PC gaming is still as popular as it ever has been, with more and more users adopting PC gaming over console gaming. The ability for more customisation at a cheaper cost, compared with current high-spec games consoles, is what attracts many gamers. With many companies packing more and more performance in to their devices, the possibilities for which gaming laptop to purchase are becoming endless. Let’s check out Gigabyte’s offering, and see how the P35K V3 performs.
Coming in with a price tag of between £1000 and £1200, depending on how much you shop around (£1199 MRSP), the P35K packs in many great features and has specifications (below) that any gamer would be happy to show off.
- CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.6GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M (4GB GDDR5 RAM); Intel HD Graphics 4600
- RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1600MHz)
- Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD 1,920 x 1,080 Wide-Viewing LCD
- Storage: 128GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm) – other storage options available
- Optical drive: Super Multi DVD-RW
- Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI, D-sub, RJ45, microphone-in, analog/optical headphone-out, SD card reader, mini DisplayPort
- Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: HD webcam
- Weight: 5.07 pounds
- Size: 15.1 x 10.6 x 0.8 inches (Width x Depth x Height)
- Gigabyte P35K V3 Laptop
- User manuals / warranty information
- Charger / wall adapter
- Driver / utilities disc
- Hot swappable drive bay
The Gigabyte P35K V3 is technically classed as a budget entry-level gaming laptop, but don’t let the word “budget” fool you as the P35K certainly provides more than enough power for the majority of your gaming needs. But from a design point of view, that might not be your first impression of the P35K.
The P35K itself is definitely a sturdy looking / feeling device, with a wide array of ports and inputs available for connecting up various peripherals and external media devices (USB 3.0 x2, USB 2.0 x2, HDMI, D-sub, RJ45/Ethernet, Mic-in, SPDIF out, SD Card Reader, DC-in jack, and Mini DisplayPort) and also featuring a 15.6-inch Full HD 1920×1080 Wide Viewing Angle LCD display. However, it really doesn’t scream “gaming laptop” when viewing it for the first time.
The P35K’s design is rather plain and it sports the same, somewhat standard
boring, matte black colour scheme seen on many other entry-level laptops (and even some high-end products).
Saying this, it’s most likely the case that the external look has been somewhat overlooked so that the internal hardware can be the primary focus. We’re not overly fussed if this is the case, as it is appears to be with the P35K.
As seen in the previous image, a focus around the “WASD” keys have been made with the white border around each key. This is usually a sign of a product being gaming related. A subtle, but also obvious, indicator for gamers.
The underside of the P35K features a decent amount of ventilation, keeping the Intel i7 processor and NVIDIA GTX 965M as cool as possible. There’s also two slightly larger vents on the rear of the laptop, as seen in the picture below.
The P35K boasts quite a slim design whilst also including an extremely high-quality full HD 15.6-inch display, which is very impressive in itself.
We’re not a huge fan of the extremely thick bezel around the display, but that’s just us. It just adds to that “budget” look it seems to have going on.
The P35K is home to Windows 8.1, which isn’t really a plus with Windows 8 currently being called the new Windows Vista… It does run Windows 8.1 very well though, so I don’t have anything bad to say on the overall speed side of things. Everything runs extremely quickly, and boot up times are impressive when compared to desktops and much more basic systems.
Graphics / Games
The 15.6-inch Full HD display is absolutely stunning. Powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, which has a whopping 4GB of vRAM, we saw results better than some mid-range gaming PCs.
Colours are vibrant and crisp, with everything still being completely readable and watchable at some rather impressive angles. Moving ourselves almost inline with the P35K we were still able to read text on the display, which is incredibly impressive for such a thin display. Looking down at the display from up above also produced the same results.
With the displays matte finish visibility was good, and I happily sat outside in the sun and managed to use the P35K just as well as I had done inside.
The gameplay was very smooth, with the majority of games we tested running stable at around 30/35fps on high /ultra, and between 60-70fps on a medium setting.
All in all, in terms of graphics power, the GTX 965m provides more than enough power to get you through even some of the more power-hungry games.
- Battlefield 4 / Ultra – 1080p / 44 FPS (average) / 32 FPS (min)
- Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor / Ultra – 1080p / 37 FPS (average) / 29 FPS (min)
- GTA 5 / Ultra – 1080p / 48 FPS (average) / 35 FPS (min)
- Metro: Last Light unfortunately didn’t fare as well as the others on Ultra with an average FPS of around 25, with a stable FPS of about 20
If you’re not very good at cleaning up downloaded files, tidying up your music / film collection or only installing programs you’re going to use, then opting for the much more spacious 256GB SSD needs to be a priority for you. This should definitely be considered if you use Windows 8.1 on the default 128GB SSD option as you’ll only actually have around 100GB of space to play with after Windows 8.1 has been installed.
The P35K houses some rather impressive speakers, in the form of two 1.5 watt speakers and one woofer. The three combined enable a great simulated surround sound during gameplay and movies.
The speakers work ok with music, but games and films are definitely the P35K’s strong point when it comes to audio quality.
In terms of how easy the laptop is to use, it scores very well. The keyboard sits relatively flush with the body, which makes typing quieter, quicker and easier as you’re not having to press down too hard on the keys. There’s also enough space to rest your wrists down on the laptop body, resulting in a much more relaxed typing position.
The addition of a backlight really improves usability at night.
The trackpad, however, did not impress me that much. It appears Gigabyte have tried to replicate the Apple MacBook trackpad, which combines the mouse buttons in the lower section of the trackpad, but it hasn’t worked as well as they’d hoped. I often found myself clicking again to get the mouse to respond how I wanted it to. The multi-touch feature works well with Windows 8.1, but if you’re not too bothered about that then it’s much easier to just hook up your favourite gaming mouse instead.
Having used a fair few laptops in my time, I’m quite accustomed to getting pretty poor battery life out of most of them. I wasn’t really expecting anything better from the P35K either, seen as though it’s packing some pretty power-hungry hardware.
However, after a few weeks of use I found that on average I was getting around 3.25 hours of general use / gaming until the laptop powered itself down. Just general web browsing, emails and the odd bit of web development, enabled me to get nearly 4 hours use on a couple of occasions.
Overall, the Gigabyte P35K V3 has been an absolute joy to use. The combination of it’s quad-core i7 processor and an insane amount of graphics power, but P35K blows many other gaming laptops away in terms of speed, gaming performance and all-round usability. Yes the design could be improved quite a bit, but that doesn’t detract away from the fact that for £1000 you’re receiving a completely portable gaming powerhouse capable of doing what many desktops can’t.
For the reasons mentioned previously, and our reasons below, we’re awarding the Gigabyte P35K V3 an impressive 9/10. A better design, to match the immense power this laptop has, and a redesigned trackpad would result in the P35K receiving a 10/10 from us.
- Performs at an impressive FPS on most games, with the majority on an ultra high graphics setting
- Well built / sturdy
- Good battery life
- Awesome audio quality for games / video
- Design could be much better – too similar to many basic / cheap laptops and doesn’t stand out as a gaming laptop