Gigabyte U2442N Review

Discussion in 'Gigabyte and Aorus' started by TheLawIX, Aug 6, 2012.

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  1. TheLawIX

    TheLawIX Notebook Consultant

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    Gigabyte U2442N​


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    First off, I just want to let everyone know that I don’t normally write reviews. However, I’ve received multiple requests to do a review on this notebook so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’m pretty anal about the quality of what I purchase, so keep that in mind when reading this review. Feel free to ask me any additional questions via this post or PM.

    What I wanted:

    I needed something light/portable, aesthetic and powerful enough to game on. I’ve been lugging around an Alienware M15x for years and I was getting sick of it. Although the M15x was powerful, it’s bulky, heavy, has poor battery life and is simply impractical. I also wanted a Windows machine, but for lack of a better option I almost purchased a Macbook Pro.

    Specs:

    Processor: Third-generation Intel ® Core ™ i5-3210M (2.5GHz-3.1GHz Turbo)
    Memory: 8GB DDR3 (4x2)
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA ® GeForce ® GT 640M 2GB GDDR3 (Same card as 650m/660m with lower clocks)
    Storage: 128GB mSATA SSD/ 1TB HDD (I added HDD)
    Screen: 14-inch HD + 1600x900 LED-Backlit
    Keyboard: Chiclet Style/Auto Illuminated
    LAN: 10/100/1000 Ethernet Interface
    Wireless LAN: 802.11b/g/n Wireless Network
    Ports: USB3.0 x 2, USB2.0 x 2, HDMI, D-Sub, RJ45, Mic and Headphone Jack , SD Card
    Bluetooth: Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
    Battery: Li-polymer, 4000mAh, 4.2V, 44Wh
    Dimensions: 339 (W) x 223 x 18.5 (H) mm
    Weight (with battery): 1.59kg ~3.5lbs
    Price: $1,150 USD purchased at PChome

    Packaging/Contents: 10/10

    Here Gigabyte impressed me. The system came neatly and safely packaged. Gigabyte included an installation CD, charger, cloth cover, sleeve cover, keyboard cloth and carrying case. All these goodies are great quality and saved me some cash, A+ Gigabyte.

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    Build Quality/Aesthetics: 8/10

    Gigabyte has done a fantastic job on this system, both inside and out. It feels solid, functions perfectly and is gorgeous (especially the backlight). There is very very minor keyboard flex around the space button and no case flex under normal pressure. Opening the system for the first time is a hassle because there are little rubber stoppers on top of some of screws. Once removed the system opens nicely and is well built inside. Installing an HDD was easy; Gigabyte also provided foam padding which eliminates all HDD vibration.

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    Screen/Speakers: 7/10

    Gigabyte should have put more work into the quality of the display. My system came with a matte display that looks a bit washed out. It also doesn’t handle blacks that well. Minor tweaks to the color settings have made a big difference but at the end of the day it can't compete with the glossy display of my M15x. The viewing angle is also poor, but not a problem as (like any notebook) the monitor can tilt back and forth to fix this issue. An average user probably wouldn’t notice this.

    There is also a slight issue with the led backlights bleeding through the front of the monitor. It bleeds through the plastic on the lower left/right edge of the display. I can only see this in complete darkness and it seems easily remediable.
    ******* This issue has been fixed through Gigabyte's RMA services (note my U2442N was returned with multiple small scratches near the LCD).

    The speakers are average, fairly loud and don’t crackle. I’m happy with them, granted they are notebook speakers.

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    Keyboard/Touchpad: 9/10

    I am new to chiclet type keyboards but have enjoyed it so far. I don’t really have any complaints as it is easy to type on and has a good feel to it. The backlight looks absolutely gorgeous and has multiple light settings. There is minor keyboard flex, but I can’t complain.

    The touchpad is big, rough and fairly accurate. It took me a few days to break it in as well as the latest bios update. All and all it is a great touchpad but I still prefer a Macbook’s touchpad or even my M15x’s. I had a couple friends test it out and no one had any complaints.

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    Performance: 11/10 :D

    This baby is a monster! It completely blows away my M15x in every application/game. I can play BF3, Skyrim, Crysis 2, etc. Basically any game out right now on High-Ultra settings at 1600X900 resolutions. The CPU/GPU are not upgradable but are definitely good performers. The GPU overclocks well and with a few bios tweaks can basically turn into a GTX 660m/650m.

    The stock SSD is a MONSTER (500MB/s Read and 350MB/s Write). I wish Gigabyte offered more than a 128 gig SSD but the 1TB HDD makes up for that.

    Heat/Noise: 8/10

    Gigabyte’s active dual fan design does a great job. Both the CPU and GPU stay pretty darn cool.It never gets too hot to put on my lap. At 900mhz core (266 core over stock) the highest I’ve seen the GPU go was 76C. My M15x’s 260m can easily push 80C but preforms like crap compared to the 640m.

