Small Improvements Go A Long Way

Gigabyte Aero 15X

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Gigabyte Aero 15X

The original Gigabyte Aero 15X was already at the top of its game when it came to slim and lightweight gaming laptops. Its thin bezels were ahead of its time, and the edge-to-edge IPS display was vibrant and gorgeous to look at. 

However, even though I really liked the Aero 15X’s display, its 60Hz panel was still a glaring weakness for a gaming laptop. Gigabyte obviously realized this, and 2018’s Aero 15X now boasts a 144Hz IPS display for silky smooth gameplay. However, it also retains its X-Rite Pantone certification, so it comes factory calibrated out of the box for more accurate colors. 

The Aero 15X’s display remains one of the best I’ve seen on a laptop. Colors appear spot-on and vibrant, with pleasing contrast levels. And while some screens have a noticeably cooler or warmer bias, I noticed no such issues on the Aero 15X. My only complaint is that the screen can feel a little dim, so a boost in brightness would have been nice. 

G-Sync support is still missing, but that’s a relatively small omission since the technology’s impact is less pronounced on a high refresh rate panel like this one. 

The Aero 15X stands out for having among the thinnest bezels around. The edge-to-edge display is gorgeous to look at, and even the top bezel on the laptop has been slimmed down to match those on the left and right. However, some sacrifices have had to be made to accommodate the thin bezels, and the webcam sits awkwardly at the bottom, just as it did on the previous model. 

The other key upgrade comes in the form of the keyboard. It now supports N-key rollover, or up to 80 simultaneous key presses to be specific, so you shouldn’t run into problems for games that require you to execute complicated combos. In addition, there are per-key lighting customizations so you have access to nearly limitless options. 

The SD card reader was another thoughtful inclusion on the original Aero 15X, especially for a laptop that was targeted at both creative professionals and gamers. This time around, Gigabyte upgraded the card reader to a faster UHS-II interface, which supposedly delivers up to 12 times quicker read and write speeds than the USB 3.0 interface on the previous model. 

Unfortunately, the Aero 15X is bogged down by slower than expected performance, despite being equipped with the latest Intel Core i7-8750H processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q. It lagged behind the similarly configured Razer Blade by as much as 20 per cent in some gaming benchmarks, and barely kept pace with its v7 counterpart with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ. It’s possible that this may be the product of some issue at the firmware level, as the Aero 15X did a lot better in synthetic benchmarks like 3DMark. 

Gigabyte also switched from dual-channel memory to single-channel on the new Aero 15X, and it’d have been nice if it had retained the former configuration. The company said it did this in response to user requests for an empty slot in order to make room for RAM upgrades, but I still feel like more people could benefit if dual-channel memory was installed right at the start. 

The Aero 15X is a well- designed laptop with all the features gamers and creative professionals could need. It’s just a pity it doesn’t perform as well as its spec sheet suggests it should.

My Reading Room

The laptop supports up to three external monitors via its HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt 3 outputs. 

My Reading Room

A great laptop bogged down by disappointing performance numbers.