Gigabyte U24Ti5

If you've only got a grand to spend, and need a machine as capable at Excel as it is at Call of Duty, this is the laptop for you.


8.7
CNET Rating


It's hard to believe Gigabyte is offering so much performance for so little cost.

Targeted at the sweet spot of $999, the U24Ti5 aims to deliver high-end features with a budget-friendly price. Gigabyte has gone about this rather cleverly, ensuring that the components responsible for the heavy lifting are well-specced, yet trimming the corners that barely impact on the user experience. The result is a laptop that might look relatively affordable, but that can outpace competitors costing significantly more.

Design and features

To be frank, this laptop is not going to win any awards for good looks. The case is built primarily from plastic, with a brushed aluminium surface at the rear of the screen. The ugliest feature has to be the speaker grill above the keyboard, a design trait that passed into extinction long ago. At 14-inches across the diagonal, the screen unfortunately relies on the lower resolution of 1366 x 768. It also pumps out a rather lifeless, monotone image, but a little display tweaking can help bring it to life. Pixelation isn't quite as obvious on this screen as the 15.6-inch 1366 x 768 displays used elsewhere, thanks to the slightly smaller size. As a plus, it's fully touch-enabled and, like most modern touchscreens, we found the accuracy to be exacting.

One benefit of this laptop's larger dimensions is the relatively big island keyboard. While the key travel felt a little unresponsive, the size of each key is fine, and there's no keyboard flex whatsoever. The touchpad is perfectly placed, and both buttons work well, unlike several other laptops in this early 2014 review cycle. As expected for a laptop of this size, it's significantly heavier than the ultralight competitors, weighing in at a hefty 1.8kg. An extra 800 grams compared to a slimline tablet might not sound like much, until you have to lug it around all day, every day.

Connections, performance and battery

We were happily surprised by the components used to power this budget laptop. Intel's speedy i5-4200U offers twin HyperThreaded cores maxing out at 3GHz, while a whopping 8GB of DDR3-1600MHz is fantastic value for money. The 750GB mechanical drive is supplemented by an additional 32GB mSATA SSD, used as a cache to speed up its larger relative. Most surprising of all though is the inclusion of a dedicated GPU, which is simply unheard of at this price. NVIDIA's GT 750M makes the U24Ti5 a competent casual gaming machine, which explains the excellent result of 4590 in our 3DMark Cloud Gate benchmark.

Productivity performance was also impressive, scoring a very healthy 2231 in the PCMark 8 Home benchmark suite, showing that this laptop is more than capable of running the most demanding applications. In fact, this score rivalled laptops that are almost three times as expensive, a fact not to be sneezed at.

Gigabyte has included a stack of connectivity options, starting with pairs of both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, for four in total. HDMI-out handles video and audio streaming, while the SD card combo comes in handy for the tiny portion of the market that still requires one. Headphone and mic jacks are also included, alongside the Gigabit Ethernet.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated Test

  • 1889
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 1602
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 2231
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 2215
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 2625
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
  • 2394
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • [CRASHED]
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 1727
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 1690
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 1844
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D

(Longer bar equals better performance)


3DMARK 2013 Edition - Cloud Gate

  • 5101
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 2165
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 4590
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 4030
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 4643
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
  • 4667
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • 5597
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 3847
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 2080
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 2432
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D

(Longer bar equals better performance)


PowerMark - Battery Life (minutes)

  • 270
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 289
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 198
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 276
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 253
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
  • 243
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • 257
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 229
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 231
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 261
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D

(Longer bar equals better performance)


Conclusion

It might not look like much, but for a grand this ultrabook is a steal. With performance that blows much more expensive competitors out of the water, especially when it comes to games, it's quite astonishing to see what Gigabyte can deliver on such a low budget. It might be a little bit heavier than other ultrabooks, but it's a small price to pay for such an excellent performer.

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KurtJ posted a comment   

Killer review. Where can I get it for $999 though?!

 

TamsynM posted a reply   

MSY are selling them:
msy.com.au




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