In today’s world, people prefer mobility and often need their computer to handle not only e-mail and browser but also to run professional software and games. Therefore, laptop manufacturers have been actively positioning gaming models for many years, which are a universal solution for such buyers. In this review, we’ll see what GIGABYTE’s gaming division has to offer in this regard with the AORUS 15 (XE4) model.
Specifications of AORUS 15
|Display||IPS, 15.6″, resolution 2560×1440 dots, frequency 165 Hz|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-12700H|
|RAM||16 GB DDR5-4800 MHz|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe + NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070Ti|
|Ports||Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C, HDMI 2.1, RJ-45, 3.5-mm Jack (Combo)|
|Wireless modules||Wi-Fi 6e + Bluetooth 5.2|
|Keyboard||RGB-backlit island-type keys|
|Battery and charging||99 Wh, 240 W PSU|
|Estimated price||89,999 UAH|
AORUS 15 kit
In the box with the laptop, you can find a standard delivery kit, which consists of the device itself and a power supply unit.
Of course, almost every gamer has the appropriate gaming accessories, such as a keyboard, mouse, headphones, etc. But for those users who have just ditched a desktop computer for a laptop, you may also want a backpack with a suitable compartment for a 15.6-inch laptop, and perhaps a hub with more ports than you need (we’ll get to that later).
Design and usability
The manufacturer approached the appearance of AORUS 15 quite conservatively. At the same time, one look at it will be enough to understand that we have a game model in front of us. On the one hand, it is a black case larger than ultrabooks or ordinary “office machines” without a large number of “aggressive” decoration elements. But on the other hand, the RGB backlight of the keyboard and the design of the rear air ducts clearly indicate the segment of the model.
In addition to the backlight, there is a logo on the top panel and a small power button above the keyboard, and from the logos, there is a standard corporate inscription under the screen.
The body is made of plastic but assembled well. There are no “childish” problems of old gaming laptops, which literally crunched when they got into the hands. Applying force can slightly push the topcase or bend the display unit, but during normal operation, the chassis holds up well. There will be no feeling of “premium” from the work surfaces, but it is nice that the matte surface does not collect handprints very much and, if necessary, can be easily wiped, returning to a neat appearance.
Everything is fine with the dimensions of AORUS 15 — 360×244×24-27 mm with a weight of 2.4 kg. Gaming laptops are much larger and heavier, but there may not be enough space for them in a compact backpack. In addition, you should always count on at least the additional weight of the power supply unit and accessories required by the user. It’s the pay-for-performance you can’t live without if you need a powerful system.
The biggest problem here was the small number of ports. On the left side, there are HDMI 2.1, USB Type-C (3.2 Gen1 with DP support), a combined 3.5 mm Jack, and USB Type-A (3.2 Gen1). On the opposite side is a proprietary power connector, Thunderbolt 4 (with Power Delivery support), and Ethernet. For a gamer, only one USB-A may not be enough, which is why, most likely, a hub with more additional ports (more USB-A, card reader, etc.) will still be needed. It is quite possible that you will want to change some wired accessories to wireless ones (at least for normal work).
Almost half of the bottom panel is perforated for air. At the same time, the panel looks quite interesting, and through it, you can see the LEDs that are synchronized with the keyboard. Small, but has a pleasant appearance. There are also rubber feet on the bottom that grip the surface very well, preventing accidental sliding during games.
In general, AORUS 15 looks relatively simple, but it has its nice accents. With a white static backlight of the keyboard, in the office, such a laptop will not attract additional attention, and at home, with other effects on the keys it will stand out among gaming accessories. If the developers aimed for such a balanced design, then they succeeded.
AORUS 15 display
This model has a diagonal of 15.6 inches and two options of IPS matrices: 1920×1080 pixels with a refresh rate of 360 Hz, or 2560×1440 pixels with a refresh rate of 165 Hz. The model came to us with the second option. Speed matrixes have not been unusual for a long time, and here the developer did not disappoint by adding an option with 2K. This line did not receive touch panels.
It is worth noting that the screen got a compact frame, compared to many other gaming laptops. They add tidiness to the appearance of the laptop. But the fasteners themselves seemed too big. It, of course, does not affect work in any way, but there are more interesting options. However, they perfectly hold the display in place during operation, and the maximum screen opening angle is enough for everyone.
There are almost no questions to matrix calibration. Gaming laptops could usually be inferior in colors to, say, ultrabooks, but here there are no problems with that. Among the nuances, the color temperature is higher than the standard. You can find exactly this point in the settings, but it affects the gamma more, almost without changing the temperature itself. In real use, leaving the Native settings, the display is enough for both work and entertainment. Subjectively, there was no strong desire to change anything during testing. Viewing angles should also meet the needs of players.
The matrix is matte, copes well with glare. The maximum level of illumination is 323 cd/m² (a little more than promised by the manufacturer), which should also be sufficient when using the laptop indoors (and with gaming models, this is most often the case). You can reduce the brightness to a minimum of 8 cd/m², which is good for users who work in the dark.
