- Attractive design
- Excellent Performance
- Limited key depth
- Short battery life
Quick TakeThe Aorus X7v2 offers an unmatched level of performance and portability in an attractive eye catching design, but users will have to pay for this alluring combination.
Opting for a new brand Gigabyte hoped to leave its mark on the niche ultra-portable gaming laptop market with the first Aorus X7. Combining impressive specs into an attractive aluminum build, the high-end gaming device certainly managed to turn a few heads. With the release of Nvidia’s new line 800M GPUs Gigabyte is back with the Aorus X7v2 and the device looks better than ever.
Sporting an even faster processor, increased storage options and dual SLI-enabled Nvidia GeForce 860M GPUs the portable gaming rig offers performance on par with any desktop replacement on the market. While the notebook offers augmented innards, the laptop still boasts the same incredibly thin form factor.
The mix of power and portability isn’t cheap, as the unit NBR tested is currently listed at $2,300, but those looking for that elusive combination will likely find the Aorus X7v2 well worth the steep asking price.
Build and Design
While Gigabyte has made a number of changes to the refreshed Aorus X7v2 one thing that has remained the same is the device’s attractive black aluminum build. The slim angular design and slow moving curves are reminiscent of a hood found on an expensive sports car. Devoid of backlights or loud neon coloring, the Aorus X7v2 offers a clean understated aesthetic save for the large chrome logo on the lid’s center.
A generously sized power button sporting the same logo can be found on the top center of the laptop’s deck. The full sized keyboard and touchpad are located below. The aluminum surface provides a comfortable palm-rest while typing, though the right-hand side of the deck can heat up when the machine is taxed causing slight discomfort.
Measuring in at 16.8” x 12” x 0.9” and weighing in at 6.6 pounds the Arous X7v2 is incredibly light for a 17.3-inch gaming laptop, but it still isn’t exactly conducive to extensive travel. Even though the curved aluminum chassis is easy to grip, at 6.6 pounds the device can be difficult to hold with only one hand. The Aorus X7v2 is still one of the lightest 17.3-inch gaming laptops on the market matching the incredibly sleek Razer Blade Pro at 6.58 pounds, though the MSI GS 70 Stealth Pro beats out both units at around 5.9 pounds. While the Aorus X7v2 may not be as light as the MSI GS 70 Stealth Pro it’s worth noting that the laptop’s specs are more in line with desktop replacements such as the MSI GT70 Dominator and Alienware 18, making the device’s portable form factor all the more impressive.
Ports and Features
The Aorus X7v2 offers ample connectivity with a wide array of ports. The left side of the device features a Kensington Lock Slot, an Ethernet connector (LAN RJ45), a Surround port, a D-Sub port, a USB 3.0 port, a microphone jack and a headphone jack. The right side of the device houses an SD Card Reader, two more USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI connector and a MiniDisplay connector. On the back of the device users will find two USB 2.0 ports and the power jack.
The Aorus X7v2 offers Panorama technology with the ability to host a single image across three monitors via its miniDisplay, HDMI and Surround ports. The device also boasts Killer LAN networking, ensuring consistent low-latency when using wired connections.
As with the previous Arous X7, the refreshed variant features the company’s Command and Control software. The application is a simple pictured interface that allows users to quickly adjust a number of the laptop’s settings including mouse pointer speed, tweaking the fan settings, altering GPU usage and even changing video output on the fly. Most of these settings can be altered directly within the application, while others like the CPU and GPU settings will direct users to another menu. Power users will likely forgo this application altogether, but it provides an easy-to-use interface and simple options for the less initiated.
Display and Sound
The Aorus X7v2 features the same 17.3-inch LCD (1920 x 1080) display found in the previous model. The solid 300 nits brightness and responsive 8ms response time make the panel great for playing games, as images appear sharp and easy to view with no noticeable blur or ghosting. The 72% NTSC color gamut and 400:1 color contrast provide a great viewing experience. NBR was particularly pleased by the laptop’s ability to detail various shades of greens, blues and browns when playing a match of League of Legends.
Images hold up well past 100 degrees on the horizontal axis without any quality loss. The picture also remained top notch when tilting the display forward on the vertical axis. Tilting the display back did cause the images on screen to appear washed out and faded. The display also suffered quality loss when viewed in direct or heavy lighting.
The Arous X7v2 houses a pair of speakers and two sub-woofers along the front right and left sides of the chassis. The device isn’t incredibly boisterous, but it is capable of providing a modest sized room with audio. More importantly the laptop offers solid sound quality. Listening to a challenging orchestral piece NBR was impressed by the laptop’s ability to detail the high notes clearly at 100 percent capacity. With two sub-woofers the Aorus X7v2 also offers a considerable level of bass (for a laptop), making the device perfect for capturing sound effects in-game. The speakers are still nowhere near as good as an external system or high-quality headset, but they’re more than adequate for general use.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Aorus X7v2 offers a backlit full-sized Chiclet keyboard complete with macro keys (to the left) and a number pad (to the right). The keyboard is actually quite compact, but still manages to offer enough spacing that I never accidentally struck the wrong key. With the compact key layout it’s easy to reach every button, even the F functions at a moment’s notice. Key travel is somewhat limited, but the feedback is solid with keys quickly snapping back into place. With the responsive feedback and intelligent layout the keyboard performed well in general use and gaming.
To the left of the keyboard sits a row of five programmable macro keys ranging from G1 to G5. However, the device actually offers a total of 25 programmable keys with five different layers as denoted by various colors. Setting up macros proves simple with added application Macro Hub. The software clearly depicts each layer and allows users to program individual keys by clicking on them. From there users can edit their own individual macros, set the key to launch a specific program or chose from one of the basic macro functions provided. There’s not a plethora of extra features with Macro Hub, but that’s also the appeal. It’s incredibly quick and pain free allowing users to setup their macros almost instantly.
Another neat feature offered in the Arous X7v2 is the window key lock. The function works exactly as it sounds essentially disabling the windows key function so user’s don’t accidentally minimize whatever full screen application they’re working on. The featured can easily be turned on and off from the Command and Control application with a simple mouse click.
Located below the spacebar is the Elan touchpad. The pad features a black glass construct and is devoid of physical mouse buttons instead designating the bottom left and right portion of the pad to act as mouse-clicks. The sleek glass finish proves easy enough to navigate offering decent travel and sensitivity making scroll functions and multi-finger gestures responsive.
The only serious gripe NBR had with the touchpad is that it can feel a bit foreign as first. The glass finish doesn’t offer the same give as a normal touchpad and as a result the middle area of the pad does not read click gestures. Traveling too far up from the bottom of the pad will often cause your click gestures to fail to read. It can be awkward to navigate at first (especially while web surfing), but after a few days with the device it started feel more natural.
The glass touchpad is certainly unique, but it doesn’t seem to offer a better experience than the traditional touchpad design … and the glossy surface is prone to fingerprint smudges.