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Aero 15 x9(i7-8750H, RTX2070 Max-Q) review

Hello, all


I have recently bought an Aero 15 x9 after returning a faulty ASUS Zephyrus S GX701GX , here I would like to share the experience and thoughts as well. 



I have to say, the biggest reason that I bought one of these instead of getting the newer model with redesign is the screen, it is made by LG (LGD05C0). It doesn't use PWM to regulate the brightness and for me that is a big deal, since I will get headache, eyestrain and even nausea if I stared at a screen that use PWM to regulate brightness and I am happy to report that I can stare at the screen for extended period of time without any discomfort.  It is also calibrated out of box and you can toggle on and off x-rite Pantone calibration at the Gigabyte Control Center.  I also would like to mention that I really like the Gigabyte's approach, instead of telling you PCIe x4 NVMe SSD(and potentially ended up with an Intel 660p), they tell you the exact stuff that they are using like Intel 760p SSD.


Side note: as I have mentioned I bought an ASUS GX701GX and the unit I received comes with an Intel 660p, while every review online that I am aware of mentioned that their review device comes with Samsung PM981. While I understand there could be reasons behind this such as parts shortage, etc, it is still a big bummer for me that ASUS put a crappy QLC SSD on their flagship device that cost $3000. If this happens to you, I highly doubt it won't leave a sour taste in your mouth


Build quality

The build quality exceeds my expectation, sure it is certainly not XPS15 level but not far off either.The bezels are properly adhered to the screen and the body uses aluminium paneling. Only the outer trim is made up of plastic that gives a "less premium" feel, even then the plastic parts feel well-made. The aesthetics feels a little dull to me but after a few days it kinda grow on me, at least it has tons of ports including a Gigabit Ethernet.


Input devices

The touchpad is fairly large and uses Window Precision drivers unlike previous generations(ELAN on v8/v7) out of the box and it works very well, the only complain I have is that the left click feel mushier than the right click. 

The keyboard is another story tho, the keys are a little stiff and require a little bit more force that I am used to to press down and on my unit, the ESC key will not register if it is pressed lightly, you have to press all the way down firmly  to actuate this key. So far I haven't experienced any chattering or double stroke problem that are reported on previous generations. They are individually lit and you have extensive control on the control center, and yes, the secondary function row lit up as well. Although I personally wish Gigabyte has the number pad removed since it feel really crammed.



My unit comes with i7-8750H and I am able to undervolt -205mV. After choosing CPU performance Level 4 at Control Center, It runs at 6x3.89Ghz at 73w for 28 seconds and then dropped to 6x3.62Ghz at 62w. I am still worried about the thermals since the CPU will hit close to 80 degree in a room with ambient temperature of 12 degree C. Given the location of the vents which is located behind the screen hinge and only two heatpipes, I don't have high hopes either. Dial back the performance settings during summer, I guess.


The fans are audible when idling, partially due to the high-pitch sound, even after silent profile is selected at the Control Center, annoying to say at the least. After selecting GPU performance Level 1, RTX2070MQ is running around 1.3-1.4Ghz during games and benchmarks, drawing 90w, Timespy  Graphic score is around 6900, Fire Strike Graphics score is around 18200 which is really good compared to my old laptop, and it is reasonably quiet. The only thing that I observed that the " Microsoft Azure AI" does is adjust Turbo Boost Power Max automatically for you, and if you install the AI software after a clean installation of Windows, you will actually see this program install Intel XTU for you as well.

The WIFI card is a Killer 1550i. I personally don't understand why a lot people dislike Killer card, I have no BT or WIFI connectivity issues with Aero 15.


I would also like to mention the resume time when waking up the laptop by opening up the lid is a little slow, you need to wait several seconds to see the screen turning on after you open the lid.


Battery life  

The battery life has been awesome for me, it can comfortably last for more than 7 hours doing regular stuff.



Contrary to many reviews, the speaker are fine in my opinion, better than XPS15, at least the speaker does not rattle and make popping/cracking sound and has a reasonable amount of volume.



I don't care about the placement of the webcam, and I wish Gigabyte get rid of it outright just like ASUS did on Zephyrus S GX701/GX502. :) 



My unit comes with 2-year global warranty and it is ahead of competition in where I am living. For example, ASUS only offer 12 months warranty nation-wide with any notebook purchase, Dell also only offer 1 year nation-wide warranty unless you purchase the premium support package. An additional thermal pad for SSD is included in the box in case you would like to add one additional SSD and I like little touches like these.


Overall thoughts 

It has seen a price cut since there are newer models with a redesigned chassis, however the newer model is pretty pricey and they either comes with a 4K 60Hz OLED panel or 240Hz IGZO LCD by Sharp, both of which use PWM.I personally paid  euiv. USD$~1650 for my unit and overall I am pretty happy with it.  Sure it has a lot of thermal limitations, but so does other compact 15-inch laptop. It is a great alternative to the Dell XPS15 in my honest opinion and I will not hesitate to recommend this laptop to anyone who is looking for a mobile "do everything" computer.








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