The Aorus 15G gaming laptop has a mechanical keyboard which is amazing to type with, but there’s more to it than that, I’ll show you if it’s worth considering in this review. My unit has an 8 core Intel i7 processor, Nvidia RTX 2070 Super Max-Q graphics, and 16gb of memory in dual channel with a 240Hz screen. There are different specs available though. Overall build quality is decent but the design will come down to personal taste as that’s subjective, it’s a little too aggressive for me. The lid, interior and bottom panel are all aluminium with a silver finish. It feels quite solid, the edges weren’t too bad but could feel a little sharp on the front depending on the angle you brush up against them, but I never had an issue during normal use.
Despite the metal lid there was some flex, though the hinges felt smooth and sturdy, and there were no problems opening it up with one finger, it felt pretty well balanced and sat fine on my lap. Chassis flex was pretty average, again no problems at all during everyday use. My config weighed under 2.3kg, and we’re looking at 3.1kg or 6.9lb with the 230 watt power brick and cables for charging included. The width and depth are decent for a 15 inch gaming laptop, though it’s a little thicker compared to others with similar specs I’ve recently tested, but we’ll see if this helps improve temperatures soon.
The smaller footprint results in 6mm thin screen bezels on the sides, but with a thicker bottom chin. There are different screen options available, I’ve got the 15.6” 1080p 240Hz option. There’s no G-Sync or option of disabling Optimus here, and although the graphics are Max-Q, there’s no Dynamic Boost in this unit.
I measured the screens average grey-to-grey response time at around 7.7ms. It’s close to a lot of other laptops tested, but we need 4.16ms for all transitions to occur within the refresh window.
I’ve measured colour gamut with the Spyder 5, and got 97% of sRGB, 68% of NTSC, 74% of AdobeRGB and 74% of DCI-P3. At 100% brightness we’re looking at 319 nits and an 880 to 1 contrast ratio, so some fair results for a gaming panel. Gigabyte calibrates it too, so it should have a Delta E of less than 1. Backlight bleed was a little patchy, but I never noticed it during normal use, but this will vary between laptops. There’s a dead pixel near the center of the left half, but that’s just my review unit so I have no idea if some other reviewer may have caused that, it would get shipped around a lot. Either way I wouldn’t expect that issue if you were to buy it as most companies will let you return for that. There’s a 720p camera underneath the screen, and it’s got a physically sliding privacy shutter but no Windows Hello support. As that camera is down the bottom there’s no way of adjusting it.
The mechanical keyboard is what makes the 15G unique, that’s just not a common feature that we see in gaming laptops. The Omron switches have 2.5mm of key travel and a 1.6mm actuation point. They felt great to type with compared to most other laptops. So definitely louder key presses, which is typically the nature of mechanical switches. All keys and secondary key functions are illuminated. It’s got per-key RGB lighting and has 2 levels of key brightness which can be adjusted by holding function and pressing the spacebar. I like that the power button is above the keyboard in the center, so no chance of an accidental mispress, and there appears to be some air ventilation holes back here too. The precision touchpad clicks down anywhere and feels very smooth to the touch, it worked fine but felt a little small, maybe it’s just in my head as some is taken up by the fingerprint scanner in the top left corner. I found it to work fast enough and it still worked fine even with my finger on different angles.
Fingerprints don’t show up too much on the silver metal. They were more noticeable on the black touchpad and keys, but they’re easy to clean off the smooth surface with a microfiber cloth.
On the left from the back there’s an air exhaust vent, HDMI 2.0 and mini DisplayPort 1.4 outputs, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, 3.5mm audio combo jack, and gigabit ethernet port. The ethernet port might get in the way, but this is preferable than the right hand side. On the right from the front there are two more USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port, full size UHS-II SD card slot, the power input, and an air exhaust on this side too. The HDMI and Mini DisplayPorts on the left are connected directly to the Nvidia graphics, so good to go for VR, however the Type-C port on the right goes via the Intel integrated graphics, and you can not charge the laptop over Type-C. The back is just air exhaust vents, and nothing on the front other than these sort of holes or vents in the middle. The Aorus logo on the lid lights up white from the screen's backlight, so cannot be modified. Underneath the back half of the machine is pretty much all air ventilation which is great to see, this is something Gigabyte have done in many of their models. Getting inside involved taking out 12 TR6 screws, and inside we’ve got the battery down the front, two M.2 storage slots, one on the left of the battery and the other on the right above it. The WiFi 6 card is above this one, and the two memory slots are near the middle. The two 2w speakers are towards the front on the left and right sides. I didn’t like how they sound, at max they just sounded high pitched and almost painful, better at lower volume but still tinny without bass. The latencymon results looked alright though.
