It’s been way too long since we’ve had a Gigabyte laptop in our lab, so we’re very pleased to get two in at once. First up is the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED, an ultraportable that can suit workers, creators and gamers. We like this kind of laptop – who doesn’t? – but will it be the unicorn model that we want it to be? It also comes at a time when fierce rival, MSI, launched its Katana 15 gaming laptop with a similar spec and it won a bunch of awards. So, it’s also a bit of a clash of the Taiwan Titans.
Table of Contents
|Screen||14-inch, glossy, 90Hz, 2,880 x 1,800, OLED display|
|Processor||3.7-5.0GHz Intel Core i7-13700H CPU|
|Memory||16GB LPDDR5 RAM|
|Graphics||6GB GDDR6 Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050|
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
2 x Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-C power port (USB 3.x)
1 x microSD card reader with UHS-II
3.5mm audio jack
|Speakers||2 x 2-Watt|
|Extra Security||TPM 2.0 module|
Windows Hello (webcam)
|Dimensions||331 x 221 x 17mm|
Features, Design & Ergonomics
The “Twilight Silver” Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED is a very smart looking laptop. Its CNC-milled, sand-blasted, aluminium chassis is smooth, stylish and robust and the rainbow-imbued, glossy-silver Aero moniker looks good, especially when it catches the light or is lit up with its white, LED backlighting (although the latter only works when it’s plugged in and then, you can’t turn it off). It also does a good job of fending-off fingerprints.
Opening it up reveals a glossy, black, 14-inch OLED screen with a thin bezel at the sides. Below it is a white-on-white-backlit keyboard which we’re often nervous about as, in some lighting situations, it can become difficult to see the white-backlit letters on white keys, but we had few issues here.
The rest of the chassis looks and feels cool and the glass-coated trackpad complements it well with a nice, subtle Aero design.
The OLED screen is (as usual) glossy which means it can turn into a black mirror when viewing dark content, but the benefits outweigh this deficiency. It has an impressively fine, 2,880 x 1,800 UHD resolution which displays a crisp and clear Windows Desktop with vibrant colours.
The OLED screen naturally makes multimedia mucho marvellous with its true blacks, and ‘infinite’ contrast revealing details both in shadows and highlights. There’s some fine banding in colour transitions which gets rather worse in monochromatic gradients. We’ve seen worse, but some of the Creator target market might wince.
Nonetheless, Gigabyte has put a great deal of effort into getting the screen just so. We’re informed it has, “X-Rite 2.0 factory color calibration and Pantone Validated color calibration, in addition to passing TÜV Rheinland low blue light and Eyesafe 2.0 standards.” It also supports, 100 per cent of the difficult DCI-P3 colour space and has a low colour deviation rating of ΔE<1 – the types of things that Creators like.
It also has a variable 60Hz – 90Hz refresh rate. The former helps save power when the battery is being used while the latter – when married with the fast pixel response time – keeps fast-moving objects clear enough for all but the fussiest FPS gamers.
Meanwhile, the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED’s twin, 2-Watt speakers get loud and have reasonable fidelity. However, at high volume the treble can distort and a lack of bass leaves music feeling somewhat hollow.
We like the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED’s keyboard. Its keys have a good combination of weighting and softness as to be very accurate for both extended periods of typing and gaming. It’s even got full-sized arrow keys (yay!) The white backlighting works well in dark environments although it’s dimmest setting can be a little bright in, say, a dark aeroplane cabin while people next to you are trying to sleep.
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It’s worth mentioning the Gigabyte Control Center app which provides quick access to the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED’s core status and key settings, plus power and fan control. It’s well laid-out and intuitive, unlike some rivals. However, it does take up a fair few computer resources and, as you’ll see below, it’s the prime suspect in some stability issues.
Above the screen is a Full HD webcam which captures impressively sharp images, even in low light. It’s Windows Hello compatible but there’s only one microphone and it’s not the best at capturing crisp, measured, vocal tones, or background-noise-free audio, when conferencing.
For the most part, though, the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED is great to interact with and only a few niggling foibles prevent it reaching perfection.
The photos used in our Australian Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED review were taken at the Intel Developer Conference in San Jose, California.
Inside the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED is a 3.7 – 5GHz Intel Core i7-13700H processor with six Performance cores, eight Efficiency cores and 20 threads. It’s flanked by 16GB of fast, low-powered LPDDR5 RAM and a speedy 1TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 hard drive for storage. That’s a beefy set-up for a laptop that’s only 17mm thick.
In the general-computing, PCMark 10 test, the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED scored an excellent 7,058 which is well above average for any laptop, let alone an ultraportable.
In the Cinebench, CPU-based rendering tests it scored 2,536 in the drag-race R15 test and a stable 13,008 in the longer R23 test (which can show-up thermal-related performance throttling if a laptop gets too warm over time). These are good for an ultraportable and average in a big, wide world of laptops that includes gaming beasts that are twice its size.
