Gigabyte U2442V Ultrabook Review

Posted on 09 October 2012 by

Though not a particularly popular brand in the US, Gigabyte has earned some loyal fans (one of them being our very own Chippy!) thanks to their ability to make quality computing products. Now Gigabyte has entered the Ultrabook segment with the U2442 “extreme Ultrabook”, as they’re calling it. There are two variants of the U2442: the U2442N and U2442V (which is the one that we’ve got); the only differences is the processor (Core i5 vs. i7). There’s also talk of a non-Ultrabook version which is likely to be referred to as the U2440 — be sure not to mix them up! Does Gigabyte’s first entry into the Ultrabook realm stand up to their prior products? Step inside to our full U2442V review to find out.

Disclosure: Our pals from Dynamism were kind enough to send over the Gigabyte U2442V Ultrabook for us to test.

Hardware

Gigabyte’s U2442V positioning within the Ultrabook space is clear; while the unit meets the guidelines for Ultrabook size and weight, portable performance is the prime objective. Gigabyte has certainly packed the U2442V full of potent components to achieve that goal:

Specs, Size, and Weight

  • Intel Core i7-3517U processor, 1.9GHz with Turbo-boost up to 2.4GHz
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 14? display @ 1600×900 (matte)
  • 128GB SSD
  • Nvidia GeForce GT 640M discrete graphics + HD4000 integrated graphics)
  • 21mm (tapers to 18mm)
  • 1.59kg

Ports

Along with the performance components, the U2442V has one of the best port sets I’ve seen on an Ultrabook:

  • 2x USB 2.0
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • full VGA
  • full HDMI
  • full SD
  • separate 3.5mm headphone output and mic input
  • LAN/ethernet (RJ45)

The 4x USB ports and multiple full-sized outputs are especially delightful. Many Ultrabooks are lucky to have more than 2x USB ports and a single full-sized output option. The U2442 goes above and beyond next to most other Ultrabooks, though it can be expected from a 14″ Ultrabook.

Design

The Gigabyte U2442 shares much styling in common with the Lenovo U310 and U410 Ultrabooks. The top of the lid and bottom of the computer are brushed aluminum (the U2442’s is a dark champagne color), while the inside (keyboard deck area) is silver plastic. On the top of the lid there is an accent piece which is colored the same as the lid but it is actually plastic and likely houses the dual WiFi antennae.  Though the designs are similar, the Gigabyte unit has a noticeable foot up in the quality department next to the Lenovo U310 thanks to better assembly. The plastic deck on the U2442V feels solid all the way around and there is no noticeable keyboard flex during normal typing. The hinge strength is just right, allowing you to lift the screen up with one finger while the rest of the U2442V stays flat on the desk.

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  • GP

    The u2442n was on my list but I ended up getting a Vaio S13 Premium. Have you seen the Sony in person, and if so, how do you find they compare to each other?

  • chris

    don’t forget to mention that the i7 is low-voltage, which might save some battery life, but won’t give you any performance boost compared to the i5.

    • Ryan

      This is something i’ve been debating.. the value of the i7 version over the i5.

      If I’m going to be using the 640m a good deal of time, is it even worth it to go for the low voltage i7 processor setup? I plan to purchase today, so I’d like to get a feel for which one would be better.

      My gut tells me to go for the i5 and save the extra Franklin for buying a second ssd to throw in there.

      • chris

        trust your gut ;)

  • DavidC1

    “HD4000 in the U2442V performed about 60% faster than HD4000 in the Lenovo U310 (16.31 FPS vs. 10.73 FPS). Differences in the processor (and probably amount of RAM) are definitely the cause.”

    This is exclusively because the U310 has single channel memory setup and the Gigabyte doesn’t. CPU and RAM capacity doesn’t make that big of a difference. Probably 10% at best, even including different GPU clocks.

  • Mr.Chainsaw

    Still no ultrabook available with thunderbolt, decent screen and form factor smaller or equal 13″.
    c’mon that isn’t too much asked is it?

  • adamaindublin

    Wow, super impressive PERF numbers and connectivity options. The battery and weight questions are quite important, though…

    Adam

  • Incognito

    Battery tests please. I’ve been waiting for this piece of information ever since. It will be the deciding factor in my choice between a U2442V and an M5. Keep up the good work. I love you guys.

  • Niko

    Hi,
    I think this laptop supports >128 SSD but cannot find where to purchase such model (UK). US shops could also be an acceptable alternative. I reckon buying a 128SSD version and then adding an extra module would breach the warranty. In fact, how many years is the manufacturer’s warranty ?

    • Saz

      Hey Niko,

      I’m looking at getting this on amazon.co.uk … I posted a message on the gigabyte support site asking about warranty. A week later and no response…

      Saz
      ***

  • Ryan NIckell

    So I’ve pulled the trigger and love this laptop! The screen brightness is incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever needed it over 50% and that’s overdoing it for me personally. There is a slight screendoor effect, if you’re looking for it.

    My only question that I can’t seem to find the answer to, is once you disable the trackpad using smartmanager, is there a keyboard shortcut to turn it back on? I normally do this when I plug in a mouse, but seem to consistently forgot to turn it back on before closing the laptop and removing the wired mouse.

    Any ideas? It’s an elan trackpad, and nothing in the Gigabyte support docs say anything useful.

    • Phoenix

      Wht’s ur finally decision? i5 3210 or i7?
      There’s a new ver. U2442F with 256 SSD & GT 650M

      • Ryan NIckell

        I went i5. The GT 640 is well enough to play the games I want and I no longer have any big internal drives on any home computers. I’ve gone with a USB 3.0 portable external drive for all static media so the 128GB drive works well enough.

        Some people have noted that the fans on the i5 version run a bit too much for them. For me, it’s tolerable as casual computing and when I game, I can pop in headphones, just don’t set it directly on your lap when you do game as it generates some heat. So, if you are concerned about fan noise, i7 would probably be the better choice for you.

        If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

      • Phoenix

        THX for Ryan’s experience.
        I’m actually care the noise of fan, also the purpose of the lap is for engineering work, sometimes might be running the SC II, primary care about the speed, guess 128SSD is quite enough, no matter i5 or i7.

        wht’s size of ur external HDD? 2.5″ 1T? how about the usb3.0 speed on writing? need lots of files transmit for daily work.

        Although, by first mention, in my area TW only provide the 128SSD + 750HDD U2442V i7,
        non SSD only ver. And you got the bundled Win 8? I really hate that…..

        oh! finally~ Any “Break” key can use? can u set “raid” option in BIOS? can u turn the autosense back light?

      • Phoenix

        THX for Ryan’s experience.
        I’m actually care the noise of fan, also the purpose of the lap is for engineering work, sometimes might be running the SC II, primary care about the speed, guess 128SSD is quite enough, no matter i5 or i7.

        wht’s size of ur external HDD? 2.5? 1T? how about the usb3.0 speed on writing? need lots of files transmit for daily work.

        Although, by first mention, in my area TW only provide the 128SSD + 750HDD U2442V i7,
        non SSD only ver. And you got the bundled Win 8? I really hate that…..

        oh! finally~ Any “Break” key can use? can u set “raid” option in BIOS? can u turn the autosense back light?

  • Pingback: Gigabyte Re-markets 11.6-inch U2142 Swiveling Ultrabook with Amazing Port Set, Adds New GPU plus Touchscreen to U2442 Gaming Ultrabook | DailyGadgets()

  • coffee

    Hi, thanks for sharing.

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