AORUS 15 security
More and more often, functions of quick access to the system are found not only on smartphones but also on laptops. AORUS 15 also got this feature. In a compact protrusion above the screen, near the camera with microphones, there are infrared sensors for scanning the face. (The protrusion is also convenient for opening the laptop lid.)
Windows Hello support really helps to get into the system quickly. The laptop recognizes the owner with a minimum delay, which will allow bypassing the password at system startup and, for example, in third-party applications such as the updated 1Password. Conveniently, IR sensors are not sensitive to lighting conditions, which allows you to use Windows Hello in any room.
Manipulators and multimedia
Each manufacturer of gaming laptop models has its own approach to the keyboard. AORUS 15 got the full version with NUM-block. It was placed across the entire width of the top case, which is why I had to get used to the key positions a little (at first, there were mistakes when typing “blindly”). The same with the navigation block, which is “embedded” among other keys. At first, I sometimes had to look at the keyboard.
But after easy adaptation, the problem disappeared. The mechanism is quite quiet, and the key travel is deep. Both in games and when typing, it is really pleasant to work with it, it is unlikely that there will be any problems with it. Everything is also good with the backlight, the maximum level of which is even too much, which is also not so common (personally, no more than 40-50% was enough for me). However, some modes can be too distracting, so static color was the best option for me.
I also liked the trackpad located closer to the center. Its dimensions are 120×75 mm. By default, it’s well-tuned, responsive to touch, and recognizes gestures. In the event that there is no need for an external manipulator, such a trackpad can easily control the cursor.
The sound is provided by two speakers, which are located closer to the user and are directed downwards. Their sound will not be enough for playing music, because “low” frequencies are almost absent. The sound is enough for normal communication on the Internet, system sounds and movies or series. But it is much more pleasant to play or listen to music with external speakers or headphones (most likely, the player will have it this way).
The AORUS 15 webcam has HD resolution, but the image looks better than the average for laptop cameras, and is also processed in home “warm” lighting. Of course, a high-quality stream will require a different solution, but for work calls and communication with relatives, yesthe picture is quite enough. Microphones located near the camera transmit voice well, but just as well “hear” everything around (including the cooling system, keyboard, mouse clicks, etc.). Therefore, you will still need an external microphone, or you can use software to filter extraneous noise.
Performance and software
AORUS 15 received a Intel Core i7-12700H CPU (14/20, 3.5-4.7 GHz) in all configurations. But with a discrete video chip, there may be options: from NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 to RTX 3080Ti. This model has an RTX 3070Ti (1035-1485 MHz, 8GB GDDR6). It also has 16 GB of DDR5 4800 RAM (maximum 64 GB), and a terabyte PCIe Gen4 drive (there are two slots in total).
Both RJ45 and fast Wi-Fi 6E AX210 from Intel can be used to connect to the Network, and Bluetooth 5.2 is provided for wireless accessories. So it is easy to assemble a fairly universal computer.
We tested the newest instance of this model. This made it possible to show good results in synthetic performance tests. The same goes for normal work — the laptop is very fast and stable. The power is enough for normal tasks and games, but also for more serious work with videos, many virtual machines (if you add RAM), etc. Among other things, the speed indicators of the drive catch the eye. All tests were performed at the highest power settings.
There were no problems with the games either. Such a configuration may not always allow you to get the desired frame rate to synchronize with the image refresh rate, but at high graphics settings and even at maximum resolution, you can get an average of more than 60 fps even in games like Cyberpunk2077 with ray tracing. Not to mention competitive games like Counter-Stike: Global Offensive. FPS averages were as follows:
- CS:GO — on average, you could see 240-360 (high quality, 2560×1440);
- Dota 2 — 120 (high quality, 2560×1440);
- GTA V — 154/112 (high quality, 1920×1080/2560×1440);
- PUBG — 170/115 (high quality, 1920×1080/2560×1440);
- Cyberpunk2077 – 66/47 (high quality, 1920×1080/2560×1440);
- Dirt 5 — 97/78 (high quality, 1920×1080/2560×1440);
- Shadow of the Tomb Rider — 123/102 (high quality, 1920×1080/2560×1440).
The proprietary WINDFORCE Infinity cooling system is very loud at its maximum capacity. But stable. In addition to supporting the laptop well during long gaming sessions, it also does a good job of keeping the keyboard and work surface cool. Therefore, it is really comfortable to play. However, the side and rear air vents will heat up everything around, and the noise level can noticeably disturb the surroundings. In normal operation, of course, there is no such effect, and the noise is no more than from other gaming models.
Gigabyte Control Center proprietary “software” will allow you to manage additional hardware settings: operating modes (Creative, Turbo, Gaming, Meeting, PowerSaving), keyboard backlighting, image correction, setting your own macros, updating drivers, etc. The program is simple and intuitive.
AORUS 15 battery life
The laptop received a rather large battery with a capacity of 99 Wh, but the operating time depends directly on the load on the device. In the battery test in game mode, the laptop lasted 1 hour 24 minutes. In other modes, it can reach about 5 hours.
The complete power supply unit is relatively standard in size. It weighs 685 grams, which will add to the weight of a backpack with a laptop. It will take a little less than 2.5 hours to fully charge the battery, which is standard for similar systems.