Gigabyte’s range of gaming laptops continues to grow. Most recently, they’ve announced a new range based on the GTX10 series GPUs, but for those who don’t mind sticking to the last generation, the P55W v5 is still a solid choice.
Although the GPU may be last gen, a GTX970M, this laptop is fitted with the latest LG1156 Intel Skylake mobile processor, the i7-6700HQ. This can run with Turbo at 3.2 GHz. The only issue here is that it’s also got a TDP of 45W/55W, so is pretty power hungry.
The 970M itself isn’t half bad and still beats a desktop 960, which is able to run pretty much all games happily at 1080p.
8GB DDR4 is pretty much the standard for gaming and should still be fine in years to come and to help speed the OS up, there’s a nifty 128GB SSD along with a 1TB Hard Disc for storage.
This isn’t the lightest laptop around, in fact it’s pretty average size; 380 by 269 and 26.8mm thick, and weighs 2.6KG. If you want thin and fast, it’s still best to go for Gigabyte’s P34W instead, which weighs a kilo less, though the battery suffers as a result.
Rounding things off, this model has a DVD multidrive, though a Bluray would have been preferable.
Look and Design
Plastic surrounds the casing of the P55W v5, as it has done with every version of this laptop. That said, it still manages to look smart, with raised edges at the back. As you can see from the picture below, it’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet, though.
There’s a small flexing in the case, nothing to really worry about but it’s there all the same due to the plastic used in the casing. This is also true of the keyboard, which visably flexes a little too much when keys are pressed. Despite this, the keys felt responsive.
The keyboard is backlit, with 2 different settings. The backlighting is subtle but works well in the dark and doesn’t distract from the screen even on the brighter of the settings. The trackpad feels fairly responsive although I’m not a fan of the virtual buttons on modern trackpads and these felt as if they just needed a little less tension to click.
There are, disappointingly, no macro keys, though there are plenty of function keys to control all aspects of the laptop.
Three USB 3.0 Type-A ports and a USB 3.1 Type-C port provide plenty of connectivity split evenly over both sides. HDMI 2.0 out and D-sub on the left provide the output alongside a Gigabit Ethernet port.
On the right there are headphone and microphone ports and the power.
The screen is IPS but still suffers a little from poor viewing angles, with colours fading after 45 degrees. Head on, though, it seems vibrant and has a good matt finish to prevent glare.
The 970M and Full HD screen make a good partnership, pushing the graphics card
Our Shadow of Mordor test at 1080p on Ultra gave us an average of 51FPS but did hit a low of 38FPS in one really intense moment.
GTA 5 got 51FPS on average as well and again hit a low of 31FPS at its lowest, though it rarely dipped below 50 for the most part.
A Firestrike test brought back a fairly decent score of 6724, certainly enough for the Full HD screen to cope with.
The only issue I found, which I’ve found with other Gigabyte laptops as well, is the heat. During normal use this is fine but under heavy load, such as the game modes I tested above, it got pretty hot. Considering how small the vents are, this is not surprising.
The fan does get noisy at times, though, when trying to compensate for the extra heat.
We managed to get around 5-6 hours on average through standard tasks (watching video, word processing and surfing the net) but gaming brought this down to a still-respectable 3.2 hours.
It’s not as light as other models in Gigabyte’s line-up and that means not quite as portable, but it makes up for this with good battery life, a good anti-glare screen and some solid gaming performance. The screen isn’t going to win awards, though and the trackpad needs to be sorted out for the next model.
Overall, a solid entry in Gigabyte’s line up which can happily act as a media machine and gaming laptop in one.