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Gigabyte U2442V review

Katharine Byrne
7 Aug 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
722
inc VAT

A powerful Ultrabook with dedicated graphics, but the screen lets it down

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Specifications

14 in 1,600x900 display, 1.6kg, 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U, 8.00GB RAM, 128GB disk, Windows 8

Ultrabooks that can be used for gaming are still few and far between, but the Gigabyte U2442V shows you don't have to sacrifice portability to get a very powerful laptop.

Looking at its exterior, the U2442V looks very similar to its more expensive cousin, the Gigabyte U2442F (see Reviews, Shopper 305). Its 18mm chassis is a fraction thinner, but this version of Gigabyte’s flagship 14in Ultrabook has a more uniform interior. Instead of a two-tone interior, silver plastic now extends all the way round the bezel and the keyboard tray, but we actually preferred the two-tone design of the U2442F. The U2442V's black Chiclet-style keys hint at personality, but it’s far from the prettiest Ultrabook we’ve seen.

Gigabyte U2442V

HORSEPOWER

Take a closer look at the U2442V’s underlying components, though, and there’s plenty to get excited about. Unlike many other Ultrabooks, the U2442V has a dedicated 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics chip in addition to the integrated graphics built into its processor. Unsurprisingly, the GeForce GT 640M helped the U2442V sail through our Dirt Showdown graphics benchmark test, producing a smooth 51.9fps with graphics set to High quality at a 1,280x720 resolution. This is hugely impressive for a non-gaming laptop, and it’s only a few frames shy of the more powerful U2442F.

Disabling the anti-aliasing raises the frame rate further, but you'll have to compromise with graphics settings if you want to take advantage of its 1,600x900 resolution. We managed a comfortably smooth 40.8fps with graphics set to High quality at a resolution of 1,600x900, but we had to drop graphics settings to Medium to produce an average frame rate of 54.7fps at a resolution of 1,600x900.

Sadly, it struggled with our more demanding Crysis 2 test. It barely passed it, producing an average frame rate of 15.3fps at a resolution of 1,600x900 and with graphics quality set to Ultra. Lowering the settings to High produced a much more promising 39.3fps, so it should be able to handle many 3D games, as long as you don't mind compromising graphical quality.

Gigabyte U2442V

The U2442V is no slouch when it comes to raw processing power either, as it has a 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U processor that can Turbo Boost up to 3GHz when there’s enough thermal headroom. It also has a large memory capacity of 8GB. We were a little disappointed that it didn’t have a more recent Core i7-3537U processor or one of Intel’s newer Haswell processors, but it still scored a respectable 50 overall in our multimedia benchmarks. This is one of the fastest scores we’ve seen for this type of processor and is only a couple of points behind newer Core i7 Ultrabook processors.

HANDLING

Typing on the U2442V was pleasant, if a little noisy. Its backlit Chiclet-style keys were all very well spaced but we’d have liked the keys to have more depth when we pressed them. It didn’t affect typing accuracy too much, though, and we were typing at full speed within a matter of minutes.

Gigabyte U2442V

We weren’t such big fans of its touchpad, though. Its lightly textured surface made it feel very responsive while navigating the desktop and its button bar had a lot of depth when pressed, but we kept catching it with the edge of our wrist while we were typing. This made typing long word documents frustrating.

The U2442V’s battery life was also below average, and we managed just 4 hours and 16 minutes in our light use test with the screen set to half brightness. We expect to see at least five hours from an Ultrabook, and it certainly can’t match the near six-hour battery life of the U2442F.

We were pleased to see a good selection of connection ports, though. Along with its two USB3 and two USB2 ports, you’ll find VGA and HDMI outputs, an SD card reader, a Gigabit Ethernet port and separate headphone and microphone jacks.

Gigabyte U2442V

Much like the U2442F, though, the screen is still the weakest part of this laptop. Its 1,600x900 resolution looks very sharp, but its image quality leaves a lot to be desired. Reds, greens and blues all looked very dull in our solid colour image tests and blacks and whites were positively grey. This affected our high contrast test image as well, where colours really lacked depth and vibrancy. This is partly due to the screen’s matt finish, which helps to reduce glare and reflections, but its contrast levels were also quite poor as it really struggled to show darker shadow detail. Add in some very narrow viewing angles and there’s plenty of room for improvement.

CONCLUSION

It’s a shame, as we quite liked the rest of the Gigabyte U2442V. It may not have the best battery life, but if you're looking for a slim gaming laptop and aren't too bothered about its display’s image quality, then the U2442V is certainly worth a look. Otherwise, we recommend the Best Buy-winning MSI CX61.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i7-3517U
Processor clock speed1.9GHz
Memory8.00GB
Memory slots4
Memory slots free2
Maximum memory16GB
Size18x339x233mm
Weight1.6kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size14 in
Native resolution1,600x900
Graphics ProcessorNvidia GeForce GT 640M
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory2,048MB

Storage

Total storage capacity128GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/n
PC Card slotsN/A
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHC, SDXC
Other portsheadphone, microphone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedN/A
Optional extrasN/A

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB
Price£722
Detailswww.giga-byte.com
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com