Aorus X5 v6
If you’re on the hunt for a gaming laptop with cutting-edge graphics that can be slipped into a backpack with room to spare, Aorus usually has you covered.
The sixth iteration of the company’s X5 continues tradition by upgrading to Nvidia’s latest GPU architecture under the hood without fattening up the chassis around it.
Some competing gaming laptops with Nvidia’s new Pascal-based GTX 10-series cards can’t lay claim to that.
The 15.6-inch X5 bears a closer similarity with the Aorus X5S, which came powered by a GTX 980M, than the preceding X5 that housed twin GTX 965M GPUs.
Driven by Nvidia’s new GTX 1070, the X5 v6 brings desktop-like levels of graphics grunt in a single GPU, leaving little need for Aorus to return to an SLI configuration.
Retailing around the £2,100 (around $2,640 or AUS$3,545) price point online, the X5 v6 is aimed squarely at enthusiasts who seek desktop-like performance in a portable package. But, is it worth the money?
Aorus’ laptops are never too busy in the design department, preferring to stand out from the crowd using subtle ornaments – such as the orange reflective Aorus eagle logo on the lid and the pointed ridge just above it that helps you flip open the display with a single finger.
There isn’t really any color scheme to speak of here – except for the lid’s logo, and a blue Aorus eagle on the trackpad that glints in the light, it’s decked completely in black materials.
There’s nothing that will really draw your attention or make your jaw drop on first sight, but it doesn’t look like an office-bound laptop either.
As is common on Aorus laptops, the X5’s lid is positioned in front of a bumper-like rear edge that sticks out at the back.
We think it lends the laptop a jazzy sports car spoiler-type look, though you might otherwise. While it helps the X5 stand out among its competitors, it adds to the laptop’s already very wide and long dimensions.
The X5 may be thin, but it takes up a substantial amount of room on your desk for a laptop.
Whether the X5 looks like a gaming laptop worth more than 2,000 clams, when it comes to build quality, it doesn’t feel like one in places.
Our X5 sample, which is mostly made of aluminium (on the lid) and plastic (on the base), suffers more flex than we would like.
For example, the plastic on its keyboard bends easily with pressure applied around the center of the keyboard, and over toward the enter key.
The lid too can be twisted and contorted without too much effort, so we wouldn’t advise picking it up by anything other than the base. Not that you would be mad enough to do otherwise.
If you’re looking for a laptop with rock-solid build quality everywhere, this isn’t it.
The Aorus X5S’s 4K display seemed overkill considering that the GTX 980M inside wasn’t up to scratch of powering games at its native resolution.
You’ll be pleased to discover that the X5 v6 lowers its display’s pixel-resolution to a more suitable 2,880 x 1,620 (or “3K”).
This strikes a much better balance between pixel density and gaming performance, with everything on the desktop – from text to icons, menus and images – still rendered in incredible detail.
The X5 uses high quality anti-glare IPS panel that boasts excellent angles, deep blacks and colors that ‘pop’.
But it’s not just a pretty picture: the display is more than adequate for gaming thanks to its 60Hz refresh rate and support for Nvidia’s frame-synching G-Sync tech.
Aorus isn’t selling the X5 directly from its website, but you can pick up various versions of the laptop with slightly differing specs from retailers online.
As an alternative to the model with the 3K display, it can also be had with a Full HD Wide Viewing Angle display that ups the refresh rate to 120Hz and sports a 5ms response time and support for G-Sync.
While this option would mean that you would miss out on the expansive room afforded by a 3K panel, it would be better for shooters and fast-paced games due to its faster refresh rate.
All configurations come with an overclockable sixth-generation Intel Skylake Core i7-6820HK processor capable of Turbo Boosting up to 3.6Ghz, backed up by either 8GB or 16GB of main memory.
As mentioned, the X5’s keyboard suffers from less than adequate build quality, but it features some nifty lighting capabilities that look great when gaming in the dark.
Backlighting is customizable using the company’s Fusion software. There’s the usual wave and ripple-type effects that we’ve come accustomed to, and five G-keys (or macro keys) are positioned on the keyboard’s left-hand side also light up different colors depending on which profile is selected.
The X5’s chiclet-spaced keys offer a decent amount of travel, which aids typing, but suffer from key rattle once you pick up speed.
Thankfully, Aorus has ditched the glass trackpads on its gaming laptops from recent years. The X5’s has a matte surface, and it’s much more practical.
We’re not talking MacBook-like levels of smoothness, but the trackpad is sufficiently sized for executing Windows 10 gestures and is tuned well enough to let you navigate the desktop with ease.
The X5 pulls it off where it counts: gaming performance. Its 3D Mark Fire Strike score of 12,931 surpasses one of our favorite laptops from recent months, the Asus ROG Strix GL502, scoring almost 500 points more.
Benchmark scores fluctuate, of course, but by looking at our game benchmarks we can see that the two machines perform equally well.
Played at 1080p, you can expect even the most punishing titles like GTA V and The Division to hover around 60 frames per second (or fps) mark with the graphics settings maxed out when played on the X5.
Load up a lesser demanding game, and the frame count reaches even higher.
In Overwatch, we achieved between 110- and 120 fps on Ultra graphics settings using an external 144Hz monitor.
But, while it’s a nimble performer, the X5 isn’t the quietest laptop to game on. When pushed to its limits, the fans make their presence known and sound like a miniature helicopter taking off.
Heat is dispersed from noisy fans positioned at the rear corners, along with vents located around the back and underneath.
Looping a 1080p video of Guardians of the Galaxy, the X5 lasted 3 hours and 41 minutes – just long enough for us to see its closing credits before juice ran out.
The Aorus X5 is relatively thin and light for a 15-inch gaming laptop equipped with Pascal graphics – although it’s fairly wide and long.
Games run with fluid frame rates even on their highest settings thanks to the powerful GTX 1070 inside, which brings desktop-grade performance in a laptop form factor.
They look great on the X5’s attractive display, which impresses with a balanced 3K resolution that’s sharp and color-packed, but not overkill in the pixel count department.
Finally, the X5 has a great selection of IO, including an SD card reader and USB Type-C. Finally, upgrading the machine is made possible by access to components including the storage, RAM and battery.
While we can’t knock its gaming performance, the X5 is a noisy operator that makes itself heard when placed under strain.
And we think that the X5 should be made of sterner stuff considering its hefty price tag. It’s simply too easy to flex the lid and bashing away on the keyboard almost feels like using a cheap laptop due to the amount of flex.
Aorus is clearly aiming for an understated design with the X5, but it’s a little dull to look at compared to the Asus ROG Strix GL502’s orange-and-black color scheme.