Nowadays, the tech world seems to be on fire when it comes to gaming laptops. The competition has led various companies to come up with bigger, better and powerful laptops.
Gigabyte Aorus X9 Review
Aorus X9 is just another one of those innovative laptops. Although it is more of a desktop replacement than a laptop due to its minimal battery life and heavyweight. You can expect maxed-out performance when it comes to the ultimate gaming experience. How? This 17-inch ultra-thin gaming laptop takes things to another level because of the dual graphics cards inside.
- Outstanding graphical performance
- Mechanical Keyboard
- Really good cooling system
- Customizable RGB lighting
- Minimal battery life
- Average trackpad
- Goes very hot on heavy use
- Below average display
Price & Availability.
Aorus X9 has followed in the footsteps of the latest desktop replacements that’s manage to cost a well above three grand. Starting at the price of $3,199 USD or £3,099, this 17-inch laptop offers an Intel core i7-7820HK processor with dual Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics cards. A QHD display featuring 2560×1440 resolution at 120Hz and a 256GB SSD.
It is slightly more affordable than its rival, Razer Blade Pro (Costs AU$5,899 and £3,799). However, it is quite expensive compared to its well-built competitor, Alienware 17 R4 priced at $3,049 (AU$4,998 & £2,907) which has also now upgraded to Alienware 17 R5. Although, he QHD variants of Aorux X9 are not as liberally available in other countries compared to the UK or the US.
|CPU||2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK (Quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 3.9GHz)|
|Graphics||2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5 VRAM, SLI), Intel HD Graphics 630|
|RAM||16GB DDR4 (2,400MHz)|
|Storage||512GB SSD (PCle NVMe); 1TB HDD (7,200rpm)|
|Connectivity||Killer Doubleshot Pro 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 + low-energy|
|Size||16.9 x 12.4 x 0.91-1.18 inches|
Stylish Exterior: Aorus X9 does a commendable job in bringing a design that appeals somehow to all alien tech enthusiasts and surprisingly at the same time expensive car aesthetics. The design overall is as stereotypical as it can get when it comes to gaming laptops trying to look serious mean machines. It’s loud and edgy. The exterior is a matte black aluminum lid that resembles the hood of a car, inspired by Lamborghini probably with an LED-lit falcon logo.
Light-show: What really appeals is the RGB lighting setup that comes with a completely customizable 16.7 million-color backlit keyboard and multiple light slits around the chassis. One could take their sweet time enjoying the light show really.
Another impressive detail is the presence of three prominent LEDs beneath the power button and the 11 LEDs built into the tiny light bars just above the logo. The lighting is just for show sadly. It would’ve been a massive treat if the light show could be somehow be coupled with the ongoing gaming.
Inside, the speakers positioned right above the keyboard are also backlit and the touchpad has the Aorus falcon on it in gold. Despite being ultra-thin, it is just as thin as Alienware 17 R4. The Razor Blade Pro takes the lead out of these three in being the thinnest at 2.24cm.
Aorus X9 come with 2 options:
- 17.3 UHD 3840×2160 IPS Anti-Glare With 100% Adobe RGB (optional)
- 17.3″ QHD 2560×1440 120Hz / 5ms WVA Anti-Glare Display (optional)
We don’t find the colour calibration to be up to the mark especially if you are paying so much for a gaming laptop like this. The colours are not as vivid as they should be. The colour accuracy is great but it has below average contrast ratio at 640:1. It appears to be a bit shadowy when watching movies which is due to its low brightness levels. This could be problematic when you are playing games such as Resident Evil 7. It has an average brightness of 326 cd/m². It has low viewing angle due to QHD display.
You cannot see clearly when watching it from top or lower angle. It is a plus factor that it offers 120Hz but its a shame there is no G sync in it.
Keyboard & Touchpad.
Spacious Keyboard: The Aorus X9 has a pretty spacious keyboard with large physical keys and an adequate amount of spacing between each of them. The mechanical keyboard is better than most of the membrane keyboards that are normally available on laptops. Although a matter of preference, the Aorus X9 keyboard may appear bland to some with a key travel of 2.3 millimeters requiring approximately 72 grams of force to stimulate the keys.
We, however, liked it. The responsiveness is A-class. Pressing keys meet no resistance and its gamer friendly. Furthermore, the keyboard like the rest of the laptop is RGB-backlit as well. It can be customized per-key basis with the Aorus Fusion app.
