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Face Off: Aorus X3 Plus vs. Gigabyte P34W vs. Razer Blade 14

Small brawl with powerful punches. Don't let their small footprints fool you — these high-end 14-inch gaming notebooks carry big guns with more firepower than competitors almost twice the size. If you're in the market for an ultraportable powerhouse, the bottom line will almost certainly come down to one of these three.

Hardcore gaming on notebooks was almost laughable just a few years ago, but advances in hardware and performance-per-watt have genuinely made games playable on small 4K resolution 14-inch screens. Such notebooks are still big investments, however, as they carry powerful hardware paired with expensive starting prices. This Face Off will compare the three smallest and most popular 14-inch ultrathin gaming notebooks available today -- the Razer Blade 14, Aorus X3 Plus v3, and Gigabyte P34W -- to help buyers decide where to best open their wallets.

We encourage users to check out our dedicated review pages for each of the three models for more detailed analyses and data. This comparison is by no means a replacement, but a comparison aid for those on the fence.

Aorus X3 Plus v3 Review

Razer Blade 14 2015 Review

Gigabyte P34W v3 Review

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Case

Nobody wants a janky $2000 piece of technology. In terms of chassis quality, the Razer Blade 14 takes the cake by far. The more unibody all-aluminum design is sleeker and smoother than both the Aorus and Gigabyte and is more consistent in its rigidity from top to bottom. The Razer even manages to come out a few millimeters thinner, but is slightly wider than the other two. Its overall design was clearly inspired by the minimalistic tone of MacBooks.

The next notebook down in quality is the Gigabyte P34W. It is perhaps the most blandly designed of the three with its use of both matte polycarbonate and aluminum, but is rigid nonetheless with no noticeably weak areas. It stands in between the Blade 14 and X3 Plus in terms of thickness while weighing about the same as the latter.

The Aorus X3 Plus finishes it off at the bottom of the list. Its sharp and slanted appearance stand opposite to the design philosophy of the Blade 14 and fortunately retains an all-aluminum form factor. While the base is strong, its hinges and lid are far more susceptible to twisting and damage than both displays of the Razer and Gigabyte. Quality is comparatively weak in these particular areas with noticeable creaking when attempting to adjust the display.

The better-built notebook here is from Razer by at least a couple of steps ahead and users won't even need to sacrifice size or thickness along the way.

Winner: Razer Blade 14

345 mm / 13.6 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 17.9 mm / 0.705 inch 2 kg4.41 lbs340 mm / 13.4 inch 239 mm / 9.41 inch 20.9 mm / 0.823 inch 1.8 kg3.97 lbs330 mm / 13 inch 263.5 mm / 10.4 inch 22.9 mm / 0.902 inch 1.8 kg3.97 lbs

Connectivity

Connections and expansions are typically more limited on smaller and thinner laptops. Nonetheless, both the Aorus and Gigabyte offer multiple USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, and Gigabit Ethernet with Mini DisplayPort on the former and legacy VGA on the latter. Meanwhile, storage options include 1x mSATA and 1x 2.5-inch SATA III on the P34W and 3x mSATA on the Aorus with RAID 0. Users on a tighter budget may prefer the P34W for its compatibility with inexpensive HDDs while enthusiasts may want to double down on multiple mSATA slots at the expense of a 2.5-inch SATA bay. Thus, it's a tie between the Aorus and Gigabyte with equal pros and cons for both.

The clear loser in this category is the Blade 14 by far. This notebook lacks RJ-45, has only one video-out port, and doesn't even include a built-in card reader. This is the high price users must pay for its thin and minimalistic looks. Furthermore, it only has a single M.2 storage slot with no secondary options. Upgrading the SSD will be very costly and almost necessary as the user's gaming library grows over time.

