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  • Soon Kai Hong

Gigabyte Aero 16 Review: OLED Is Perfect For Creators

Can’t believe that we’re missing out. It’s been a year since we started this channel and we’ve actually yet to review a Gigabyte laptop. Well, that all changes today with this. This is the Gigabyte Aero 16 and this time, it’s a laptop that’s geared towards creators in mind. Which might be a little confusing for some because past Aero laptops were geared more towards gaming but with this, Aero is slowly transitioning to be the one for creators. But in any case, let’s talk about this.

First up, the design has gotten quite the improvement and it looks much better than the previous generation in my opinion. It’s really clean looking with all that silver and just the Aero logo in the middle, which will light up white when you lift up the lid. Most of the exterior has a matte finish which resists fingerprints, though the sides do feature a polished brushed look for some added flair.

Overall, it’s a design that looks really professional and despite the simple aesthetics, it still exudes character. Definitely liking the design.

It does however feature a protruding lip on the lid, which is a bypass product of going really thin on the bezels while still needing to fit in the camera and microphone array. Whether you fancy this or not, that’s up to you, but it does provide a nice little grip area for you to lift up the lid with ease and yes. For those of you who are concerned, you can easily lift the display up with just one hand.

As for the webcam itself, it’s only 720p so it isn’t the best for sure, but the microphones are decent enough. Arguably though, the best use case for it is for Windows Hello.

But now, the display is the main highlight here and it really is a beautiful display unlike any other, especially more so with those thin bezels. First up, it’s 16-inches in a 16 by 10 aspect ratio. So not only is it larger than the previous generation, but you also get a little more vertical space to work with which will be really helpful with creative applications. But secondly and more importantly, it’s a 4K+ OLED display and it looks downright fantastic.

So as mentioned, it’s 16-inch, it’s OLED, a resolution of 3,840 x 2,400 running at 60Hz, 16 by 10 aspect ratio, about 400 nits max brightness, covers 100% DCI-P3 with a Delta E < 1 and supports HDR500 True Black. Additionally, it is also X-Rite factory calibrated and Pantone Validated. If you’re a content creator, this display is really phenomenal. Not only are you working with a great high resolution especially for photos and videos, but at the same time, it’s going to be really color accurate as well.

Now as for the keyboard, it isn’t the best but certainly nothing bad. I do like the keyboard layout, with full-sized arrow keys and having a dedicated power button separate from the keyboard itself and they do feel decently great to type on. But I’m not too sure about the font. It just doesn’t feel as refined as the exterior look of the Aero 16 itself, but it might just be me. The trackpad however is good. It’s much larger compared to the last generation and it just works great. Really nice. Speakers wise, they are up-firing on the sides and they do sound all right. They are not going to blow you away, but they aren’t going to be thin sounding either.

But we then come to ports and this is where it gets a slight downgrade compared to last gen. You just get a single USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port and a 3.5mm combo on the left side, while you get two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the right. That’s it. So in order to get more ports, you’ll have to bring along the USB hub that’s included with the laptop. With this, you’ll get access to RJ45, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A, miniDisplayPort and HDMI 2.0.

I would wish that at least HDMI and single USB Type-A port be built right in the laptop itself, but at least this isn’t a separate purchase. One thing to note is that you will want to plug this into the Thunderbolt 4 port on the right and not the standard Type-C port on the left. If you were to plug it in directly, do plug into the port nearer to you so that you won’t block the other Thunderbolt 4 port, or you can opt to use the included extension cable as well.

As for battery life, this has a 99Wh battery which is basically the maximum legal limit for onboard a flight. Though given the amount of power this had, it’ll only last you about 5-6 hours of general usage. Which isn’t fantastic, but definitely isn’t bad.

However this is the most important bit. The performance. Now there are few different configurations available for the Aero 16 but here’s what we have. A Core i9-12900HK, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti with 105 watt TGP, 32GB of DDR5 RAM and 1TB of PCIe 4.0 SSD storage. One thing to note is that the Aero 16 does not have a MUX switch unfortunately, but through Gigabyte Control Centre, there a few profiles in which we have access to and we can test. We’ll focus on mainly three, which are Creator, Gaming and Turbo.

First up, Cinebench R23. The results speak for themselves and the Aero 16 is by far the best performing laptop with that Core i9-12900HK that we’ve tried yet. In the Creator profile, the multi-score is but just shy of 15,000 and changing to the Turbo profile yields an additional 1,000. Now the most interesting profile has got to be Gaming, where the performance drops to under 10,000. Now there’s a reason for this.

In both the Creator and Turbo profile, the CPU can draw 80 watts and more with all the Performance cores clocked in at 3.3GHz or higher and all the Efficiency cores clocked in at 2.6GHz or higher. Temperature gets a little toasty at 90 degree celsius but still within reason. On the Gaming profile however, the Performance cores clock in under 1GHz majority of the time and it’s the Efficiency core that gets clocked up to 3.4GHz instead. Thus, the lower score.

But when playing actual games, the results flip among the profiles. More on that later.

Now in DaVinci Resolve, the findings are really similar to that of Cinebench. In both the Creator and Turbo profiles, render times are extremely fast while in the Gaming profile, performance definitely lags behind, though still very respectable.

But now we talk about gaming, and this is where the results flip.

We use the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark to maintain a constant, and as you can tell, the Gaming profile yields the best performance and is in line with the Turbo profile. But in the Creator profile, performance drops significantly. So as far as our findings go, the Gaming profile focuses on providing more power to the GPU and utilizing the maximum 105 watt TGP while in the Creator profile, the priority goes to the CPU while still maintaining reasonable temperatures. Turbo basically tunes everything up to eleven, which isn’t surprising to say the least.

So we tested games at both 1080p and the native 4K resolution using the Gaming profile and here are the results.

At 1080p, you can expect a really enjoyable experience no matter the game. Games like CS:GO or Valorant will achieve really high frame rates, but perhaps AAA titles like Halo are much more enjoyable especially with that OLED display. Turn the resolution up to the native 4K resolution and it’ll depend on what you like to play. Again, games like CS:GO and the such will still perform extremely well, but games like Halo or Ghostwire will definitely take a hit. For those, we would highly suggest dropping the settings a little. As for Ray-Tracing, it’s perfectly enjoyable at 1080p while at 4K, definitely go easy on the settings or change DLSS to Performance instead.

All in all, really great gaming performance despite the crowd that the Aero series is catered towards. Though it can definitely be better if there was a MUX switch. As for temperatures, it’s highly dependent on the game but you can expect the CPU and GPU to hover around the 80 degrees celsius, plus minus.

So… overall thoughts about the Aero 16?

It is an amazing laptop through and through and it really is geared towards creators in mind. A great 4K OLED display that’s just awesome for creative work, can be fitted with up to a Core i9 and RTX 3080 Ti which is going to provide all that performance for heavy applications and thermals are very much well in check without obnoxious fan noise.

However that all comes at a price, a very heavy one at that.

For this exact configuration, the YE5 designation, it’ll set you back a whopping 6,900 Singapore Dollars (6,899 SGD) or just about 4,400 US Dollars (4,399 USD).

That is definitely a hefty purchase. Certainly not something you wouldn’t think twice. But you’re getting quite the amount of performance for sure and it’s by far, certainly the best performing when it comes to CPU performance, no doubts about that.

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