Gigabyte U2442 Ultrabook review

A promising 14-inch laptop, with big features

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Dealing with the negatives first, the keyboard on the Gigabyte U2442 really isn't very comfortable. The isolation-style keys are well-sized (ie big) but there's nothing by way of travel. We know the size of the chassis prevents deep keys, but other Ultrabooks have managed to make typing more comfortable than it is here.

Interestingly, though, the trackpad is well above average. The textured surface is different from the smooth brushed metal palm rest, and the single click bar wasn't stiff or unresponsive. It's a decent size, too, and Gigabyte has built in a neat feature whereby an extended press on the right click-button will give you an update on the battery status via the LED lights beneath the touchpad.

Gigabyte U2442 review

Look closely and you'll see a few of these little features sprinkled over the Gigabyte U2442. For example, next to the power button is a small settings hot key. Press it and the Gigabyte Smart Manager dashboard appears, enabling you to quickly adjust basic settings such as brightness, keyboard backlight or Wi-Fi.

Above the keyboard is the speaker grill, which puts out a reasonable, if not spectacular, level of sound. The RealTek High Definition audio technology is standard fare for laptops, and won't cause you any problems if you want to kick back with an album or three. Don't expect to fill the living room with your favourite party tracks, but playing music while you work isn't a problem at all.

Gigabyte U2442 review

The relatively small storage space means it might be worth investing in cloud storage or an external HDD, because although the flash-based SSD is quick, there's only so much you can do with 128GB.

Portability is one of the key areas of Ultrabook marketing, but unfortunately the Gigabyte U2442 only managed to last 161 minutes on its battery when we tested it. Other Ultrabooks usually score around the 200 minute mark, and we would have expected more here.

Gigabyte U2442 review

The chassis itself is well suited to being carried around for extended periods, thanks to the slim 20mm thickness and a bicep-friendly 1.7kg (3.75lbs) weight. The brushed metal "champagne gold" finish is attractive, although the criticism of being a bit on the boxy side could well be levelled at this machine.

An important caveat to buying this machine is that it arrives loaded with Windows 7. Given that Windows 8 is launching in October, you'd be forgiven for wanting to hold off for a couple of months. Options to upgrade will no doubt become available, but it's something to bear in mind if you're considering a purchase.

Gigabyte U2442 review

The good news is that the Gigabyte U2442 comes with absolutely minimal bloatware - it's about as native Windows as you can get.

Day-to-day this is an extremely accomplished Ultrabook, and just because it doesn't have one of the big names stamped across the front, doesn't mean it isn't worth a closer inspection.

Benchmarks
Cinebench 10: 10,880
3D Mark '06: 11,585
Battery Eater '05: 161 minutes

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA, Intel
Graphics Controller ModelGeForce GT 640M, HD 4000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityDedicated, Shared
Solid State Drive Capacity128 GB
HDMIYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyU2442V
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor Modeli7-3517U
ColourChampagne Gold
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameGigabyte
Processor Speed1.90 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size35.6 cm (14")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1600 x 900
Standard Memory8 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.59 kg
Cache4 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM77 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 2 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Height21 mm
Width339 mm
Depth233 mm
Screen ModeHD+
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesU2442V
ManufacturerGIGABYTE Technology, Inc
Product ModelU2442V-CF1
Product NameU2442V-CF1 Ultrabook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberU2442V-CF1
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.giga-byte.com
Marketing InformationHairline-Brushed Aluminum Champagne Gold Cover

Attention to every detail was made when designing the U2442. The notebook has an exquisitely designed champagne gold cover that comes with a premium hairline aluminum brushed finish.

Maximum Memory16 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Limited Warranty2 Year