Gigabyte might have jumped on the Ultrabook bandwagon but the Taiwanese outfit's bread and butter remains high-performance components such as Laptop Keyboard aimed at the ever-present gaming crowd. And though the industry as a whole appears to be moving toward thinner, lighter and smaller computing solutions, there are plenty of consumers who're unwilling to sacrifice overall performance for the sake of mobility. The challenge for manufacturers such as Gigabyte is to strike the right balance between power and portability, and going by specification alone, it's hitting many of the right notes with the new P2742G.
The name doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, but the system is making its way to UK retailers priced from £929 and for the fee Gigabyte's laptop isn't short on hardware capability. Some of the highlights include a third-generation, quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, compact Laptop Keyboard , dedicated Nvidia GeForce graphics, 8GB of memory, at least 750GB of storage, Blu-ray optics and a 17.3in display. The P2742G has some pedigree, there's no doubt about that.
Piling powerful components into a portable machine is no longer problematic - modern-day processors are smaller and more efficient than ever before - but marrying gamer-grade performance with sleek aesthetics remains a hurdle that various manufacturers continue to trip over.
Ensuring that it doesn't fall foul of going overboard, Gigabyte keeps the P2742G simple by employing a slightly modified Clevo W370ET chassis with compact Laptop Keyboard . The end result is a 3.2kg, all-black machine that's pleasantly subtle - for a 17.3in machine, at least. Gigabyte's aesthetic approach is more stealth fighter than race car, and while the P2742G is never going to fare well at most beauty contests - it's simply too chubby at 49mm at its thickest point - it's also highly unlikely to offend.
The less-gaudy approach is certainly appreciated, yet chassis build quality leaves something to be desired. Construction is mostly plastic, and as a consequence the P2742G doesn't feel like a near-£1,000 machine. There's a lot of flex in the display cover and the lack of rigidity is felt throughout - the palm rest has too much give for our liking, and the keyboard tray will bow with the smallest amount of pressure.
This isn't the sturdiest chassis we've ever come across, however the shortcomings in overall refinement are, for the most part, obscured by underlying speed.
Let's be honest, style and build quality aren't the primary reasons for considering the P2742G. Anyone in the market for a laptop such as this will be enticed by the amount of performance-per-pound.
Putting all of the hardware to good use is a 17.3in matte display that offers a full-HD, 1,920x1,080 resolution. There's no touch capability, despite Windows 8 being the default operating system of choice, but all the basics are here; including a two-megapixel webcam, stereo speakers, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The port selection is well-stocked, too. The laptop's left edge provides a Kensington lock slot, a single USB 2.0 slot, three audio jacks and a tray-loading optical drive. On the right side you'll find a card reader, three USB 3.0 ports (one of which doubles as eSATA), HDMI output and Gigabit Ethernet. Around back, there's a VGA output and a connector for the bundled power brick.
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