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Gigabyte P2742G review

Pitched as a high-end gaming portable, this better have some grunty graphics

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Our Verdict

For

  • Powerful quad-core Intel processor
  • Better-than-average full-HD 17-inch display
  • SSD for great storage performance
  • Decent battery life for a desktop replacement
  • Keyboard has solid base and nice feel

Against

  • Nvidia 660M graphics isn't truly high end
  • Expensive for mid-range graphics
  • Too heavy to be truly portable
  • Chassis plastics are uninspiring
  • Look elsewhere for all-day battery life

There are no easy outs here. What you always have to remember with a laptop is that there's no going back. Unlike a desktop, you can't upgrade the graphics six months down the road when you realise you've made a mistake.

Gigabyte itself describes the P2742G as a high end gaming laptop. The problem is that it needs a more powerful graphics chip to deliver on that promise. And that would cost more money., which would compromise the value proposition. Like we said, it's not easy.

We liked

All is not, however, lost. Ditch the high-end gaming tag and the Gigabyte P2742G suddenly hangs together. As an all-round desktop replacement system, it makes a lot more sense.

The 17.3-inch full-HD LCD panel is a decent display that will turn its hand to everything from movies and web browsing to trigger-happy gaming.

There's tons of storage on offer from the 1TB magnetic drive and plenty of punch from the 128GB SSD boot drive. The quad-core Intel CPU is competitive which just about any mobile processor of the moment.

Then there's the decent battery life. No, it's not going to worry the latest all-day Ultrabooks for mains-free longevity. But an afternoon unplugged is a realistic prospect. The solid-of-base and tactile keyboard is another plus point.

We disliked

Ultimately, the Nvidia Geforce GTX 660M graphics chip is a false economy. It's barely good enough today for enthusiast gaming.

Things are only going to get worse as a new generation of more demanding game titles spring out of the newly minted games consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

It's also a fairly big, heavy brute. You're definitely going to know about it if you're lugging this 3.2kg beast around with you. But that's 17-inch desktop replacements for you. If portability is your primary concern, you're reading the wrong review.

Final verdict

Put it all together and you have a system with no performance weak points that can turn its hand to just about anything. Video encoding on the go. Web browsing in the airport lounge. A machine you occasionally use to power a home cinema rig. And yes, gaming.

What it's not, however, is satisfying as a pure gaming machine. If that's what you want, it's simple. Buy something with better graphics.

On the other hand, if you're after a great all-round desktop replacement, stick the Gigabyte P2742G on your shortlist. It's well worth a look.