When it comes to gaming notebooks, thin is most definitely in as evidenced by the new .9-inch thick, 17.3-inch Aorus X7. But don’t call this lightweight a pushover; the X7 has the specs to put it on a par with some of the bigger rigs on the market. We had a chance to try the X7 at CES 2014 and were impressed with its relatively portable design and sharp display.
They say that black is slimming, which may help explain the X7′s svelte 6.39 pound, 16.85 x 12 x 0.9-inch frame, which is very light for a 17-inch gaming system. Though it is not small not enough to knock the MSI GS70 (6 pounds, 16.47 x 11.29 x 0.85 inches) off of its skinny pedestal, the X7 has very elegant looks. The laptop sports an all aluminum chassis with some light embellishments with a single raised line that bisects the top half of the lid, bringing our attention to its stately, white eagle logo. A pair of raised lines along the lid’s bottom adds some visual depth.
The notebook’s interior has large black palm rest with a glossy glass touchpad centered beneath the G and H keys. The traditional backlit keyboard with its row of macro keys lays in a slightly recessed keyboard deck. There’s more eagle action above the keyboard in the form of the backlit power button.
In terms of the of design, we give the Aorus the early nod over MSI’s GS70. With just a few small flourishes, the X7 has the more visually appealing presentation.
The X7 has a 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 display, and Aorus reps said the anti-glare panel has a brightness of 300 nits. There wasn’t much color in our demos, since the Aorus rep we talked to was running darker games such as “Batman Arkham: Origins” and “Splinter Cell: Blacklist.” There was a bright spot in the form of a helicopter exploding that was full of brilliant reds and yellows. Details were nice and sharp, letting us easily distinguish the gristled stubble lining a soldier’s jaw.
Thanks to a set of front-mounted tweeters and two bottom-mounted subwoofers, the X7 delivers audio that sounds like it should be coming out of a rig twice its size. During our demo, we watched the opening scenes of “Splinter Cell: Blacklist” and were immediately impressed with the level of nuanced sound the notebook delivered. A soldier’s footsteps clicked realistically against the crisp percussion of the AK47 firefight. Bullets hit their targets with an unsettling fleshy thud, complete with blood splatter.
There’s no shortage of ports on the Aorus X7. A pair of USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, DisplayPort and a 9-in-1 card reader can be found on the right. The left side of the laptop holds another USB 3.0 port, HDMI, Ethernet and jacks for headphones and microphones. And if that’s not enough, there are two USB 2.0 ports along the notebook’s rear accompanied by the power jack.
The Aorus X7 will ship with an Intel Core i7 processor with up to 32GB of RAM. The notebook will have three storage drives: a pair of mSATA SSDs in RAID 0 configuration with a 1TB hard drive. The SSDs will come in 120GB and 256GB configurations. The laptop will also ship with a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M GPUs in SLI configurations.
According to the Aorus rep, the X7 will be available in March at a starting price of $2000. Stay tuned for a full review.