Despite the diminutive dimensions, the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED also packs in a discreet, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU (with 6GB of GDDR6 RAM). As we’ve seen lately, these graphics chips are not without potential compared to the previous 30-series (largely due to Nvidia’s DLSS 3 AI-upscaling technology), so we were keen to see how it fared.
In the difficult, 3Dmark ray-tracing tests, the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED scored 1,296 in Speed Way and 7,605 in Port Royal. These results equate to 13fps and 15fps respectively. These aren’t playable framerates but, if you’re prepared to drop the settings and the resolution, you could be able to get some usable performance out of the most-difficult titles.
In the AAA-title-a-like game tests, Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme, the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED scored 5,998 (average 33.7fps) and 5,969 (average 27fps) respectively, which show that dropping detail settings and the resolution should, just about, get them playable.
In 3Dmark Night Raid, which mimics casual and competitive games, the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED scored 35,417 (average 226.5fps) illustrating it has no issues here.
Finally, in our old, CS:GO test, which stresses the whole system, the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED averaged 124fps for the whole test but 23.4fps for the 1% Low test – the slowest one per cent of frames when smoke grenades and everything are going nuts. Those aren’t unplayable scores, but the slowdowns will limit competitiveness.
Ultimately, though, while 2D performance is impressive, we were a little disappointed by the 3D performance which wasn’t nearly as high as other, RTX-4050-wielding gaming laptops. While some of those (like the Katana 15) have built-in overclocking, it still seems that the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED’s GPU is performing well-within its natural limits in the thin chassis.
The fan regularly makes its presence felt with a low whoosh that can ramp up several steps to quite a loud whoosh when under a sustained, heavy load. Still, it keeps the laptop cool when working. If you want to turn them off, by activating Eco Mode, expect the base and the palm-rest to get rather warm.
Fans and performance are controlled by Gigabyte Control Center which enables simple fan adjustment. In the end we just accepted there would be some noise but we noted that the louder they got, the more quickly the battery life drained.
The Gigabyte Control Center also has an Ai Boost feature which uses Microsoft Azure technology to provide optimal fan performance according to each application. To be frank, we turned it off for much of the time as it frequently activated higher fan speeds when we didn’t want them. We also had our doubts regarding its effect on system stability, see below.
It’s been a long time since we’ve had to mention a laptop’s stability. We thought the crash-happy, overheating laptops of yore (ones using 10th-Gen Intel processors) had become such an afterthought that we were considering removing this as a test criterion.
Unfortunately, the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED is not the most stable device. All too often, we’d try and click on the screen or switch Windows, only to find it had frozen for a good many seconds. Occasionally, it even blue-screened and we haven’t had problems like that for a while.
We’re wary that such issues can be down to a single review unit, but a quick search online shows it to be a known issue with many fingers being pointed towards the Gigabyte Control Center, which is a shame. As such, it loses a point here.
Inside, there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. It’s an impressive, modern complement.
Portability and Battery Life
The Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED is very well built and its solid, Aluminium chassis (and hinges) should easily survive life on the road.
It only weighs 1.47KG but the powerful components mean the power brick is a little large, compared to the more portable ultraportables, at 541g. So, the whole package tips the scales just north of 2KG.
You’ll likely need to carry the power pack and cables around with you, though, as the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED only ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office test for 7 hours and 14 minutes. That’s below average for an ultraportable laptop and, we found, the powerful components meant you had to reduce power draw as much as possible (by closing apps) to get close to that.
It does, however, have the ability to charge to 50 per cent in 30 minutes.
Price and Availability
The Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED costs a hefty $3,299 (currently $2,999) but, despite the diminutive dimensions, there’s a lot packed in. Still, it’s a crowded market and you can buy similar specs for significantly less – but few rivals match the overall build quality on offer here.
Alternatives to the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED
MSI Prestige 14 – Another laptop that seeks to be all things to everyone. Some variants don’t have discreet GPUs but you can find a 4060 version with a faster, non-OLED screen and double the RAM for $1,000 less.
Razer Blade 14 – A super-premium, 14-inch unicorn laptop. It’s gorgeous and cool. But, it costs over $5,000. There’s no OLED screen, either.
Asus Zenbook 14 OLED – Asus’ 14-inch rival doesn’t have discreet graphics, but it’s much cheaper.
Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 – It’s slightly smaller, but this AMD-based portable powerhouse has much to offer.
Conclusion: Should you buy the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED?
There aren’t many laptops that can support gaming and creator-based tasks while remaining ultraportable. On paper the Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED does all of these things but the reality doesn’t quite live up to the expectations. That’s due to the lower-than-expected 3D performance scores and the regular freezing and crashing.
There’s certainly huge potential here and hopefully the source of the crashing can be fixed, because then you’d end up with a laptop we’d be happy to recommend. However, with so many cheaper-better-stable rivals on the market in this space, we can’t recommend it right now.
Low 3D performance
Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED Scores
The Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED has the hardware-based potential to be an ultraportable gaming laptop that both Creators and Gamers will love, but it just falls short.