Gigabyte Aero 14 hands-on – thin and powerful

A few days ago, Gigabyte announced the Aero 14, a laptop that’s thin and light enough to please road warriors, but powerful enough to satisfy power users and gamers. Today at Computex 2016, I got the chance to spend some time with it. Here are my first impressions.

The Aero 14 packs a 6th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16-32GB of DDR4 RAM (2 slots), an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M or 970M GPU, and two M.2 PCIe SSDs — enough oomph for serious work (or play) on the go. Better yet, all this power doesn’t come at the expense of battery life, with Gigabyte promising 10 hours of use on discrete graphics thanks to a massive 94Wh battery.

For a 14-inch machine, the Aero 14 is pretty light and thin at just 4.16lbs and 19.9mm, respectively. It features a 2560×1440-pixel matte IPS display (no touch screen) , three USB 3.0 (Type A) ports, a USB 3.1 (Type-C) connector, and an HDMI 2.0 output that supports 4K at 60Hz.

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While the Aero 14 looks pretty generic and forgettable overall, the aluminum lid comes in 3 colors : generic grey, bright orange, and apple green (my favorite). The orange and green add a welcome touch of fun to the whole package. As for they keyboard, it offers a solid deck with backlit keys and a column of customizable macro keys that can even record pointer position and mouse clicks.

The trackpad is large and responds well, but it’s that matte QHD screen that really steals the show — that and the system performance, of course. I spent a few minutes rooting around Windows 10 and playing games and came away pretty impressed. Gigabyte didn’t mention pricing (yet), but the Aero 14 feels like it’s going to be a popular laptop for both road warriors and power users once it hits the shelves.