HEXUS recently reviewed an Ultrabook laptop from Gigabyte. The £900 U2442F is a sleek-looking machine that has a potent specification, including GeForce GT 650M graphics card, 17W Core i7 chip and tasty IPS screen with a native resolution of 1,600x900.
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At CES 2013, Gigabyte unveiled the upgraded model - U2442DT - which is due for release in Q2 2013. Set to be equipped with an as-yet-unknown processor based on Intel Haswell technology, the DT has a touchscreen that, during our brief play, worked well. Using the same resolution as the non-touch-enabled model, screen real estate feels good and colours remain punchy and vivid.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Gigabyte is openly stating that this machine will use NVIDIA's GeForce GT 730M graphics card. Those who keep a close eye on GPUs will understand the significance of this comment, as that graphics card isn't available in any form presently. We're not sure whether it will use a new architecture to current Kepler - the chances are that it could be a famous NVIDIA 'semi-rebrand' with a few sprinkles on top - but the combination of Haswell and a discrete 7-series NVIDIA GPUs may well provide a shot in the arm for high-specification Ultrabooks.
Switching gears, Gigabyte, like MSI, is also putting its weight behind tablets based on low-wattage Intel technology. The S1185, due to be released in a couple of months, uses an 11.6 IPS display with a full-HD resolution. Powered by either a Core i3 or Core i5 and Windows 8, it is projected to have a five-to-seven hour battery life, which seems consistent with other full-fat models. Gigabyte is also to offer an optional keyboard dock for around $100.
Our thinking is that Core-based tablets are simply too expensive to make much headway in a market that's dominated by ARM-based machines costing less less than half the outlay. What do you think?