Gigabyte G5 review: a gaming laptop that balances price and power

The Gigabyte G5 won't break the bank but gives you a great gaming experience

Gigabyte G5
(Image credit: Gigabyte)
T3 Verdict

The Gigabyte G5 won't get you the best possible frame rates, but it is one of the most affordable gaming laptops around – and it can play every title out there. While serious gamers will want more, this is hard to beat when it comes to bang for your buck.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Great balance of price vs performance

  • +

    Well constructed and understated style

  • +

    Good array of external display ports

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the most powerful CPU or GPU spec

  • -

    Rather basic integrated trackpad

  • -

    Typically poor battery life for a gaming laptop

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The Gigabyte G5 is proof that the best gaming laptops don't necessarily have to break the bank: it's actually one of the most affordable gaming machines on the market at the moment, yet it'll still play the best games out there at 1080p quite comfortably.

In this Gigabyte G5 review, we'll take you through all of the most pertinent information that you need to know about this laptop, from how it performs in games and benchmarking, to how the screen and other key components hold up for non-gaming tasks as well.

By the time you've finished reading, you should know whether or not the Gigabyte G5 is the best gaming laptop for you – and if you need advice on the best gaming chair, the best gaming monitor or the best gaming desk, then we've got buying guides for those too.

Gigabyte G5 review: price and availability

The Gigabyte G5 is available to buy now, and you can find it at most of the usual retailers – in the UK those include the likes of Amazon and Currys

The widget embedded below on this page should give you an idea of the prices that the laptop is going for, but at the time of writing you can pick it up for somewhere around £800/$900. However, you'll want to double-check the specs configuration before buying to make sure you're getting the model you want.

Gigabyte G5 review: design and screen

Gigabyte G5

(Image credit: Future)

As gaming laptops go, the Gigabyte G5 is towards the plainer and more understated end of the spectrum, but that's not necessarily a complaint – it depends on how many colourful accents and flashing lights you like on your gaming machine. 

It's a reasonably bulky slab of black plastic, and it's really only the thickness and the oversized grilles at the side that give away the power underneath the hood here: even the Gigabyte lettering on the lid is subtle and straightforward.

If you're measuring out some room on your desk then you need to know that the laptop has dimensions of 361 x 256 x 31.8mm and weighs in at 2.1kgs. Gigabyte has been generous with the ports too: you get HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4 and Mini DisplayPort 1.2, so you can in theory hook up three external displays. On top of that you get three USB-A ports, an SD card reader, a 3.5mm microphone port, and a 3.5mm headphone port. You've got plenty of options for peripherals.

As far as build quality goes, the laptop feels very well put together, from the display hinge right down to the power button. You get some basic illumination controls for the keyboard – you can pick a colour, a brightness level, and a timeout duration, so the customisation options are slightly better than basic but not up there with the most advanced gaming laptops on the market... and that's quite an accurate summary of this machine as a whole.

The 15.6-inch screen runs at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and offers a refresh rate of 144Hz or 240Hz, depending on the model specification you pick and pay for, for super-fluid motion. 

Like the rest of the components that make up the Gigabyte G5, the display is above average and impressive for the price, while still being overshadowed by the best panels on the market (which come attached to laptops that will cost you a lot more). The bezels aren't the thinnest, but we can live with them.

Gigabyte G5 review: performance and features

Gigabyte G5

(Image credit: Future)

You can pick up the Gigabyte G5 gaming laptop with a variety of specs installed, but our review unit came with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU together with a 10th-generation Intel Core i5-10500H processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. It's a decent configuration for gaming, without being at the very top – it'll appeal if you want to run the latest games around, but don't necessarily care about the highest frame rates.

Those specs all add up to a 3DMark Time Spy score of 7,428 when we ran the benchmark – that counts as "good" in the 3DMark stakes, and means you can run the likes of Battlefield V at almost 100 frames-per-second on a 1080p screen with graphics settings maxed out. To give you a comparison point, the average score for a gaming laptop on 3DMark is 5,730, while desktop gaming PCs average 9,216.

