You could say that Taiwan-based computer maker Gigabyte prefers the scattergun approach. Whether you're looking for a wallet-friendly gaming laptop like the P55K or one that can play the latest 4K-optimized games (P35X), the company's wide range of systems usually includes something that might catch your eye.
The fifth iteration of the P55W is one I've been looking particularly forward to. It's basically a smaller version of the 17-inch P57W v5, which impressed on the back of its capable Nvidia hardware and eye-catching display. Can its follow-up deliver the same goods in a more compact package?
Looking at the specs, the answer could be yes. The P55W v5 squeezes the P57W v5's Nvidia GTX 970M GPU and top-of-the-line Intel Core-i7 processor into a more manageable 15-inch chassis. Even though the difference in size is just two inches across the diagonal, the P55W is much easier to sling into a backpack and transport.
It's cheaper too, although configurations vary. It can be picked up starting $1,224 (around AUS$1,694) in the US, while UK buyers can find the P55W online starting £1,178 from retailers listed on Gigabyte's website. That places it in the same price bracket as the Acer Predator 15 and Schenker XMG P506. The question is, which one would win in a fight?
Gigabyte's gaming laptops tend to favor functionality and performance over dazzling looks, and the P55W is no exception. (If it's a super-slim portable gaming machine you're after, check out models by Gigabyte subsidiary Aorus such as the X3 Plus V3 instead.)
Decked mostly in matte black plastic that's broken up by an orange trim running along the outer edge, the P55W's tiger-esque color scheme is inoffensive yet slightly bland compared to aluminium-clad models such as the Asus ROG G752.
Nor does Gigabyte's machine bother with any of the ostentatious design choices found on Acer's newer Predator 15 and Predator 17 models. Depending on your view, and preference for a laptop that doesn't look like it's aimed at teenagers, that may be a good thing.
Whatever you think of its design, the P55W is a solidly-built machine. Two hinges on the left and right-hand sides of the display prevent the lid from wobbling when moved into position, and it can be raised with a single hand with ease.
Subtle cutaways in the lid combine with a chassis that doesn't succomb to flex, resulting in a body that feels smooth and great to hold.
Vents are located on the left-hand side and underneath the machine for cooling. They do a good job of dissipating heat, and I found that the P55W remained comfortable to use on the lap even after a few hours of use.