When I heard about Nvidia's Max-Q design philosophy, I was excited. I test a lot of gaming laptops, but with a powerful desktop as my main gaming machine, I mostly find myself drawn to thin-and-light ultrabooks for my desired second system. Max-Q systems split the difference, offering powerful gaming internals crammed in a thin-and-light form factor.
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But in testing a whole bunch of Max-Q systems, I still found a problem. No matter how thin your laptop is, 15 inches is a lot of length to carry around in a normal backpack. Gigabyte's Aero 15X solves this. It's a 15-inch laptop with a GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU crammed in a 14-inch shell, thanks to a near-bezeless screen. In other words, it's the same size as a 15-inch MacBook Pro, with the gaming power of an upper-middle tier desktop.
The result is a powerful mobile workstation I can use all day (thanks to a massive 94Wh battery), tote to meetings, and generally use as I would a MacBook Pro, that then, when the work is done, is packed with enough gaming power to play the latest games at 1080p Ultra. It's not without drawbacks—a crappy webcam, stiff keyboard, and lack of screen features like a high refresh rate or G-Sync hold the Aero 15X back from being truly great, but the laptop's upside is worth even more in my mind. A single machine that functions as a truly portable workstation in addition to a capable gaming rig is everything I've been looking for in a gaming laptop. It's a bit pricer than its non Max-Q brethren, but in my mind it's worth every penny.
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As the former head of PC Gamer's hardware coverage, Bo was in charge of helping readers better understand and use PC hardware. He also headed up the buying guides, picking the best peripherals and components to spend your hard-earned money on. He can usually be found playing Overwatch, Apex Legends, or more likely, with his cats. He is now IGN's resident tech editor and PC hardware expert.