Here's the main takeaway from this Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED review: it sits comfortably in the best gaming laptop territory, but these AERO machines will be convincing to professionals and creatives too – they're not just entirely focused on hardcore gamers, as is the case with the Gigabyte Aorus line.
Like most portable PCs, the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED comes in a variety of configurations, and that includes our review model: it has a gorgeous 15.6-inch 4K OLED display, which looks fantastic whether you're editing video or running the latest AAA game through Steam.
All of this power and style comes with an associated cost though, so the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED isn't going to be for everyone. Here we'll run through everything you need to know about this laptop from Gigabyte, from the battery life to its gaming benchmark scores.
Won't take anything less than the newest and the best? Check out the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED (Tiger Lake) which is brand new for 2021.
Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED review: screen and design
The screen is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the AERO 15 OLED from Gigabyte: you can buy this model without the OLED screen, but the 4K, AMOLED, 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 pixel screen that our review model came with really is a sight to behold. For the creative professionals working with high-quality imagery, it supports 100% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut and matches the VESA Display HDR 400 standard.
Gigabyte's efforts to appeal to both gamers and creative types are evident in the overall aesthetic of the laptop. It's not super-light or super-thin, but it does look like it means business – the slightly enlarged fan grilles around the side of the laptop are just about the only giveaway that it's a gaming machine too, though you can also use the on-board software to create some funky RGB lighting effects on the keyboard too. You might even want to go for rainbow colours for gameplay, and subtle static white for work.
The AERO 15 OLED tips the scales at 2 kg (4.4 lbs), so if you need to carry it around during the course of the day, it's not a major problem – though the 15.6-inch display means you can't just squeeze it into any bag or rucksack. In another nod to productivity, there's a fingerprint sensor on the (very capable) trackpad, for a quick Windows login experience, and when it comes to the keyboard (complete with number pad) we found no problems here at all: you can easily churn out a thousand words or navigate your way through enemy territory as the situation demands.
You get a very decent selection of ports here too, with 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. As is the norm for Gigabyte laptops at the moment, the webcam is shoved in a bit awkwardly under the screen – not the most flattering angle for your video calls – but it's something that we can live with.
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Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED review: performance and features
While various configurations of the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED are available, the review unit supplied to us was kitted out with a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10875H processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8G to take care of the graphics. That's a very respectable spec whether you're gaming or video editing, which is reflected in the score of 7,369 we saw with the 3D Mark Time Spy benchmark (way above the gaming laptop average of 5,730).
The RTX 2070 isn't the very best GPU you can get in a laptop in 2021, but it's still very impressive, and able to run every game out there comfortably – even if you have to dial down one or two settings. We saw a solid 60 frames per second in GTA V at a 1080p resolution with most graphics turned up to the max, though when we switched to 4K that frames per second rate very understandably dropped to around 30. The laptop does get fairly loud and hot while gaming too, though no more so than others at this level.
As you would expect, the laptop breezes through tasks such as image editing and web browsing, and Gigabyte has tuned the Nvidia drivers specifically to cater for video editors and other creatives – this isn't something we were able to test in great detail, but the specification of this laptop tells you that it'll power through every task you're going to give it. Expect to hear the advanced cooling system kick in regularly, so it's not a laptop for those who want whisper-quiet operation.
One of the downsides of getting a laptop with top-end gaming capabilities is that you can't expect too much from the battery – we saw a drop of 28 percent in our two-hour video streaming test and a drop of over 50 percent from half an hour of intensive gaming. Those tests are with the display brightness ramped right up though, so with a bit of careful tweaking you can probably improve on that. Even at its best though, the AERO 15 OLED will struggle to make it through a whole day without a recharge.
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Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED review: price and verdict
Trying to marry the dual demands of creatives and gamers in one single laptop is no easy task, though it's been attempted before. We think Gigabyte has pulled it off just about perfectly here: although there are some minor quibbles around noise and battery life, everything that the laptop does well easily eclipses them. This really is a laptop you can work on and still get seriously impressive frame rates with, and for that Gigabyte deserves plenty of credit.
The 15.6-inch 4K OLED screen really tops off the whole machine though – we wouldn't be quite as keen on the non-OLED version of the AERO 15. It looks stunning in use, and is really going to make a difference when working with images, artwork and video. The contrast and colour are superb, and although some gamers will want a faster refresh rate, we had no complaints (just dial down the resolution when you're playing the top titles).
Of course one of the major downsides of OLED display technology is the price, and the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED doesn't come cheap – you can check the widgets embedded on this page for the latest prices on the laptop, but at the time of writing the starting configuration for this portable computer is £1,699. Add in extras (like the RTX 2070 in our review unit) and you'll be way above £2,000, with the top-level configuration for this laptop setting you back north of £4,000.
That's a lot of cash whichever way you look at it, there's no doubt about that, but in return you're getting a laptop that can do just about anything on either the computing or the gaming side (you can boost the processor to a 10th-gen Intel Core i9-10980HK if you need to). The Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED isn't going to suit everyone, but for users with a specific set of needs, it might be just about perfect.
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