I think I am in love with Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XA laptop. Why? It is almost everything that I could want in a 15” 2020 notebook.
From the moment you switch the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XA on
and see the glorious Samsung 4K AMOLED (non-touch) panel to the wildly
psychedelic RGB keyboard (which I need to tone down) it just continues to
delight. Screw gamers – if we can get the keyboard lights under control this is
a creative and mobile warriors dream (Lights fixed!).
Ironically the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XA was the next review after the Acer ConceptD 5 and Pro (15 and 17”), and these share a lot of common features. Same processor, NVIDIA RTX GPU, Pantone certified screen, SSD expansion, Killer LAN/WAN and more.
There are many variations, but essentially you are looking
for the Intel 9th generation Core i7/i9 processor, 15 OLED XA. Not to confuse
you but there are 15 and 15S OLED XA, YA, WA, SA, NA and these all have
slightly different specs – mainly the NVIDIA GeForce goes from 1650, 1660,
2060, 2070, 2080. Gigabyte has a comparison selector on the series page.
Price as tested: Approx. $3800 (ranges from $2399 to i9
16GB DDR4-2666 (Dual channel 1333) max 64GB in
2x M.2 2280 SSD slots (SATA6 or NVMe PCIe)
Screen – EXCEED
OLED is only in 15.6” at this time but the 17” has an excellent
HDR, LED/LCD IPS screen.
This is the screen we should all aspire to – it is a Samsung
AMOLED 60Hz panel capable of 600 nits (max), infinite contrast, can be driven
to do Windows HDR and supports up to 100% DCI-P3. It is the basis of all 15.6”
OLED notebooks at present. PS – gamers will love it for its 2.6ms G-T-G.
Then manufacturers add screen protection and drivers that
change the specifications a little or a lot!
In our tests brightness varies from 450 (average) to 472
(max) – not bad, but not 600 nits. You can tweak colour profiles to get a little
more. Still, it is more than bright enough, although the screen is a tad
reflective for daylight use.
It is calibrated by X-Rite to Pantone (PMS)
Our tests confirm 100+% sRGB (which covers the PANTONE), and about 99% ADOBE RGB. To get more, you must tweak. Turn off so-called HDR and it then ramps up to 100% DCI-P3. Still, with a claimed Delta E <1 colour professionals should be comfortable using it.
And it has a 3mm bezel on three sides – very thin. The HD
camera (not Windows Hello) is below the screen and has a privacy shutter.
Screen: Even a bad OLED (and this is not) is better than
almost any LED/LCD. Colours pop, blacks are deep, and contrast is perfect. This
is the same panel as in the HP x360 Spectre 15, Dell XPS 15 OLED and a few more
– it is as good as current technology gets.
Processor – EXCEED
It uses the Intel 9th generation Core i7-9750H
2.6/4.5Ghz with a 45W TPD. It is closer to a desktop processor than a mobile
PassMark gives it single/multi
2469/13,559. To put that in perspective, the 10th gen i9-1090XE
(Extreme edition) for desktops is 31,521. The H series is faster than any U
Throttling 15-minute 100% test – EXCEED
On mains power, it starts at 100% and as core temperatures ramp
up to 85°, you get occasional 8% drop-offs. The CPU temperature is about 31°.
Fan noise tends to average out a 40dB with an occasional whoosh to 47dB.
On battery, it immediately throttles to 8% and over time 17%
less to keeps the temperatures closer to 70°. Fan noise is similar.
This is terrific cooling but gets toasty on around the
This is a GPU for both power and power efficiency – although
at 80W it draws a lot. The 2070 mobile GPU has the same CUDA core count as the desktop
version 2304 cores but a lot lower clock speed 885/1185MHz. So it can do what the desktop
version can – only a lot slower. It is a gamers GPU – about 10% faster than the
GTX 1070 Max-Q it replaces.
PassMark give it 11,205
RAM and Storage – PASS
It has two ram SODIMM slots and can take up to 64GB. Gamers
will want 32GB but for the rest of us, 16GB is fine.