    At idle, browsing the web and or using basic applications like Word the fans are pretty quiet. However, they could use some tweaking (sometimes the fans randomly spin up for 2 seconds). When the integrated GPU kicks in, the fans are slightly more audible (nothing unbearable). Luckily Nvidia Optimus keeps my GPU off unless I start up a game. Under heavy load (with GPU on) the fans can get fairy loud, but are usually not noticeable over game audio. Overall, they do their job at load and put my M15x’s airplane fans to shame.

    Battery Life: 10/10

    The battery life is pretty darn good (using my personal power settings). I can get around 4-5+ hours browsing the web and using basic applications. When I start loading up HD content or playing games I get around 3-4 hours. To me this is incredible! With my M15x I was lucky to get 1 ½ hours browsing the web alone. Although Gigabyte doesn’t label the battery replaceable in the “clip-off” sense, I can’t see it taking longer than 5 minutes to actually open the system and replace it.

    U2442N VS M15x

    No real contest here, the Gigabyte U2442N really does outperform the beastly M15x. Aside from the display and touchpad, the U2442N is a completely superior product. I can't believe I put up with lugging the M15x around for so long!

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    Cons:
    I wish they had thrown in a quad core processor, I’m fairly sure the system could handle the heat without issue. Hell, even my Galaxy S3 has a quad core processor :D. A nicer touchpad would have been appreciated as well. Also, I wish it had a higher quality/glossy display. Who knows, maybe I can have it upgraded one day.

    Conclusion & Overall Rating: 8/10

    It’s an amazing Ultrabook and easily one of the most powerful available. I seriously considered buying a Macbook Pro (and running W7) before I caught wind of the U2442N. I needed something sleek, stylish and powerful. I didn’t want another bulky laptop that achieved only mediocre performance (M15X). Needless to say, Gigabyte has delivered with the U2442N. High praise to Gigabyte for building an Ultrabook that slaps the Macbook Pro around for ~60% of the price.

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    Amal77 GPU Bios Mods​

    ******WARNING: Flash at your own risk. You are responsible for any and all issues arising from these bios modifications.******

    Turbo boost currently does not function with these bios mods.
    BIOS: F0A
    835 Core Clock Tested
    950 Core Clock Tested
    1000 Core Clock Tested


    Fan Control Program:

    CLICK
     
    konoko.minoki likes this.
  2. Sh3ngLong

    Sh3ngLong Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks, TheLawIX! Great review. :) I'm planning to get a new laptop by the end of the month and the U2442N is currently #1 on my list to get, with the Sony S13P/S15 tied for #2. I'm happy to hear about the gaming performance and battery life, but it's disappointing to hear about the display. Have you seen the display of the Sony S13P in person? If so, can you tell me which one you think has a better display? TIA
     
  3. kakeashi

    kakeashi Notebook Consultant

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    thanks for the review! youre not in the USA are you? if you were, id be asking where you got it haha

    i can't wait to get my hands on this, im sad about the screen. coming from a vaio z, that screen was BEAST. i would think this screen is on par with the sony s13 screen. i was disappointed in that screen as well. blah....

    imagine if the screen for this laptop was like... really gooooood. i would shell out another 500$ if i had to... it would seriously be the perfect laptop
     
  4. GPFault

    GPFault Notebook Enthusiast

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    Great review, thanks! :)

    Time for someone to post a Gigabyte u2442 vs. Sony S13p. Is a comparison on these 2 anywhere to be found?
     
  5. slavehunter105

    slavehunter105 Notebook Enthusiast

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    its a gddr5??? woah thts nice
     
  6. slavehunter105

    slavehunter105 Notebook Enthusiast

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    no copper cooling?
     
  7. inm8#2

    inm8#2 Notebook Deity

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    Very nice review!

    This laptop is very close to my ideal laptop in the current market. I'm not in need of a new laptop right now, but I hope this Gigabyte line continues for the upcoming processor generations.
     
  8. inm8#2

    inm8#2 Notebook Deity

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    Very nice review!

    This laptop is very close to my ideal laptop in the current market. I'm not in need of a new laptop right now, but I hope this Gigabyte line continues for the upcoming processor generations.

    Too bad the battery isn't removable. I really like to remove the battery when I'm plugged in, as this seems to give me great battery life by avoiding small charging periods and having the battery at 100% frequently.
     
  9. omghi2u

    omghi2u Notebook Guru

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    6 Hours out of browsing? This semester is looking brighter already...

    PLEASE would you be so kind as to post your color profile .icm for U2442?

    Also, congrats on an actual gaming 'lap'top!! Mad props for review.
     
  10. foxyshadis

    foxyshadis Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hopefully someone will try putting a i7-3612QM or similar in one of these laptops and report back whether it starts up or not. With any luck, the BIOS already supports it.
     
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