Gigabyte X11 review

22 Oct 2012

Slim, light and surprisingly powerful, but ergonomic problems and heat issues put paid to the X11’s aspirations

Price when reviewed: 
1,000(£1,000 inc VAT)
3

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 X11

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.

Gigabyte X11

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £833
Price inc VAT £1,000
Overall rating 3
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 3
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 2 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 297 x 192 x 16.5mm (WDH)
Weight 984g
Travelling weight 1.2kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-3667U
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 11.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 4000
DisplayPort outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 128GB
Hard disk usable capacity 111GB
Hard disk AData XM11
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 1
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no

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
Responsiveness score 0.94
Media score 0.78
Multitasking score 0.53

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7