Winner: Tie -- Aorus X3 Plus v3 and Gigabyte P34W

Ports and Connections

Aorus X3 Plus v3 Gigabyte P34W Razer Blade 14
USB 3x USB 3.0 4x USB 3.0 3x USB 3.0
Video-out HDMI, Mini DisplayPort HDMI, VGA HDMI
Other SD reader, Gigabit Ethernet, 1x 3.5 mm mic, 1x 3.5 mm headphones SD reader, Gigabit Ethernet, 1x 3.5 mm combo 1x 3.5 mm combo
Storage Bays 3x mSATA slots with RAID 0 1x mSATA slot, 1x 2.5-inch SATA III bay, no RAID 0 1x M.2 slot

Display

From a purely visual standpoint, the 3200 x 1800 resolution displays of the Aorus X3 Plus and Razer Blade 14 trounce the 1080p display of the Gigabyte. The Razer still comes out on top as its glossy glass panel and touchscreen option provide better rigidity, higher apparent contrast, and modes of usability. Of course, users can argue against the touchscreen novelty and glare disadvantages from such a display for gaming. Color accuracy and gamut between these two models are very good and nearly alike as both use identical display panels from Sharp that can also be found on the Fujitsu LifeBook U904.

The P34W loses this round, though not because it carries a poor display panel. Its AU Optronics display is indeed of high quality in terms of color accuracy, gamut, and brightness that rival its two competitors. Instead, the P34W is at the bottom for offering lower contrast and a 64 percent decrease in pixel count than the dense displays of the Blade 14 and X3 Plus. With no QHD+ options from Gigabyte, the display of the P34W is simply not as sharp.

Winner: Razer Blade 14

Displays at a Glance

Aorus X3 Plus v3 Gigabyte P34W Razer Blade 14
Size 13.9-inch IPS 14-inch IPS 14-inch IPS
Native Resolution 3200 x 1800 1920 x 1080 3200 x 1800
Pixel Density 264 PPI 157 PPI 262 PPI
Panel ID Sharp LQ140Z1JW01 AU Optronics B140HAN01.1 Sharp LQ140Z1JW01
Panel Matte Matte Glossy
Glass Touchscreen No No Yes
Aorus X3 Plus v3Gigabyte P34W V3Razer Blade 14 2015
Screen
Brightness middle
312.4
305.4
318.4
Brightness
306
277
311
Brightness Distribution
91
84
78
Black Level *
0.504
0.72
0.416
Contrast
620
424
765
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.17
2.81
3.67
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.4
1.92
5.41
Gamma
2.26 97%
2.21 100%
2.26 97%
CCT
6925 94%
6384 102%
7118 91%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62
60.4
64.64

* ... smaller is better

Aorus X3 Plus v3 Color Profile
Aorus X3 Plus v3 Color Profile
Gigabyte P34W Color Profile
Gigabyte P34W Color Profile
Razer Blade 14 Color Profile
Razer Blade 14 Color Profile

Input Devices

The keyboards between all three models are identical in size at 28.5 x 10.5 cm excluding the Macro keys on the Aorus. While travel and feedback are also similar between them, the keys of the Aorus have a firmer feel and clatter and are thus ever so slightly more comfortable to use. The addition of Macro keys on the X3 Plus gives it another leg up when gaming. Nonetheless, the Up and Down Arrow keys are still horrendous on all models due to their small sizes and there are no dedicated Volume or Brightness keys to be found.

The touchpads all support multi-touch and are responsive with no random cursor jumps or bugs. The Gigabyte has the smallest touchpad and largest mouse keys, yet the mouse keys themselves provide poor feedback. Meanwhile, the glossy surface of the Aorus touchpad may look nice and reflective, but performs poorly with its irregular glide. The Razer holds the best touchpad as it is both larger than than the Gigabyte with better glide than the Aorus and larger dedicated mouse keys with satisfactory feedback.

Winner: Keyboard -- Aorus X3 Plus v3

              Touchpad -- Razer Blade 14

Aorus X3 Plus v3
Aorus X3 Plus v3
Gigabyte P34W
Gigabyte P34W
Razer Blade 14
Razer Blade 14
Input Devices at a Glance

Aorus X3 Plus v3 Gigabyte P34W Razer Blade 14
Keyboard Size 28.5 x 6.5 cm 28.5 x 6.5 cm 28.5 x 6.5 cm
Touchpad Size 10.0 x 7.0 cm 10.0 x 5.5 cm 10.5 x 6.5 cm
Touchpad Surface Smooth matte Glossy Smooth matte
Dedicated Mouse Buttons No Yes Yes
Macro Keys Yes No No

Performance

CPU Performance

The Blade 14 and P34W share the same Core i7-4720HQ processor while the Aorus X3 Plus v3 uses the slightly slower Core i7-4710HQ. "Slightly" is an exaggeration here as both quad-core processors have the exact same cache sizes and features, but the i7-4710HQ runs just 100 MHz slower in base speed and Turbo Boost. Raw single-thread and multi-thread performances according to Super Pi and wPrime are thus a hair slower on the Aorus, but make essentially no difference in games as modern titles are typically bound by the GPU.

