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Gigabyte Aero 17 review: A gorgeous 4K laptop that finally makes sense

If you’re squinting at this review from your tiny 13-inch laptop screen, you may be like the many people who started working from home a few weeks ago and realized that portability means nothing if you’re going blind using a tiny screen.

Gigabyte’s Aero 17 has the answer, by offering superb performance and a gorgeous, 17.3-inch UHD 4K HDR 400 panel to boot. Never mind that the laptop also features Intel’s newest 10th-gen, 8-core, Core i7-10875H Comet Lake H CPU and Nvidia’s stellar GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q GPU.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.

A 4K laptop that makes sense

We haven’t been big fans of 4K displays on smaller laptops, as the hit on battery life typically hasn’t been worth the pixel-density tradeoff. With the Aero 17 though, we’re pleased to say battery life was far better than we expected for a 4K panel (more on that later).

aero 17 front Gordon Mah Ung

The 10th-gen Comet Lake H and GeForce RTX Super were supposed to be the stars, but the 10-bit, HDR 400 4K screen is what might convince you to ditch your tiny 13.3-inch laptop.

And yes, the 4K pixel density is far more useful on a 17.3-inch screen than a 13.3-inch panel. It’s enough resolution that you can tile multiple windows and they’re all still legible.

The Aero 17’s panel is also rated for VESA’s HDR 400 spec, which mandates such things as its name implies: a minimum of 400 nits’ peak-level brightness, and sRGB color gamut support.

We measured the Aero 17’s brightness peak at about 423 nits. While the HDR 400 rating is the entry level for HDR specs and mandates only 100 percent of sRGB, Gigabyte brings more to the table with 100 percent of Adobe RGB color gamut. The panel, an AU Optronics B173ZAN03.2, is a rated 10-bit panel, too which means it’ll push more than 1.07 billion colors.

Gigabyte continues to offer factory Xrite Pantone color calibration on every laptop panel. Gigabyte suggests, perhaps with some bias, that some of its competitors only do batch testing of panels.

Let’s just say if you’re going to go big, you might as well go with a panel with a lot of pedigree. Because the Aero 17 leans toward content creation professionals rather than gamers, the panel and hardware are really intended for workers, not players.

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