Gigabyte Aero 14 review

The gaming Ultrabook we've always wanted

Great Value

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Here’s how the Gigabyte Aero 14 performed in our suite of benchmark tests

3DMark: Sky Diver: 24,848; Fire Strike: 9,477; Time Spy: 3,567
Cinebench CPU: 728 points; Graphics: 89 fps
GeekBench: 3,511 (single-core); 13,528 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3,157 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 38 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 4 hours and 49 minutes
The Division (1080p, Ultra): 52 fps; (1080p, Low): 112 fps
GTA V (1080p, Ultra): 39 fps; (1080p, Low): 115 fps 

Equipped with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and Nvidia GTX 1060, the Aero 14 is a fully VR-capable machine; and, for the first time, you don’t have to spend more than two grand to get it. Not only is this machine more affordable than both the Razer Blade and Alienware 13 R3, it also out performs them in almost every benchmark.

The Aero 14 earned a slightly higher Fire Strike score than the Alienware 13, and then several ticks greater than the Razer Blade. We saw an identical trend follow within The Division and GTA V benchmark tools, though, the Aero 14 only goes a frame or two per second faster.

We can largely attribute the Aero 14’s overall higher benchmark scores to its brand new quad-core Kaby Lake processor. This in turn also helped it secure a 54 to 84- point-higher Cinebench CPU score over its competitors.

Battery life

The other most impressive component on the Aero 14's spec sheet is its massive 94.24-watt hour (Whr) battery. It's far larger than the usual 52- to 56-Whr batteries we're used to seeing inside most laptops, and Gigabyte claims users should get a full day’s use out of the laptop.

However, in our own testing, we found the Aero 14 really only has enough juice to last for half a day.

The portable rig lasted longest during our movie benchmark test, which loops a locally stored 1080p movie at 50% brightness and volume, for 4 hours and 49 minutes.

On a typical workday, the Aero 14 only ran for 4 hours and 22 minutes, though, we could see stretching this out to five hours with lower screen brightness and a lighter workload.

Still, that’s better than the two hours of battery life we typically see with gaming laptops of this size and class. However, if you’re looking something closer to six hours of usage on a gaming notebook, then the Razer Blade is for you.

We liked

The Gigabyte Aero 14 is an impressive machine that crams as much power as the Alienware 13 into a compact shell that competes with the Razer Blade and MSI GS63VR. With performance to beat, an excellent display, loud speakers, a tactile keyboard, a spacious touchpad and decent battery life, the Aero 14 has it all and is one of the best gaming laptops we’ve ever reviewed. 

And, to top it all off, it comes at a much lower price than all of our favorite 13- to 15-inch gaming laptops.

We disliked

Paying under $2,000 for a laptop this good is incredible. But, to get to this lower price point, the Aero 14 contains bloatware you’ll see strewn all over your desktop upon first turning it on. Otherwise, our only other minor complaint is the Aero 14’s battery life not meeting its promise – despite having a battery outclassing most competitors.

Final verdict

Gigabyte’s gaming laptops have always offered excellent performance packed into a thin frame at an affordable value, and the Aero 14 is no different. This model stands above its peers with better benchmark numbers at a significantly lower price.

Getting the Gigabyte Aero 14 to the tune of $1,699 (£1,799, AU$1,999) should sound better than coughing up 300 to 500 more bucks for an Alienware 13 or Razer Blade. Sure, this machine isn’t as well polished or premium as its rivals, but if you’re looking for the cheapest VR-capable gaming laptop, the Gigabyte Aero 14 is for you.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.