Because of the indistinguishable CPU performances in real-world applications, the three models stand equal in this regard.

Hardware at a Glance

Aorus X3 Plus v3 Gigabyte P34W Razer Blade 14
CPU 2.5 GHz Core i7-4710HQ 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ
RAM 16 GB, 2x SODIMM 16 GB, 2x SODIMM 16 GB, non-removable
GPU Nvidia GTX 970M w/ 6 GB GDDR5 VRAM Nvidia GTX 970M w/ 3 GB GDDR5 VRAM Nvidia GTX 970M w/ 3 GB GDDR5 VRAM
GPU Driver 344.42 344.75 344.77
Aorus X3 Plus v3
Aorus X3 Plus v3
Gigabyte P34W
Gigabyte P34W
Razer Blade 14
Razer Blade 14
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
135 Points ∼62%
Gigabyte P34W V3
130 Points ∼60%
Razer Blade 14 2015
138 Points ∼63%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
608 Points ∼14%
Gigabyte P34W V3
636 Points ∼15%
Razer Blade 14 2015
678 Points ∼15%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
1.55 Points ∼64%
Gigabyte P34W V3
1.47 Points ∼60%
Razer Blade 14 2015
1.56 Points ∼64%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
6.73 Points ∼15%
Gigabyte P34W V3
6 Points ∼14%
Razer Blade 14 2015
7.35 Points ∼17%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
6610 Points ∼64%
Gigabyte P34W V3
6611 Points ∼64%
Razer Blade 14 2015
6732 Points ∼65%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
24459 Points ∼32%
Gigabyte P34W V3
25825 Points ∼34%
Razer Blade 14 2015
25680 Points ∼34%
wPrime 2.0x
1024m (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
246.038 s * ∼3%
Gigabyte P34W V3
238.428 s * ∼3%
Razer Blade 14 2015
224.594 s * ∼3%
32m (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
7.533 s * ∼2%
Gigabyte P34W V3
7.206 s * ∼1%
Razer Blade 14 2015
7.387 s * ∼1%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
575.629 Seconds * ∼3%
Gigabyte P34W V3
564.382 Seconds * ∼3%
Razer Blade 14 2015
561.389 Seconds * ∼2%
3DMark
Fire Strike Extreme Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
8881 Points ∼31%
Gigabyte P34W V3
9498 Points ∼33%
Razer Blade 14 2015
9235 Points ∼32%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
8871 Points ∼27%
Gigabyte P34W V3
9561 Points ∼29%
Razer Blade 14 2015
9193 Points ∼28%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
5982 Points ∼15%
Gigabyte P34W V3
6821 Points ∼17%
Razer Blade 14 2015
6422 Points ∼16%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
44331 Points ∼51%
Gigabyte P34W V3
48489 Points ∼56%
Razer Blade 14 2015
45849 Points ∼53%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
42771 Points ∼51%
Gigabyte P34W V3
45844 Points ∼55%
Razer Blade 14 2015
42018 Points ∼50%

* ... smaller is better

GPU Performance

Graphics performance is the deal breaker for any gaming notebook. The three competitors share nearly identical scores in both synthetic and in-game benchmarks. The exception is the Blade 14, which curiously returns unreasonably low 3DMark and CineBench scores despite our attempts at re-running the benchmarks. Thankfully, its gaming performance is not at all affected. It's a three-way tie based on these hard numbers.

