GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED Laptop Review – Big Things Come in Small Packages
A laptop designed for professionals that can also game, the GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA is a light yet powerful machine. Is it worth your money? Let's find out.
+ Versatile (for creators and gamers)
+ Has a good amount of firepower
+ Excellent display for colour-accurate work (OLED)
+ Good battery life
+ Easy to bring around
+ Per-key RGB keyboard
+ Good array of ports
+ Webcam with privacy shutter
- Doesn't come with HDD as a secondary drive
- Speakers need improvements
- RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 variants uses the Max-Q version
- Keyboard feels a bit soft
Unboxing the GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED
For our review unit, we only received the laptop and a charger. However, this is what you’re expected to get with each retail purchase:
- User guide / warranty
- 230W power brick
- The GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED laptop itself
If you are an avid reader of our site and this laptop looks familiar to you, then chances are you that you might be thinking of the AERO 17 XA which I reviewed not long ago. It looks essentially the same, but slightly smaller. It still treads a fine balance between professionalism and gaming, with a solid aluminum build quality.
You can see the falcon-style design on the lid, with a brushed metal finish towards the bottom area. There’s also the AERO logo in reflective silver, which glows white when powered on. Just like its bigger brother, it’s surprisingly not a fingerprint magnet.
Open up the lid and you’ll get a 15.6-inch 4K OLED display with thin bezels, a webcam below the AERO logo, trackpad with a fingerprint scanner on the top-left corner, and a full-sized keyboard complete with Numpad and per-key RGB backlighting. This webcam has a privacy shutter, in case you’re worried of potential spying activity.
On the left side, you have an air vent, an HDMI port, a USB-C port, a USB-A port, a combo audio jack, and an RJ45 LAN port, On the right side, you have two USB-A ports, a USB-C port, a UHS-II card reader, and the proprietary charging port. As for the rear, you have the hinges, two air vents, and the AERO logo in between.
Looking down below, you have five rubber stands, some air vents, and speaker grilles. I can see 12 screws here which needs to be removed if you plan on opening it up for upgrades or maintenance, but there may be an extra one hidden under the stickers.
Overall, the GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED laptop is essentially the same as its bigger brother, but smaller in size. There are some design elements borrowed from the AORUS line, it has a solid build quality, and it fits well in both professional and gaming setups.
GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED Specifications
|CPU||Intel Core i7-9750H (6C / 12T @ up to 4.5 GHz), 12M Cache, 45W TDP, 14nm|
|RAM||16GB Samsung 2666MHz DDR4 (8GB x 2)|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDDR6 Max-Q|
|Storage||512GB Intel 760P NVMe PCIe SSD|
|Software||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro|
Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (Dual Band 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0 + LE
3 x USB 3.1 Type-A Gen1
1 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C Gen2 (DP 1.4)
1 x UHS II Card Reader
1 x RJ45 LAN (Killer Ethernet E2600)
1 x Proprietary Charging Port
|Display||15.6″ Thin Bezel Samsung UHD (3840 x 2160) AMOLED Display, X-Rite Pantone Certified |
1 x HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60Hz)
|Audio||2 x 2W speakers|
1 x Combo Audio jack
|Power||230W power adapter|
94.24 Whr Li-Polymer battery
|Dimensions||356 x 250 x 20 mm|
Starting off with CrystalDiskMark, it’s no surprise to see it getting some rather high scores. After all, it is using the 512GB Intel 760P NVMe PCIe SSD. It’s a solid performer that will ensure fast loading speeds and boot times.
On Cinebench R15, the GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED performed as expected. The results are essentially on par with laptops using similar CPUs. It can improve further if you upgrade the RAM.
As for Unigine Superposition, it’s interesting to note that it had a lower score than the MSI GE75 8SE, which has an RTX 2070 and an 8th Gen i7 CPU. It doesn’t mean that it’s a weak laptop however as it still performed admirably.
The trend is similar here in 3DMark’s Time Spy. However, this one shows that the AERO 17 scored lower than the AERO 15. It’s still a good score nonetheless.
Lastly, we have 3DMark’s Port Royal which tests out the ray-tracing performance. It’s quite an intensive benchmark but it did well enough on its own.
As this is a creator laptop for professionals, we want to put its display to the test using DisplayCAL and Spyder5 to see how well it performs.
|Measured whitepoint||7.76||Not OK|
|Measured display profile whitepoint||0.1|
At 100% brightness prior to calibration, the measurement test results aren’t bad. To get the best possible scores, it’s recommended to get a score less than 1 for whitepoints and the average ΔE00. As for the maximum ΔE00, it’s best to score less than 3.
|Measured display profile whitepoint||0.19|
Once it has been calibrated, the scores had some improvements. The assumed wasn’t below 1, which would’ve been the best case but that can be ignored. It’s still a good score and it seems consistent with our other monitor reviews.
As for the colour gamut, the GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA laptop managed to cover 100% sRGB, 95.7% for Adobe RGB, and 99.9% DCI-P3 after calibration. For Gamut volume on the other hand, it covers 176.1% sRGB, 121.3% Adobe RGB and 124.7% DCI-P3. The display is definitely suitable for creative work, especially where colour accuracy is important.
