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Gigabyte P35W v2 review

Michael Passingham
22 Nov 2014
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,200
inc VAT

The Gigabyte P35W v2 gaming laptop is a near-perfect combination of price, performance and portability

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ, RAM: 8GB, Size: 385x270x20.9mm, Weight: 2.2kg, Screen size: 15.6in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1080, Graphics adaptor: Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M, Total storage: 128GB SSD, 1TB hard disk

Powerful components need room to breathe, and it takes a brave manufacturer to attempt to squeeze top-spec parts into a thin and light chassis. We've seen recently with the super powerful Aorus X7 v2 that sometimes these compromises go too far, with fan noise and blistering heat denting the overall experience. Gigabyte's P35W v2 is a slightly more restrained attempt to create a thin and light gaming machine, using a single graphics chip rather than two chips in SLI mode.

Standing at just 20.9mm tall and weighing 2.2kg, the P35W really is a portable gaming laptop, although it’s certainly heavier than a typical ultraportable. The chassis’ design is understated and exhibits none of the flair one might expect from a gaming machine. The black trim feels well made and is cool to the touch, although it picks up fingerprints and dust very easily.

The keyboard is comfortable to use, although there wasn't enough travel to the keys for our liking. The keyboard tray also has quite a lot of flex to it, which doesn't fit in with the relatively high quality of the rest of the chassis. The touchpad isn't much better, and while it is responsive enough for taps and scrolling gestures, its physical buttons don't have a lot of travel and aren't pleasant to use. Normally, we wouldn't give this sort of deficiency too much weight because gamers will almost always opt for a controller or a gaming mouse, but because this is a deliberately portable device which won't just be used for gaming, its usability on the move should be taken into consideration.

A pair of USB ports is to be found on the left side of the chassis, while two high-speed USB3 ports are on the right. There’s also an SD card reader, separate 3.5mm audio input and output jacks and a gigabit Ethernet port. Video output ports come in the form of VGA and HDMI for conventional Full HD external displays, and a Mini DisplayPort connector for higher resolution screens, such as those with Ultra HD resolutions. An 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip is also included, so the P35W v2 can take full advantage of newer, higher speed wireless networks.

Storage in the P35W is well balanced between capacity and performance. A 128GB mSATA provides speedy game and application performance, while a 1TB hard disk provides the majority of the storage required for larger files. The DVD drive on the front can be completely removed using a switch on the underside of the chassis and replaced with an extra 2.5-inch drive. Alternatively, you can fit the empty disk caddy without a disk and save a little weight. It's an interesting option that lets you choose your own extra storage, although with the huge amount of storage already on board, we do wonder how useful this will be to most users.

Despite the inevitable ventilation problems that such a thin chassis throws up, the P35W v2's performance is excellent. It does run both hot and loud, though, so if you're not going to be using headphones when playing games on this machine, your experience will be slightly disrupted by the noise. When performing normal tasks such as web browsing, watching videos and writing documents, the fan noise was acceptably quiet.

In our multimedia benchmarking tests the P35W scored an impressive 98 overall, putting it just two points below our benchmark desktop processor. It also excelled in the multitasking test, scoring 107. This is thanks to the P35W v2’s 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor, which can Turbo Boost to 3.5GHz, and 16GB of RAM.

Gaming performance is as equally good, thanks to the P35W v2’s powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M graphics processor (GPU) and its 6GB of graphics memory. In our easy Dirt Showdown benchmark with graphics set to High at 1,280x720 pixel resolution, the P35W v2 whirred its way to an excellent average frame rate of 104fps. This decreased to a still excellent 51.7fps when the resolution was increased to the laptop's native Full HD pixel count. Playing the challenging Crysis 3 at Full HD and High graphics settings and 4x anti aliasing, the P35W v2 produced an average frame rate of 35.1fps average, which is a great result for a thin gaming laptop.

The laptop's 15.6-inch Full HD IPS screen is good at producing accurate colours - it was able to display 82 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut in our calibration tests- and creates a very pleasing overall image. However, shift your head a couple of inches in an direction and you will notice darkness beginning to shroud the corners of the screen. This won't be a big problem unless you have multiple people gathered around the laptop, but you'll need to make careful adjustments to your posture and the screen angle in order to get the best out of it. It's also hard to use when outside on bright days.

The built-in speakers are average at best, not providing a great deal of depth and also not quite as loud as we'd like. This isn't helped by their downwards-facing position, buried deep inside the chassis. You'll definitely want headphones or a good set of speakers when gaming or watching movies on this device.

Battery life is also average for a gaming laptop, lasting just 3 hours 13 minutes in our tests. This is a little disappointing.

Overall, the Gigabyte P3W v2 is one of the best performing yet best value gaming laptops we've seen. It may not have the best keyboard, and its overall design may be a little dull, but the P35W v2’s thin and light construction, superb processor and great graphics performance make it worthy of a Best Buy. If you want to spend less, AND want fairly compact dimensions and reasonable performance, you should also look at the £899 Chillblast Defiant 2 Mini.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ
RAM8GB
Memory slots (free)1 (1)
Max memory16GB
Size385x270x20.9mm
Weight2.2kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio (3.5mm microphone and headset ports)
Pointing deviceTouchpad
Display
Screen size15.6in
Screen resolution1,920x1080
TouchscreenNo
Graphics adaptorNvidia GeForce GTX 870M
Graphics outputsVGA, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort
Graphics memory6GB
Storage
Total storage128GB SSD, 1TB hard disk
Optical drive typeDVD writer
Ports and expansion
USB ports2x USB3, 2x USB2
BluetoothYes
Networking802.11ac Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet
Memory card readerSD, SDHC, MMC
Other portsNone
Miscellaneous
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
Parts and labour warrantyTwo-year RTB
Price inc VAT£1,200
Detailswww.gigabyte.com
Supplierwww.saveonlaptops.co.uk
Part numberP35 v2-CF1

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