Two-in-one devices that combine laptop and tablet functionality with proper PC performance are almost definitely the future. We certainly like the idea of a single device that does all of that well.

But has technology caught up with the concept? That's the tough question the Gigabyte U2142 must answer.

Gigabyte U2412

We liked

The two-in-one proposition is seriously seductive and the Gigabyte U2142 delivers up to a point. It's a full function Windows 8 Ultrabook that runs all your legacy applications and offers decent battery life, on the one hand.

Then you have the option of twiddling the screen around and jumping into tablet mode, complete with a responsive touch screen and the Windows 8 Modern UI touch interface and apps.

The 128GB mSATA SSD is another strong point. OK, it's not exactly massive. But it is quick, which is arguably more critical. You can always sort the capacity problem with an external USB drive.

The Gigabyte U2142 also feels nicely put together and likely to survive the course. The all-important swivel hinge feels robust, which is reassuring.

We disliked

Plenty, unfortunately. Firstly, Gigabyte needs to look into the BIOS issues that are currently causing the Intel Core i5 CPU to perform under par.

That's likely an easy fix. Much more serious is the screen quality. TN panel not only offers a mediocre 1,366 by 768 native resolution. It also sports poor contrast and viewing angles. It's simply not good enough in an age where quality IPS screens are becoming commonplace.

The sheer heft of the Gigabyte U2142 is a problem, too. As an Ultrabook, it's fine. But in tablet mode, it's much too heavy to be held in one hand with anything approaching comfort.

Verdict

Performance issues aside, the Gigabyte U2142 is ultimately a flawed device. Both the screen quality and the weight of the thing seriously compromise it as a tablet proposition.

Admittedly, it works well enough as a straight Ultrabook. But if that's what you want, why pay a premium for sub-par tablet functionality? Because the harsh truth is that it's not a pleasant device to use as a tablet.

Gigabyte U2412

It's all a bit of a shame as the initial impression is of a high quality device that's been well engineered. Unfortunately, the more familiar you are with the Gigabyte U2142, the more obvious its shortcomings become.

That's only going to become more obvious in the coming months. We're expecting rapid progress in the tablet convertible market, partly driven by Intel's new Haswell processors. If the Gigabyte U2142 feels off the pace today, six months from now it's going to look positively antediluvian.