The Gigabyte Aorus 7 is one of the most predictable gaming laptops I’ve ever reviewed. It’s just like vanilla ice cream. You know exactly what to expect but it won’t excite you. Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The $1,999 mid-ranger from Gigabyte has everything you’d expect.
An Intel i7 processor, Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti, 16gb RAM and a 144Hz refresh display. It’s got a design that you’d walk right past in a store assuming it was just another cheap knock off laptop. Indeed, the most surprising thing about this laptop is that it has a removable battery; something most laptops stopped doing ten years ago.
So ultimately, the question is, why would you buy this machine? Read on.
Gigabyte Aorus 7 SA Gaming Laptop Review
The Aorus 7 is most definitely NOT a cheap knock off.
It comes from reputable gaming brand Gigabyte. You might know it more for its awesome PC components and peripherals. So it stands to reason that the Aorus 7 should have some great components and it does. Here’s what you get:
|CPU||9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-9750H (2.6GHz-4.5GHz)|
|GPU||Intel® UHD Graphics 630NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1660Ti GDDR6 6GSupports NVIDIA® Optimus™ Technology|
|Memory||SAMSUNG 16GB DDR4 2666MHz, 2 slots (Max 64GB)|
|Storage||512GB Intel 760p M.2 PCIe SSD1,000GB 2.5 HDD|
|Display||LG® 17.3″ Thin Bezel FHD 144Hz IPS anti-glare display LCD|
|Audio||2 Watt Speaker*2, Array Microphone, NAHIMIC 3|
|Comms||LAN: 10/100/1000Mbps EthernetKiller Wireless-AC 1550 (802.11ac, a/b/g/n compatible)Bluetooth: Bluetooth V5.0+ LE|
|Dimensions & Weight||15.7(W) x 11.1(D) x 1.14(H) inch2.5 kg|
For a $2000 laptop, these are very respectable specs and the performance boost that comes from the SSD + HDD drive combination sweetens the deal more.
The Aorus 7 is really the sum of its parts. The i7-9750H is used across a huge number of laptops and for good reason. Combined with fast Samsung DDR4 memory and an Intel 760 SSD drive, the Aorus 7 delivers great performance. In my synthetic tests, the Aorus 7 scored quite close to the powerful Asus Strix Scar III which costs almost $300 more. In both cases, having SSD drives(which are becoming increasingly ubiquitous) helps give the Aorus 7 a speed boost.
In Geekbench, the Aorus 7 scored a single-core score of 1123 and multi-core score of 5759 which is comparable to other laptops with the same processor. Moving to Cinebench, the Aorus scored an 1807 where I expected it to sit around 2000. For gaming, the Aorus 7 again, performed as expected; 13031 and 5594 in 3DMark 11 Firemark and TimeSpy respectively. UniEngine Heaven benchmark topped out at 82FPS at the highest settings.
And for everyday use, you can depend on the Aorus 7 to handle opening and closing apps with brisk response. Windows boot-up times are expectedly fast and there’s no perceptible lag or delay in getting around the system. Everything ticks along wonderfully well.
Like most gaming laptops, the Aorus 7 gets noticeably loud under load but that’s to be expected. Thankfully, the chassis remains relatively cool especially around the WASD keys where your hand rests the most during gaming. But don’t game on your laps. Obviously.
1080p gaming at 144FPS? Check
The Aorus 7 SA has the excellent Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti that has proven itself time and again to be the best bang for buck mobile GPU to date. Gigabyte wisely paired this card with a 1080p, 144Hz display where it excels the most. As you can see from the test suite results, the Aorus 7 easily handles 60FPS gaming at ultra settings even in the notorious Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
If you want to max out that 144Hz refresh, you can definitely achieve that with some tweaks to the quality settings. Be warned though, at 1080p, anything below high settings will start to look quite rough around the edges and I’m not convinced the trade-off is worthwhile. Nonetheless, all these games played super smoothly, maintaining a great average framerates across the board.
Designed like a gaming laptop
I’m a fan of the trend of gaming laptops not looking like gaming laptops. It’s nice to have a laptop that is perfect for the office without drawing disapproving looks. The Aorus 7 isn’t one of those. It’s exactly what you’d expect a gaming laptop to look like. Sure, it’s not as visually arresting as the Asus Strix Scar III with its all-around LED bar or the all white Alienware m17 but it’s very clear the purpose of this machine.
The all-black chassis with textured sides and aggressively angled exhaust vents is undeniably gamer aesthetic. I don’t like how plasticky it feels and it even creaks a bit when held at certain points. The only thing missing here is RGB lighting. Gigabyte has kept the lighting to the keyboard and nowhere else.
