Gigabyte Aorus 15 review: An awesome gaming laptop with one glaring weakness
Gigabyte aren’t as loud in the gaming space as brands like ROG or Razer but their recent string of dedicated gaming laptops have been quietly gathering momentum and garnering praise - and for good reason.
They’ve had great specs, increasingly-appealing aesthetic sensibilities and they tend to pick up all the right notes when it comes to what’s relevant in the laptop space right now. And, ultimately, the new Aorus 15 conforms to these traits more often than it does subvert them.
It’s by no means perfect - but the Aorus 15 is a gaming laptop that’s still capable of getting the job done. And even if there’s plenty here that I want to see Gigabyte change, that trait is an easy one to defer to as paramount.
The specs for our Gigabyte Aorus 15 review sample were as follows:
Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q
RAM: Samsung 16GBDDR4 2666MHz
Storage: Intel 760P Optane 512GB SSD + 2TB HDD
Display: 15.6 FHD 144Hz IPS Anti-Glare LCD Panel
Ports: 1x RJ-45, 1x mini DP 1.3, 1x HDMI 2.0, 3x USB3.1 Type-A Gen1 (Support USB charger x1) ,1x USB3.1 Type-C Gen2(Support DP 1.3),1x microSD Card Slot, 1x Audio combo jack,1x Power jack
Connectivity: Killer Wireless-AC 1550 (802.11ac) + Bluetooth 5.0
Keyboard: Island style RGB FUSION Keyboard
Weight: 361 mm x 246 mm x 24.4 mm
Battery: Li Polymer 62Wh
Audio: 2-watt Speaker (x2) NAHIMIC 3
Webcam: HD Camera with array microphone
Price: RRP $3099
What Did We Like About The Gigabyte Aorus 15
In terms of where it’s pitched, the Aorus 15 is sold as a pretty solid mid-tier gaming laptop. It’s too expensive and highly-specced to qualify as entry level but it’s not quite as lavish as halo products like the Aorus X9. It’s a nice enough laptop - but I wouldn’t go around parading it as the nicest laptop.
Still, there’s plenty to like here - and the Aorus 15 has a chunky compactness to it that I found immediately endearing. Gigabyte have opted for a simple clamshell form-factor - which is almost novel in this age of Max-Q. The thin bezels make the screen seem bigger than you expect and the selection of ports here leave little to be desired.
Whether I was using it on a desk or on my lap, the feel of using the Aorus 15 reminded me a lot of playing games on my first gaming laptop. It struck a chord, so to speak - and the modern flourishes didn’t disrupt that effect in any meaningful way.
How did the Aorus 15 Perform in Benchmarks?
And when it came to gaming, the Aorus 15 built on that positive first impression in good form. We couldn’t help but be impressed - or at least satisfied - with what the combination of RTX and Intel hardware inside this thing delivered.
When it came to Monster Hunter: World, the Aorus 15 managed a cruisey 50-60 FPS on the highest settings. When it came to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, it didn’t miss a beat either - keeping a clean 60 FPS.
The medium settings tier of Kingdom Come: Deliverance saw the Aorus 15 oscillate between 80 and 90FPS. Cranking things all the way to the open world game’s “experimental” ultra-high settings saw things drop down to between 60 and 70 FPS, depending on how hectic the on-screen action became.
Finally, tackling Total War: Warhammer 2, the Aorus 15 delivered an average of 90.9 FPS in the Battle benchmark, 92.2 FPS in the Campaign benchmark and 61.4 FPS in the Skaven benchmark.
These results compared favorably to rival laptops like the ASUS Zephyrus S GX701. Sure, the Aorus 15 lost on some fronts. But it led on others. And, pretty much across the board, it delivered the high level of performance that we expected of it.
Likewise - even if the results we got from running the Gigabyte Aorus 15 through 3D Mark’s TimeSpy, FireStrike and FireStrike Ultra tests were as expected, they were still pretty impressive. As the graphs below indicate, the Gigabyte Aorus 15 often found itself neck-and-neck with its Aero 15 counterpart.
Meanwhile, when it came to virtual reality experiences, the Gigabyte Aorus 15 passed with flying colors. You can definitely say it’s VR-ready - even if it’s quite as VR ready as the ROG Zephyrus M.
As for ray-tracing, the core conceit that drives the value of Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards, the RTX 2060 inside the Gigabyte Aorus 15 performed more-or-less as expected. It couldn’t beat out the desktop performance afforded to the MSI Trident X, but it did edge out Dell’s revamped G7.
Still, we’re inclined to stay skeptical about how much extra value for your money you’re getting here. It’s more expensive than the G7 - but it’s not that much more expensive.
Lastly, when analysed through the lens of PC Mark, the Gigabyte Aorus 15 emerged as a pretty compelling front-runner. It beat out both ROG’s Zephyrus M and the Gigabyte Aero 15 to take the top run on our benchmark charts.
In terms of battery life, the Aorus 15 delivered some pretty disappointing results.
When subjected to our usual Battery Eater testing tool, which gauges the minimum battery life of a given notebook PC, the Razer Blade Stealth took 1 hours and 11 minutes to run down from one-hundred to zero.
Even if we’re comparing the Aorus 15 to other gaming laptops, this falls below the mark. And if we’re comparing the Aorus 15 to other work-machines, then it’s below the bar by a wide margin. Your mileage is going to vary here - but we came away unimpressed. It feels like weaker-than-expected battery life is becoming a trend and a trade-off for the processing chops that RTX-era gaming laptops are able to offer.
What Didn’t We Like About The Gigabyte Aorus 15
Although the Gigabyte Aero 15 does deliver the goods when it comes to the stuff that matters most, it’s still a little less polished than I’d like.
It feels nice to hold and handle - I’d even go so far as to say it feels lighter than I expected it to - but it doesn’t feel as slick and polished as something like the Razer Blade or Razer Blade Stealth nor as distinguished as something like the ROG Zephyrus S. You could say it lacks character and I wouldn’t disagree with you. It looks and feels like the kind of gaming laptop I’ve seen before - and it’s hard to get attached to it.
This becomes especially true once you factor in the one critical caveat that ultimately defines the Gigabyte Aorus 15: the fans.
The dual fans and nine heat vents built into the Aorus 15 do a decent job of holding down the thermal management front but they don’t do that job quietly. We’ve reviewed a fair few gaming laptops in recent months and we’d flag that the Aorus 15’s fans made it the noisiest of them all by a noticeable margin. I could be wearing noise-cancelling headphones and I’d still be able to hear the whurr of this laptop through them.
I can go for a laptop that forgoes personality in pursuit of performance, but when the Aorus 15 is that little more expensive than the other options, that dullness (and the noisiness of the fans) becomes more difficult to justify.
The Bottom Line
If you’re read many of our Gigabyte laptop reviews before: this next part should sound a little familiar. The Gigabyte Aorus 15 is a solid gaming laptop that ticks all the right boxes when it comes to specs and delivers as expected when it comes to performance. It’s held back by its loud fans and a lack of personality or flair - but if those things don’t bother you, then the math is probably gonna check out on this one.
Where Gigabyte gaming laptops have been quietly very good, the Aorus 15 is a little louder - but not in the way I’d like it to be.
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