Gigabyte U2442N ultrabook review
A gaming laptop by any other name
Gigabyte's laptops are near-ubiquitous, but the U2442N is its first Ultrabook, which perhaps explains why it's a little different from most. Different, and in many ways, better, because the U442N is that rare beast: a gaming Ultrabook.
Although that might lead you to expect high specifications, the 128GB SSD is surprisingly small, with the machine's storage augmented by a 750GB HDD. We'd have preferred a larger SSD. A cost cutting measure, perhaps? We struggle to justify it, especially in a machine where most of the hardware is high-end. Consider, for example, the 14" 1600x900 resolution screen, the Nvidia GeForce GT640M-powered graphics, and 8GB of RAM. The CPU is a high-end Core i5, so it's a confident gaming device that doesn't need an i7 because of its separate graphics.
However, it does show many signs of being a debut effort. It's thicker and heavier than almost any other Ultrabook in this feature. The reasons are clear: it has a mechanical hard drive and a separate graphics card, but it does push it uncomfortably close to being a normal notebook. Gigabyte may need to address this in future if it wants to capture the ultra-thin, ultra-portable crowd. The keyboard is also very hard to type comfortably on, with poor key-travel; the case is terribly chunky; and there's a massive bezel around the screen. Pretty, it ain't.
Its size does mean it can pack in a few extra ports than most units. Four USB (two of which are USB 3.0), HDMI and VGA-out, and gigabit Ethernet give users everything they need, practically speaking. Other features include a setting hotkey, which gives you quick access to the brightness settings, keyboard backlight levels and wi-fi details.
Another big concern is portability. Ultrabooks are designed to be carried around, but the U2442 struggles to last four hours of use. Presumably the graphics card is being used all the time, instead of just when gaming, which sucks up the power twice as fast as it should. And that sums up the device in a nutshell, really. It's good at what it does, but what it does isn't what you buy Ultrabooks for.
• CPU: Core i5-3210M
• SSD Size: 128GB (+ 750GB HDD)
• Screen: 14"
• Weight: 1.59kg
• Thickness: 21mm
• Price: £999