Wind back a few years and the very notion of suggesting a Gigabyte laptop as a viable gaming solution would have been ludicrous. To put it bluntly, back then we were consistently unimpressed with what its laptops delivered.
This situation has changed quite dramatically as Gigabyte has lifted its game in the laptop space. We were incredibly impressed with its gaming focused U2442F Ultrabook earlier this year, and we are eagerly awaiting its Blade-esque thin and light P35K after seeing it at Computex. In the interim we have been playing with the P25W, a well-specced gaming laptop that is set to launch at a decent price.
With the P25W Gigabyte has created a laptop that lacks the premium that is associated with other gaming laptops like the Alienware 17 (see page 37). This means it doesn’t have the fancy materials or custom lighting seen on those products, instead it is based off a standard Gigabyte laptop design that we first encountered a year or so ago. It isn’t a bad looker, although the decision to only make the P25W available with a yellow lid seems an odd one. We don’t mind the yellow, but can see it turning some gamers off.
Open up the chassis and you are faced with brushed, black metal surrounding a scrabble-tile keyboard. This has a simple white backlight, but none of the fancy multi-coloured lighting that we usually see on ‘gaming’ laptops. The keyboard is enjoyable enough to use, but wasn’t quite up to the same standard as those seen on the Alienware 17 and other models from MSI and ASUS. Below the keyboard sits a trackpad which offers decent response, but more importantly does not get in the way when gaming, unlike the offset touchpads used on MSI’s gaming products.
The matte, 15in full HD screen is decent – not quite up to the quality of the Alienware 17’s but functional enough for gaming. This screen is driven by a GeForce GTX 770M GPU, the same as that seen on the Alienware, paired with a Core i7-4700MQ CPU. Alongside this is 16GB of RAM as well as a 256GB mSATA SSD and 1TB HDD. A Blu-ray writer rounds out the specs.
This makes for a speedy package, one that on paper should be almost as quick as the more expensive (and larger) Alienware 17. In our benchmarks this was borne out, with a 2D score of 1 showing the CPU is as capable as a desktop Core i7-2600K and Crysis scores that were playable at very high detail. It doesn’t quite have the oomph of the Alienware 17, but it delivers compelling and consistent gaming performance at 1920 x 1080.
While the P25W doesn’t have the fancy touches of some higher end gaming laptops, and is still a model that you don’t want to take too far from a power point (one small gripe we had was that the laptop’s power saving features meant we couldn’t get a solid reading from our battery benchmarks). Don’t expect a laptop that lasts for hours and hours on a single charge.
What it does have in its favour is the inclusion of some very high-end components, like the Core i7-4700MQ and GTX 770 GPU, both more than we usually expect to see at this pricepoint. It also has some very generous storage options – the combination of 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD would serve most desktop PCs wonderfully. 16GB of RAM give you a lot of headroom for the coming years of gaming releases.
While it lacks the luxurious extras of the competition, the Gigabyte P25W has impressed us nonetheless. It combines great under the hood performance with decent design, and is a great compromise for those who want a laptop capable of holding its own in modern games without the pricetag that often accompanies it. You’ll need to be comfortable with the striking yellow lid, but apart from that this laptop is proof of how far Gigabyte’s notebook division has come in recent years and well worth a look.