I am no stranger to the Gigabyte Aero range. I used one for almost two years and in the past year, I have reviewed a number of them. They are great notebooks that boast some incredible displays and powerful internals. However, one thing the range has been in dire need of is a refresh. Gigabyte has used the same design for over two years now. So much so that the brand even designed some of its Aorus notebooks using the same chassis. I am happy to report that the latest Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 is completely new and it is so damn refreshing.
Watch our full Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 review below
The Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 model not only packs a new chassis, no USB A ports, a refreshed trackpad, repositioned webcam (thank the heavens) and slimmer design but it is also a powerhouse when it comes to hardware. This specific model boasts a 12th-gen Intel Core-i9 CPU combined with an RTX 3080 Ti. It comes with 32GB of RAM and a whopping 3TB of SSD storage. You simply cannot get better than this when it comes to Windows notebooks.
It also boasts a 16-inch OLED UHD+ display. You probably already know that the Aero range has some incredible panels and this one is no different. 4K+, or UHD+ has a 12% larger screen space than normal UHD. This is thanks to the 16:10 aspect ratio and the 3840×2400 resolution.
Screen aside, I feel like Gigabyte has delivered everything I wished for from the Aero range in this new Ye5 notebook. It finally charges with USB C, they have moved the webcam away from the bottom, the ports are fantastic and the power is extreme.
The full specs in this Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 include:
Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 Specs
- Display: Samsung 4K 16:10 AMOLED 3840 x 2400
- CPU: Intel 12th Gen Core i9-12900HK
- GPU: NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti 16GB Max-Q (105W)
- Storage: 1 x Gen4 1TB SSD + 1 x Gen4 2TB SSD
- RAM: 32GB (16 x 2 upgradable to 64GB)
- 2 x Thunderbolt 4
- 1 with DisplayPort Support
- 1 with 100W charging support
- 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 with DisplayPort Support
- 1 x 3.5mm audio combo
- 1 x DC Jack-in
- 2 x Thunderbolt 4
- Aero Hub Connector (in-box)
- 1 x Gigabit LAN
- 1 x USB A
- 1 x HDMI 2.0
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort
- Keyboard: Backlit single colour – White
- Network: WLAN 6E / BlueTooth V5.2
- Battery: 99Wh
- Dimensions: 35.6 x 24.85 x 2.24 cm / 2.30Kg
Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 Design
Let’s get the unboxing out of the way. I don’t usually include this in a review but Gigabyte has completely revamped its packaging with this new range and it is pretty cool. Instead of the boring brown box, you now get a white and aquamarine shell. The packaging is high-grade and features the Aero logo embossed into the front. Inside, there’s a nice slipcover and the notebook is presented in a white fabric case. Underneath it, you’ll find some instruction manuals and an extra box containing the Aero Hub, an additional accessory that expands the ports on offer.
The Aero Hub is also nicely packaged and comes with a nifty little black case where you can store the adapter when you’re not using it. It also comes with a braided cable so you can plug the hub into the notebook without attaching the actual hub to the side. Talk about versatility. Also, a braided cable…. Okay, Gigabyte. You guys are now boogie.
The Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 is now encased in an aluminium shell. Mostly the entire notebook is protected by this metal. The only plastic part is the thin bezel around the display and the extrude on the lid for the camera. Like most Aeros, the logo is slapped onto the lid in the middle and lights up. The lid extruded flap on the lid acts as both grip to open up the device and houses the webcam and microphone. This setup is also pushed in so you won’t touch the webcam when opening the lid.
Another strong feature of the Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 is that the lid doesn’t wobble anymore. In fact, the hinges are much stronger and even when typing, there’s little to no movement. I do need to mention two little strange plastic areas on the bottom of the notebook. These seem to be where speakers should be but I feel like Gigabyte decided to go with upward speakers at the last minute and already had these holes made. They then had to put plastic into them to seal them up. It looks weird.
When it comes to port positioning, on the left-hand side, you will find a USB C port. and a 3.5mm audio jack combo. On the right-hand side, there’s the DC jack and two Thunderbolt 4 ports. The Aero hub included in the box is meant to be used on one of these ports.
When it comes to the keyboard, the black on silver looks great and if anything, replicates a Macbook design. The keyboard isn’t full-sized but the keys feel great to type on. They are pretty much the same as most notebooks out there. The white LED lighting is also a nice finish here and it shines bright on the black keys and helps in dark areas when typing. The key spacing is good too but I would have preferred a tighter key layout with the addition of a number pad. A personal preference of course. There’s also no RGB which is also fine with me. If anything, the RGB in previous Aero notebooks felt a bit off. It is a creator device anyway, not a gaming notebook.
The trackpad is also fairly large. Gigabyte says it is 25% larger than the previous Aero models and feels nice to work on. Sadly, it is not glass so the black will start to shine after a while which would bother me. Thankfully this isn’t my notebook so I don’t need to deal with that eyesore in the future. The large size works great with gestures and the bottom three-quarters of the trackpad is all clickable.
