Gigabyte P34G hands-on review - a portable gaming laptops for the masses
We take Gigabyte's newly announced P34G laptop for a test run - with dedicated Nvidia graphics, this 14in ultra-portable looks ideal for gaming on the move
Now that both Intel's 4th Generation Core processors and Nvidia's GTX 700M mobile graphics cards are out in the open, manufacturers are springing forth to show what can be done with the new hardware. Gigabyte impressed us with the P34G on their booth here at Computex Taipei - it's a 14in ultra-portable that can manage blistering frame rates thanks to a GTX 760m GPU.
The company calls it the thinnest and lightest gaming laptop on earth - at 21mm thick and weighing just 1.7kg, we certainly wouldn't mind throwing it in our bag when on the road. There's still room for connectivity, with two USB3 ports, Ethernet and VGA on one side and two USBs, a multi-format card reader and an HDMI video output on the other.
Gaming laptops normally follow the Three Bs design ethos - Big, Black and Bulky. Thankfully, Gigabyte hasn't compromised on style for the P34G - the sandblasted aluminium lid changes colour from gunmetal grey to a metallic purple, depending on which angle the light hits it. The underside of the laptop might be made from plastic, but the upper casing is made from metal and showed little sign of flex or weak construction.
The black Chiclet-style keyboard acts as a pleasant contrast to the silver keyboard tray, and includes a backlit keyboard to help you keep working or gaming at night. There was a tiny bit of flex in the keyboard tray of the system we tried, but as it was a pre-production sample this could change in the run up to release. The accompanying touchpad, which has physical buttons directly below it, responded well to finger movement and supports all the usual multi-touch gestures.
The GTX 760M inside the laptop has 2GB of dedicated video memory, which should let you play games with high texture settings. Unfortunately there were no games installed, so we weren't able to see it in action, but Nvidia has already shown us what that particular chip is capable of so Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite and even Crysis 3 should be playable.
Keeping such a powerful graphics card cool in a laptop this size is a challenge, which is why Gigabyte has completely redesigned the airflow inside, with twin air vents that exhaust hot air out the back of the chassis as quickly as possible. The screen hinge has been dramatically slimmed down in order to avoid blocking the flow of air - the design seems to be paying off, as the laptop had been running all morning on the show floor and yet barely felt warm to the touch.
Desktop performance will come courtesy of a 4th Generation Core i7 processor, although we aren't sure whether it will be a dual- or quad-core chip, and up to 16GB of RAM. As well as a 256GB mSATA SSD, there's also room inside for an additional 1TB of mechanical storage, which should be more than enough for a bulging collection of games from Steam or Origin.
You'll be able to enjoy them in Full high definition, as the P43G includes a 1,920x1,080 display. It uses a TN panel, so viewing angles were merely average, but the semi-gloss finish helped keep light reflections to a minimum on the brightly-lit show floor.
Based on what we've seen, Gigabyte's first step to portable gaming in 2013 looks to be on the right path. Haswell and Nvidia looks to be a potent combination, and in a laptop this size you should be able to start playing just about anywhere. We don't yet know when it will launch in the UK, or more importantly how much it will cost, but we'll be eagerly waiting for it to arrive if the end result lives up to these early first impressions.