Today we're taking a closer look at the Gigabyte Aero 15X (2018 model), which was launched a few weeks ago together with the new Coffee Lake processors from the Intel H series. With up to 6 cores and 12 threads for the laptop form factor, we have already covered the new CPUs in detail. Therefore, we are now focusing on the latest premium laptop from Gigabyte.
We looked at the original Aero 15 last year and were pretty impressed with most aspects. The Aero 15X isn't a massive departure from what we had before, but there are hardware improvements and other changes that help refine the laptop. Gigabyte is the key to emphasizing that this is not just a gaming laptop, but a computer that is designed for productivity and features like an X-Rite certified display.
At the heart of this 2018 update is the Intel Core i7-8750H, which brings six cores to laptops for the first time and offers a decent upgrade over the older Quad-Core Core i7-7700HQ, especially in terms of productivity. The GPU options remain the same: a GeForce GTX 1060 in the base model and a GTX 1070 Max-Q in the Aero 15X version, which we are going to look at today. The SSD is still 512 GB and we get a single 16 GB DDR4 stick.
Another important improvement is the new 15.6-inch 1080p display. This new panel is undoubtedly used for a large number of laptops, as it offers a refresh rate of 144 Hz for the first time in this size. We used to be limited to 120 Hz on most laptops, so the 24 Hz rise is good for those who like to play at the upper end of frame rates.
You won't get G-sync with this laptop, which I thought was a little strange, although it probably keeps costs down. G-Sync would have improved the smoothness of games, especially if they run below 60 FPS. However, if you get past the 80 FPS range, adaptive synchronization isn't a big problem.
Let's talk a little more about this display as it is one of the most interesting aspects of this laptop.
The Aero 15X has super slim bezels on three sides, making the overall size of this laptop smaller and maximizing the screen you get in the space available. I really love this type of design and wish more companies would choose this type of bezel setup.
It has some drawbacks, especially the location of the webcam under the display, which gives your video calls a rather uncomfortable angle. I personally don't use the webcam very often, so that's not a big deal for me, but anyone who is a frequent user should be aware of this compromise.
Players can enjoy this panel's 144 Hz refresh rate, but professionals won't miss it at all. Like its predecessor, the Aero 15X is X-Rite Pantone-certified, which means that the display is factory calibrated according to the sRGB standard. This is important for professionals who need color-accurate displays. Calibration is done through a software profile, but it is better than the complete lack of calibration that you get with most laptop displays.
The brightness has increased from 280 nits to around 320 nits compared to the previous year, which leads to a slight increase in contrast. The viewing angles are still pretty good too.
Thanks to the calibration, average temperature and gamma are almost exactly right, with a relatively even performance over the grayscale range. My Aero 15X is less accurate than the original Aero 15 with an average grayscale deltaE of 1.62 as opposed to 0.52, but both results are below 2.0, which is pretty good. It is also likely that only one display profile was created for all Aero 15X laptops, so there are natural differences between the units.
The results for saturation and ColorChecker are at a dE of 2.34 and 2.59 respectively, which is 1.0 higher than the original Aero 15. Not exactly as I would like to see it, and like the original model , but it's still a pretty respectable result, and certainly a lot better than most laptops. Gaming laptops in particular are often quite inaccurate, but the Aero 15X is good in this regard and offers this additional refresh rate.
The design and construction have not changed significantly compared to the original Aero 15. The case is made of a mixture of metal and plastic, with several seams, which do not give the same premium feeling as the best laptops with a metal case. The edges in particular are a bit strange, although I like the color options for the lid.
The good news is that the body is extremely solid and has no flex in any area, even if you crush the keyboard. Speaking of the keyboard: You will again receive an individually illuminated RGB LED keyboard with backlighting, a solid tactile feel and a practical number pad. I really like how this keyboard feels when typing, so it's perfect for putting together a Word document and, of course, for playing. The ELAN trackpad is fine, although I would still prefer a high-end trackpad with better and more precise tracking.
If you like ports, the Aero 15X has many of them. Three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, Mini-DisplayPort 1.4, a single 3.5 mm audio jack and a fast UHS-II SD card reader.
The chassis of the Aero 15X is very portable, 18.9 mm thick and approximately 2.0 kg in weight, without the required power brick. It's not the slimmest or lightest notebook I've seen with these specs, but it's more compact, extremely solid, and far more portable than cheaper, thicker gaming laptops. After all, you pay for portability, and Gigabyte has delivered.
Amazingly, these dimensions were achieved without saving on the battery, which remains at a whopping 94 Wh.
Would you like to know what's in the Aero 15X? With a T6 screwdriver and spudger, it's easy to remove the bottom plate and expose a standard layout. The battery is at the bottom, while at the top there is a cooler with two fans and two heat pipes, which transfers the heat from the central GPU and the CPU to the remarkably small heat sinks. In the front right corner you will find a free M.2 slot that is compatible with NVME and SATA drives. There is also a free DIMM slot. Yes, the Aero 15X is equipped with a single-channel memory.
Given the extra performance you can get with dual-channel memory that I'll go through soon, I would strongly recommend taking an additional 16GB DDR4-2666 stick and plugging it in straight away. Unfortunately with current storage prices, this could cost you up to $ 200. Gigabyte offers a free DIMM slot for an upgrade to 32 GB, but the performance is reduced immediately.