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Gigabyte U2142 review

Bi-polar portable proposition attempts to fuse Ultrabook and tablet functionality

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The Gigabyte U2142 qualifies for Intel's Ivy Bridge Ultrabook spec and that guarantees rude health for the core component specifications.

That starts with an Intel Core i5-3337U processor. Nominally, it's clocked at 1.8GHz. But it can Turbo up to 2.7GHz. Factor in two hefty third-gen Core, er, cores along Hyper-threading and thus support for four software threads in parallel and you have a very solid base for attacked proper desktop class applications.

All of that is very much competitive with anything you're likely to find at this price point. The only slight snag is the aforementioned arrival of new Haswell chips from Intel.

Gigabyte U2412

They don't exactly blow away the Ivy Bridge, but the mere knowledge that there's something newer and potentially superior now available is certainly a distraction. However, Haswell remains so new that it will be several months before portables sporting it are widespread. If you're buying a lappie today, it's most likely going to be Ivy Bridge.

What's more, the 128GB mSATA solid-state drive is unambiguously a good thing. OK, it's not massively capacious. And it's the only drive you get. There's no magnetic drive providing mass storgae.

But it's Crucial's M4 model and thus very much a modern SSD with performance that even the fastest conventional magnetic drives for desktop can only dream about.

Rounding out the core spec is a decent 4GB of system memory and b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless comms. Intriguingly, it's also available with an optional 3G cellular adapter for maximising you mobile internet access.

Gigabyte U2412

There's decent wired connectivity, too, with a pair of USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, VGA and more.

Then there's the screen. It's an 11.6-inch panel with 1,366 by 768 pixels and thus not full-HD 1080P. Quite a few competing convertibles and PC tablets, including the Dell XPS 12, the Ativ Smart PC Pro and Microsoft's Surface Pro do offer 1080P, so that's a problem.

Arguably even more of an issue is th screen technology. Gigabyte has gone with a cheap TN panel just when almost everybody else is going with high-end IPS. Still, at least the touch technlogy is capacitive for optimal response and accuracy.

As for the chassis itself, we're talking a mix of plastics for the keyboard segment and plastic with a brushed metal backpanel for the screen enclosure. For the record it weighs in at 1.39kg.