Gigabyte Aorus 15G XB, 2020 Review
Gigabyte Aorus 15G laptop review: High-performance gaming with a screen and keyboard to match. With its Intel eight-core processor, Nvidia RTX graphics, fast display and clicky mechanical keyboard, the Aorus 15G is a complete portable gaming package.
Gigabyte Aorus 15G laptop review: High-performance gaming with a screen and keyboard to match
Gigabyte Aorus 15G XB, 2020 Overview
It's rare that I review a legitimately fast gaming laptop like the Gigabyte Aorus 15G. I mostly review sub-$1,000 gaming laptops that are fast for their low prices. They rarely break 60 frames per second with AAA games set to high at 1080p. The components in the $2,299 Aorus 15G let you hit closer to 100fps. On older games like CS: GO, it can go beyond that and won't even break a sweat. It's a treat to use for its performance and its fast 240Hz display and quietly clicky mechanical keyboard.
Plus, it's all wrapped in a CNC-machined aluminum body with a sports car-inspired design. Unlike the best cheap gaming laptops, the Aorus 15G isn't an amazing deal. However, it is competitively priced given its eight-core Intel processor, upper-midrange RTX 2070 Super with Max-Q GPU and everything else you're getting. Spending the extra money translates into system longevity in this case: There's plenty of headroom for games now and in the future. You may want to eventually upgrade the memory and install an additional SSD, though, unless you enjoy regularly uninstalling games to make room. Of course, you're not just paying for components.
More than pretty lights The Aorus 15G isn't the first laptop to have a mechanical keyboard, but it might be one of the thinnest. The Omron B3KL low-profile switches Gigabyte used are tactile and clicky, though relatively quiet compared with normal clicky switches. They're good for both gaming and typing, which makes sense here, although they don't excel at either. The keys do have a somewhat high actuation point and require some force to bottom out. Light typists or those used to linear key switches might be disappointed. Otherwise, it's a good trade-off if you don't want to carry around a full mechanical keyboard for gaming.
There's per-key RGB lighting, too, and the Aorus Command Center app gives you a selection of patterns and a custom option. You can use it to set up macro keys as well. The 15G is a chunky laptop, so it's not a great pick if you're looking for something for regular travel; Gigabyte's Aero series or other thinner models like the Razer Blade 15 or the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 would be better options. While I like the design overall, there are a couple of missteps. The lid is a bit too flexible for my comfort, particularly at the bottom between the hinges. The webcam is at the top of the keyboard, which is worse than being at the bottom of the display since it shoots up your nose and you can't change the angle.
(It does have a slider to block it entirely, so that's something.) All the ports are on the sides, positioned toward the front because of the cooling vents. Connect Ethernet, wired headphones, an external display, a keyboard and mouse and its power supply and you'll have a mess of cables streaming from its sides. Otherwise, it's not bad if you prefer a more aggressive-looking gaming laptop that's not over the top. The display quality is solid, too. The 1,920x1,080-pixel 15. 6-inch screen is Pantone-certified and the Command Center app lets you easily change color temp or set it to a Pantone color-calibrated profile.
The 15G's screen doesn't get particularly bright and the matte screen might not make colors pop like a glossy display does. That matte finish does mean you won't be fighting reflections as you would with a glossy screen, though. And, again, it has a 240Hz refresh rate and gameplay looks smooth at high frame rates. Like most gaming laptops, all this speed comes at the cost of battery life. It lasted just 6 hours, 5 minutes in our streaming video test. So yes, you'll need to pack its power supply with you if you need to work or game longer than a couple of hours.
Still, by matching an excellent processor and GPU with a 240Hz display and a mechanical keyboard, the Gigabyte Aorus 15G is like a complete portable gaming PC setup for $2,299. It might not be as polished as some of its rival gaming laptops, but it's close.