Despite that bigger 17-inch screen size, Gigabyte says the Aorus 7 occupies the same physical space as a 15-inch laptop thanks to the thin bezel design of the display. Regardless, this is a chunky machine. It’s 15.7-inches wide and 11.1-inches deep and over an inch thick. You will notice its heft thanks to its 2.6 Kgs.
Standard display for 2020
The 17.3-inch bezel-less display isn’t really bezel-less. It has a fat chin at the bottom but the sides and top are skinny, about 2mm thick. This display is an LG made IPS panel with 144Hz refresh. I thought that would mean greater quality but to my eyes, it didn’t look any better or worse than other brands displays. Colour reproduction is fine and viewing angles are good thanks to the IPS panel. Games look acceptably good across the board and Star Trek Picard looked vibrant and colourful.
It’s a FullHD display maxing out at 1920 x 1080 resolution which is just perfect for the GTX 1660Ti. The Turing based graphics processor pushes content smoothly whether it be web browsing, movies or gaming. Everything is smooth on this panel with nary a hint of ghosting. It’s a good panel.
Get an external keyboard and mouse, please
Speaking of keys, the Aorus 7 sports a full keyboard with a number pad and overall, it isn’t great. While the keys have a good travel and bounce back, their shape and size are somewhat…off. I experienced a ton of typos while using this keyboard and I could never get a comfortable hand position.
I generally dislike laptop keyboards that have number pads because of the way they force your posture to be off-centre to the chassis, which is weird and uncomfortable. Some laptops do it well, like Alienware but not so much with the Aorus 7.
Additionally, the keys are backlit but the implementation looks rather, sickly. You can adjust the colours with Gigabyte’s software but it’s honestly the dullest keyboard lighting I’ve encountered on a gaming laptop yet. I think it’s the combination of the keycaps materials and the LED brightness but whatever.
I was happy to leave it off.
The glass touchpad beneath the keyboard is again, pretty vanilla. Like many gaming laptops, the touchpad is totally utilitarian. It will get the job done but you would be better off with a mouse. The touchpad is glass and has two buttons but its small and awkwardly placed off-centre. This caused me a lot of wrist strain, especially when browsing the web or scrolling long documents. At this point, only Razer has a decent touchpad implementation that can rival the excellent ones on Apple MacBooks.
Connectivity is great
Aorus 7 won’t win any awards for being super skinny and light but in exchange, you get a machine that offers a wealth of connectivity options. Gigabyte is clearly thinking of streamers and creators with this machine, embuing the Aorus 7 with the ability to connect to up to three monitors at once. Not only do you get an HDMI 2.0 port but also a mini DisplayPort 1.2 and a USB Type-C.
There’s also an SD card reader which is great for transferring video and photos from cameras. The Aorus also uses Killer Wireless that has some neat tricks like prioritizing your connection as well as acting as a network extender for your other devices. But if you prefer a wired network connection, then there’s an RJ45 port for Gigabit Ethernet available as well.
Battery is exactly what you’d expect
Connecting peripherals is great here but what about the battery? Uhm, yeah no. Gigabyte chose to go with a measly 48.96Wh battery which is woefully underpowered especially for such a big screen. I could barely get two hours on a charge with the machine set to battery saving mode. And this is while web browsing, writing and playing Spotify.
The Aorus 7 has Nvidia Optimus which is supposed to help extend battery life by intelligently switching off the more power-hungry 1660Ti when on battery. I didn’t see that in practice. Something that truly surprised me is the fact that the batter is actually removable. This is something I haven’t seen on a laptop in ages.
This certainly gives owners of the Aorus 7 another option to power their machine with two or more batteries, but why though? Especially if you can just get two hours out of each battery. Now I know that gaming laptops aren’t renowned for great battery life so I won’t fault the Aorus 7 too much. But if you use your laptop a lot on the go, this is something to be aware of.
Should you buy it?
The Aorus 7 retails for $1,999 in Australia and that’s not a bad price for what you get. However, there’s some stiff competition in this price range. Dells G-series laptops áre a prime example that offer a better build quality and polished design. Asus offers laptops with RTX graphics and much more compelling designs.
The Aorus 7 isn’t a bad laptop by any means. Performance is good and the price is right. But it gets lost in the crowd of great gaming laptops by failing to differentiate itself in any meaningful way. Give us a bolder design, a mechanical keyboard or even a QHD 144Hz display. Do something, anything!
If you’re in the market for a $2000 gaming laptop, the Aorus 7 wouldn’t be my first thought. It’s just a little too vanilla.
The Aorus 7 SA was loaned to PowerUp! by Gigabyte Australia for the purpose of this review.
Gigabyte Aorus 7 SA Gaming Laptop Review — Vanilla gaming
Product Name: Gigabyte Aorus 7 SA Gaming Laptop
Product Description: Gigabyte gaming laptop
Offer price: 1999