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Gaming laptops like the Gigabyte G5 GD-51US123SO are perfect shoo-ins for anyone looking for a gaming laptop that can be had for a reasonable price and packs a real punch, but don’t really care for much else. With that we mean, extras like portability and LEDs on the chassis don’t excite you – all you need is raw gaming power and solid hardware.
Gigabyte has this trend of creating gaming laptops that look more ‘stay-home’ in 2015 than the current timeline, something that they haven’t changed with the G5 GD-51US123SO. That’s to say, should you need a gaming laptop to use on the go, you’re safe with the Razer Blade 14 or the Asus Zephyrus G14, but if you need absolute raw power for use at home, you can’t go wrong with the Gigabyte G5 series. Afterall, Gigabyte’s approach isn’t a bad thing, especially if you’re shopping on a tight budget and like a more retro or less ‘blingy’ hardware, but it won’t be winning any beauty accolades against rival products like the Alienware M15 R6.
If you’re not keen on the aesthetics then the Gigabyte G5 more than makes up for it when it comes to performance at this price point. Our review model is packing an Intel i5-11400H, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, optimized in a way that makes it one of the closest desktop replacements we’ve seen in a portable device.
Gigabyte G5 Specs
- Processor: Intel Core i5-11400H 6-Core (11th Gen)
- RAM: 16GB of DDR4 RAM
- Storage: 512GB M.2 SSD
- Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 144Hz
- Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
- Operating System: Windows 11 Home (64-Bit)
- Weight: 4.8 pounds
- Dimensions: 10.15 x 14.21 x 1.09 inches
The Gigabyte G5 gaming laptop isn’t exactly a looker. Its chassis is dominated by a bland grey color scheme and the single lighting across its keyboard is subtle enough that it doesn’t have a massive impact on the overall aesthetic. The entire case is made of sturdy plastic, which is common in the midrange category, but we’ve seen aluminum cases in high-end gaming laptops.
Still, the build quality is good, and you don’t find any flex on the case. A standout design feature must be the replaceable battery at the bottom that can be removed without requiring tools. All you need is to release the lock and then replace the battery. Competing gaming laptops like the Acer Predator Helios 300 and Acer Nitro 5 require that you ply-open the base to replace the battery and other components.
The dimensions are nothing to write about, either. The 4.8 pounds weight means that the GD-51US123SO is a little weightier than the MSI GF65 (4.10 pounds) but lighter than the Helios 300 (5.07 pounds), and its 4.85-inch body makes it thicker than both rivals. Build quality is great, at least, there is hardly any movement in the panels.
The Gigabyte G5 GD continues to impress in other practical areas. It has a USB-C port that handles mini-DisplayPort, a standalone DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI, two USB-A 3.1, Ethernet, microphone/headphone jacks, and an SD card reader. Since some of the interfaces have been placed on the back, you shouldn’t have too much congestion caused by connected cables.
There’s no 4K model of the Gigabyte G5 GD, after all, it’s a midrange gaming laptop aimed at those who prioritize performance, with the very robust Full HD 15.6-inch screen sporting a 144Hz refresh rate and all the technology innards to ensure a majority of games take advantage of this feature. If you need rock-solid frame rates in modern competitive games, this Gigabyte gaming laptop is a great choice.
Even when playing relatively demanding AAA games such as GTA V and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the 144Hz refresh screen provides a punchy and colorful picture without struggling. We’d argue that the small design lacks the real estate to truly take advantage of 4K anyway, but it does increase the headroom for butter-smooth gaming at 1080p, which the Gigabyte gaming G5 delivers with no problem at all.
On the 15.6 IPS screen, some colors may sometimes appear slightly warm and oversaturated, but the overall color quality doesn’t have any major issues. This is a likable panel, and the not-so-big bezel surrounding the display means it both looks and feels great. This makes the unusual build quality issues I mentioned earlier more bearable, and far from being a deal-breaker.
Keyboard and Touchpad
While its high-end siblings like the Gigabyte Aorus 17G rock a fantastic mechanical keyboard, the GD-51US123SO gets a simple backlit keyboard, that offers clear feedback and is well adapted for long typing sessions. Notably, the keyboard lighting is via uniform illumination of the key labels, meaning users can’t change the colors themselves, as they can select them from a predefined palette.