Mediocre touchpad: The 4.1 x 2.7 inches Elantech touchpad has a golden Aorus falcon logo on it. It has average precision and isn’t comfortable to use. One can pinch to zoom and do the two-finger scroll but its cursor is sluggish and can be simply tiresome to use. Also, somehow the sensors keep on getting activated while typing. The palm rejection setting is not much of a help either.
In short, the touchpad will test your patience. It will make you want to whip out a gaming mouse within the first few minutes of use.
Audio & Webcam.
Good Speakers: The speakers on the Aorus X9 are pretty powerful. They produce clear audio with a pretty good quality. They aren’t the type to play music on and expect the sound to fill the entire room. But they make the gaming experience worthwhile. There’s also the option of switching among four presets in the Aorus Fusion app for different sound settings for different types of games. If audio isn’t your thing, the default RPG setting is fine to remain with.
Passable Webcam: The 720p webcam is not something the setup can boast about. It is good enough for calls and online ventures. Picture quality is good in natural or daylight. In the lesser light, the image becomes pixelated and that’s alright because it happens with all normal cameras.
This 17-inch gaming beast performed amazingly in the tests it was put through. It scored 872 points in Cinebench CPU test and as for GeekBench, it scored 5,060 (single-core) and 17,370 (multi-core). With 3,964 points in PCMark 8 (Home Test), Aorus X9 did much better than its rivals.
Ventilation: The Aorus X9 tends to get hot. Up to around a 131 degrees kind of hot. But its got equally good ventilation to make sure the heat doesn’t mess with the performance of this beast.
There are four fans that perform the task of tirelessly pulling cool air from top to the bottom which tends to get the hottest when running heavy duty games. This leads to the system getting loud. The continuous whirring sound may be bothersome for a certain kind of consumer but we didn’t find it hard to zone the noise out.
The noise is still a lot less as compared to laptops like MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro, that are another level of intolerable loud. Aorus X9 however, tends to perform just as well thanks to the aforementioned cooling system it is equipped with.
Gaming and VR: The X9 handled almost everything that was thrown its way. Its dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM paired with an Intel Core i7-7820HK CPU is more than enough for your heavy video editing, high-end games, and crypto mining. It has beaten Alienware 17 R4 and RazerBlade Pro by 3000 points on Fire Strike score benchmarks. It may the most graphically powerful laptop as of yet which can give a very smooth play time with a 4K display.
FPS: When played Middle-Earth: Shadow of War on ultra settings at 1080p, the game rendered between 85 and 95 fps. As for the Rise of Tomb Raider benchmark, the game ran at a smooth 73fps calling it ties with the Razer Blade Pro. It easily beat the premium-gaming average of 48 fps along with Alienware 17 R4 (62 fps).
As for the VR part, the X9 scored a very healthy 11. That’s the top mark possible in the StreamVR performance test. You can use this device without any lags with your HTC Vive Pro and other wearables.
This feature of Aorus X9 is the heel of Achilles. It is almost unbelievable that a heavy duty gaming laptop would run for a mere hour and 9 minutes give or take at most. This raises the question whether the company ran out of space for the bigger battery after it installed two high-end GPUs or it actually wanted it to be more of a desktop replacement rather than a laptop. Either way, this limits the mobility of the laptop drastically. It will require an almost constant connection to a power outlet which doesn’t sound that great. But then again, it weighs a good 8 pounds. It was never probably easy to carry around anyway.
Comparatively, the Alienware 17 R4 offers a better battery life of around three hours whereas the Razor Blade Pro lasts the longest of these three at a good four hours worth of battery life.
This high-end laptop does not come with a lot of upgrades. It itself is a complete package deal. Although the company does offer a few features that can be replaced.
For example, if users want to double up their flash storage, the price of Aorus X9 jumps to US $3799 or AU$5,399. You can also upgrade the RAM to 64GB DDR4 2,400Hz at an additional cost.
The Aorus X9 seems to be the kind of laptop created to serve the most hardcore gamers and video editors. The kind that is all about heavy-duty graphics and gets a kick out of pushing their consoles to their max limit. No doubt the laptop is a beautiful piece of machinery with its outstanding looks inlined with two GTX 1070s. Regardless of its impressive performance, it has an average battery life, low-key issues, below average display with no G-sync and an annoying touchpad.
Apart from that, the Aorus X9 will not disappoint. The graphics output is unbeatable and none of its rivals come close when it comes to this feature. But from a more practical point of view, for the amount of money its worth and the nearly non-existent options of customizability, one can always look for other options in this price range.