3DMark
Fire Strike Extreme Graphics (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
3432 Points ∼17%
Gigabyte P34W V3
3451 Points ∼17%
Razer Blade 14 2015
3367 Points ∼17%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
7463 Points ∼18%
Gigabyte P34W V3
7564 Points ∼19%
Razer Blade 14 2015
7321 Points ∼18%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
42859 Points ∼23%
Gigabyte P34W V3
52542 Points ∼28%
Razer Blade 14 2015
38777 Points ∼21%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
282043 Points ∼53%
Gigabyte P34W V3
303296 Points ∼57%
Razer Blade 14 2015
273460 Points ∼52%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
96678 Points ∼13%
Gigabyte P34W V3
203891 Points ∼28%
Razer Blade 14 2015
42740 Points ∼6%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
9862 Points ∼19%
Gigabyte P34W V3
9779 Points ∼19%
Razer Blade 14 2015
9571 Points ∼19%
Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
58.98 fps ∼35%
Gigabyte P34W V3
59.64 fps ∼35%
Razer Blade 14 2015
50.48 fps ∼30%
Cinebench R15 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
93.31 fps ∼37%
Gigabyte P34W V3
110.15 fps ∼44%
Razer Blade 14 2015
60.56 fps ∼24%
Sleeping Dogs
1920x1080 Extreme Preset AA:Extreme (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
45.1 fps ∼31%
Gigabyte P34W V3
44.7 fps ∼30%
Razer Blade 14 2015
45 fps ∼30%
1366x768 High Preset AA:High (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
133.2 fps ∼50%
Gigabyte P34W V3
128.9 fps ∼48%
Razer Blade 14 2015
124.4 fps ∼47%
Guild Wars 2
1920x1080 All Maximum / On AA:FX (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
51.7 fps ∼56%
Gigabyte P34W V3
49.2 fps ∼54%
Razer Blade 14 2015
50.2 fps ∼55%
1366x768 Best Appearance Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
60.6 fps ∼66%
Gigabyte P34W V3
65.5 fps ∼71%
Razer Blade 14 2015
67.2 fps ∼73%
Tomb Raider
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
79.3 fps ∼29%
Gigabyte P34W V3
81.3 fps ∼29%
Razer Blade 14 2015
80.4 fps ∼29%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
186.1 fps ∼37%
Gigabyte P34W V3
191 fps ∼38%
Razer Blade 14 2015
187.4 fps ∼37%
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
1920x1080 Ultra / Extreme AA:on (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
79.3 fps ∼36%
Gigabyte P34W V3
87.7 fps ∼40%
Razer Blade 14 2015
79.4 fps ∼36%
1366x768 High AA:on (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
116.6 fps ∼39%
Gigabyte P34W V3
111 fps ∼37%
Razer Blade 14 2015
108.6 fps ∼37%
BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
72 fps ∼27%
Gigabyte P34W V3
73.7 fps ∼28%
Razer Blade 14 2015
71.4 fps ∼27%
1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
154.7 fps ∼40%
Gigabyte P34W V3
153.1 fps ∼40%
Razer Blade 14 2015
147.4 fps ∼38%
Metro: Last Light
1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
52.6 fps ∼31%
Gigabyte P34W V3
50.8 fps ∼30%
Razer Blade 14 2015
51.2 fps ∼30%
1366x768 High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
93.6 fps ∼49%
Gigabyte P34W V3
93.6 fps ∼49%
Razer Blade 14 2015
89.8 fps ∼47%
Thief
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
47.4 fps ∼33%
Gigabyte P34W V3
46.1 fps ∼32%
Razer Blade 14 2015
45.1 fps ∼32%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FXAA & Low SS AF:4x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
67.9 fps ∼47%
Gigabyte P34W V3
77.3 fps ∼53%
Razer Blade 14 2015
71.1 fps ∼49%
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
1920x1080 Ultra Preset (HD Package) (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
52.5 fps ∼33%
Gigabyte P34W V3
53.9 fps ∼33%
Razer Blade 14 2015
49 fps ∼30%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
65.7 fps ∼35%
Gigabyte P34W V3
66.1 fps ∼36%
Razer Blade 14 2015
66.8 fps ∼36%
Ryse: Son of Rome
1920x1080 Very High Texture Res. + High Graphics Quality (Motion Blur & Temporal AA On, Rest Off/Disabled) AF:8x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
45.3 fps ∼44%
Gigabyte P34W V3
47.5 fps ∼46%
Razer Blade 14 2015
47.5 fps ∼46%
1920x1080 High Texture Res. + High Graphics Quality (Rest Off/Disabled) AF:8x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
48.8 fps ∼44%
Gigabyte P34W V3
52 fps ∼47%
Razer Blade 14 2015
50.3 fps ∼45%
F1 2014
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
97 fps ∼81%
Gigabyte P34W V3
100 fps ∼83%
Razer Blade 14 2015
93 fps ∼78%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v3
111 fps ∼83%
Gigabyte P34W V3
114 fps ∼86%
Razer Blade 14 2015
110 fps ∼83%

