Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED (Tiger Lake) review: Intel chip turns this laptop up to 11

The Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED is back and better than ever

T3 Platinum Award
Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED 2021
(Image credit: Gigabyte)
T3 Verdict

The Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED has just about everything you could want in a laptop, from a stylish design to some really impressive internal hardware. If you can afford it, and you can find it available, then this is one of the best gaming laptops around at the moment.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Updated Intel CPU

  • +

    Updated Nvidia GPU

  • +

    Superb 4K screen

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    It'll cost you

  • -

    Weird webcam position

  • -

    Can get loud

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This Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED review will go through everything you need to know about one of the very best gaming laptops around – this is the 11th-gen Intel Tiger Lake-H series processor edition of the same laptop we reviewed earlier this year, with a substantial upgrade in the graphics department too.

These AERO laptops are designed for just about anyone, whether you're a professional, a serious gamer or you're big into photo and video editing. In comparison the Gigabyte AORUS line caters first and foremost for the gaming crowd – that's most noticeable in the 4K OLED display here, which is incredible to look at.

The internal upgrades mean the new AERO 15 model doesn't skimp in terms of performance, and with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU installed here, you're going to be able to run the best games around comfortably. Read on for our full in-depth review.

Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED review: screen and design

Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED 2021

(Image credit: Future)

The 4K, AMOLED, 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 pixel screen on this laptop is genuinely fantastic: it's one of the best displays we've seen on a laptop, gaming or otherwise. Games, movies, websites, photos and anything else you want to throw up on the panel looks stunning, and it's undoubtedly one of the highlights here – it's bright and crisp and actually justifies the high cost of the AERO 15. Professional creatives will want to know that the laptop supports 100 percent DCI-P3 colour gamut and the X-rite Calibration.

As for the rest of the design, it's a familiar Gigabyte look that we've seen before: the angular, sharp edges, the dark grille above the keyboard, and the (unfortunately angled) webcam underneath the screen. You wouldn't call it svelte or stylish, but it has a certain level of class, and it's certainly well built. It tips the scales at 2 kg (4.4 lbs), so it's quite a weight, but then this is a gaming laptop after all.

There's a fingerprint sensor on the (actually very good) trackpad, for quick entry into Windows, and we have to say the typing experience is actually pretty pleasant too. It's not the best keyboard we've ever come across but it'll certainly be fine for gaming and for churning out thousands of words – whatever activity you need. The cool metal casing is fine for resting your wrists and palms on too.

In terms of ports, there's a full-size HDMI port, a mini DisplayPort, three USB-A slots, a USB-C slot, an Ethernet port, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and an SD card reader – that's a very decent selection that should keep most people happy. The webcam placement under the screen isn't ideal, but it does at least come with a physical privacy slider, and we do like the way the screen is slightly separated from the rest of the unit. A mention as well for support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 speeds, which means you're future-proofed in that respect.

Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED review: performance and features

Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED 2021

(Image credit: Future)

The internal specs of the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED really are impressive, led by the 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11800H Tiger Lake processor and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU with 8GB of RAM available. That's joined by 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, so while it's not got the highest possible specs inside, it's way above your average laptop – this is about as well equipped a laptop as you'll find without getting into silly money in terms of the cost (although this is still a pricey laptop, as you would expect).

The 3D Mark Time Spy benchmark score we got on this laptop was 9,207 – better than 76 percent of all results, according to 3D Mark, and very close to a full gaming PC score (9,216). It's way above the average gaming laptop score (5,730) and above the earlier model of this laptop that we previously reviewed (7,369) – you can see the difference that the new Intel and Nvidia hardware makes. That translates into performance that will satisfy all but the most demanding gamers, even if it does come with rather loud fan noise at the high end.

Games run smooth and slick, even the top-tier ones: we were getting solid 55-60 frames per second on GTA V and Cyberpunk 2077, with most of the graphics settings ramped right up and the resolution set to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. That's probably your best bet for gaming, because at the full 4K resolution (four times as many pixels of course), those top frame rates dropped by about a half – not unplayable, but not super-smooth. There's also Microsoft Azure-powered AI technology on board here, designed to optimise CPU and GPU load depending on what you're doing at the time.

As for everything else you might want to do with your laptop, the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED of course breezes through it without a murmur – this is a seriously powerful machine. Battery life is about as you would expect from a loud, heavy, hot gaming laptop like this: we were seeing around three hours of (1080p) gaming and around six hours of video streaming (at maximum brightness) between charges, so you're not going to want to wander too far from a charging socket.

Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED review: price and verdict

Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED 2021

(Image credit: Future)

We were hugely impressed with the previous AERO 15 OLED model and the way it appealed to both creatives and gamers, and this new and updated version is better yet – the Intel Tiger Lake-H and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 upgrades are substantial, though you will of course pay extra for all this newer hardware. Our review model comes in with an RRP of £2,499, so this is not a cheap laptop (check the widgets on this page for the latest deals) – but it's by no means unreasonable in terms of price when you compare it against similarly specced models.

It's worth mentioning that other configurations are available, including up to 64GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, if you're willing to pay even more. Those on the hunt for a laptop that can do double duty as a top-end gaming machine, and something that is suitable for creative work at the same time, will be expecting to pay a substantial amount though, so we can't really criticise the new AERO 15 for its price – for what you get, it's actually pretty good value for money.

You might want to weigh up whether or not you actually need this much gaming power, because it comes with quite a loud (if effective) cooling system and short battery life – if you're mostly about the images and the video and the audio work then you can get away with something thinner, lighter and longer-lasting... although to be fair to the AERO 15, it's definitely more compact than a lot of its rivals. Any laptop is a mix of trade-offs and compromises, and this one is no different in that regard.

Ultimately though it's hard to find a fault with the new Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED – we loved the last model and the component upgrades have only made it better. If you have the budget for a high-end laptop that excels both as a gaming machine and as a creative workstation, then this should be high up on your list of possibilities.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.