With the P34G, Gigabyte seems to be a firm believer of the cheeky phrase, "It's what's on the inside that counts." While it sports an aluminum lid and base with plenty of chrome accents, this laptop's inconsistent aesthetic keeps it from a truly premium look and feel.
No matter, as the Gigabyte P34G more than makes up for its looks with premiere components in an impressively thin and light frame. Measuring 13.4 x 9.4 x 0.83 inches (W x D x H) and weighing just 3.9 pounds, this is one of the thinnest and lightest 14-inch gaming notebooks around. While the P34G isn't quite as slender as the Razer Blade's 13.6 x 9.3 x 0.66 inches, the Blade is a dense 4.2 pounds. On this front, the Alienware 14 doesn't come close at 13.2 x 10.2 x 1.57 - 1.62 inches and a whopping 6.6 pounds.
If you're like me, you're not easily swooned by a good-looking gaming laptop. When I'm already paying a premium for mobile components inside of a system that's built for me, I'm more concerned about those guts and whether they'll supply my PC gaming fix for a few years at least.
We'll get to just that in a bit. (Spoiler: The future looks bright for this machine.) For now, let's dive into just what you'll get with Gigabyte's standard P34G configuration for the U.S. market.
This is the P34G configuration sent to TechRadar:
- CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.4GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 760M (2GB GDDR5 VRAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600
- RAM: 16GB DDR3L
- Screen: 14-inch 1920 x 1080 LCD with Advanced-Hyper Viewing Angle
- Storage: 128GB mSATA SSD with 1TB, 5400 rpm HDD
- Ports: 2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, HDMI, D-sub, RJ45 Ethernet, SD card reader, headphone/mic jack, security lock slot
- Connectivity: Intel dual-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
- Webcam: 1.3MP
- Weight: 3.9 pounds
- Size: 13.4 x 9.4 x 0.83 inches (W x D x H)
The Gigabyte P34G would be enough to throw the first round of a The Price is Right game into disarray. For this setup, Gigabyte calls for $1,399 (about £839, AU$1,561), a pittance in comparison to what Alienware and Razer demand for similarly configured systems.
However, Gigabyte doesn't offer much in the way of options in the U.S., going through online retailers like Amazon to get its laptops stateside. For instance, while the P34G I tested packs 16GB of RAM, Amazon only offers units with 8GB of RAM as of this review. That's more than enough memory, regardless.
At $1,799 (around £1,079, AU$2,007), the Razer Blade offers a 128GB solid-state drive, a similar CPU and slightly superior GPU – a 2.2GHz Core i7-4702HQ and GTX 765M, respectively. However, this svelte rig's 1600 x 900 LED screen can't match the P34G's 1080p panel. Oh, and you won't score a 1TB hard drive and 16GB of RAM (just 8GB) here.
On the other hand, the Alienware 14 requires $1,699 (about £1,019, AU$1,895) to match Gigabyte's 14-incher head on. That gets you a 1TB HDD and 80GB SSD combo, the GTX 765M, a 2.4GHz Core i7-4700MQ chip, and an equal 16GB of RAM and 1080p WLED display. This configuration does get one over on the P34G with its DVD-RW drive. Be honest with yourself though, when was the last time you bought a PC game disc?
For another $100, the Alienware 14 offers a Blu-ray drive and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Faster networking sweetens that deal, but if you have a massive Blu-ray collection, you already have a PS3 (or Sony PS4) for that.
The P34G doesn't sport the focused aesthetic or premium build quality of its competitors, but it's focused on what counts most: performance and poundage versus price. Save for burning the occasional Blu-ray, there's little, if anything, that Alienware or Razer's laptops can do that this system can't.