An ultrabook by any other name: Gigabyte's X11 turns up with a different brand

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CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

Hiding in the Microsoft booth at Computex was a laptop that looked almost exactly like Gigabyte's X11, which also claimed to be the world's lightest ultrabook. What's going on?

Now, where have we seen this before...?
(Credit: Craig Simms/CNET)

There are some differences — a 120GB SSD versus a 128GB SSD (although this may be down to a matter of how you count space); somewhere Gigabyte shaved off around 10g; and it runs on Sandy Bridge, rather than Ivy Bridge — but otherwise, it has the same lid design, the same key layout, the same curves. In fact, given the USB ports, we'd wager that both are running on HM77, too. This is definitely the same laptop, but it's from Mouse Computer Japan instead, and it's called the LuvBook X.

Separated at birth.
(Credit: Craig Simms/Aloysius Low/CNET)

The answer's quite simple: in an age where designing unique equipment gives you such a large competitive edge and brand power, it's often easy to forget that there are original design manufacturers (ODMs) making generic gear to be rebranded. Here, we have a case where the chassis wasn't designed by Gigabyte, but by Inhon Computer Co Ltd, which actually won an award for the design at this year's Computex. With the right deals, anyone could launch their own X11.

That's not to say that there haven't been customisations inside — that 10g had to go somewhere.

Also important is that Gigabyte has a global reach, and is able to get the laptop into the hands of many more people, unlike Mouse Computer Japan — we just hope it replaced the Sentelic touch pad with something decent.

Check out more stories from Computex 2012.

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