Gigabyte, the Taiwanese computer manufacturer, has recently rolled out another model of their Aero series. Aided by Microsoft’s very own artificial intelligence technology, “Azure AI”, the Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW is a laptop that’s useful for working professionals, casual gamers and students as well. It comes with decent features, great specs, but also suffers from one or two drawbacks.
The Gigabyte AERO 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW promises a healthy blend of performance, style, display quality and portability. It doesn’t truly excel in either department, but rather as a whole package. What I like most about this model, and Gigabyte laptops in general, is how much more room for upgrades you have when compared to similar models.
Basically, I’d consider the Gigabyte Aero 15 a sort of framework on which you’ll be able to further upgrade and extend its hardware to better suit your particular wants and needs. This doesn’t mean we’re dealing with an entry-level notebook. On the contrary, the Aero 15 Classic is powerful enough for the vast majority of users from the get-go.
Perhaps the Aero’s best feature is how they’ve integrated Microsoft’s Azure AI into the notebook. Basically, what the AI does is learn usage patterns and how different apps (programs and games) use system resources in order to improve efficiency and achieve the best balance between performance and cooling. It analyzes different parameters and adjusts how many resources it should allocate to either CPU or GPU in order for a specific app to work at its full potential without making the fans go crazy while trying to cool off the laptop.
Hardware: at a glance
Gigabyte AERO 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW Specs:
- Display: 15.6″ UHD IPS anti-glare LCD
- CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
- RAM: 16 GB DDR4-2666
- Storage: 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD
- GPU: GeForce GTX 1660Ti
- Weight: 4.4 lbs
- Battery life: Up to 9 hours
The Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW is fitted with a 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H processor. It’s a state-of-the-art 6-core CPU with 12 threads, a base frequency of 2.6 GHz, which goes up to 4.5 GHz in turbo mode, 12 megabytes of cache size and a thermal design power of 45 Watts. Judging by these stats alone, we’re looking at a processor that’s well equipped to handle all possible tasks and jobs you might throw at it.
Those 6 cores and 12 megabytes of cache improve gaming performance and aid apps that are optimized for multi-core use. Thus, everything from photo and video editing to running virtual machines, rendering 3D designs, playing demanding games and streaming 4K content will work flawlessly thanks to this absolute unit of a mobile processor.
System memory is rated at 16 gigabytes of DDR4-2666MHz RAM, which should work out just fine for the majority of folks. Only power users and enthusiast gamers will want more memory. If that’s the case, I’m happy to announce that the Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW accepts up to 64 gigabytes of RAM. It has a total of 2 available slots, so you can plug in either 2 x 16GB for 32 gigs or 2 x 32GB for 64 gigs of RAM if you feel the need for more.
One of this model’s drawbacks is storage space. Specifically, the SA-U73ADW comes with a blazingly fast M.2 NVMe PCIe Intel 760p Solid State Drive. However, capacity is limited at 256 gigabytes of space. This is simply not enough for a notebook that’s meant to run games or help working professionals. It will quickly fill up if you end up installing more than a couple of demanding apps.
However, Gigabyte have provided two M.2 type 2880 slots to help users further expand storage capacity (one supports NVMe PCIe or SATA and the other only NVMe PCIE). You can quickly add a 1-terabyte SSD in there, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that a laptop costing around $1700 at the time of this review comes with the same storage as devices three times cheaper.
Graphics and display
Graphics-wise, the Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW doesn’t disappoint. I think it’s well equipped to handle both AAA+ games, as well as any rendering or design jobs. It’s fitted with a NVIDIA GeForce 1660Ti graphics card. This is the mobile version, so it has the same 6 gigabytes of VRAM, but a slightly slower clock speed. As such, performance is diminished by about 10-15% when compared to its desktop counterpart. Still, you won’t have any issues playing a host of games, such as CS:GO, FIFA 20, F1 2019, Battlefield V, GTA 5, Forza Horizon 4, and so on.
It will struggle with top tier recently launched games. I’m talking about the most demanding games on sale today, the likes of which only enthusiast gaming laptops will be able to run smoothly. Here are three games, with expected framerates from each at ultra high quality settings. The first, being run at UHD resolution, with the latter on FHD resolution.
Display quality is exceptional. This specific model has a 15.6″ IPS 4K UHD display with 100% Adobe RGB color gamut. Images are vibrant and rich, and I think it doubles as an good enough laptop for photo and video editing, especially considering brightness as well. It’s bright enough in strong sunlight, and thanks to its anti-glare coating, working outside shouldn’t prove to be a challenge. Furthermore, its insanely thin bezel reminds me of another favorite model from ASUS this time, the elegant ZenBook 13.
Interface and connectivity
Interface options are second to none. It has the best assortment of modern ports I’ve seen on a casual gaming / all-purpose notebook this year. You’ll benefit from having a high speed interface, such as Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40Gbps vs max 10Gbps with the USB 3.1) which you’ll be able to use to connect to an external 4K monitor seamlessly.
- 1 x Thunderbolt Type-C
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
- 1 x USB 3.1 Type C with mini-DP
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x SD Card Reader
- 1 x Combo Audio Jack
- 1 x RJ45
Networking is also top-notch. The Aero 15 Classic has an Ethernet connection and high speed Wi-Fi, both powered by Killer adapters. They are made specifically for gaming enthusiasts, so you’ll have less latency and lag, improved signal strength and transfer speeds when compared to the usual options you’ll find in everyday laptops.
- Killer DoubleShot Pro LAN (Gigabit Ethernet)
- Killer Wireless-AC 1550 (802.11ac Wi-Fi)
- Bluetooth 5.0 + LE
Portability and battery life
You’ll probably won’t take the Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW with you on your daily commute, as it weighs around 4.4 pounds. However, given its thinness and performance ratings, I think it could have been a bit lighter, to keep in tune with its competitors. For instance, a 17.3 inch workstation, the MSI P75 Creator-469 weights just 0.4 pounds more,. However, this notebook feels like a feather when compared to the cheaper 15.6″ Dell G3 I3590 gaming laptop, which weighs 0.8 pounds more.
So, while portability could have been better, the Aero 15 sits in the middle. So, if you plan on buying it to travel with it, I’d say skip it, but if you’ll use it around the house, campus or work, with little walking around in between, go for it.
Battery life is satisfactory, to say the least, for a device that’s as powerful as the Gigabyte Aero 15. It comes with a massive Li-Polymer 94WHr battery pack, capable of holding a full charge for up to 9 hours of light to moderate use. It’s enough for a full day’s worth of work, which is more than adequate for this kind of notebook, which will likely be somewhere near an outlet most of the time.
For reference, the ASUS ZenBook 15 UX534FT-DB77 uses a 71WHr battery. Due to its more energy efficient components, it will hold a charge for up to 17 hours, which is almost double, with less available juice.
All things considered, both good and bad, I think the Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW is a perfectly good laptop for a wide variety of users, including students, working pros and gamers alike. Its hardware options, as well as its display quality, expandability and improved connectivity make for a fantastic all-rounder. Use it as a desktop replacement, mobile workstation or gaming rig, it’ll work just fine, if you’re able to ignore the limited storage capacity.
Also, if you’re traveling on a daily basis, there are better, more suitable alternatives, such as the ASUS ZenBook 15. Otherwise, this powerhouse will surely satisfy almost all your computing needs.