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Gigabyte U2142 review

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

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Our Verdict

While this hybrid laptop makes for a fine ultrabook, its poor screen quality and hefty weight result in a lacking tablet.

For

  • Good concept
  • Good as a laptop, Robust build

Against

  • Poor screen quality
  • Weighty
  • Performance issues

Benchmarks
Cinebench 11.5 1.2pts
3DMark FireStorm 376
Battery Eater 205 minutes

It's not often that a laptop with Intel's familiar third-generation Core processor fails to perform up to expectations. Unfortunately, Gigabyte U2142 does just that.

It scores a meagre 1.2pts in Cinebench 11.5. That's less than half the score you'd normally expect from an Intel Core i5-3337U. Whoops. There's likely something amiss with the power management in Gigabyte's BIOS as the Core i5 is set to run at just 1.3GHz.

That's a pity because there's plenty to like about the rest of the system's performance. The mSATA Crucial SSD puts in some pretty decent scores. 465MB/s reads and 191MB/s writes would have been unthinkable in any PC just a few years ago, much less a tablet convertible portable.

Gigabyte U2412

Random access 4K performance of 19MB/s and 34MB/s for reads and writes is again very good for such a puny system, even if Apple is about to raise the bar for storag performance with its PCI Express technology in the latest Mac portables.

As for graphics performance, well, the Intel HD Graphics 4000s core is very much a known quantity. It's not a serious gaming proposition. But it's just about capable of a few gaming larks if you knock the settings right down.

Gigabyte U2412

While we're talking visuals, let's have a look at the screen. If the CPU's performance is a disappointment, the screen might just be a deal breaker.

High quality LCD panels are increasingly the norm. In that context, the Gigabyte U2142's TN panel is unacceptable. The viewing angles and contrast are frankly very poor.

In a normal laptop, that might just be tolerable. In an Ultrabook it would be disappointing. But in a system that doubles as a tablet and is therefore more likely to viewing from funky angles, it's just not good enough.

Gigabyte U2412

At least the capacitive multitouch input works well. It's responsive, accurate and pleasant to use.

Another problem is weight. In tablet mode, it's simly too heavy to be held comfortably in one hand for any length of time. It's a problem that's not unique to the Gigabyte U2142. Convertible tend to be a bit portly.

Of course, the upside of the heft is a system that feels very solid and robust. That includes the screen pivot hinge which is always a worry on any convertible with a swivelling display.

But that's by the by. Either a system is comfortable in the hand or it isn't. This one isn't.

Having said all that, the battery life of over four hours in our brutal Battery Eater benchmark is none too shabby.