We played a few hours of Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA V and Cyberpunk 2077, and without ramping up the graphics settings to the max, we saw frame rates of between 40-80fps across those titles, backing up what we've already said. Cyberpunk 2077 was the most demanding game, but the Gigabyte 5 was still able to get up to 30-40fps with graphics set to medium quality (and that includes ray-tracing).

Ray tracing is one of the advanced gaming features you get here, and there's also Nvidia's AI-assisted DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) technology to improve frame rates and picture quality even further. What's more, while the laptop can get loud during gaming, it doesn't get overly hot – just a little on the warm side. The cooling system that Gigabyte has installed here, which it calls Windforce, works well.

Gigabyte G5

(Image credit: Future)

The sound system here is a 2x 2W stereo system, which is nice and loud, if not the best with audio fidelity and detail. It's certainly good enough for games and movies if you don't want to use headphones, and we like the Nahimic 3D Audio support that can add an extra level of immersion for your games. There's a dual array microphone embedded in the chassis, as well as that 3.5mm headphone port that we mentioned earlier.

You might not always be gaming on the Gigabyte G5, and when it comes to general purpose computing it's handy to have a full-size keyboard with a number pad attached. Typing on the laptop is a speedy and quiet affair, and we've got no doubt you could get through a serious amount of work if you needed. The trackpad isn't quite so impressive – it's a little small and flimsy – but it does the job, and you can always attach a mouse if you need.

We should also mention that this is more upgradeable than your average gaming laptop: there's a spare M.2 SSD slot and a spare 2.5-inch drive bay, which means plenty of scope for adding extra storage. Swapping out and replacing the battery is possible on this gaming laptop too, potentially giving the laptop a longer lifespan.

Battery life, as you would expect from a gaming laptop like this, isn't particularly fantastic. With the screen set to maximum brightness, an hour of video streaming knocks the battery level down by 25 per cent, and when you're gaming it drains about four times as fast – you'll struggle to get an hour between battery charges if you're playing games. So don't plan on being able to use the Gigabyte G5 for a long time away from a power source.

Gigabyte G5: verdict

Gigabyte G5

(Image credit: Future)

There's no doubt that the Gigabyte G5 is one of the best gaming laptops around if you're measuring in terms of value for money. You get a laptop that's able to cope with the best games around, albeit not at the highest frame rates and most detailed graphics settings.

Part of the reason that the Gigabyte G5 can handle the best games around is the 1080p screen resolution – you'll find sharper and brighter screens out there, but there's a debate to be had about whether 4K is actually necessary on a 15.6-inch panel anyway. The screen here is similar to just about everything else on this particular gaming laptop – pretty impressive for the price, but by no means the best around.

That's fine though – a lot of people will just want a competent gaming laptop that's affordable, and won't care if there are more expensive options out there that beat it in benchmarks. Another point in favour of the Gigabyte G5 is that it has a generous number of ports and plenty of potential in terms of expansion (whether that's an additional storage drive or a secondary display).

Do make sure you can live with the aesthetics of the laptop though, because it's hardly the most polished or the most elegant of gaming machines, and other devices will give you more in the way of lighting and customisation too. On the other hand, if you're after a gaming laptop that doesn't particularly look like, well, a gaming laptop, then the Gigabyte G5 is ideal.

Also consider

Take a peek at our best gaming laptops list and you'll see that there are plenty of other choices out there, with more options appearing every week. The Acer Nitro 5 is another solid budget gaming laptop that you might want to consider, although you may have to pay a bit more than you do for the Gigabyte G5 – it comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU.

Those of you with a bit more money to spend might want to take a look at the Razer Blade 15 Advanced: it's flashier and more powerful than the Gigabyte G5, though the screen dimensions and resolution are the same. There's an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU under the hood, so you know that this is going to absolutely power through even the most demanding games, and that's paired with an Intel Core i7-11800H and an impressive 32GB of RAM as well.

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.