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Windows 8 review
Windows 8 review

No-one ever gets it completely right first time, but the Gigabyte U2442 comes awfully close to delivering exactly what we're looking for in a contemporary Ultrabook. Adding the power through boosted RAM and extra graphics while keeping the chassis down to a slim and portable size is what this Ultrabook is about.

There are some nit-picks, mostly to do with the usability of the machine, but on the strength of this showing, Gigabyte has what it takes to run with the big boys.

We liked

This Ultrabook hits an excellent balance between power and affordability. The inclusion of discrete graphics and a load of RAM means performance is exceptional, while clever additions to the OS make day-to-day performance easy - even if you're new to computing.

The screen also deserves a mention for being well suited to both entertainment and work. During our time with the Gigabyte U2442, we were able to push it hard without it heating up or becoming noisy, and whether it was for light gaming or office work, this Ultrabook handled all our tasks.

We disliked

Certain aspects of the usability precluded this from being a solid gold classic. The keyboard benefits from a backlight but isn't as robust or comfortable as it could have been. And the screen suffers from an ugly-looking bezel.

If we had to fault the Gigabyte U2442 on entertainment credentials, it would be the integrated speakers. We don't place this too highly on our wish-list but it's an important feature that deserves a mention. Not only that, but the wisdom of spending £1,020 (around $1,615) on a new Ultrabook running Windows 7 right around the corner from a major update is questionable.

Final verdict

A very strong showing out of the blocks from Gigabyte, the Gigabyte U2442 Ultrabook has a lot to recommend it. Gamers and power users will appreciate the Nvidia graphics and 8GB RAM, while everyday users will respond well to the lack of bloatware and clever features such as Smart Manager.

It's true that both usability and style have been done better elsewhere on the Ultrabook scene. But the Gigabyte U2442 remains a powerful, portable Ultrabook that would do more than satisfy anyone who purchases it.