Aorus X5 v6 review

This slim Pascal-powered gaming laptop is almost the full pacakge

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Our Verdict

Loud and proud, the noisy Aorus X5 V6 sounds off big time when you're pushing it to its limits. Put up with that, though, and you'll enjoy its powerful gaming chops, stellar display and vibrant, RGB-backlit gaming keyboard.

For

  • Powerful performance
  • Slim design
  • Attractive 3K display
  • RGB-backlit keyboard

Against

  • Noisy fans
  • Build quality issues
  • Wide and long
  • Rattling keyboard

If you’re on the hunt for a gaming laptop with cutting-edge graphics that can be slipped into a backpack with room to spare, Aorus usually has you covered.

The sixth iteration of the company’s X5 continues tradition by upgrading to Nvidia’s latest GPU architecture under the hood without fattening up the chassis around it.

Some competing gaming laptops with Nvidia's new Pascal-based GTX 10-series cards can't lay claim to that.

The 15.6-inch X5 bears a closer similarity with the Aorus X5S, which came powered by a GTX 980M, than the preceding X5 that housed twin GTX 965M GPUs.

Driven by Nvidia’s new GTX 1070, the X5 v6 brings desktop-like levels of graphics grunt in a single GPU, leaving little need for Aorus to return to an SLI configuration.

If you’re interested in such a gaming goliath, then models including the XMG U727, the Razer Blade Pro and the decidedly less sensible Acer Predator 21 X are three options wielding dual GPUs.

Retailing around the £2,100 (around $2,640 or AUS$3,545) price point online, the X5 v6 is aimed squarely at enthusiasts who seek desktop-like performance in a portable package. But, is it worth the money?

Demure design

Aorus’ laptops are never too busy in the design department, preferring to stand out from the crowd using subtle ornaments – such as the orange reflective Aorus eagle logo on the lid and the pointed ridge just above it that helps you flip open the display with a single finger.

There isn’t really any color scheme to speak of here – except for the lid’s logo, and a blue Aorus eagle on the trackpad that glints in the light, it’s decked completely in black materials.

There’s nothing that will really draw your attention or make your jaw drop on first sight, but it doesn’t look like an office-bound laptop either.

As is common on Aorus laptops, the X5’s lid is positioned in front of a bumper-like rear edge that sticks out at the back.

We think it lends the laptop a jazzy sports car spoiler-type look, though you might otherwise. While it helps the X5 stand out among its competitors, it adds to the laptop's already very wide and long dimensions.

The X5 may be thin, but it takes up a substantial amount of room on your desk for a laptop.

Spec sheet

CPU: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-6820HK (quad-core, 6MB cache)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5, Intel HD Graphics 530
RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,400MHz)
Screen: 15.6-inch (2,880 x 2,160) IPS Display
Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Ports:  HDMI 2.0, Surround, mini DP, RJ45, 3 X USB-A, 1 x USB 3.1-C
Connectivity: Killer 1435 802.11ac 2 x 2 Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1
Camera: HD Camera
Weight: 2.5kg (5.5 pounds)
Size: 39 x 27.2 x 22.9cm (W x D x H)

Whether the X5 looks like a gaming laptop worth more than 2,000 clams, when it comes to build quality, it doesn’t feel like one in places.

Our X5 sample, which is mostly made of aluminium (on the lid) and plastic (on the base), suffers more flex than we would like.

For example, the plastic on its keyboard bends easily with pressure applied around the center of the keyboard, and over toward the enter key.

The lid too can be twisted and contorted without too much effort, so we wouldn’t advise picking it up by anything other than the base. Not that you would be mad enough to do otherwise.

If you’re looking for a laptop with rock-solid build quality everywhere, this isn’t it.

Display

The Aorus X5S’s 4K display seemed overkill considering that the GTX 980M inside wasn't up to scratch of powering games at its native resolution.

You’ll be pleased to discover that the X5 v6 lowers its display's pixel-resolution to a more suitable 2,880 x 1,620 (or "3K").

This strikes a much better balance between pixel density and gaming performance, with everything on the desktop – from text to icons, menus and images – still rendered in incredible detail.

The X5 uses high quality anti-glare IPS panel that boasts excellent angles, deep blacks and colors that ‘pop’.

But it's not just a pretty picture: the display is more than adequate for gaming thanks to its 60Hz refresh rate and support for Nvidia’s frame-synching G-Sync tech.

It's pleasingly bright too, though only after disabling Windows 10’s Adaptive Brightness setting and whacking brightness up to full.