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Gigabyte U2442F review

Katharine Byrne
9 May 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,000
inc VAT

Its screen could be better, but this is a great Ultrabook, particularly for gamers

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Specifications

14 in 1,600x900 display, 1.6kg, 2GHz Intel Core i7-3537U, 8.00GB RAM, 128GB disk, Windows 8

Gigabyte’s main focus has always tended to lean more toward motherboards and PC components in the UK, but it also does a good range of Ultrabook laptops. The U2442F is one of the latest, and its top-notch specs and dedicated graphics card might just make it one of the best gaming Ultrabooks we’ve seen.

With its slim 19mm chassis and brushed silver finish, it strikes a perfect balance between stylish design and powerhouse performance, proving that good quality gaming laptops don’t have to be held hostage in ugly, grey plastic boxes to pack a decent punch. Of course, its small size means it has to sacrifice some of the larger, more powerful components out there, but the U2442F still manages to cram in a lot of great hardware.

Gigabyte U2442F

RAW POWER

The U2442F uses a dual-core 2GHz Intel Core i7-3537U processor that can Turbo Boost to 3.1GHz when there’s enough thermal headroom. It also has 8GB of RAM out of a maximum 16GB. It scored a respectable 54 in our multimedia benchmarks, which places it just ahead of the previous wave of high-end Ultrabooks. As Intel requires its Ultrabooks to have an energy-efficient processor instead of a normal mobile processor, it’s still a long way off achieving the same performance levels as true gaming behemoths such as the Schenker XMG P502, which provided a stunning average frame rate of 113.6fps in our Dirt Showdown laptop test, but it’s still one of the fastest scores we’ve seen for an Ultrabook.

Its main highlight is its dedicated 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics chipset. This sets it apart from most other Ultrabooks, as they tend to use the CPU’s built-in graphics processor instead of a dedicated processor. The U2442F powered through our Dirt Showdown benchmarking test at High quality and a resolution of 1,920x720 with a very smooth, highly playable average frame rate of 57.8fps. This is just shy of the maximum 60fps its screen can output each second, and we even managed 23fps at Ultra quality at the same resolution.

You may have to compromise on quality settings with more graphically challenging games, however, as the U2442F only managed 18fps in our Crysis 2 benchmark at Ultra quality at its native resolution of 1,600x900. We don’t often run the Crysis 2 benchmark test on laptops, as most struggle to run it, but we were pleased to see an average frame rate of 42fps when we lowered the quality to High. With frame rates like this, it’s safe to say the U2442F will handle many modern games.

Gigabyte U2442F

Even if you’re not interested in gaming, the U2442F is still a great laptop for everyday use, if a little expensive. Its 128GB SSD may not suit those with large media collections or many applications, but it can boot Windows 8 in an instant. Its decent range of ports somewhat makes up for the low storage capacity, as the U2442F has two USB3 and two USB2 ports, VGA and HDMI ports, an SD card reader, a Gigabit Ethernet port and separate headphone and microphone jacks.

It’s got more staying power than many of its more expensive rivals, too, as it lasted six hours in our light-use battery tests with the screen set to half brightness, so you’ll be able to use it for most of the working day when away from the mains.

HAPPY KEYS

Typing on the U2442F was an absolute joy. Its backlit Chiclet-style keys don’t feel as bouncy as those of other laptops we’ve tested, but they’re very well spaced and provided enough tactile feedback to let us type on it happily all day. We also liked its slightly textured touchpad, as this gave it a good amount of friction while still offering pinpoint precision. Its all-in-one button bar provided plenty of click, too, and multi-touch gestures were accurate and responsive.