The webcam is 720p which is okay. It doesn’t handle light very well but should suffice for zoom meetings. It also doubles up with Windows Hello and can log you into Windows 11 fast and easy. This is the only biometrics available on this Aero.
When it comes to the display, the Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 AMOLED is fantastic. It is only 60Hz which is fine for creator content and okay too if you do plan on gaming here. It packs 420 nits of peak brightness, 100% SRGB, 97% Adobe RGB and 99% P3 colour range. There are some other benefits to this AMOLED. For example, it has 70% less blue light than an LCD and a faster response time of 0.2ms. You’ll probably never notice this but it is nice to have anyway.
Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 Performance
This Aero is a beast when it comes to performance. This Core i9 12th-Gen Intel CPU is amazing for all sorts of content creation including editing, video, programming and more. I can go on about what a breeze it was to work on the device while at the same time editing videos, game and edit sites but the real results are in the numbers. Here are some benchmark tests.
Gaming was also great on the Aero 16. Mostly everything I played ran well and this RTX 3080 Ti is a great GPU. You are capped at 60Hz on the display but you can always output your games to a TV or monitor to get higher. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do 4K120Hz through HDMI due to the limited port on the additional Aero hub. However, the Mini DisplayPort does support 4K120Hz if you can live with that.
Here are some gaming benchmarks I ran:
- 3DMark Firestrike
- Overall – 6194
- Graphics – 21668
- Combined – 3270
- 3DMark TimeSpy
- Overall – 9334
- Graphics Score – 9270
- CPU Score – 9717
- PCMark 10
- Essentials – 10557
- Productivity – 9767
- Digital Content Creation – 10757
- 1080p to 4K – 4:59 seconds
- Cinebench R23
- 17191 Multi-thread
- 1798 Single-Thread
- Geekbench 5
- 13201 multi-thread
- 1789 – single-thread
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider –
- 4K Quality – 51 min / 103 max / 64 average
- 4K Ultra Performance – 98 min / 158 max / 111 average
- Final Fantasy Windows Benchmark
- High Settings – 85fps
- Watch Dogs Legion
- Ultra 4K – 29 average / 113 max / 16 min
- Ultra 4K Maxed RT – 17 min / 24 average / 28 max
- Forza Horizon 5
- Ultra 4K – 61 average
- Far Cry 6
- Ultra 4K – 57 average
- DOOM Eternal
- Ultra 4K – 128 average
During gaming, the fan was loud and quite annoying. Gigabyte clearly had to make this fan powerful in order to keep this notebook cool during heavy work and gaming. It measured over 60Db during gaming. Even during some normal use, the fan turned on too and at 40Db, it was hard to ignore. I remember having the same issue with my old Aero OLED 15X. The fan just never turned off and I could never get used to the constant noise. Seems that while the cooling system is great in this notebook, it does always need to run in order to keep the device cool.
I also need to mention that the device includes a range of modes to toggle between. These modes help throttle the power distribution on the notebook. There’s only so much power it can draw so while in Creator Mode, it is mostly all pushed to the CPU. In Gaming Mode, this is then pushed to the GPU. Heat distribution is changed depending on the mode.
Heat maxed out at 90 degrees Celsius while gaming and 75 degrees when using more CPU intensive programs. It is quite high but not surprising for a notebook. The base clock on this RTX 3080 Ti is 585 MHz. You can boost this up to 1125Mhz. It also uses 80W of power but can max out at 105W when using Dynamic Boost.
As for the speakers, they are decent enough. The device packs two up-firing speakers which sound good. They are also facing upwards so this helps with volume and clarity. Lastly, the battery life is also okay. You can get up to 7 hours of average work on this Aero 16 and longer if you enable battery saver modes and turn down the display brightness. It isn’t the best in the business but should be enough for the average load shedding outage and if you travel a lot. Not great, but okay I guess.
I enjoyed my time with the Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5. There’s enough “new” here to make it feel like a refresh and that is what Gigabyte wanted. The Aero Hub attachment is a nice way to extend the ports but at the same time, I feel like these ports should have been implemented into the chassis in the first place. I get it, they wanted it to be thinner so this is the tradeoff. The general performance of the notebook is excellent and the display is amazing. All around if you have the money for a creator notebook this kitted out then the Aero 16 should be on your list. Gigabyte did a great job this year with this range.
This Gigabyte Aero YE5 review is based on a unit sent to us by Gigabyte. While this config would come in at around R80,000, I’ve been told that a specced down version with 3060 should only cost around R45,000. This is truly the top-tier model in the range. Find out more about the range here.
Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 Review
Cooling - 8/10
Performance - 9/10
Design - 8.5/10
Value - 8.5/10
The Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5 finally has a new design and some of the best Windows hardware you can get but its lack of ports and fans are still an issue
Finally a refresh in design
Some hefty performance
Aero Hub is cumbersome and another thing to carry around
Fan noise can get annoying