The Intel 512GB SSD is a more of an entry-level PCIe NVMe
3.0 4 lane SSD but it is slower than the Samsung 970 EVO or WD Black (that
achieve over 3000Mbps). It is however way more power-efficient.
It achieves sequential read/writes of 2677/1505MBps. If
performance is an issue, then put in a faster SSD in the second slot.
Sound – PASS
The twin down-firing 2W speakers are quite loud – 80dB with
good stereo separation but there is a certain harshness at full volume.
Deep Bass: 20-40Hz – none
Middle Bass: 40-100Hz – almost none
High Bass: 100 to 200Hz – flat
Low-mids: 200-400Hz – flat
Mids: 400-1000Hz – flat
High-mids: 1-2kHz – flat
Low-treble: 2-4kHz – flat
Treble:4-6kHz – decline but overall flat
High Treble: 6-10kHz – decline
Dog whistle: 10-20 – off the cliff at 10kHz
This is mid-centric verging in bright vocal, and that is
where the harshness comes in. Realtek has an EQ that offers +/-12dB from 31Hz
to 16kHz but it really does not do much. It helps make the speakers less harsh
by reducing the mid/high treble but does not boost bass.
While a little disappointing, these days people tend to use
BT headphones (this is BT 5.0 LE aptX capable) and the sound signature is far flatter,
and the EQ does work there.
Nahimic 3 is
for gamers (not tested) and loads sound profiles for strategic games to add
Gaming or content AI-Enabled – Microsoft Azure AI – INTERESTING
Gigabyte claim this is a world first.
User preference data passes through the Microsoft Azure
Machine Learning platform in to automatically and dynamically adjust the best
CPU and GPU wattage setting for different apps. Users experience a steady
performance increase without the hassle and additional manual switch whether it
is for gaming or content creation. If you are off-line, it references a
database stored on the PC.
It seems to work but we do not have enough experience with
Ports – EXCEED
Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps)
USB-C ALT DP 3.1, gen 2 (10Gbps)
3x USB-A 3.1 Gen1 (5Gbps)
3.5mm Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack
UHS-II SD Card Reader
Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45
Thunderbolt 3 makes this ideal for expansion – but add an
HDMI 2.0 (5K@60Hz) and USB-C and you can easily run dual 4K@60Hz monitors.
Killer LAN and WAN – EXCEED
It has the latest Killer Wi-Fi AX tech and BT5.0 LE. In all tests,
it outperformed standard Wi-Fi AC.
You can also use the Killer App to analyse and prioritise
Keyboard, trackpad – EXCEED
Gigabyte’s Control Centre can set patterns or static down to
each individually lit LED key. Here we conquered the gamer’s garish lighting.
It is an excellent keyboard with 1.5mm throw and 40g
actuation – perfect for touch typists except for some non-standard layout that
you need to get used to.
The 10.5 x 7cm Windows Precision trackpad allows you to swipe
from the top right to bottom left in one stroke – perfect. Although it does
have a fingerprint reader in the top left.
Battery – PASS
It is a big 94.24Wh battery and an even bigger 230W power
50% screen brightness, Wi-Fi and office use – 3.5
Typical use – 6 hours
100% load – 2.5 hours
T-Rex = 1.3 hours
Build – Exceed
356(W) x 250(D) x 20(H) mm x 2kg (approx.) plus PS 722g for
the power supply.
It is well made, well cooled and not noisy at under 40dB.
GadgetGuy’s take – Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XA beats all comers
If I was after a 15” OLED ‘power’ notebook for creatives, this
is the one I would buy. It is not perfect – the Gigabyte screen drivers need some
work to make the most of the panel but overall it is a very attractive package
(once you turn off the gaudy gamer lighting).
You can complain about the camera placement (double chin
heaven), the mid-range SSD, the power cable placement (middle right) and the
toasty feeling around the air vents but that goes with the territory.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Excellent aluminium chassis and design
4K OLED display is very good and can be tweaked even more
Excellent keyboard and trackpad
Interesting Microsoft Azure AI optimisation
Why should gamers have all the fun?
Gigabyte needs to work on its OLED drivers – good but not great
Not touch – you may be used to that
As usual, Gigabyte has too many models – the 15 OLED XA and YA are best