Gigabyte P37W v4 review

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The Gigabyte P37W v4 is surprisingly thin as far as 17.3in gaming laptops go. That might be the equivalent of saying it’s the lightest whale in the pod, but Gigabyte does have a knack for creating svelte gaming laptops.

At 22.5mm thick the P37W continues this heritage, and even though the 2.7kg weight is never going to make it the laptop of choice for the road warrior, it’s still significantly lighter than other similarly-sized gaming systems such as the Asus ROG G751JT – that’s far closer to a hefty 5kg.

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As you would expect for a gaming laptop, Gigabyte has packed in plenty of gamer-friendly features, including five programmable macro keys down the left side of the keyboard. The keyboard is also backlit and the WASD keys have easily identifiable markings.

While the keys themselves were comfortable to type on in terms of travel and feedback, they do feel surprisingly cramped. There’s no space between the alphanumeric keys and the full-size numberpad, and the cursor keys are equally crammed in. Considering the P37W is a 17.3in laptop, there really shouldn’t be a need to pack the keys in so tightly.

The touchpad was also a little disappointing. It could have been bigger considering how much space is left below the keyboard. It does mean there’s a generously-sized palm rest, but more space for swipes and gestures would have been welcome instead.

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The touchpad itself was also a little lacking in sensitivity. The bottom corners are dedicated to left and right mouse button so click in, but they aren’t separated from the rest of the touchpad, and aren’t touch sensitive themselves. This means your fingers will naturally glide over from the main touchpad area and abruptly stop registering as they inadvertently continue over the mouse buttons, which can be incredibly frustrating.

The rest of the chassis is pleasant enough, albeit made from plastic. This means there’s a slight degree of flex to the keyboard. The lid is plain, with only Gigabyte branding to break up the gunmetal finish. The speakers located on the front lip of the laptop put out a reasonably loud sound and quality is respectable too, avoiding sounding overly tinny.

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With two USB3 ports on the right and two slower USB ports on the left, there’s plenty of room for connecting peripherals. HDMI, VGA and Mini DisplayPort video outputs mean you’re not left wanting if you want to connect external displays. There’s also Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi for getting online.

You get impressive processing performance from the P37W’s quad-core Intel Core i7-5700HQ processor. This has a base clock of 2.7GHz and turbo boosts to 3.7GHz when thermal conditions allow.

With an overall score of 109 in our benchmarks, the P37W could easily be a desktop replacement if you find yourself scant on desk space. It won’t have any problems running more intensive desktop applications if you want to edit music or video, for example. With two 128GB SSDs in RAID supplemented with a 1TB hard disk you’re also not left lacking storage capacity either.

Gaming performance from Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 970M was spectacular, as expected, although the 6GB of GDDR5 memory (double the amount seen in the Asus G751JT) didn’t translate to any tangible benefits in the titles we use for benchmarking. In Dirt Showdown at 1,920×1,080, 4x anti-aliasing and Ultra graphics this amounted to 81.5fps, which is actually slightly less than we saw with the Asus. Similarly, Metro Last Light was also a fraction behind. At 1,920×1,080, SSAA on, Very High graphics we saw 29.7fps and with SSAA turned off it jumped to 53.8fps. Gaming performance at 1,920×1,080 won’t really be a problem, though; the P37W is going to play anything you might throw at it without really breaking too much of a sweat.

The P37W did run a little warm, especially while gaming, and some of this heat can be felt through the palm rest area. It’s not massively noticeable, however, but the fans will occasionally spin up to perceptible levels.

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What was perhaps most impressive about the P37W was its battery life. Managing four hours 59 minutes in our average use benchmark is no easy feat for a gaming laptop, considering the large screen and top-end specifications. Significantly, this is two hours more than the Asus G571JT.

The P37W’s display was good but not great. It’s bright enough at 361.1cd/m2 but its black levels lacked a little depth at 0.38cd/m2. Contrast was a little lower than you might hope given the price, with a mediocre ratio of 949:1. Still, viewing angles were very good and the screen isn’t overly reflective.

Overall there’s a lot to like about the P37W. It carries on Gigabyte’s good run of gaming-focussed laptops, with battery life being particularly impressive, and it’s no slouch when it comes to performance either. We marginally prefer the build quality of the Asus G571JT, but you really can’t go wrong with either.

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