QHD+ Performance

Gaming on native 3200 x 1800 resolution is very possible on both the Aorus and Razer Blade models. In almost every tested case, the Aorus comes out just slightly ahead of the Razer. This is in part due to the additional 3 GB VRAM on the Aorus as memory overhead plays a more significant role on higher resolutions. In either case, most games will need to have other graphical effects turned down to obtain more playable frame rates as demonstrated by our Ultra results below.

3200 x 1800 Ultra Settings (FPS)

Aorus X3 Plus v3 Razer Blade 14
Sleeping Dogs 14.9 13.8
Guild Wars 2 40.3 38.8
Tomb Raider 32.1 32.5
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm 50.1 45.6
Metro: Last Light 23.9 23.6
Thief 21.8 21.4
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor 26 23.7
Ryse: Son of Rome 19.7 21.2
F1 2014 82 66

Stress Test

The Unigine Heaven stress test separates the men from the boys so to speak as it is a good indication of just how well gaming systems can perform after extended gaming sessions. The best performer is the Aorus with its overall lower core temperatures and is consequently less likely to throttle when gaming. The Razer performs just as well, but both the CPU and GPU run much warmer and a little bit too close to the alarming 90 C threshold than we would like. The Gigabyte is the unfortunate loser in this round as GPU clock steadily drops over time due to thermal limits.

As an additional test, we ran the Metro: Last Light built-in benchmark ten times in a row on 1080p Ultra settings to compare frame rates between each run. The P34W starts out strong, but falls to its knees after the third or fourth run. Meanwhile, the Aorus and Razer return much more steady results throughout the test.

Winner: Aorus X3 Plus v3

Aorus X3 Plus v3
Aorus X3 Plus v3
Gigabyte P34W
Gigabyte P34W
Razer Blade 14
Razer Blade 14
System Vitals after 30 Minutes of Unigine Heaven

Aorus X3 Plus v3 Gigabyte P34W Razer Blade 14
GPU Core Clock (MHz) 1037.4 <860 1037.8
GPU Temperature 69 C 85 C 83 C
CPU Temperature 70 - 75 C 85 - 88 C 80 - 85 C
Gigabyte performance decreases as GPU runs below its base clock rate over time
Gigabyte performance decreases as GPU runs below its base clock rate over time

Emissions

System Noise & Temperature

There is no doubt that all three systems will be loud under stress. But, which is the least loudest?

All models in question are capable of running almost completely silently when idling or on Power Saver. The Aorus and Gigabyte in particular have better fan controls than the Razer as users have the option between Stealth, Max, and two Auto modes. Under gaming conditions, however, the Razer is by far the loudest at the 55 to 60 dB(A) range. The Aorus lies in the center at the 45 to 55 dB(A) range, but it pulsates much more frequently than the other two. Lastly, the Gigabyte is the quietest at the 44 to 49 dB(A) range.

Note that the Aorus and Gigabyte can reach 60 dB(A) when the Max Fan mode is active. Otherwise, fan noise is limited to the low to mid 50s range for both.

The temperature profiles are not dissimilar between the three models due to the similar cooling solutions underneath. The Razer runs warmest overall on both sides of the notebook with the warmest palm rests followed by the Aorus and finally the Gigabyte.

