Gigabyte Aero is a model that the firm has long marketed as a designer-focused brand. I’ve always been suspicious about it. Gigabyte is well-known as a gaming business, and Aero machines, despite their name, appear quite similar to the company’s Aorus gaming portfolio. Aside from Dell’s XPS series, Windows-based “creative laptops” are mainly considered to be gaming laptops with slightly smaller and therefore less RGB-laden chassis.
This Aero makes some sense as a gadget best acquired by employees who have some tougher jobs in their workday or who may wish to game on sometimes. Sure, it boasts a flashy OLED screen that can achieve 400 nits of brightness and supports 100% of the sRGB gamut, 98% of Adobe RGB, and 98% of P3. The modest metal chassis is perfect for the office. It does, however, include Intel’s flagship processor, which is pretty powerful when it comes to creative work, as well as Nvidia’s top mobile GPU. That’s an arrangement that’s perfect for those who want the greatest CPU they can get but don’t require the GPU as frequently.
The Aero 16’s design is a touch weird, but not in a terrible manner. This computer, like other creator-focus laptops, is heavily influence by the MacBook Pro. Even though it’s made entirely of aluminum, Gigabyte manages to reinvent this old design. There’s a little handle on the front that opens the machine and houses the camera, as well as an Aero logo that lights up when the machine turns on.
It aims for the appearance of being thin and light, but not the feel. It boasts super-narrow bezels, yet it’s 0.88 inches thick and weighs just over five pounds. Also, a bit lighter than Dell’s XPS 17, but the Aero 16 is still bulkier. It falls in between mobility-focused workstations like the XPS 17 and full-fledged gaming laptops like the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro.
The Aero 16’s highlight is the unlocked Intel Core i9-12900HK CPU. It has 14 cores and 20 threads, and it can accelerate to 5GHz, which is a tremendous speed for any laptop. We’ve only tested this processor in one other laptop, the MSI GE76 Raider, and the version in the Aero 16 is OK.
In the benchmarks, the Aero 16 performed very identically to the Raider GE76. Cinebench’s multi-core test, which pushes the CPU to its maximum limits, was the lone exception. The Aero 16 dies before the Raider GE76, demonstrating the power restrictions imposed by the form factor.
When compared to AMD, Intel has a significant advantage. The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro lacks the leading Ryzen 5000 mobile CPU, but it’s so far behind the Aero 16 that it’s insignificant. However, AMD’s Ryzen 6000 mobile CPUs are on their way, which might put Team Redback on top.
The Aero 16 joins a small but increasing group of laptops that have received VESA’s DisplayHDR 500 True Black certification, including the Asus ZenBook 14X OLED. The magic word is OLED. The Aero 16 has an OLED display that can achieve true black levels and is stunningly brilliant and vibrant.
It has a 16:10 aspect ratio and a resolution of 3,840 x 2,400, and Gigabyte claims it supports 100% of the professional DCI-P3 color space. However, the colorimeter only detected 73% of DCI-P3. Even stranger, the display is factory calibrated by Gigabyte, however, the calibration messed up the colors in my initial tests. When returned to the default color setting — Gigabyte provides a profile that is activated by default — the display obtained a Delta-E value of 1.5, which is enough for colorwork.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keys have a startling amount of travel distance, as they appear to hover only a hair over the torso. The Aero 16 has a hollow, nearly spongy feel about it. Never had any problems typing, and I’m pleased with the quality. Although, the keyboards on Dell’s XPS series, as well as the keyboard on the Razer Blade 15, are better for some.
The trackpad is uninteresting. It supports Windows Precision drivers, thus was able to navigate web pages and windows with gestures. The Aero 16’s trackpad performs admirably, but it isn’t in the same league as the luxuriously huge one on the MacBook Pro.
The Aero 16 has bad battery life. Frankly, this is a machine you want to leave plugged in for any serious work, only freeing it from the charger for brief, undemanding work.
The Aero 16 comes with a 99-watt-hour battery, the largest size you can carry on a plane. It still falls behind machines rocking identical hardware, though. The Raider GE76, our main point of comparison for 12th-gen Intel chips, lasted about 6% longer in our web-browsing test. The Aero 16 lasted just three hours and 11 minutes.
Camera and Security
Because the Aero 16 is for speed, it lacks the additional webcam features seen on productivity workstations such as the HP Spectre x360. A 720p camera with two microphones that aim to filter out background noise includes, as is an infrared sensor for Windows Hello.
This is a last-ditch webcam. Much in good lighting. It appears incredibly noisy, and low-light images make the camera appear to be even lower quality than 720p. There’s also no privacy barrier, which feels like a wasted opportunity given that the webcam sits on top of the display.
On the security front, users have the option of using Windows Hello, and the machine incorporates TPM firmware to match the system requirements of Windows 11. Unfortunately, there is no fingerprint reader here, and the only choice for camera protection is to cover it with tape.
This is the Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5, the company’s top model, which costs $4,400. It’s the only model with an unlocked Core i9-12900HK processor, while the other five variants all utilize the Core i7-12700H. The main variation in fundamental components is the graphics card, with the lowest model ranging from an RTX 3080 Ti to an RTX 3060.
Aside from the processor and graphics card, you should pay great attention to the model you choose. Only the top three models (YE5, XE5, and KE5) support DDR5, while the others only support DDR4.
From the date of purchase, GIGABYTE/AORUS provides a one-year limited guarantee on the battery included with the laptop. Warranty can extend up to some years of laptop and other products on Gowarranty.in.
The Gigabyte Aero 16 has excellent hardware, but it’s not the best laptop for creators. Poor battery life, a compromised GPU when compared to gaming laptops, as well as a lack of quality-of-life features make it difficult to justify the Aero 16’s asking price. Creators are better suited with a more efficient and less expensive computer, such as the MacBook Pro, whereas gamers are better off with a dedicated gaming laptop.