The keyboard has a full-sized numeric keypad and the arrow keys are of standard size. Notably, most of the special keys on the deck are available as single keys, which ensures that the keyboard doesn’t have a lot of keys with secondary functions.
As for the touchpad, you get a big pad with two separate buttons. It responds well to swipe and works fine as a mouse pointer. However, compared to rivals, the touchpad’s response is a bit sluggish, especially when the mouse clicks are triggered by touch. Nonetheless, the two mouse buttons are triggered easily and audibly, though their feedback is a bit soft.
Graphics – Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
The Gigabyte G5 is available in two distinct configurations, both with decent power to compete in the modern computer gaming scene. Our review model, the GD-51US123SO features an RTX 3050 (4GB) alongside an Intel Core i5-11400H processor, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage. Such a configuration is more than enough for Full HD gaming, but if you’re willing to spend a little more, you can upgrade to an Intel Core i7-11800H with the Acer Predator Helios 300, the rest of the features aren’t worlds apart.
In real-world gaming tests, the GeForce RTX 3050 GPU is capable enough to run modern AAA titles at great frames rates and high settings: With such a graphics engine, it means you can average 54 frames per second in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at Ultra, 1080p settings. And, it means a few other things too.
On the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ultra, 1080p), the Gigabyte G5 averages 51 fps, which is well above the mainstream gaming laptop average (49 fps). Compared, it tails both the Acer Predator Helios 300 (63 FPS) and the Asus TUF Dash F15’s RTX 3070 (66 fps).
On Far Cry New Dawn (Ultra, 1080p), the Gigabyte G5 GD-51US123SO once again slides past the category average (69 fps) with 71 fps, but again behind the Helios 300 (78 fps) and the Asus TUF Dash F15 (81 fps).
When it comes to Grand Theft Auto V, the Gigabyte averages 70 fps, still above the mainstream category average of 68 fps, and behind the Acer Predator Helios 300 (83 fps). However, the Asus TUF Dash F15 (85 fps) does much better.
Processor – Intel Core i5-11400H
When not gaming, the Intel Core i5-11400H comes in handy for productivity tasks. The Core i5-11400H is a six-core chip, that can process up to 12 tasks simultaneously. Its clock rates are between 2.7 and 4.5Ghz, which translates to solid single-core and multi-core processing. Well, the Helios 300 packs the latest iteration of this CPU – Intel Core i7-11800H, making it a better proposition in gaming and productivity as compared to the Gigabyte G5 KD.
The Gigabyte G5 GD averages 3 hours 40 minutes in real-world tests, meaning that it doesn’t last as long as competing gaming laptops. It somehow aces the 3:21 category average for gaming laptops. On the other hand, very powerful gaming laptops tend to offer about 2.5 hours of battery life, so it could have been much worse.
It won’t last a cross-country flight, but as long as you’re within three hours of a power outlet, it’s hard to imagine the Helios 300 nit serving its purpose.
Verdict – Solid gaming for little money
With the Gigabyte G5 GD, smooth modern gaming is finally achievable in a machine that doesn’t cost so much. The 15.6-inch 144Hz refresh rate screen shows its good side with rich colors, while the Intel Core i5-11400H processor makes for stable performance over prolonged periods. The built-in Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 is a good run for butter-smooth frame rates in modern AAA titles.
Elsewhere, the Gigabyte G5 GD-51US123SO remains a perfect choice for anyone looking to upgrade the system later, thanks to a second M.2 slot and a free slot for a 2.5-inch drive. Once again, you can replace the battery without the need for tools, although it simply provides moderate runtimes.
The newest Acer Predator Helios 300 remains our Editors’ Choice for midrange gaming laptops, thanks to a solid feature set, including an 11th Gen., Intel Core i7-11800H processor, an RTX 3060 GPU, and an RGB keyboard. That said, if you need something upgradable down the road, then the Gigabyte G5 GD-51US123SO is an excellent choice.
Last update on 2022-08-07 at 13:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API