A look inside
Many of our readers just can't resist taking things apart, and neither can we. A star-bit screwdriver was all we needed to pop off the bottom panel of the Aero 15. The panel is fitted very snugly, so it requires just a little bit of encouragement to come loose. We'll send some kudos to Gigabyte's engineering team for the tight tolerances, though.
One thing that stands out at first glance is the absence of a 2.5" drive bay. Some users might balk at that omission, even though there's a second M.2 slot available. The price per gigabyte for M.2 storage is still fairly high. However, what users get in return is a much larger battery. We reckon that a lot of folks would happily trade in the 2.5" drive bay in their current notebook for a bigger battery, and think that Gigabyte made a good move here.
This Samsung SM951 M.2 SSD is one that our readers are likely already acquainted with. Our review of this drive found it capable of spectacular performance, but a little limited by thermal throttling. Considering that this is the only drive the system ships with, users should think hard about upgrading to the 512GB model pictured here. A gaming library fills up 256GB very quickly these days.
The laptop is cooled by Gigabyte's familiar dual-fan cooling solution. Two beefy heat pipes run across the graphics chip and the CPU. The rear exhaust vent runs almost the entire width of the notebook, but it's tucked into the gap between the display hinge and the base of the laptop.
I haven't always heaped accolades on Gigabyte's laptop keyboards, but I've been quite pleased with the typing experience on the Aero 15. The switches aren't mechanical, but the keys are lively and respond with pleasant tactile feedback. The notebook isn't as wide as some of the company's other 15.6" laptops, necessitating a few changes in the layout. Notably absent is the column of macro keys that Gigabyte commonly tucks along the left side of the keyboard. I didn't shed any tears over their absence, as I don't tend to do much with macro keys, but some might be disappointed there. More annoying to me was the combination the delete and insert functions into one key. That being said, the rest of the layout is intuitive, and the keys are well-spaced.
The clickpad is functional and unassuming, registering movements easily and across its entire surface. I found it a little disorienting that the clickpad doesn't register movements gestures along its edge unless the movement was initiated in the upper region. However, I quickly got used to the clickpad's quirks.
More troubling is the webcam placement. The display's 5-mm bezels are delightfully slim, but they don't leave room for the webcam at the display's upper edge. Instead, Gigabyte placed the webcam on the display hinge. That's just not a flattering angle for anybody, especially for middle-aged men still learning to make nose-hair trimming part of their daily grooming schedule.