly excitable ODD (and really, who does), you can simply take it out and replace it with the included 2.5 inch HDD/SSD bay. This is a fantastic feature, as it makes installing an SSD almost as simple as plugging in a flash drive. The uses for this are obvious, it makes system wide backups a breeze, and the fact it is so easy to install and uninstall is something we would love to see more of. Needless to say, we recommend doing this immediately, as it takes one of the build’s biggest weaknesses and turns it into one of it’s strengths.

Most exciting, and most important in a VR ready build is the GPU. Our P57 is running a Geforce GTX 1070, which as you probably know, utilizes the Pascal GPU architecture and a solid 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, powerful enough to run almost anything, including VR. The video card has half the RAM of the laptop itself, so running The Witcher 3 on Ultra should be no problem at all. No wonder the P57 is so big, it takes a large frame to hold all that power.

The P57 we recieved sports a i7-6700HQ CPU @ 2.60 GHz CPU, with a 225 M.2 PCIe SSD and a 1 TB HDD. As previously mentioned you can easily expand this by popping another HDD or SSD in there, so storage should not be an issue. Our model also has two 8GB sticks of DDR4 memory.

In keeping in the practice of utilizing the substantial space the P57 takes up, there are plenty of inputs and outputs. On the left side we have an ethernet port, two USB 3.0 inputs, an SD card reader and headphone/mic jack. On the right side there’s another USB 3.0, a USB 3.1, a HDMI out, and surprisingly, a VGA output. It’s interesting they chose to support this archaic display technology, but then again, why not? It’s not like GIGABYTE was tight on space.

The Li-polymer 75.81 Wh battery is pretty solid. It’s hard to give an exact timeframe from fully charged until shutdown because performance is going to vary substantially during use. And, honestly, we don’t buy gaming laptops for battery life -- if you’re not plugged into a wall while running Doom in full glory, you’re going to have a bad time.

FUTURE WISHES

We really loved the GIGABYTE Aero 14 laptop. When it arrived on a scene a few months ago, the combination of excellent build quality and a 970m in a tiny PC was really incredible. Plus, that laptop was small enough with a crazy huge battery that made it a true gaming all-around champ. If GIGABYTE updates the Aero 14 with a 1060 or 1070, we expect it to be a hit.

So Who Is It For?

With the GIGABYTE P57, you know exactly what you are getting. It’s a monster of a laptop, both in size, cost, and power. And it’s definitely VR ready. If you want a high end gaming laptop, don’t mind dropping a couple of grand, and have a very large computer case, the P57 won’t let you down. Especially if you replace the ODD with an SSD as soon as you get it out of the box.

It’s not a pretty laptop, but it’s more than capable of running AAA titles and current VR, perfect for a power user or gaming enthusiast. Check out the GIGABYTE P57 VR at Newegg