- Well built chassis
- Understated designs makes it a perfect fit for the office
- Excellent Performance
- Sup par audio
- Limited configuration options
- Heating issues and GPU Throttling
With a well built tasteful design and an impressive array of specs the P34Wv3 feels like the perfect marriage of portability and performance. The only thing marring the overall package is its thermal issues.
You can’t always judge a book by its cover. That idiom perfectly encapsulates Gigabyte’s new 14-inch P34Wv3. At first glance the P34W could pass for a simple Ultrabook, but under its unassuming exterior lies an impressive array of specs. Armed with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M and a fourth generation Intel Core i7 CPU, this 14-inch ultra-portable can stand toe-to-toe with many of the larger 15.6 and 17.3-inch gaming rigs on the market.
The P34W feels like a device made for adults. The laptop does away with all the flash and flare that many of its contemporaries boast about in favor of functionality. It’s well built, it’s tasteful and it offers excellent performance. Keep reading to see why we really enjoyed the Gigabyte P34Wv3.
Build and Design
The Gigabyte P34W doesn’t offer the normal flash and flair that you’d expect from a high-end gaming notebook. There’s no LED lighting, no cutting angles; but don’t let that fool you. The P34W may look simplistic, but it’s still a quality machine.
The black aluminum lid is smooth and soft to the touch. The lid is curved at the corners and there is a grey plastic strip that runs along the top end of the display. At the center of this strip is a little ledge that provides the perfect grip when opening the display lid. Finally “GIGABTYE’ chrome lettering sits in the top middle of the cover.
The top offers the same black aluminum as the cover. The cool metal service provides a comfortable wrist rest while typing. The keyboard is slightly indented and the frame is a black plastic. A hard black plastic also cover the bottom chassis. The simplistic chassis offers a clean aesthetic, which is a perfect if you’re looking for a laptop to double as a both a work and gaming device. The only gripe we have with the design is that the aluminum lid is a bit of a fingerprint magnet.
Measuring 13.39 x 9.41 x 0.82 inches and weighing the 3.97 pounds the Gigabtye P34W is incredibly portable for a gaming machine. The P34W is almost a full pound lighter than the 0.9-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Y40, it even manages to match the weight of the incredibly slim 14-in Razer Blade Pro, though the Razor is admittedly about 4 millimeters thinner. Considering that the P34W v3 houses both a Intel Core i7 and NVidia GeForce GTX 970M it’s one of the best portable options on the market.
The combination of plastic and metal come together to form a surprisingly sturdy device. The plastic chassis holds firm under pressure. The thinner display lid does give a little, but no ripples appear on screen, and the two thick display hinges firmly hold the display in place. It may not look as flashy as some of its competitors but the P34W will hold up to wears and tears of travel without any issues.
Despite its slim design the P34W offers solid connectivity. The left side features a Kensington lock slot, an Ethernet connector, a VGA connector, two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone/microphone jack. The right side of the device houses an HDMI connector two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader. The P34W covers most of the bases, but NotebookReview would have liked to see an additional audio port. It’s not a huge deal, but a lot of gaming headsets today require separate microphone and audio ports.
Display and Sound
The Gigabyte P34W v3 features a 14-inch matte FHD (1920 x 1080) display. The matte finish helps to reduce glare, which is great for gaming as players often want to remain focused with what is on screen. At 300 nits the panel isn’t exceptionally bright, but with the matte finish users should have no trouble viewing display indoors. Images were sharp and clear offering excellent visibility. NBR was also impressed by the rich color details, as the panel highlighted the snowy white mountains in the opening sequence of Dragon Age: Inquisition.
The matte finish affords incredibly flexible viewing angles. The panel held well past 130 degrees without any discernible color loss. The matte finish also fares well in heavy lighting, however while outdoors or in direct light the screen can become reflective and colors look slightly washed.
The speakers are located near the rear end of the chassis. The speakers provide enough amplification for a single user, but struggle to fill even a small room with audio. The P34W also feels a bit flat, especially while listening to sound effects when playing games due to the lack of bass. NBR was pleased by the laptop’s ability to accurately depict an orchestral track without an distortion, but again the soundtrack sounded hollow on the 1.5W stereo speakers. The speakers are serviceable enough in most instances, but users will be better served by a pair of headphones.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Gigabyte P34W v3 features a Chiclet-style keyboard. Unfortunately given the laptop’s slim frame there isn’t room for many of the extras found on other gaming devices, such as dedicated multimedia buttons, auxiliary macro keys or a number pad. The square plastic keys are rounded at the edges and smooth to the touch. Key spacing is excellent and the only keys that have been reduced are the arrow keys at the bottom right of the keyboard. Considering that most game utilize the other side of the keyboard (near WASD keys) that shouldn’t prove too problematic.
As expected given the laptop’s width, travel distance is shallow. The Gigabtye P34W offers acceptable tactile feedback, with keys quickly snap back into place after being struck, but at times there wasn’t as much resistance as we would have liked. NBR never experience any issues while using the device, but the flat spring action and limited travel doesn’t offer the satisfying feeling of keys registrering when compressed. This is nitpicking more than anything though, the P34W’s keyboard performed without any issues during our testing, even when frantically typing away when playing a game of Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
Locate below the space is a modest sized (ELAN) touchpad. The pad has a solid black plastic mouse button at the bottom. The mouse button can take awhile to get used to as the center of it is actually dead and won’t compress, only the right and left sides will register mouse clicks. The smooth rubber pad offers solid travel and control. NBR had a few issues with multi-finger gestures reading, including two-finger scrolling while browsing the web. Luckily these issues were few and far between, but when they did pop up they were an annoyance.