Gigabyte Sabre 17 W: Budget gaming notebook with bite

The Gigabyte Sabre 17 W gaming laptop, which comes with the latest six-core processor from Intel and a mid-range Nvidia graphics chip, is capable of running the latest games.
The Gigabyte Sabre 17 W gaming laptop, which comes with the latest six-core processor from Intel and a mid-range Nvidia graphics chip, is capable of running the latest games.

The Gigabyte Sabre 17 W gaming laptop has a big 17.3-inch screen, but a modest price tag. Coupled with the latest six-core processor from Intel and a mid-range Nvidia graphics chip, it is capable of running the latest games despite being an entry-level model.

Like last year's Sabre 15, the new model appears to be built by Clevo. This manufacturer is also used by local PC builder Aftershock for many of its gaming notebooks.

Unsurprisingly, there are some similarities between the Sabre 17 W and Aftershock's 17-inch equivalent.

The most obvious is the keyboard - they both have a similar bouncy feel and good key travel.

In addition, the preloaded software utility to control the keyboard's backlights (which are divided into three lighting zones with more than 16 million colour choices) is identical on both laptops. Users can also create keyboard macros using this tool.

The Sabre 17 W has a chassis that looks angular and is comparatively dull by gaming-laptop standards.

  • SPECS 

    PRICE: $2,499

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-8750H (2.2GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5

    RAM: 16GB DDR4

    SCREEN SIZE: 17.3 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1, USB 2.0, HDMI, 2 x mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, SD card reader, audio jacks

    BATTERY: 62 watt-hour

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 2/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

It is mostly black, with the silver Gigabyte logo on the lid its only decoration. To my surprise, the lid is more resistant to fingerprint smudges than I expected.

The laptop feels solid enough for one with a plastic chassis, though the keyboard has a slight amount of give when pressed. At about 2.8kg, it is relatively portable for a 17-inch laptop.

Its large frame accommodates a generous number of ports, including two mini-DisplayPorts, an Ethernet port and three USB ports.

However, its single USB Type-C port does not support the faster Thunderbolt 3 interface.

The ample display has a respectable 120Hz refresh rate and a low 3ms response rate that should appeal to gamers.

For non-gaming usage, I find the display's viewing angles to be decent, but picture quality dips when viewed off-centre, especially from above or below.

I like that its primary storage device is a decent-sized 256GB solid-state drive, unlike many budget laptops that offer only a 128GB version. The Sabre also has a 1TB hard drive for music, videos and game files.

In Doom, it records 88 frames per second (fps) at Ultra setting, while in Crysis, it scores 69fps at Very High setting. Both games ran at the native 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. These results are in line with my expectations, given its hardware configuration.

Like most gaming laptops, the Sabre lacks battery stamina despite a sizeable internal battery. It lasts just 31/2 hours in The Straits Times' video-loop test, which sets the screen brightness and speaker volume to maximum.

• A no-frills but capable laptop for the budget-conscious gamer.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline 'Budget gaming notebook with bite'. Print Edition | Subscribe