Aorus X5S v5 review

One wicked 4K gaming laptop, so long an outlet is nearby

Aorus X5

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I'm going to have serious problems going back to sub-UHD after experiencing the Aorus X5S v5. It does everything a gaming laptop should do, and it does it extremely well. The laptop presents itself as a machine for gamers by virtue of its angular design and its plentiful vents. The look is more an asterisk than an exclamation point, and Gigabyte did well by wrapping the X5S v5 in a skin in which it clearly belongs.

While the high-powered graphics capabilities, phenomenal screen, and onboard streaming card make this a fantastic fit for high-powered gamers, its incessant fan noise and utterly awful battery life keeps the Aorus X5S v5 from truly reaching greatness. It performs almost identical with the P35X, and is nowhere near as bulky as the Predator. Beyond gaming performance, anyone who works with graphics and processing heavy applications would do well to add the Aorus X5S v5 to their fleet.

We liked

Everything looks beautiful on the Aorus X5S v5 screen. Photos are rendered in vivid color and clarity, and Ultra HD video runs smoothly and without issue. Older games can be pushed to their highest settings, and modern games run well and look beautiful when optimized with Nvidia's GeForce software.

The optional streaming hardware allowed me to play Super Meat Boy on my Twitch channel at a solid 720p, 60 fps, and the programmable macros were perfect for quick and effortless multi-button inputs. It's also a worthy status symbol: every single one of my friends wanted to see it in action.

We disliked

If you want to push the laptop at all, you're going to end up making a whole bunch of noise. The fans run hard and they run loud. Eliminating the fan noise through software is possible, but greatly diminishes the performance that makes the X5S v5 so appealing.

The roughly 2-hour battery life is fine when you consider everything the this machine is doing. But as anyone who's lost themselves in an open world game can tell you, two hours can come and go in what feels like the blink of an eye.

Final verdict

The Aorus X5S v5 is an excellent machine that offers tons of gamer-specific features beyond just its pretty screen and processing power. The bright, colorful display is adequately powered, and it handles productivity applications as easily as gaming. Part of the fun for me was seeing just how great my older games looked with their settings and resolution turned to the max.

In benchmarking, it's evenly matched with the Gigabyte P35X in every area except battery life. It falls short of the glory that is the Acer Predator 15, but makes up for it with a gorgeous, 4K screen. The Killer LAN, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, optional on-board video encoder for streaming or recording, and the comfortable amount of available storage makes the X5S v5 a serious contender for any power gamer out there looking for a beastly machine to impress their friends.

When it comes to its peers, the Aorus X5S v5 falls just short of both the P35X and Predator 15. It's a great looking laptop with plenty of power, and with a few upgrades to RAM and internal storage, it would be the top-dog. As is, however, the battery life holds it back from greatness. While a full 4K display is certainly sharper, I would have preferred the old UHD screen if it meant an upgraded battery.