It’s been a while since I’ve actually thought of upgrading my PC set up. For years, I’ve been fine with my super outdated desktop that has a simple dual-core i5 and 2 GB graphics card. It was super high tech when I got it… when did I get it again? I’m actually guessing it’s been around a decade by now. So, yes, my PC is super old. But that wasn’t the case when I got it as it was super powerful when I assembled it. I also never got the urge to update it since I don’t really game on it that much anymore as I have my PlayStation 4.
So, why am I upgrading now? Well, I just felt it was time to do so. My PC is really showing its age now. The fan starts up with a super grating sound. My hard drive locks up once in a while. It’s super slow when booting up. I even had to open it up several times for the past few months to fiddle around the insides as there are times when it wouldn’t even start up! As much as I don’t really want to as that old clunker has a lot of sentimental value, it’s about time I look to the future and get myself a new set up. I originally wanted to put together a new PC but it seems like individual components are getting really pricy. So I went the other way and decided to get myself a laptop. But not just any laptop. I decided to find a laptop that was going to get me the most bang for my buck. I decided to get the Gigabyte G5.
Before you read on, I do have to temper your expectations since this will not be an in-depth review of the Gigabyte G5. I’m not a super tech head so I can’t really go into the details of things like frame rates and key press response times or anything like that. This review is mostly on my rather brief experience using the laptop. I may give an updated review in the future when I really go through everything about it. Think of it as somewhat layman’s look at the Gigabyte G5.
What exactly made be get the Gigabyte G5, especially when there are so many other budget gaming laptops out there? Well, the long and the short of it is it’s priced along the lines of something like Acer Nitro 5 and the MSI GF63, two other gaming laptops I considered but has twice the memory. Like it’s contemporaries, the Gigabyte G5 has a six-core i5-10500H processor, a 512 GB solid-state hard drive and a Nvidia GEForce 3050 RTX graphics card with 4 GB of memory. However, instead of the usual 8 GB of RAM the Nitro 5 and the GF63 has out of the box, the Gigabyte G5 already has a beefy 16 GB of ram built in! Considering you get an additional 8 GB of RAM for the same price, it seemed like a no brainer. There were other factors, such as having the option to add more RAM and even extra hard drives (even an old tech SATA hard drive!) in the future. However, the clincher was definitely the extra RAM.
Now, I’ve been using the Gigabyte G5 laptop for a few days now and, well, there’s a lot I like about it but I do have a few concerns as well.
The first thing is I really like the keyboard. As someone who write a whole lot, it’s very important to me to use a very comfortable keyboard as I do have to type a lot. Although I’m more used to a full-sized keyboard, the one the Gigabyte G5 still feels good. The size of the keys feel nicely spaced and, even though I do have to rest my wrist and forearms across the edge of the laptop, it doesn’t really feel annoying. At the very least, nothing is digging into my skin, which I do sometimes feel when I type on other laptops. The trackpad is also nice and big and I appreciate the fact there are actual buttons on the bottom. While I do use the trackpad to click on stuff, having the extra buttons gives me that extra control when I have to drag and drop stuff. The click on the right button, however, doesn’t have a satisfying feel as it does feel hollow inside. Maybe it’s something I’ll get used to. The only real niggling issue is getting used to the directional pad as it’s very close to the Shift and Enter keys. But that’s part of having a laptop as they have to keep thing compact.
The screen is also nice and bright. One thing I do have to mention is the Gigabyte G5 has a 144 Hz refresh rate so watching videos on YouTube does look super smooth. The hinge on the screen part of the laptop does feel sturdy and, despite me being able to type really rapidly and with some force, the screen doesn’t wobble at the least. I did a test of the camera and the sound quality of the laptops built-in mic and it’s definitely not the best. The camera image looks rather fuzzy but I guess that’s to be expected. The internal mic was rather disappointing as, if I situate myself at a comfortable distance from it, my voice becomes very faint. You can attach a separate mic to the Gigabyte G5 so there’s that. It still doesn’t change the fact that the mic could’ve been much better.
One of the best things I like about the Gigabyte G5 is the plethora of ports it has. Not only do you get a HDMI port, you also have a couple of mini display ports as well, meaning you can hook up to three external monitors to the thing! I’m not sure if I’ll ever use that feature but it is nice to have. Besides being able to add an SSD and a SATA hard drive, The Gigabyte G5 also has an SD card slot to the side. This might be my temporary fix as I don’t want to rush out and open my laptop up to add more storage right now. I also like that the Gigabyte G5 actually has the power cable port located at the back of the system. I know most laptops have it on the side for easy access but I never liked the idea of the wire jutting out to the side. Placing it at the back means less clutter.
