Thin and light notebooks have always fascinated me.
The fascination started back when Asus released the EEE Book PCs that were tiny but just big enough to work on.
Fast forward and EEEBook notebooks are a rarity but Ultrabooks are everywhere.
These notebooks often combine high-powered internals with a sleek and sexy design that focuses on keeping the size and weight down.
The Gigabyte Aero 15W V8 (also known as the Aero 15X) isn’t an ultrabook in the strictest sense of the term, but it skirts that line between thin beasts and heavyweight juggernauts made for gaming.
As such we needed to answer two questions when the Aero 15W landed in our office. The first was whether one could use this notebook everyday in an office and the second was whether you could game on it at night.
Can it do work?
Before we answer that let’s take a look at what the Aero 15W offers on paper.
Inside you’ll find a 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8750H hexa-core CPU running at 3.2GHz (though we noted a peak of 3.9GHz in some applications), 16GB of DDR4 RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5 memory.
Storage-wise you can expect to find a 500GB SSD inside and no HDD storage. The lack of platter storage is a let down for us especially considering how big game files can get these days. That having been said we recognise that we now live in a world where fibre internet exists and most storage is done in the cloud.
While it’s not enough to warrant us condemning the notebook, not having additional HDD storage may let a few buyers down so keep that in mind.
Being as thin as it is, the Aero 15W does get warm rather quickly. The highest temperature we recorded while gaming however was 85 degrees on the CPU and 65 degrees on the GPU. We never noticed the notebook slowing down but it does get uncomfortably hot.
This specific iteration of the Aero 15W boasts a 15.6inch X-Rite Pantone calibrated display which is great for content creators. This notebook also has enough grunt to edit video, have Photoshop open and be browsing the web without breaking a sweat.
You however will be breaking a sweat due to the fact that the only exhaust port pushes hot air out of the back of the notebook directly on to the display which then reflects the hot air directly onto the keyboard and your hands.
For us this is a massive misstep and poor design.
Other than that however this notebook is really beautiful. The display tapers toward the hinge and gets incredibly thin. Also, despite this being a 15.6inch notebook it’s lightweight at under 2kg.
The keyboard is okay. The keys are slightly too large for our tastes and it took a bit of getting used to before we could touch type but the feel of the keys is great and the RGB lighting is wonderful in the dark.
Can it game?
In spite of the high temperatures we were experiencing through our digits we decided to game on the Aero 15W and it is a treat.
The reason we say that is because of the 144Hz FullHD display. Gaming on this display, especially as regards first person shooters and racing games is nothing short of orgasmic.
The GTX 1060 inside the notebook has its work cut out for it but it performs well. We noted average frame rates of 120Hz in Destiny 2: Forsaken on Ultra settings and in F1 2018 we got the full 144Hz experience at the highest settings.
Other games that reached the full 144Hz mark include Sid Meier’s Civilization VI and Fallout 4.
In terms of temperatures we never saw thermals going above the 85 degree roof we noted earlier.
Overall, if you want to game on the Aero 15W you will have a great experience.
How long does it last?
The Aero 15W is fitted with a 94.2Wh battery. To test how long it would hold out we opened up Netflix and began streaming The Flash with the display at full brightness.
Eight hours later the fastest man alive faded from our display and we are rather impressed. Considering the amount of tech in this notebook and that superb display we were expecting the Aero 15W to conk out after six hours.
With nothing running and the Aero 15W sitting idle we got 12 hours of life from the notebook.
The question we now need to answer is whether the Aero 15W is worth its R29 999 price tag.
The internals are good and about what you would expect from a notebook in this price range. We do lament the lack of HDD storage in this notebook though. As relates to the South African market we feel that turning to “the cloud” isn’t always a viable option. That, and game files are pushing the 100GB roof these days and a 500GB SSD fills up rather quickly.
The star of this notebook however is the 144Hz display with X-Rite Pantone calibration.
It really is glorious to behold and we found ourselves just gawking at the images before us at times.
The price for this notebook is also rather competitive. For the same money you could get an MSI notebook fitted with a GTX 1070 8GB GPU and 120Hz display.
The trouble with shopping for a notebook in this price range is that you have to make sacrifices. You can have a display with a high refresh rate and a GTX 1060 or a display with a lower refresh rate with a GTX 1070.
It really comes down to what you are looking for.
With all of that taken into consideration we are going to recommend this notebook because the performance is great and that 144Hz display really is fantastic even if you’re just doing some work and browsing the web.
Nice notebook Gigabyte, but now we can’t go back to 60Hz displays.
Disclaimer: The Gigabyte Aero 15W V8 was sent to Hypertext for review purposes by Rectron. The notebook has since been returned.