Gigabyte P35W v2 gaming laptop review

Gigabyte P35W v2

The slimline Blade gaming laptop from Razer grabbed headlines when it was launched last year, but it still isn't widely available here in the UK. Instead, it's Gigabyte that has delivered the first 'gaming Ultrabook' to these shores. The Gigabyte P35W v2 is that first gaming Ultrabook. (See also: the 15 best laptops: the best laptops you can buy in 2014.)

It may have a clumsy and unwieldy name, but at just 20.9 mm thick the Gigabyte P35W v2 is far and away the slimmest, most elegant gaming laptop we've ever been able to get our hands on. (See all laptops buying advice.)

Gigabyte P35W v2: thin and light

We found the Gigabyte P35W v2 weighed 2.5 kg though, rather than the 2.16 kg listed on Gigabyte's website, which was a little disappointing. Battery life isn't great, at just 4 hours of streaming video when using integrated graphics, but that should allow you to watch a couple of films on a plane, say.

There's a lot of power crammed into that slim unit too. For £1399, the P35W v2 includes a quad-core Intel Core i7 running at 2.5 GHz along with 16 GB of memory, and an nVidia GeForce GTX 870M on graphics duty.

The storage system is a little unusual, as the boot drive consists of a pair of 128 GB solid-state drives arranged in a striped RAID 0 configuration, joined by a conventional 1 TB hard drive for storing additional. (Also read: How to choose a laptop below £500.)

Gigabyte P35W v2: performance, benchmarks

That set-up delivered excellent performance, with a PCMark 7 score of 6226 points that ranks among the highest we've ever seen. That score is particularly impressive given Gigabyte's £1399 price-tag, as we've generally only seen scores like that from laptops costing £1500 or more.

Gigabyte P35W v2To keep in budget the GTX 870M graphics processor is not the best available, but it does come close to matching the performance of the GTX 880M used in some more expensive rivals.

When running Tomb Raider and Batman: Arkham City at their default settings, the P35W v2 achieved framerates of 60 and 56 fps respectively – matching the 880M cards that we've seen elsewhere.

That performance held up with both games on High graphics settings, and it was only when we took the final step to the very top settings that the 870M slowed a little.

Tomb Raider in Ultimate detail produced an average framerate of 40 fps – about 7 frames slower than the 880M – while Maximum Batman came in at 42 fps,  which was just 4 frames slower than the 880M.

Gigabyte P35W v2: value for money

The laptops we've seen with the 880M tend to be around £300 more expensive, so the P35W v2 certainly provides excellent value for money. And, of course, it's got that high-performance storage system to help you out with non-gaming tasks as well.

Our only complaint concerns the display – the 15.6-inch display is darker than we might have liked. And the limited brightness doesn't help the limited viewing angles. A laptop costing £1399 deserves more than a budget screen. (See also: best laptops for games.)

Gigabyte P35W v2

Gigabyte P35W v2: Specs

  • 15.6-inch anti-glare LCD, 1920x1080 (146.86ppi)
  • Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
  • 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ (3.5GHz Turbo)
  • Intel HD 4600 (integrated)/GeForce GTX 870M (6GB)
  • 2x 128GB SSD, 1TB HD (7200rpm)
  • 16GB DDR3L RAM
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • HDMI 1.4, mini-DisplayPort 1.2, VGA
  • 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 720p video
  • stereo speakers
  • built-in mic, 3.5mm line-in headphone
  • 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
  • Kensington lock slot
  • SDXC
  • 105 x 60 mm, two-button
  • 180W mains adaptor
  • 75.8Wh lithium-polymer, non-removable
  • 385 x 270 x 20.9mm
  • 2.5kg
  • 15.6-inch anti-glare LCD, 1920x1080 (146.86ppi)
  • Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
  • 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ (3.5GHz Turbo)
  • Intel HD 4600 (integrated)/GeForce GTX 870M (6GB)
  • 2x 128GB SSD, 1TB HD (7200rpm)
  • 16GB DDR3L RAM
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • HDMI 1.4, mini-DisplayPort 1.2, VGA
  • 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 720p video
  • stereo speakers
  • built-in mic, 3.5mm line-in headphone
  • 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
  • Kensington lock slot
  • SDXC
  • 105 x 60 mm, two-button
  • 180W mains adaptor
  • 75.8Wh lithium-polymer, non-removable
  • 385 x 270 x 20.9mm
  • 2.5kg

OUR VERDICT

It's impressive to see a gaming laptop as slim and as light as this, especially one that provides such strong graphics performance. The poor screen has room for improvement, but the P35W v2 provides high-end gaming performance at a more accessible price – along with a slimline design that few gaming laptops can match.