Winner: Gigabyte P34W

Average Fan Noise and Surface Temperature when Gaming

Aorus X3 Plus v3 Gigabyte P34W Razer Blade 14
Fan Noise 45 - 55 dB(A) 44 - 49 dB(A) 50 - 59 dB(A)
Temperature 37.1 C 35.5 C 39.7 C

Battery Life

While the Aorus and Razer have similar Li-Ion battery capacities, the Gigabyte uses a smaller module in order to make room for its 2.5-inch SATA bay. Nonetheless, runtimes when gaming are not significantly different between the three models with no outright winner. Perhaps more notably, the Blade 14 falls a bit flat at about 30 minutes less than the Aorus when under similar testing conditions. We'll give the small edge to the P34W for its longer idling time for potentially longer battery life when running low intensity tasks like word processing.

Winner: Gigabyte P34W

Aorus X3 Plus v3
73 Wh
Gigabyte P34W V3
61 Wh
Razer Blade 14 2015
71 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
423
522
380
WiFi v1.3
258
222
Load
96
82
66
WiFi
284

Verdict

The Aorus X3 Plus v3 is our recommendation followed closely by the Razer Blade 14.
The Aorus X3 Plus v3 is our recommendation followed closely by the Razer Blade 14.

At the time of writing, the Aorus X3 Plus v3, Gigabyte P34W, and Razer Blade 14 are available for $2500, $1600, and $2400, respectively. Lower prices can be found with varying SSD and HDD options.

Unfortunately, no single model is the clear and indisputable winner. Users searching for the best performer will want to go with the Aorus and its 6 GB GTX 970M for better QHD+ gaming and avoid the Gigabyte due to its throttling issues. The major drawbacks will be the weak lid and hinges and slightly thicker build of the X3 Plus.

The super-thin Razer Blade 14 offers the best design and chassis quality with strong performance and no throttling issues. However, users will be stuck with no secondary storage, no upgradeable RAM, limited connectivity ports, higher surface temperatures, and louder fan noise.

Finally, the Gigabyte P34W is best for users on a budget with its cost-effective 2.5-inch SATA bay, great 1080p IPS panel, and lowest fan noise and surface temperatures. Its moderate throttling when gaming is unfortunately a huge drawback as users will not be able to get the full benefits of what the GTX 970M is capable of.

Performance hunters can't go wrong with the X3 Plus v3 or Blade 14. However, we will have to give the edge to the Aorus mainly for its better QHD+ performance and additional connectivity options that should provide longer legs than the Razer. Just watch out for that creaky display.

Pros and Cons

Aorus X3 Plus v3 Gigabyte P34W Razer Blade 14

Positive

+ High quality 3200 x 1800 matte IPS panel

+ Strong all-aluminum base

+ Sharp, gamer-centric design

+ HDMI and Mini DisplayPort

+ Dedicated Macro keys

+ Great tactile keyboard

+ Upgradeable SODIMM RAM

+ 3x mSATA with RAID 0

+ Strong GPU performance

+ 6 GB VRAM for improved QHD+ performance

+ Fan control options

+ High quality 1080p matte IPS panel

+Lowest fan noise and average surface temperature

+ HDMI and VGA

+ Upgradeable SODIMM RAM

+ 2.5-inch SATA III expansion

+ Good battery runtimes

+ Fan control options

+ High quality 3200 x 1800 glossy IPS touchscreen

+ Highest apparent contrast

+ Strong all-aluminum base and lid

+ Minimalistic design

+ Strong GPU performance

+ Very thin, sleek, and portable

+ Most comfortable touchpad of the three models

Negative

- Lid is weak and can creak

- Hinges could be more taut

- No 2.5-inch SATA expansion

- Thickest of the three models

- Fans pulsate more frequently

- Slightly smaller 13.9-inch screen

- GPU throttles when gaming

- Boring chassis design

- No dedicated Macro keys

- No QHD+ options

- Smallest battery capacity

- Very few connectivity options

- Glossy display

- RAM not upgradeable

- No secondary storage options

- Runs warmest and loudest of the three

- No dedicated Macro keys

- Slightly lower battery runtimes

- Slightly behind in QHD+ gaming performance

- Only one video-out port

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Face Off: Aorus X3 Plus vs. Gigabyte P34W vs. Razer Blade 14
Allen Ngo, 2015-05-30 (Update: 2018-05-15)
J. Simon Leitner
J. Simon Leitner - Founder, Editorial Director - @simleitner