Like many other laptops from Gigabyte, the 15G has a 94Wh battery. I’ve tested it with keyboard lighting off, background apps disabled and with the screen set to 50% brightness. The results were reasonable with over 6 and a half hours in the YouTube playback test, but not as good as some others, especially those Ryzen options towards the top.
Let’s check out thermals next. We’ve got a couple of fans for cooling and two heatpipes shared between CPU and GPU, along with some VRM coverage. The Aorus control center software has a lot of customization available.There are 5 different levels we can set the CPU to, and 2 for the GPU. I’ve got the power limits these set listed on the left, but none of the modes applied any overclocks. Along with that, there are three built in fan profiles, quiet, normal and gaming which offer different fan curves, but you’ve also got the option of defining your own for optimal performance. You can also press the function and escape keys to set the fan to max speed at any time. Unfortunately undervolting was disabled by default and I didn’t see any option to enable it in the default BIOS, however it appears people have modded it to allow this, but use that at your own risk, it definitely wouldn’t be covered under warranty.
Thermals were tested with a 21 degree Celsius ambient room temperature. Idle results down the bottom were fine. Stress tests were done with Aida64 CPU test and Heaven GPU test at the same time, and gaming was tested with Watch Dogs 2. The Zero slash Zero numbers refer to the CPU then GPU power levels that can be defined in the control center software, so the lowest power options, while five slash one would mean max power. The CPU is thermal throttling any time it’s at 90 degrees Celsius, so Gigabyte are capping it here rather than letting it run rampant. I only saw the GPU thermal throttle while gaming with the normal fan profile, but boosting the fan speed removed that. I know people just hear thermal throttling and get turned off, but some people prefer a lower cap like this instead of it being limited to running up to 100.
These are the clock speeds from the same tests. Interestingly the clock speeds of the GPU are highest in quiet mode. CPU speeds improve as we increase the fan speed, as we saw in the last graph it was always thermal throttling at 90 degrees outside of quiet mode in these heavy tests. Even with the fan maxed out and a cooling pad though we were a fair bit off the all core turbo boost speed of the i7-10875H, if we had the option of undervolting we’d be able to close the gap.
These are the power levels being hit in these same tests. With the GPU set to the lowest mode it runs at 80 watts, as expected, and was otherwise at 90 watts. The CPU power limit is increasing as cooling improves. In quiet mode I found it interesting that XTU was reporting current limit throttling rather than power limit throttling, so not sure how they are limiting performance in that mode.
Here’s what we’re looking at with a CPU only workload, Cinebench R20. We have the option to further boost performance by using XTU or Throttlestop to increase the power limit above the default max of 62 watts. I didn’t do this in the previous CPU plus GPU loads as thermals were a limit anyway, so it wouldn’t have done anything.
When we look at how the best case boosted result compares with other laptops, well, it’s not great. To be fair it’s better than the Razer Blade 15 advanced which has the same processor, that’s towards the bottom and hanging out with the 6 core options, but still the Aorus is one of the lower 8 core results I’ve recorded, both for single and multicore performance.
The keyboard area was sitting in the mid 30s at idle, pretty standard and no problem. With the stress tests running in the lowest performance mode with the quiet fan curve it’s still on the cooler side. It’s pretty similar when we boost the power limits and step up to the faster normal fan curve and again not too different with the gaming fan curve enabled the higher fan speed counters the increased temperatures that would be associated with the performance boost.
