Gamers had a reason to rejoice earlier this month, when new gaming notebooks sporting refreshed Intel mobile processors and Nvidia graphics chips were unveiled.
Among them is the Gigabyte Aorus 15G (available on Lazada and Shopee), which comes with an eight-core, Intel 10th-generation Core i7-10875H processor and Nvidia's latest RTX 20-series Super graphics chip.
But what first caught my eye about the Aorus 15G is its keyboard. It uses mechanical switches for a more tactile typing experience than that with a typical membrane-based notebook keyboard.
Not only does the keyboard feel clicky and deep - the keys have a vertical travel distance of 2.5mm compared to the typical 1.8mm - it also has per-key RGB backlight illumination. This means users can customise the LED colour (16.7 million available colours) of each key using Gigabyte's Control Center utility.
Of course, most would not go to that extent of picking a different colour for each key. I, for one, simply picked one of the numerous LED profiles in the software utility that changes the LED colours in a specific pattern and called it a day.
The utility also comes with the usual gaming-centric settings to adjust the speed of the cooling fans and create custom keyboard macros.
Unusually for a notebook with a mechanical keyboard, the Aorus 15G is not chunky. While there are indeed slimmer models in the market, I doubt users will make a fuss over its 2.2kg weight.
The laptop has a solidly-built aluminium chassis that barely flexes under pressure. Its aesthetics are inspired by racing cars - there are many vents, some of which seem to be decorative rather than functional.
To my relief, Gigabyte did not go overboard with the LEDs. Other than the keyboard LEDs, only the Aorus logo is lit up.
More importantly, the laptop cooling system seems to work really well. The palm rest and the keyboard were comfortable to the touch even after hours of gaming.
The cooling fans were also quieter than I expected. It was easy to ignore the fan noise after a while as they were running at a constant speed without any sudden high-pitched whines.
Its high refresh rate display redraws screen content at a rapid 240 times a second (240Hz) to minimise screen tearing and stuttering in games. Gigabyte says the display has been calibrated by professionals. The screen certainly looked good - colours were rich but not overly saturated.
Because of the narrow screen bezels, the Web camera has been shifted from above the display to below it. Be warned: your nostrils will look very prominent in video-chat sessions unless you tilt your head down. The camera has a physical privacy shutter to block its view when not in use.
With its brand-new, eight-core Intel processor, the Aorus 15G blazed through the PCMark 10 benchmark with a score of 6,407. This compares favourably with the 5,888 score by the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, which has AMD's latest eight-core Ryzen 4900HS chip, but a slower Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics chip.
The new Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super (Max-Q) graphics chip in the Aorus 15G offers higher clock speeds than the older RTX 2070 variant. Unsurprisingly, the laptop produced an average of 124 frames per second (fps) in Doom Eternal compared to 98fps for the RTX 2060-powered Asus laptop at 1080p and at Ultra setting.
In the graphically-demanding Metro Exodus video game, the Aorus 15G produced around 52fps at 1,920 x 1,080-pixels at Ultra quality.
Despite a relatively large 94 watt-hour battery, the laptop's power-hungry components meant that it lasted just four hours in our video-loop battery test with the screen set to maximum brightness.
At $3,799, the Aorus 15G is not cheap. But it offers one of the best gaming experience on a laptop now, thanks to its mechanical keyboard, smooth display and excellent performance.
Excellent cooling system
Beautiful and smooth display
Web camera placement not ideal
Processor: Intel Core i7-10875H (2.3GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB GDDR6 (Max-Q)
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Screen size: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Connectivity: 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, SD card reader, Ethernet port, audio jack
Battery: 94 watt-hour
Value for money: 3.5/5
Battery life: 2/5
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