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Gigabyte U60 review

The Gigabyte U60 reminds us why UMPCs don’t work

Those tiny plastic keys were designed with a three-month-old baby's hand in mind

Our Verdict

Compact and portable but wimpy performance, makes this not worth splashing out on.


  • Entire Windows PC that’s easily carried


  • Infuriatingly to control
  • Blurry screen
  • Performs worse than a PC from five years ago

Feel sorry for the UMPC. It doesn't get much love. When they're good, most people find them merely okay.But when they're trouble, like the U60, you'll have such a torturous experience it should be against the Geneva Convention.

Firstly, it lacks power. There's a puny 1GHz VIA processor in there and a gig of memory, shared amongst the graphics hardware. Messing about in Windows isn't too bad, but forget about any 3D games right now.

On the plus side, older titles will work fine. Install ScummVM, load a classic like Day of the Tentacle, and you've got a great way to while away train time. But that's as good as it gets.

Awkward keyboard

The U60's flaws don't stop at weak performance. It offers different ways to interact, but none are that great. The split keyboard doesn't perform that well; those tiny plastic keys were designed with a three-month-old baby's hand in mind.

Never mind, you can fold it away and use the stylus and handwriting recognition instead. Except that's so inaccurate you'll end up wanting to drop-kick the wee device. Instead of bundling the Tablet edition of XP the U60 comes pre-installed with the standard edition then uses awkward third-party software for the handwriting recognition. A few minutes using the stylus left us with a document full of random characters and a building sense of rage.

At least, Gigabyte put a couple of USB ports on there so you can plug in a small keyboard and mouse, but lugging peripherals about defeats the point of it being portable.

Dodgy display

Our biggest gripe though is the display. In anything but the lowest resolution, text is blurry and practically unreadable. The VGA connector does let you plug in a full sized monitor, so it will function as a full PC when not on the move, but we don't want such a weedy thing working our desktop.

The U60 might be cheaper than other UMPCs, with a price tag over £600, but it's hardly the budget option either. Fitting the guts of a desktop machine into such a small space means a compromise on performance and usability.

The U60 is such a great example of why they don't work. Get a laptop, or an Eee PC instead, you'll find it more capable and practical, and perhaps better for your sanity.