Gaming

Aorus X5S v5 builds on predecessor's success

The Aorus X5S v5 (above) has been refined with better hardware compared with its highly rated predecessor last year.
The Aorus X5S v5 (above) has been refined with better hardware compared with its highly rated predecessor last year.PHOTO: AORUS

The Aorus X5S v5 is an excellent gaming laptop. This is unsurprising: Its predecessor last year, the Aorus X5, was a Best Gaming Laptop finalist in our annual tech awards.

But theAorus X5 had its flaws. Its dual GeForce GTX 965M graphics chips may be fast, but they also ran fairly warm. As a result, the cooling fans seemed to be always spinning noisily at high speed to keep the temperature in check.

The new X5S (the "S" suffix appears to indicate a single graphics chip) has switched to a high-end GeForce GTX 980M, which is Nvidia's second most powerful mobile graphics chip. The laptop also gets upgraded to a new Intel Core i7 processor and a faster solid-state drive.

Its black chassis is identical to the last model. It is slim and light (2.5kg) for a 15-inch model. On its aluminium lid is the Aorus logo.

From my tests, the GTX 980M is slightly faster than the X5's dual graphics chips. In Bioshock Infinite, the X5S scored 107 frames per second (fps) compared with 97fps on the older X5. The X5S also produced a smooth 55fps in Crysis 3 at Very High setting.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $3,799

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GB GDDR5

    RAM: 16GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 3,840 x 2,160 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 3 x USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, VGA, Ethernet port, SD card slot, audio jacks

    BATTERY: 73 watt-hour

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 1/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

These games were tested at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels instead of the laptop's native 3,840 x 2,160-pixel (also known as 4K) screen resolution. This is because even a top gaming laptop will struggle to produce a smooth gaming experience in the latest games at this resolution. However, running an older title like Bioshock Infinite at 4K resolution is feasible, though expect frame rates to hover around 40.

With its wide viewing angles and matte finish, the X5S' 15.6-inch display is very good. It manages to produce images that look vibrant, but not overly saturated.

However, the laptop's ultra-high screen resolution has a downside. Some apps do not resize their windows, icons and text properly to fit the resolution.

The previous X5 had a dedicated hardware chip to process streaming game videos recorded by the laptop. This feature is optional on the new X5S, though Aorus bundles a year's subscription for the XSplit Gamecaster app that lets gamers stream their gameplay videos online.

Gamers will appreciate the extra column of keys on the left edge of the keyboard that enables 25 different custom macros. But it does take a while to get used to them.

• Verdict: Aorus has refined its top gaming laptop with better hardware. But it remains as expensive as its predecessor.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2016, with the headline 'Gaming Building on predecessor's success'. Print Edition | Subscribe