My gaming experience on the Gigabyte G5 was extremely pleasant. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not exactly a PC gamer so I can’t really tell you how well resource hogging games will run on this laptop. However, I did try running the beefiest game I could on it: Fallout 4. I remember running it on my old PC and, while it didn’t exactly struggle running it, I had to resort to playing Fallout 4 on really low settings. I set everything to max on the Gigabyte G5 and it seemed to run well. However, I honestly couldn’t see any real improvements on the character models. What I did notice is everything ran much more smoothly and the background textures did look a whole lot better. There were times when I played Fallout 4 on my old computer and things would stutter for a brief second before snapping into a more smoother flow. There were also a few times when I would look at something like the ground or a tree and just notice how bad they looked. This did get me thinking of playing Fallout 4 from scratch… and reapplying all those mods I had on my old computer.
However, this is where we get to the few caveats and concerns I have with the Gigabyte G5 laptop. Mind you, these might not be problematic and some of you reading this and think I’m just finding things to complain about. Remember, I’m coming from using a then-buff desktop system to a new-fangled gaming laptop so I can’t really say if these are real issues. I’m just going through what I find are a bit concerning from my point of view.
The speakers on the Gigabyte G5 come off as a little weak. Like everyone in the world, one of the things I go on my computer is to watch YouTube videos. Now, my old desktop may not be a top-of-the-line unit by today’s standards but I did get some really good speakers for it. I’ve been using those speakers as long as I’ve had the system. Sure, the power button might be permanently affixed to the On position but it still sounds great. So, when I do play YouTube videos on the Gigabyte G5 laptop, they do sound weak and, to be perfectly frank, a little shrill and hollow when some people are talking in the video.
One of the biggest problems I have is the Gigabyte G5’s entire battery life. I tested how long a fully charged battery would drain if I did what I would usually use my old computer on. Well, it lasted a little over two hours. That doesn’t seem like a whole lot of time to me. What I basically was doing was going through YouTube, writing this actual article/review and downloading Fallout 4 from Steam. In retrospect, I was playing the YouTube videos at a rather loud volume because of how weak the speakers are, I had the refresh rate of the screen at the maximum 144 Hz refresh rate and the fans were going at an average of 50% speed. Those may be some contributing factors to this quick battery drain. Maybe fiddling with some of the settings will save me some battery but I just think a little over two hours of battery seems bad.
However, my biggest concern I have with my time with the Gigabyte G5 is how hot it gets. Right now, with normal usage, the CPU can clock up with temperatures at an average of 50 degrees Celsius and as high as 60 degrees Celsius. Those are temperatures I’ve seen my old computer get to but that was when I was playing Fallout 4! This laptop gits those temperatures just while I was doing things I didn’t think are processor heavy! Then again, it is summer here in the Philippines but, even when it was summer then, my old computer never really got that hot when just browsing YouTube and writing stuff! This is why my fans seem to be going at 50% speed most of the time. Thankfully, the fans aren’t loud at those speeds but the heat dissipation on the Gigabyte G5 seems a little problematic to me right now.
So, with all of that said about my time with the Gigabyte G5 laptop, what’s my final conclusion? Was it a good buy or did I just buy a new problem? Right now, I’m still pleased with it. The mere fact I am able to play a game like Fallout 4 without having to worry about any game stuttering even on very high settings made it worth it immediately. I might even buy more games on PC now because I do have a system that can play them, unlike my old desktop. I’m still not getting rid of my old desktop since it’s still working fine but I do see myself slowing transferring to the Gigabyte G5, especially when it comes to gaming. I may even bump up the RAM and increase the storage space in the future if I do start becoming a PC gamer.
The reason why I can’t give a solid recommendation is because of the possible battery life and heat issues I mentioned. Maybe these problems I mentioned are normal and just something I have to get used to. There are ways I can circumnavigate some problems, like getting small external speakers to bypass the weak speakers and fiddling with the settings to improve battery life. I guess I could but a new fangled cooling block for the laptop to sit on but that seems a little excessive. I would hope the engineers who built this laptop knew what they were doing when they put together the cooling system in.
What’s the best budget gaming laptop out right now? Let me know in the comments section below.