Gigabyte Aorus 15 Review: A Solid Gaming Laptop with Some Trade-offs
When it comes to gaming laptops, we often expect flashy designs with RGB lighting, extravagant cooling systems, and an overall look that screams “gamer.” However, the Gigabyte Aorus 15 takes a different approach, offering a more understated design that could easily pass for a professional laptop when the lid is closed.
Powering this unassuming machine is the 13th-Gen Intel Core i7 13700H and NVIDIA’s RTX 4070 Laptop GPU. Beyond gaming prowess, this GPU introduces NVIDIA’s latest DLSS 3.5 technology, which can boost your game’s frame rate by approximately 20 frames per second, according to benchmarks. This enhancement is not just impressive but also a game-changer for mobile gaming.
|CPU||13th Gen Intel Core i7-13700H Processor|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6|
|Display||15.6-inch 16:9 Thin Bezel QHD 2560×1440, 165Hz, up to 100% DCI-P3, TÜV Rheinland-certified|
|Memory||2x DDR5 slots (DDR5-4800, Max 64 GB)|
|Storage||1TB (supports 2x NVMe PCIe Gen 4)|
|Ports||1 x USB 3.2 Gen1 (Type-A), 1 x Audio combo Jack, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 (Type-A), 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 (Type-C), 1 x Thunderbolt 4 (Type-C, support Power delivery), 1 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x Mini DP 1.4, 1 x RJ45, 1 x DC in|
|Battery||Li Polymer 99WHr|
|Dimensions||36.0(W) x 27.2(D) x 2.09(H) cm/ 14.2(W) x 10.7(D) x 0.82(H) inch|
With a starting price of $3,299, this 15-inch gaming notebook offers excellent value for its specs. However, this laptop does come with its set of compromises, particularly if you plan to use it for more than just gaming.
Design and Performance Analysis:
Let’s start with the design. While the Aorus 15 allows users to customize RGB lighting patterns through Gigabyte’s Control Center software, its overall aesthetic, when toned down, leans towards the minimalist side and may appear uninspired. The laptop features an angular and blocky design, weighing in at 2.39kg and measuring around 36cm in width and 2.1cm in height. It’s portable but not exceptionally lightweight. Constructed with a metal top display and a plastic base, both of which feel sturdy, the Aorus 15 seems capable of withstanding some rough handling without issues.
The laptop boasts a 15.6-inch 2560×1440 display, but despite Gigabyte calling it a Thin Bezel design, it falls short of that description, particularly with its broad chin and a top bezel housing an underwhelming webcam. The camera, which is Windows Hello-compatible, often produces dimly lit images unless the lighting conditions are perfect. Even increasing the brightness doesn’t significantly improve its performance, making the camera a weak point.
Internally, our Aorus 15 is equipped with 16GB of DDR5 4800MHz memory in dual-channel (configurable up to 64GB) and a 1TB NVMe storage (expandable up to 8TB). To manage the heat generated by these high-performance components, the laptop features exhaust vents, especially noticeable at the rear, which adds about an inch of overhang to the chassis.
In a notable design shift from its predecessors, the Aorus 15 features rear port placement, including an HDMI 2.1 port, DisplayPort 1.4, Thunderbolt with power support, and DC Power. This rearrangement helps declutter the desk, especially when connecting the laptop to multiple peripherals.
In terms of performance, the Aorus 15 excels in gaming tests, consistently delivering between 70-80fps on Ultra settings at 2560×1440 in popular games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and Horizon Zero Dawn. However, when tested with more demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 (with Update 2.0 installed), enabling DLSS becomes necessary for smooth gameplay.
The Quad HD display offers vivid colors and sharp contrast, and esports enthusiasts will appreciate the laptop’s 165Hz refresh rate.
However, when it comes to acoustics, the Aorus 15 falls short. During regular use, the laptop maintains a low profile with minimal fan noise. But once you start a game, the noise level rises significantly. Unfortunately, the laptop’s speakers lack the depth and volume to mask the fan noise, making the situation even more noticeable. While you can adjust fan speeds using Gigabyte’s Control Center, you can’t escape the noise levels during intensive gaming. On the positive side, the aggressive cooling system effectively keeps the laptop relatively cool.
Battery life is another mixed aspect. Equipped with a 99WHr battery, the laptop lasted approximately four hours in our MobileMark 25 test. If you plan on gaming away from an outlet, be sure to bring the power brick, as gaming on battery power significantly reduces the laptop’s endurance, lasting just about 50 minutes.
The input devices on the Aorus 15 don’t offer much relief. The touchpad, despite its large and glassy surface, is frustratingly inconsistent, requiring a deep press to register a click. The keyboard also lacks tactile feedback and feels mushy, with uneven key response across the layout.
In summary, the Gigabyte Aorus 15 is a bit of an enigma. On one hand, it’s a gaming powerhouse with the Core i7 13700H and RTX 4070 Laptop GPU combination. On the other hand, its compromised webcam, lackluster speakers, inconsistent keyboard, and finicky touchpad make it a challenging recommendation for everyday use. It excels in its intended gaming role, but it struggles when asked to be a versatile, all-purpose laptop. So, if you’re in the market for a dedicated gaming machine, the Aorus 15 is certainly worth considering at its price point. However, if you need a versatile daily driver, you may want to explore other options.