Nvidia's recent portable graphics renaissance means you can now get a notebook that can run all the latest games with the same visual fidelity as a proper dekstop PC.
Aorus is Gigabyte's premium gaming brand, and its X5v6 is a phenomenally powerful laptop -- overclocked CPU, GTX 1070 graphics, super-fast SSDs -- that barely weighs 2.5kg. This might be the lightest hardcore laptop for gaming and VR that you can buy right now.
What Is It?
Th X5 v6 is a 15.6-inch laptop, one of the newest from Aorus and one of the first to feature Nvidia's latest GTX 10-series graphics cards. If you haven't heard from Aorus, don't be confused -- it's PC components manufacturer Gigabyte's high-end gaming notebook brand, competing with MSI and Asus and Alienware for your hard-earned dollars.
The X5 v6 is just about as powerful as you could expect a laptop of its slim size and light weight -- under 23mm thick, under 2.5kg -- to be. Under the hood it has an overclockable Intel Core i7-6820HK processor, currently the most powerful portable CPU available. It teams that with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, 16GB of DDR4 RAM (upgradeable to 64GB), and space for four SSDs.
- Display: 15.6in, 2880x1620 pixel
- CPU: Intel Core i7-6820HK, 2.7-3.6GHz
- RAM: 16GB DDR4, up to 64GB
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 6GB
- HDD: 128GB SSD + 1TB 7200RPM, up to 512GB SSD / 2TB
- Dimensions: 390x272x22.9mm, 2.5kg
Despite all of that, it's not what you'd call flashy. The all-metal exterior of the X5 v6 is dark and angular in that Alienware-esque fashion that all the company's laptops mimic, but like a modern MacBook I think you could get away with using the X5 v6 as a workday machine that can also run double duty for hardcore gaming in the evening.
Some areas where the X5 v6 improves on other Aorus laptops I've looked at in the past are with its full-colour LED-backlit keyboard -- which has a numpad, making it even more functional for professional day-to-day use -- and the newfound addition of USB Type-C for faster, reversible-connector data transfers.
What's It Good At?
If you want a machine that can handle workday tasks -- typing, travelling, watching YouTube cat videos in the break room -- and then handle all the fun stuff in the evening like playing the latest games at bleeding-edge graphics quality settings, then the Aorus X5 v6 does what you want in spades. It's one of the most powerful laptops you can buy, but it doesn't look like one. That's very important to some people -- like me.
The Aorus X5 v6's battery is phenomenally large given its 15-inch form factor. The nearly 95Wh cell means you'll have hours of video playback and productivity -- I streamed Netflix at 1080p for nearly nine hours on a not completely full battery and a moderate brightness display -- or a solid hour of 3D gaming before the laptop needs a charge. That's all thanks to the X5 v6's new, efficient CPU and GPU and SSD setup.
It's also definitely one of the better-built gaming laptops, too. Aorus' machines are built mostly out of metal, and while they're not exactly MacBook Pro-grade in their build quality, there's only the slightest amount of keyboard flex and the built-in trackpad is surprisingly smooth and responsive in its standard configuration. And, of course, a frankly ridiculous amount of connectivity from HDMI to SD card to Ethernet is built in too.
The era of the desktop PC being the only powerful machine you can buy is coming to a close, and there's no better example of that than the new X5 v6. Plug it in and you have more power in its sub-23mm form factor than an actual desktop PC from a couple of years ago could boast. This thing is a performance monster whether it's in synthetic benchmarks or real-world performance.
What's It Not Good At?
All of that performance does come at a cost, though. The X5 v6 as tested will set you back a cool $3599 in Australia, and while you do get a hell of a lot of power in a slim and well-built chassis, if you don't need the graphics and gaming component that Aorus sells itself on then you can get better-built, slimmer and equally compute-powerful machines from Apple or Razer for fewer of your precious dollars.
There's only one serious complaint that I have with Aorus' styling choices for the X5 v6, and that's the fact that the angry-lookin' Aorus bird logo on the trackpad skews it just that little bit too far away from gaming-professional towards gaming-cool. If I had the choice, I'd get rid of the logo altogether and take a bit more inspiration from Razer's nearly featureless Blade laptops and Apple's clean MacBooks.
The most obvious shortcoming of the Aorus X5 v6 is the fact that it doesn't have a 4K display. Instead, in the various variants available there's a choice of 1080p and 1620p '3K' displays on offer. The 3K screen is good, but when Razer boasts a 4K display in the Blade Stealth
It's worth noting that the X5 v6 may be a relatively thin and lightweight and compact gaming laptop, but there is a trade-off in the fact that its 200-Watt power supply is not tiny. If you're planning on doing any serious extended gaming sessions you'll have to lug that power supply with you, and it's a little bit big and bulky for my liking. It's a necessary trade-off, sure, but I would have preferred a slower-charging adapter that was a bit smaller.
Should You Buy It?
- Desktop-grade graphics.
- Desktop-grade CPU.
- Excellent battery life.
- Large power supply.
- Expensive starting price.
- No 4K display option.
You have to like the Aorus look to like the $3599 X5 v6. It's mostly businesslike but with an undercurrent of elite-gamer-bro, and the addition of the light-up keyboard on the new v6, you can turn it into a neon wonderland if you so desire. Those big side air-cooling vents may look a little bit pretentious, but trust me -- during a game of Battlefield 1, they're functional and effective.
But that doesn't change the fact that if you have the money to spend and you want to buy a laptop that will outperform even a moderately powerful desktop computer for productivity or gaming, then it's hard to look past the Aorus X5 v6. It's ridiculously powerful on paper, it performs up to expectations in the real world, and it does all of that while being portable.