When it comes to laptops, most people probably don’t think of Aorus, GIGABYTE’s premium brand. In fact, most people probably don’t know about Aorus at all, which is unfortunate. We’re huge fans of ultra performance mobile battlestations here, and the Aorus 15.6" X5 V6 is a beast in a slick, attractive case that houses some serious power. Most impressive is the weight; at at 5.51 lbs this could very well be the lightest laptop with a GTX 1070 on the market. For the price of $2,399, whether you’ve heard of Aorus or not, you need to know about the X5 V6 and Aorus's shot at the world's best gaming laptops.
Now, we’ve reviewed Aorus laptops before, with positive results. The Aorus X7 Pro V5 and the Aorus X5s V5 Camo impressed us. The X5 is obviously not the only laptop with a 1070, but the light weight, performance, and build quality help the Aorus stand out and will hopefully assist in Aorus being a more recognizable brand.
The Case For Aorus
The Aorus X5V6 has a simple black case with the silver eagle head logo on the back (and the power button...and the trackpad...ok maybe tone it down with the logos.) The first thing you’ll notice is the weight, it’s hard to believe 5.51 pounds can house so much power. The case is all machined aluminum which adds some class, though it doesn’t feel as premium as a full unibody machined chassis.
As I’ve mentioned before, I like simple, elegant looking laptops, ones that don’t out me as a gamer when I’m working on something else. I wouldn’t mind some variation in the color however, black on black just doesn’t feel very inspired. There’s a whole world between boring and obnoxious, and I’m hoping wer button and the logos, though the large Aorus logo in blue on the trackpad seems a bit aesthetically incongruous.
The keyboard feels great, and though I still prefer to use an external keyboard when doing any real gaming, the scissor switches make it one of the best laptop keyboards I’ve used. I also appreciate the inclusion of 5 macro keys to the left that seem to be all the rage on these VR ready laptops. The keyboard is capable of light shows with a full LED color spectrum at your disposal, and the Aorus Fusion software to control the lighting is super easy to use.
The speakers are pretty standard and are located above the keyboard, surrounding the power button in a fairly straightforward design.
The highlight of the machine is the GTX 1070 Pascal GPU, and it really is pretty remarkable they were able to fit such a beast of a card in such a diminutive and unassuming frame.
The trackpad, as with the X7, leaves a bit to be desired, though it’s certainly functional. It’s personal preference, but I could do without the logo, and it doesn’t feel as responsive as some of the competition. Because it isn’t recessed, it's too easy for your fingers to slip off and lose your place. Not a lot of gamers use a trackpad obviously, so it’s not a deal breaker, but I’m hoping Aorus addresses this issue with their next model.
The 15.6" display isn’t 4K, you have to upgrade to an X7 for that, but it does support up to a respectable 2880 x 1620 with a 60Hz refresh rate. There will also be a full HD version with 120 hertz and a 5 millisecond response for those of you that want faster refresh rates.
The exterior of the X5 may not be the most exciting thing, but damn if the insides don’t shine. The highlight of the machine is the GTX 1070 Pascal GPU, and it really is pretty remarkable they were able to fit such a beast of a card in such a diminutive and unassuming frame. For those of you who want even more power, the X7 version of this laptop will have the option to ship with a 1080 soon, though it hasn’t been released so no word yet on price.
The X5 we received also has a 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD, meaning transfer speeds of up to 2000MB per second. There’s also two more M.2 slots, meaning you could theoretically fuse together a three way M.2 storage monster. There’s also a 1TB HDD, which almost feels unnecessary at this point. No reason you couldn’t swap it out for something bigger though, so it’s nice to have the option.
Our X5 shipped with 16GB of DDR4 2400 RAM, with a maximum capacity of 64GB via four slots. Take that DDR3! As for the CPU, we’ve got an i7-6820HK 2.7 GHz. The specs are all around solid, especially with the 1070, but there a few laptops on the market with similar guts. Where the X5V6 really stands out in how small and light it is, paired with the unassuming design.
This laptop is a surprisingly light hearted monster.
Any Ports in The Storm
As with the X7, the I/O layout is a bit unusual. There are two USB 3.0 (Type-A) ports on the right side, along with an SD card reader and a HDMI output. The LAN port, power, and a third USB 3.0 port are on the back, which is irritating for those (like me) who want to keep their computer against the wall. On the left side, we have a Mini display port, audio ins and outs, and a USB 3.1 (Type-C) port. We’re starting to sound like a broken hard drive, but we’re really looking forward to the day when USB 3.1 is finally replaced with Thunderbolt 3 connectors and its 40 Gb/s maximum throughput.
Another strange feature about the X5V6 is that two potential ports have been sealed off with rubber. I know, it sounds weird, but on the back and the left there are two ports (looks like a full Display Port and an additional HDMI port respectively) that are not accessible. I cannot fathom the purpose of this, unless the cases were designed to have more outputs but were subsequently removed from the motherboard. Regardless of the reason this mystifying issue is not great for a $2,400 piece of premium gaming hardware.
The specs on the X5V6 are certainly impressive for a gaming laptop, but it’s not alone in that. What makes the X5V6 so desirable is the combination of the power of the components and the elegant and light case that houses them. The X5V6 is perfect for someone who wants a portable, light laptop that doesn’t scream “I’m a gamer!” while still being able to keep up with other high end gaming laptops.
Aorus might not be a household name yet, but if they continue with this impressive degree of engineering, there sure to become much better known soon.
We can’t wait to get our hands on the X7 with the 1080 GPU, and to see what Aorus has in store next.