Hands on: Aorus X9 review

The next-generation gaming laptop

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Our Early Verdict

The Aorus X9 could be the most powerful gaming laptop we've yet seen, with SLI graphics superior to dual Nvidia GTX 1080s, but we’ll have to wait until June to see if it can make good on its promise.

For

  • Ultra-thin design
  • Sharp looks
  • Tactile keys

Against

  • A little too similar to the Aorus X7
  • Unknown price and specs

If the rule is three’s a charm, then the Aorus X9 proves that mechanical keyboards on gaming laptops are officially in.

Not too long ago the dream of a mechanical keyboard only seemed achievable by literally cramming a desktop keyboard into a notebook like the MSI GT83VR Titan and Acer Predator 21 X.

However, machines like the Razer Blade Pro, Samsung Odyssey 17 and now the Aorus X9 are proving we can have a truly tactile typing experience on a notebook.

Unveiled at CES 2017 as a concept, the Aorus X9 is a 17-inch laptop that's like the Aorus X7 DT on steroids. Specs have yet to be finalized, but Aorus tells us its highest-end system could rock an unlocked Intel Core i7 K-series processor and a new Nvidia chip running in SLI – so an Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti or Titan X in all likelihood.

To top off these impressive but tentative specs, Aorus plans to outfit this machine with a 17.3-inch 3K (120fps) or 4K display, with either featuring G-Sync support no less.

Of course, the real star of this laptop is its mechanical keyboard featuring MX Brown switches and a fully customizable RGB lighting system. In our experience, the Aorus X9 keyboard offered a punchy typing experience with more travel, and more silent keys, than the already excellent Razer Blade Pro.

The Aorus X9 also completely won us over with its over-the-top aesthetics. Aorus’s laptops always had a sharp design, but the X9 takes it to the extreme with stealth fighter-like design cues, with all sorts of sharp angles, flaps and a matte black paint job.

We also spied a few pieces of transparent plastic around the body, which we can only assume will play a part in this 17-inch laptop’s lighting system.

Early verdict

After seeing the Aorus X9 for a fleeting moment, we can’t wait for its full announcement at Computex this June. On paper it’s Aorus’ most impressive gaming laptop, intended to dethrone all other desktop replacements like the Origin EON17-X and Razer Blade Pro. We'll have a better idea as to whether it can do that when we subject the machine to our full review.

  • New year, new tech – check out all our coverage of CES 2017 straight from Las Vegas, the greatest gadget show on Earth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin has been a writer for the better part of five years covering everything from green energy to high octane cars, videogames and tech, biohacking, and even city politics. At TechRadar he's settled into a life as the Computing Editor while also covering cameras and shooting video. He can be often found in the lab testing a half dozen laptops at a time or deciding which camera bags to carry for the day.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.