Gigabyte, a company known for producing lightweight gaming laptops, manages to impress with the sleek 14-inch Gigabyte Aero 14. The Aero 14 isn’t as powerful as the Taiwan manufacturer’s popular Aorus line, but at $1,600 it’s not nearly as expensive. That’s not to say that the Gigabyte Aero 14 doesn’t pack a punch. Armed with a 2.6GHz sixth generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ and Nvidia Geforce GTX 970M GPU, the Aero 14 is a powerhouse in its own right. Read this Gigabyte Aero 14 review to find out more.
Our Gigabyte Aero 14 review unit
Gigabyte laptops — save for the Aorus line — have always had a somewhat simplistic look, which is why it’s nice to see Aero 14 sport such an angular and eye-catching aesthetic. The team at NotebookReview loved the vibrant lime-green and orange color options, which help the 14-inch ultrabook stand out from the sea of silver and black notebooks. However, for those of you that want a more standard look, there’s also a black color option.
The aluminum protective lid sports a glossy finish that produces a sharp sheen when catching the light, along with a fetching triangle design complete with crosshatched pattern. In the center of the display sits silver Gigabyte lettering. The rounded corners slant inwards towards the display, creating a sharply aggressive look.
The black metallic deck contrasts against the loud colorful protective lid. Similar silver Gigabyte lettering sits below the display lid, and a large round power button sits atop the center to the deck. The metallic surface is cool to the touch, providing a comfortable wrist rest when typing. The outer edge of the chassis concaves in towards the middle, further accentuating the stylish angular lines of the device.
Measuring 13.19 x 9.84 x 0.78 inches and weighing 4.19 pounds, the Gigabyte Aero 14 isn’t the sleekest ultrabook on the market, but it’s incredibly lightweight considering there’s a Nvidia Geforce 970M under the hood. To put it into perspective the Aero 14 is a full pound lighter than the Aorus X5S v5, which we loved for it’s lightweight design.
Even with the thin profile, the Gigabyte Aero 14 offers a solid level of connectivity. The left side of the laptop features a protective lock slot, an HDMI 2.0 connector, a USB 3.0 port, an audio/microphone jack, and microSD card reader. The right side of the device houses two additional USB 3.0 ports, a Mini DisplayPort, and USB 3.1 Type-C port. While there isn’t an Ethernet connector, the device ships with USB Type C adapter, for those that want a wired connection.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Gigabyte Aero 14 keyboard
The Gigabyte Aero 14 sports a sizable island-style, backlit keyboard complete with a full row of customizable macro keys. The large square keys have a glossy feel. Key travel is decent given the slim 0.78-inch profile, and feedback is consistent. Gigabyte also utilizes the full length of the device offering excellent spacing, creating a very comfortable typing environment.
Located directly below the spacebar the Aero 14 houses a sizable touchpad. The black rubber pad is devoid of physical buttons, instead using the bottom portion of the pad to act as right and left mouse clicks. The smooth rubber surface allows for easy frictionless travel. Equipped with ELAN drivers, swipes, clicks, and multi-finger gestures all register instantly without delay.
Screen and Speakers
The Gigabyte Aero 14 houses a beautiful 14-inch IPS QHD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution display. Images are rich and detailed with excellent color saturation and contrast. NBR was impressed by how well the panel detailed the vibrant color pallet of the class-based action shooter Overwatch. The dark purple and black of the character’s costumes looked rich and detailed popping against the white glossy background.
The Aero 14’s screen isn’t the brightest, but it does provide solid viewing angles with images holding up well over 90 degrees without any noticeable color loss or distortion. The limited brightness does cause a noticeable sheen to appear in direct light, but the screen looks great under normal conditions.
The stereo speakers are surprisingly boisterous, capable of filling a modest sized room with audio. NBR was impressed with the clarity as well. The Aero 14 did a great job capturing the jousting acoustic guitar and violin in the orchestral track Histoire du Tango – Nightclub 1960 by Duos Sonidos. However, the stereo speakers in our Gigabyte Aero 14 review unit didn’t have the power of most gaming notebooks. The lack of base made the special effects in Overwatch feel a bit flat.
Gigabyte has been marketing the Aero 14 as more of an ultrabook than a gaming device, but the notebook definitely has some kick to it. The Aero 14 is equipped with a 2.6GHz sixth generation Intel, with NVidia GeForce GTX 970M graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD.
As evident by the impressive benchmark scores, the Aero 14 offers strong overall performance. The fast processor and ample RAM storage make the Aero 14 perfect for multitasking. NBR was able to run 15 active Google Chrome tabs, while streaming two HD videos, and listening to Spotify in the background without any noticeable drop in performance. The lightning fast PCIe SSD loads files and applications in a near instant. Finally, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M offers dependable graphical performance perfect for video editing and playing games. With 3GB of GDDR5, the Aero 14 should be able to play every game on the market with solid performance. While testing the device, the Aero 14 was capable of running Overwatch at 1080p on high settings and an average of 110 fps (frames per second).
Our Gigabyte Aero 14 review unit had the following technical specifications:
- Windows 10 Home (64-bit)
- 14-inch IPS QHD (2560 x 1440) resolution display
- 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M GPU (3GB of GDDR5)
- 16GB of DDR4
- 512GB PCIe SSD
- Li-polymer 94.24Wh battery
- Dimensions:13.19 x 9.84 x 0.78-inches
- Weight: 4.19 pounds
- Price: $1,600
wPrime processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 measures the overall gaming performance of the GPU (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
To test battery life, we used Futuremark’s PowerMark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than typical web browsing alone, measuring the machine under a litany of scenarios to better simulate high-stress usage. With the test being far more demanding the scores are understandably lower than what you’ll experience just checking Facebook or watching Netflix.
PowerMark “Balanced” battery life test results listed in minutes (higher scores mean better life):
In our tests, the Gigabyte Aero 14 review unit ran for 5 hours and 10 minutes before shutting down. Scoring over five hours is decent for an ultrabook and fantastic for a gaming device. Dedicated graphics are a power sink, which is why the sizable 94.24Wh Li-Polymer battery is such a godsend. Considering that our benchmark is a bit more strenuous than standard use, you can expect to get upwards of 8 hours on a single charge.
The Gigabyte Areo 14 is an excellent ultrabook with exceptional performance. The sleek attractive thin design and long battery life, make the Aero 14 perfect for travel. While the powerful CPU, lightning fast SSD, and dedicated GPU make the Aero 14 a powerhouse. Add in the beautiful display and comfortable keyboard and you have a well-rounded device that delivers in every area.
There are more powerful gaming laptops on the market, but few can match the portability, performance, and price point of the Aero 14.
- Attractive thin design
- Long lasting battery
- Strong Specs
- Screen produces glare in direct light