In recent years, the evolution of laptops has been rapid, and we’ve finally seen the rise of sometime PC gamers have craved for decades: thin, powerful notebooks that pack both beefy GPUs and long battery lives. It’s a class of laptop that’s subsequently been adopted by creative and digital imaging professionals, who also have demanding needs when it comes to specs. This new type of user has even led to the creation of devices with higher-quality, more colour-accurate screens and more-efficient and discrete cooling systems – ones that won’t interrupt the quiet hum of an office space.
In 2020, we’re at a place where these divergent requirements have come together to produce new generation of all-rounder, ultra-portable laptops that are fantastic for gaming and entertainment, great for all kinds of work, look good in whatever work-or-play setting you can think of, stay cool, are packed with functionality and excel at everything they do. Other laptop makers are venturing into the ‘creator’s laptop’ space, but Gigabyte got there ahead of the crowd, launching its first AERO laptop back in 2017. It’s refined, upgraded and expanded the line each year since, and its newest flagship – the 2020 AERO 17 – is the best yet, offering a no-compromise device for anyone who requires a powerful portable... and gamers and content creators should especially take note.
Whether you’re in a top-level board meeting or settling into a LAN, the sophisticated, milled-aluminium chassis with Nanoimprint Lithography (and styling cues derived from sci-fi movies) will attract envious looks from everyone. There’s plenty to look at yourself too: the 17.3-inch, Full HD screen is surrounded by a super-thin, 3mm bezel. It means that you’ve a 17-inch laptop with a footprint that’s just 396mm wide – one you’d normally associate with a 15-inch model.
It’s very highly-specced too. Colours look great on this IPS panel, viewing angles are wide and the 144Hz screen means fast-moving games are displayed silky smooth. IPS technology plus 144Hz is the perfect balance between natural colours and speedy performance, so it provides a great experience whether you’re playing more graphically intense games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, or want the advantages of higher framerates for less-demanding titles like Fortnite. 144Hz is the current sweet spot when it comes to gaming-laptop displays: it doesn’t have the extreme cost of newer 240Hz or 300Hz panels, and there’s a wide selection of GPUs that can drive it, from the RTX 2080 Super through to the GTX 1660 Ti -- so you can pick the graphics chip that suits your needs and budget.
Gaming isn’t all this display is great at, though: it also offers top-class, professional-grade (ΔE <1) colour-accuracy. Each and every screen is manually calibrated in the Gigabyte factory to achieve a full, X-Rite Pantone Certification – not just the usual ‘Validation’.
The hardware under the hood
There are several variants of the AERO 17 available in Australia, with each offering different degrees of 3D power at different price points. All use the same, top-end 10th-generation, hexa-core, Intel Core-i7-10750H processor which runs at a base speed of 3.6GHz with Turbo Boost to 5GHz. RAM can be pushed from 8GB to 64GB and there’s space for two, super-fast, PCIe M.2 SSDs which can provide up to 2TB of storage. Of course, most importantly, Nvidia’s latest GPUs are integrated and you can choose between the top-end RTX 2080 and 2070 Super units (to ensure the latest, AAA games look as eye-popping as possible), or the more wallet-friendly 2060 or 1660 Ti chips for those who primarily want to thrash around in competitive shooters or focus on strategy games.
Noise? What noise?
Not so long ago, big power meant big noise, but thanks to some creative engineering, cooling systems have advanced a great deal. The latest AERO 17 uses Gigabyte’s new exclusive next-gen cooling system, called Windforce Infinity. This employs two large 80mm, 71-blade fans and five heat pipes to increase heat dissipation by 30% compared to the previous generation, ensuring that you’ll hear footsteps creeping up behind you on the battlefield and that, when things get particularly fast and frantic, there’s minimal risk of overheating.
Powerful, practical, peaceful... and portable too?
With so much packed in, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the AERO 17 would be a beast of a machine physically too, yet it’s just 21mm thick and weighs just 2.5kg. The solid, aluminium chassis is sturdy enough to withstand frequent travel, and the 94Wh battery can last a full, 8-hour working day – it scores an astounding 8 hours 45 minutes in PCMark 10! Not only that, but by embracing Microsoft’s Enterprise-derived Azure AI technology, over time the laptop will learn from your behaviour and only power-on components when needed, thereby further-improving battery performance.
The AERO 17 features Nahimic 3 3D surround-sound audio to truly place you in the heart of the action. Nahimic also integrates an on-screen Sound Tracker tool to help pinpoint where sounds are coming from and give you an edge on the battlefield, letting you better locate snipers and avoid people sneaking up behind you. In situations where you’re not using a headset – like watching movies or TV – the built-in speakers reach a whopping 93.1dBA, providing room-filling audio in a device that’s still amazingly thin and light.
All the essential hardware features
Gigabyte hasn’t stopped there when it comes to premium hardware. The latest AERO 17 includes Killer Ethernet E2600 and Intel AX1650 Wi-Fi 6 networking to maximise throughput and ensure that ping and lag are banished from the system – whether you’re connected by wire or wireless.
Each key of the Fusion RGB 2.0 Keyboard is individually lit and brighter than before, and a full range of macro-customisations mean the gaming and multimedia experience has been elevated to a whole new standard. There’s even a full-size number pad.
The Windows Precision multi-touch Touchpad offers accurate cursor navigation, and an integrated Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader provides top-notch security without the hassle.
There’s a full complement of connectivity ports, so you needn’t lug around dongles nor worry about compatibility with peripheral devices. There are three Type-A USB 3.2 (Gen 1) ports, with two being conveniently placed next to the twin 3.5mm audio jacks -- essential for RGB headsets which also require USB for power. There’s a mini DisplayPort 1.4 and full-size HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, SD Card reader and a Thunderbolt 3-compatible USB-C port.
There’s even a privacy slider on the HD webcam, so you can physically block any prying eyes and ensure that nobody sees anything they shouldn’t!
Of course, the icing on the cake is that with Gigabyte’s long experience in making reliable computers and components, you’ve got peace of mind that your investment won’t let you down. To underline the point, Gigabyte backs the AERO 17 up with a 2-year warranty.
The perfect all rounder
At a time when the world is locked down and personal computing has never been more personal – whether it’s for gaming, work or educational reasons – the AERO 17 is the perfect choice if you need a laptop that can do it all. And with prices ranging from $2,999 to $4,499, there’s a model to suit everyone’s needs.
Content creators, there's an AERO 17 for you too
The AERO 17’s 144Hz, 1080p IPS display makes it an optimal choice for demanding gamers, but if you’re looking for a no-compromise designer’s laptop, check out the upcoming Gigabyte AERO 17 HDR.
This 4K, HDR-ready machine is the ideal portable PC for content creation thanks to its bright, high-contrast IPS display. That screen is perfectly tuned for demanding video and image work, with DisplayHDR 400 certification, 100% Adobe RGB coverage and Xrite Pantone colour calibration done at the factory, so you can start using it straight out of the box.
The new AERO 17 HDR arrives at select Australian retailers this May.
Where to buy
The Gigabyte AERO 17 is available directly from the following Australian retailers: