Gigabyte P25W £1320
5th Dec 2013 | 14:02
Looks like a Lamborghini, so it's great the Gigabyte gaming PC goes like one?
Whereas those laptops have compromises, whether that's a larger screen or better portability, the P25 caters mainly for gamers who want the maximum amount of gaming performance, without having to lug an unnecessarily large chassis around with them.
Mind you, at 2.8kg, the P25 isn't exactly what we'd call lightweight - nor is it particularly slim - but if you want decent graphics capabilities, something has to give.
Thankfully, Gigabyte has done a decent job of reigning things in and maximising every inch of space.
The majority of competition in the gaming arena is from 17-inch laptops. The P25 has a 15.6-inch screen, so you're sacrificing a bit of screen real estate, but what you get is a much more portable chassis. It'll happily pop in a bag with a 15-inch laptop pocket, albeit with a little bit of persuasion.
While this is a gaming PC, Gigabyte hasn't exactly gone over the top with flashy additions that have no real bearing on performance. OK, so the back of the screen is a little garish, and the fan vents located at the rear have obviously been designed to mimic the exhaust tail pipes of a supercar, but you can specify it in plain black, and elsewhere the P25 is quite minimalist. It's a solid thing, that's for sure, though it does feel a tiny bit cheap in places.
Instead of spending time on the aesthetics, Gigabyte has included some top-of-the-line components to keep gaming-hungry fans happy, including an Intel Haswell processor, as well as a storming graphics card from Nvidia.
The P25 is on a par with the similarly specced Schenker XMG P503, though the Schenker looks seriously basic, and isn't anywhere as slim or attractive as the Gigabyte.
Like the Schenker XMG P503 and P703, the Gigabyte P25 houses Intel's Core i7 4700MQ processor - a Haswell quad-core unit clocked at 2.4GHz that will happily boost up to 3.4GHz, when needed in multi-threaded use.
It's plenty powerful, and because this is fourth-generation technology, the power consumption has dropped from its Ivy Bridge counterpart - meaning battery life will be improved.
The 4700MQ isn't the top of the range - there are several higher-performing processors above it - but it offers excellent performance per pound - anything else would have raised the already-competitive price much higher.
The Nvidia Geforce GTX 770M is also not the top of the range - that accolade going to the GTX780M - but for that privilege, again, you would need to pay a lot more. The equivalent model offered by Schenker would set you back still further. Still, as it is, the 770M delivers the goods, with an 811MHz core and 3GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 2000MHz.
Equivalent gaming notebooks, like the MSI GS70, make do with a GTX765M, which offers just 2GB of memory.
The 8GB of memory included with the P25 is good, though not uncommon at this level, but the triple-storage solution is certainly worth highlighting. Though the model we tested came with just 128GB of SSD goodness from Liteon, Gigabyte has come up with a rather neat solution to the question of 'What storage should I get?' by allowing you to completely customise your setup.
You can keep it simple with a single SSD and a conventional HDD (up to 1TB). Or you can add two SSDs (up to 512GB each - that's 1TB in total) running in RAID 0, meaning you get two drives doing the work and faster performance.
This is a great idea if you're not sure what you want right now, or you simply can't afford the cost of a second SSD, allowing you to make changes at a later date. The spinning drive option means you have somewhere to deposit your files without having to resort to an external drive to compliment your main unit.
If that's not enough, the P25 also comes with a Blu-ray drive which supports the writing and rewriting of discs, with full-fat BDXL support, which gives you yet another option for backing up your files.
The P25's keyboard features adjustable backlighting for night-time gaming. Unlike other gaming laptops, which go all-out to give you a completely customised setup, such as the MSI GS70, the P25 is a much more subdued affair - good for some, but others may be left wanting.
As is traditional in the world of gaming, the P25 has isolated the W, S, A and D keys to allow gamers immediate access to the controls they need the most.
We found the P25 quite nice to type on, with just the right amount of feedback - slightly spongy and not too shallow a travel. It makes long bouts of tying really easy, with no key mis-presses.
It also has a keypad, which is handy if you're working on spreadsheets very often. The trackpad is nice and spacious, but we occasionally found it to be a little on the sensitive side, and the left and right buttons need to be pressed right on the edge, otherwise they won't register - which can be annoying.
The P25 comes with an array of connections, including 2 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, SD card reader, D-sub and the handy inclusion of an eSATA/USB combo port. A Kensington lock rounds things off nicely, allowing you the ability to tether the laptop when the time arrises.
3DMark - Ice 65224, Cloud 14297, Fire 3104
Cinebench - OpenGL 57.50fps, CPU 6.95pts
PCMark8 battery life - 154 minutes
The benchmarks tell all - this is one of the most powerful gaming notebooks we've come across in our reviews to date.
It's not showcasing the cutting-edge of mobile graphics right now - that accolade goes to the GTX780M - but for the price you won't find better. During the benchmarking test for Bioshock Infinite at maximum settings the P25 averaged around 36 frames per second, which is no mean feat.
The Asus G750JX offers almost identical performance, thanks to an almost identical specification, at a very similar price, although it doesn't have the super-responsive SSD to match and the Asus is a much bigger, heavier laptop (part of which is down to the bigger screen).
Although gaming laptops are never really intended to be left untethered from a mains charger, the P25 surprises in the mobile stakes with an entirely commendable 154 minutes of battery life, helped no doubt by its up-to-date Haswell processor.
When the P25 needs a lick of speed, the dual rear fans kick in and you can really feel a rush of air coming from the back vents. It's certainly no church mouse - this thing really makes a lot of noise, so you'll need a good pair of headphones to keep out the noise, otherwise you might get a headache after a while.
Unfortunately, while the speakers are loud enough to smother the fans, they're pretty much devoid of any sort of charm. There are no fancy audio big guns gracing the P25's specification sheet.
The Blu-ray drive - naturally - allows you to watch Blu-rays, which, when combined with the 'movie' setting of the Dolby Home Theatre v4 sound options in the speaker settings gives you a pseudo surround effect. It certainly gives the sound a boost for movies, but, even with the levels fine-tuned in the advanced options, it's hard to improve on the somewhat flat tone of the speakers.
In this day and age we'd expect to find an IPS screen, as is de rigour, but although Gigabyte's less-gaming-focused P35 model includes a more gaming-orientated IPS display, for richer colours and less reflection in most lighting situations, the P25 makes do with a slightly cheaper matte LED display. Some gamers prefer this for gaming, but in general, most manufacturers have moved to IPS, making this an odd choice.
It doesn't quite have the zing of an IPS and we noticed there's a definite gravelly look to it, though the majority of viewing angles on the P25 are absolutely fine, unless you're looking at the screen from the extreme ends of the straight-on spectrum of angles.
We were impressed with what we saw in the Gigabyte P25. It offers solid gaming performance at a price that isn't completely out of this world.
It offers much the same as the similarly-priced Schenker XMG P503, but in a much nicer overall package. Thanks to the Blu-ray drive, the P25 also doubles as a home entertainment machine, though we would have preferred to have seen an IPS screen at this price point.
This is one of the most powerful gaming laptops we've reviewed in a while, on par with the Schenker.
It won't blow you away in terms of gaming performance, but it's certainly enough to play the majority of games at higher settings.
Overall, the performance is plentiful thanks to the excellent Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM; and the ability to run the P25 in RAID 0 with dual SSDs, if and when you choose to, means you can increase the speed of Windows 8.
There's not really anything significant to grumble about when it comes to the Gigabyte P25, thankfully.
The trackpad isn't the best, nor is the matte LCD screen which is a touch grainy, and it doesn't really have a 'premium' feel that you might expect at this price range, though the majority of the price tag has clearly gone on the innards rather than the exterior.
If you're after a gaming PC but your budget won't stretch to the likes of the MSI GX60, then you could do worse than take a look at the Gigabyte P25. It's certainly had more thought put into the design than the similarly-priced Schenker XMG P503, otherwise there's not really much else out there that can compete.