Hands-On with Gigabyte’s Aero 14 Gaming Notebook

by Reads (11,857)

P1400391_1920 Gigabyte’s new Aero 14 gaming notebook is a step up from the company’s existing 14-inch P34W. It packs gaming power typically found inside a 15.6-inch chassis, including a 6th gen Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, Nvidia GTX 970M graphics, and a 2,560×1,440 resolution IPS display. We went hands-on with this notebook, and came away quite impressed with the overall level of quality and ability to customize.

First Look

Our first observation of the Aero 14 is its full aluminum chassis, a significant improvement over the outgoing P34W’s all-plastic design. It has a rigid feel, and hardly flexes. The Aero 14 is flashier as well, available in three colors including orange, green, and black. The lid has a crosshatched texture, thanks to the nano-imprint lithography process. It also has a slight 3D look in the right lighting. The chassis is just 0.78 inches (19.9mm) tall. That doesn’t beat the 2016 Razer Blade, but it’s close.

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We were also impressed with the feel of the keyboard. It has excellent tactile feedback, with plenty of key travel. The keyboard deck is rock solid as well. The left side of the keyboard has five dedicated macro keys, plus a button at the top which allows you to switch between five different profiles. Gigabyte’s included software allows you to assign key combos.

The 14-inch 2,560 by 1,440 resolution display has an anti-glare coating. It has IPS technology for nearly unlimited viewing angles. It’s plenty bright, though the gamut coverage is only 72% sRGB. It’s plenty for gaming, but would be a bit shy of what’s required for color-sensitive work.

P1400395_1920The Latest Technology

It’s little surprise the Aero 14 is equipped with Intel’s current-gen “Skylake” processor. It specifically uses a Core i7-6700HQ quad-core processor, which we’d expect to see in a gaming notebook. For graphics, the Aero 14 uses Nvidia’s GTX 970M, an enthusiast-level graphics card. It’s generally capable of playing games at a FHD (1,920×1,080) resolution with medium to high details. A lower-tier model will be available with an Nvidia GTX 965M.

The notebook’s 14-inch display has a 2,560 by 1,440 resolution. It has IPS technology for nearly unlimited viewing angles.

For storage, the Aero 14 accepts two M.2 PCI-express SSDs. It lacks a traditional 2.5-inch bay, though this is less of a concern since there are two SSD slots, and SSD prices continue to drop.

Up to 32GB of DDR4-2133 memory is available via two slots.

One of the more intriguing aspects of the Aero 14 is its large 94.24Wh battery, which is over 1.5 times larger than the battery in the company’s existing P34W gaming notebook. We clocked the latter at just over three hours in our demanding battery life rundown test, which is already considered good for a gaming notebook. We’re expecting the Aero 14 to do much better. Gigabyte says the Aero 14 should be good for 10 hours of light usage on battery.

P1400372_1920Also notable on the Aero 14 is its HDMI 2.0 port. Most notebooks tend to include an HDMI 1.4b. Version 2.0 allows 4K output at 60 fps. Additionally, the Aero 14 has a USB Type C port.

Gigabyte has touted the Aero 14 has a new dual-fan cooling solution. We didn’t get a chance to test it, though plan to give it a full workout in our review.

Gigabyte told us the Aero 14 will ship to the US in mid-June 2016, and will range in price from $1,499 to $1,699.

Conclusion

P1400360_1920Our initial thoughts are that the Aero 14 is a significant step up from Gigabyte’s existing 14-inch P34W. We were impressed with the overall level of quality, style, and multiple color choices. It includes both HDMI 2.0 and USB Type C, and an extra-large 94.24Wh battery.

The performance from its Intel Core i7-6700HQ quad-core processor and Nvidia GTX 970M graphics should be enough for the latest games at an FHD resolution with medium to high details. We’re looking forward to getting a review unit in hand to give it a full rundown.

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