We ran the display uniformity test to see if each part of the display are equally lit up, with the centre square used as a guide and compared to the others. The GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED did well but we had an interesting finding. The square that’s adjacent to the centre managed a recommended score but the ones in the corner only had a nominal score. With my own eyes, all parts seem equally lit.
The GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED is a powerhouse laptop that’s easy to bring around. It’s not the thinnest one around but it’s relatively thin and surprisingly light. It’s powered by the Intel Core i7-9750H and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q. If this isn’t enough, there is an AERO 15 OLED variant which uses an i9-9980HK and RTX 2080 Max-Q.
In the memory department, it’s using two sticks of Samsung 8GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM and a 512GB Intel 760P NVMe PCIe SSD. You get improved performance from dual-channel memory, which is especially important for video editing, rendering, and professional work. Moreover, you get some real fast boot-up times / loading speed with that SSD. It would be great if they added a 1TB HDD, especially as a scratch disk, as this one is designed for creators.
The GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED uses a 15.6-inch 4K Samsung OLED Display with X-Rite Pantone certification. Viewing angles are great and the colours are perfect for creative work, as you can tell from our display benchmark. The screen is reflective, so it can be a bit of a nuisance if you’re using this outdoors due to the glare.
X-Rite Pantone certified display refers to the display’s ability to reproduce Pantone colours with complete accuracy.
As this is the variant with 4K resolution display, the refresh rate is only up to 60Hz. This isn’t a problem unless you specifically need to see past 60Hz, like gaming for example. If you want this machine but with added versatility for gaming, there is a variant that uses a Sharp 240Hz Full HD display. The lid can open up to roughly 140°, which should be good enough for most users.
The GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED has a good array of ports. You have three USB-A ports, two USB-C ports (one with Thunderbolt 3 support), an RJ45 LAN port, a HDMI port, a full-sized SD card reader, and a combo audio jack. To my surprise, it mostly matches the AERO 17 here, with the exception of the audio jack. I honestly expected this to have lesser ports given the size so this is a good surprise.
I kinda wished they moved some of the ports, like the HDMI and charging port, to the back for easier cable management. It is possible to do a tri-monitor setup by using the HDMI and Thunderbolt 3 port. In case anyone is wondering, you can’t charge the laptop via USB-C, and this one doesn’t have an Always-On USB port for charging your devices while it’s powered off.
For those of you who love RGB lighting, this one is a treat. The GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED uses the RGB FUSION keyboard with per-key RGB backlighting. You can customize the speed, brightness, and animation via software. The keyboard itself is okay to type on but it feels a little more cramped compared to the 17-inch variant. While it feels a little soft, it’s still comfortable to type on and having a Numpad is a blessing for me.
The trackpad works fine but nothing much to shout out about except that it has a fingerprint scanner on the top-left corner, which works consistently. You’re better off with a proper mouse rather than the trackpad. If you’re worried someone may be spying on you via the webcam, it does have a privacy shutter, which is a good addition for that added peace of mind.
Going back to the software, you have the GIGABYTE Control Center. Here, you can do some fine-tuning, customizations, and check on the laptop’s running condition. The UI is clearly design with ease of use in mind, so I’m sure most people will have no trouble with it.
But that’s not all on the software side as there’s also the KILLER Control Center. You will be able to optimize your hardware resources and network traffic using GameFast. With the KILLER Wi-Fi 6 AX1650, you can have a theoretical throughput of 2.4Gbps. Given that it is using 802.11ax Wi-Fi, you will get better, more consistent network performance compared to Wi-Fi 5 devices.
On the sound department, the speakers on the GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED is lacking in volume and sounds a bit muffled. The sound is directed towards the surface the laptop is placed on, in which the sound is then dispersed around.
The NAHIMIC audio software does help a bit, but there’s only so much optimization that it can do. It does work a lot better when used with earphones / headphones. It’s easier to get a feel of the surround sound feature offered by the software. You definitely want to use your favourite pair of headphones instead of relying on the speakers.
As for battery life, I’ve managed to get close to 6 hours per full charge with RGB backlighting enabled, albeit at a much lower brightness. Usage includes word processing, office applications, web browsing, light Photoshop work, and some YouTube videos. This is great given the amount of power it’s packing, as well as the display that utilizes. Disabling the RGB lighting will definitely result in noticeable improvements.
Overall, the GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED is a great laptop that’s suitable for both creative work and gaming. It’s not the perfect machine but it’s definitely something most people would be happy to own.
GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED Verdict
The GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED is a versatile, powerful laptop that’s great for a wide variety of users. Both the aesthetics and performance makes it suitable in both professional and gaming setups. It’s also easy to bring around as it’s relatively thin and is rather light. It has a good battery life and the display is magnificent.
It’s essentially the same as the 17-inch variant, just smaller and lighter. It also shares the same weaknesses, such as the subpar speakers, soft keyboard, and the GPU is using the Max-Q version so it’s slightly weaker. Despite all of that, it’s a great laptop that I’m sure will satisfy any user that plans on getting one.
With that, I award the GIGABYTE AERO 15 XA OLED laptop with our Silver Pokdeward.
Shoutout to GIGABYTE Malaysia for loaning us this laptop and letting us review it.