Gigabyte X11 review
Slim, light and surprisingly powerful, but ergonomic problems and heat issues put paid to the X11’s aspirations
The usual suspects have unveiled dozens of Ultrabooks since Intel debuted the brand last year, and now more surprising names are starting to get in on the action. Gigabyte, better known for its graphics cards and motherboards, is the latest to hop aboard the thin-and-light bandwagon with its 11.6in Ultrabook, the X11.
This is by far the lightest Ultrabook we’ve come across, at 984g, and it’s also one of the slimmest. The front edge tapers to a wafer-thin 3mm at its thinnest point, and it’s a mere 16.5mm thick when closed – half a millimetre thinner than even Apple’s MacBook Air 11.6in.
Gigabyte has got the weight down by constructing the X11 almost entirely from sheets of carbon fibre. As well as making for an extremely light laptop this lends the X11 a particularly fetching look, with the carbon fibre weave more reminiscent of a sports car or high-end road bike than a laptop.
It isn’t all good news, though. Gigabyte’s quest for the world’s thinnest and lightest Ultrabook has seen build quality fall by the wayside. There’s a lot of flex in the 4mm thin lid, and the base is similarly malleable, twisting to and fro all too easily. It’s absolutely no match for the MacBook Air’s aluminium chassis, or any of the metal-clad Ultrabooks we’ve seen.
The poor build quality affects ergonomics, too. The squishy base beneath the keyboard gets it off to a bad start, and the small cursor keys and single-height Enter key mean the layout is more fiddly than we’d like. The spacebar often failed to recognise our presses no matter how firm, and the typing action across the rest of the keyboard is imprecise and uncomfortable. The trackpad is no better. It has integrated buttons, which have a positive click, but the rest of its smooth surface provided inconsistent cursor control and occasionally failed entirely to respond.
We have no complaints about what’s inside the X11, though. The 2GHz Core i7-3667U is Intel’s top-end low-voltage Core i7 chip, and it flexed its might in our benchmarks, scoring 0.75, enough to outpace both the 0.71 scored by the Sony VAIO Duo 11 and the 0.68 of the Apple MacBook Air 11.6in. If there’s a downside to the nippy Core i7, it’s battery life - it lasted for only six hours in our light-use benchmark.
|Warranty||2 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||297 x 192 x 16.5mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i7-3667U|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Hard disk usable capacity||111GB|
|Hard disk||AData XM11|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||1|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||1|
|SD card reader||no|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||6hr 0min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 24min|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||40fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.76|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|