With the fans manually set to maximum it’s doing extremely well the wrist rest and WASD area was in the low 20s, worst case it’s low 30s in the middle of the keyboard, so very cool to the touch given what’s going on inside.
The fans were basically silent at idle, then got progressively louder stepping up from quiet to normal to gaming. Max fan speed is on another level compared to the others, which explains why it was so cool to the touch even under heavy stress test. I look at this as a good thing though, as there is granular fan control here you’ve got the option of tuning it how you like which beats a lot of other laptops that just force you to a couple of options.
Now let’s check out how the Aorus 15G performs in games and compare it with some other laptops.
In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the Aorus 15G highlighted in red.Compared to others it’s doing pretty well for a 90 watt GPU, similar to the higher wattage non super version in the 7i just underneath, unfortunately I don’t have a whole lot of 2070 super data yet to compare to.
These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. It’s just 7 FPS below the 2080 Super at the same 90 watt power limit in the Blade 15 advanced, like I’ve always said though there’s generally diminishing returns for your money once you go above the 2060. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool with the highest setting preset, and the results are pretty similar to the other games.
Now for the benchmarking tools. I’ve used Adobe Premiere to export one of my laptop review videos at 4K, and the Aorus was alright compared to higher GPU options, but at the same time not that much ahead of the lower specced and cheaper Y540. I’ve also tested Premiere but with the Puget systems benchmark which also accounts for things like live playback rather than just export times. It’s getting exactly the same score as the MSI Creator 17 with the lower wattage 2080 Super max-q. In Adobe Photoshop the Aorus was lower compared to the others, which makes sense as this is a processor heavier test, though not quite as bad as the more expensive blade 15 advanced, as that has harsher power limit caps. In DaVinci resolve it’s actually doing quite well, the score was much higher this time as this test is more GPU focussed compared to the last one. I’ve also tested SPECviewperf which tests out various professional 3D workloads.
I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage, and the 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD was ok, not as good as most others tested though. The UHS-II SD slot was pretty good though, close to maxing out my V90 card, and the card sticks out a bit when inserted. In the US the 6 core with 1660 Ti starts at $1700 USD. $200 more gets you the 8 core with 2060, then it’s a $400 step up for the 2070 Super Max-Q I’ve tested here. The non Super is currently on sale for less than the 2060 though. Here in Australia we’re looking at $2700 AUD for the 1660 Ti model then more based on the spec. As you could get the CPU plus GPU combo for less elsewhere I can only assume the extras like the mechanical keyboard are pushing it up.
With all of that in mind let’s conclude by summarising the good and bad aspects of the Aorus 15G gaming laptop to help you decide if it’s worthwhile.
The keyboard is definitely the star of the show. If you’re someone that does a lot of typing but doesn’t need to do it in a quiet area then the mechanical keyboard alone could be worth considering. Most others that have this are typically bigger machines, though there are others that are decent like the Eluktronics Mech-15 G3, but in my personal opinion the Aorus does feel better.
Overall build quality with the all metal design felt nice, though I wasn’t personally a fan of the edgy gamery design. There’s a good selection of I/O though would have been good to see some more Gen2 USB instead of all Gen1. Port placement might be annoying for some, but that’s part of the compromise to have air exhaust vents at the back. The screen had good colour gamut and brightness, lower response time to take full advantage of the refresh rate would have been good though, and I can’t really take points off for the dead pixel as that can happen regardless of laptop - again this is a review unit and I have no idea how others have treated the machine, it would get shipped around a lot.
The bezels are slim at the expense of the bottom camera, but hey at least it has one unlike some others out there like the G14. The cooling looks good, but the performance wasn’t where I’d like. There are big vents underneath and the fans can get quite loud, props to Gigabyte for always giving so much granular fan control, but I think the 90 degree limit might start hurting them in the benchmarks. It’s always going to be a trade off, this way it can’t get hot, but it also means when compared to alternatives your performance starts looking lower, and this was particularly clear in the cinebench comparison. To be fair though, the gaming performance was still great, but it would have been nice if we had the option of disabling optimus for an extra performance boost.
Let me know what you thought about the Aorus 15G gaming laptop down in the comments.