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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.