Friday, September 17th 2021

Gigabyte Unveils its New U4-series of Ultralight Notebooks

The Ultrabook name seems to have faded away, but the concept has clearly not gone anywhere and Gigabyte has announced its new U4-series of what they simply call ultralight notebooks. This is also the first 14-inch notebook series from Gigabyte in a while, since the company has focused on 15.6 and 17.3-inch models over the past couple of years' with the last 14-inch model from the company being the AERO 14.

The U4-series is quite a different beast, as the AERO 14 was still weighing in at 1.89 kg, whereas the U4 is almost half that at 990 grams. If you're a sucker for sturdy products, then this might be what you've been waiting for, as Gigabyte claims it meets the MIL-STD 810G specification, which means that the product has gone through "simulation-testing has been conducted in eight harsh working environments, including extreme altitude, temperature and humidity, mechanical vibration, sand and dust, salt fog, etc."
So far it seems like Gigabyte is only offering a single processor option, which consists of an Intel Core i7-1195G7 CPU, which is a quad core part with a top boost speed of 5 GHz and Iris Xe graphics. The U4 comes with 8 GB of soldered down DDR4 memory and there's a spare expansion slot for a single DDR4 SO-DIMM, for a maximum of 40 GB of RAM in total, although Gigabyte claims 64 GB.

Somewhat more unusual, especially for a notebook that only measures 17.2 mm at its thickest point, is the inclusion of a pair of M.2 slots, one with support for PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives and one with support for SATA or PCIe 3.0 NVMe drives. It's not clear which type the U4 ships with as standard and there might be different SKUs in different regions.

Not quite as impressive is the 1920x1080 resolution of the 14-inch IPS-level panel, as there are plenty of similar notebooks with higher resolution displays. Beyond it being an "anti-glare" display, Gigabyte provides zero details, so we have no idea what to expect in terms of brightness. The keyboard is backlit and Gigabyte has added a "wider" touchpad without going into details about its size.

Most notebooks in the ultra thin segment tend to lack connectivity options, but the only thing really lacking here is an Ethernet port, as Gigabyte has included a Thunderbolt 4 port with USB4, DisplayPort and 35 W USB-PD charging support, as well as one each of a USB 3.2 Gen 2 and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, an HDMI 2.0 port, a 3.5 mm combo audio/mic jack, a microSD card slot and DC jack. There's also an Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6/Bluetooth 5.2 card thrown into the mix, as well as a nondescript HD webcam. Finally we have a pair of speakers and a dual-array microphone with noise cancellation. Windows 10 Home or Pro is also part of the package.

The battery is rated at 36 Wh which is said to be good for up to 8 hours of usage and the 65 W power adapter can charge 45 percent of the battery in 30 minutes. The U4 measures 322x216.8 mm (WxD) and is 14.9 to 17.2 mm thick and weighs as mentioned 990 grams. No word on pricing, but Gigabyte claims it has an affordable price point, which presumably is relative in this case.
Source: Gigabyte
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27 Comments on Gigabyte Unveils its New U4-series of Ultralight Notebooks

#1
jgraham11
If their customer support regarding their power supply fiasco are an indication of how this company will support this product, I wouldn't buy it.
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#2
freeagent
They need to incorporate a blast wall so when it explodes it wont hurt the operator :)
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#3
Chrispy_
Nice looking chassis they have there, though the designs that block the exhuast port with the screen hinge are never great because the cooling suffers and your screen get hot, which *can* cause glues to melt and delaminate the panel. That's a super-rare issue though and not really a problem since the warranty would cover that anyway. I'm more concerned about this pair of specs:

Intel only.
Single fan.

Neither of those things are good, but both of them in the same laptop means that this is a hard pass from me.
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#4
Zareek
I'm going on two months waiting for an RMA to be processed for my Gigabyte motherboard. They are DEAD to me. I will never buy another Gigabyte product ever again!
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#5
Chaitanya
ZareekI'm going on two months waiting for an RMA to be processed for my Gigabyte motherboard. They are DEAD to me. I will never buy another Gigabyte product ever again!
I hope you know they were hacked and they have lost their RMA systems which still seem to be not operational to old scale.
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#6
Salvo39
The U4 comes with 8 GB of soldered down DDR4 memory and there's a spare expansion slot for a single DDR4 SO-DIMM, for a maximum of 40 GB of RAM in total, although Gigabyte claims 64 GB.
How do you go from 8GB soldered to 64GB total..:confused:
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#7
Chrispy_
Salvo39How do you go from 8GB soldered to 64GB total..:confused:
You buy a 56GB SODIMM, obviously :D
/s

Realistically, I suspect it's possible to get a prebuilt config with 32GB soldered, and another 32GB SODIMM added by the user. Either that, or the marketing/PR department screwed up.
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#8
TheLostSwede
Salvo39How do you go from 8GB soldered to 64GB total..:confused:
That's what I wondered as well.
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#9
Zareek
ChaitanyaI hope you know they were hacked and they have lost their RMA systems which still seem to be not operational to old scale.
Yeah, I'm fully aware of their situation. Their shoddy security practices are no excuse. I started the support/RMA process nearly two weeks before they got hacked. It also goes further than this RMA. This is the second Gigabyte motherboard in a row I have owned that failed within their warranty period. The first one failed less than a year after purchase. This one made it about two years. Then there is the power supply fiasco. They have done nothing that inspires my confidence in them recently.
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#10
Salvo39
Chrispy_Either that, or the marketing/PR department screwed up.
Wait..I have heard this one before..! :roll:
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#11
TheinsanegamerN
Dissapointed. If they're going to solder memory they should go all the way and use LPDDR4x 4266 or 4733, Xe would benefit fromt he faster speed,a nd the battery life of 4x devices is incredible, would help squeeze that 8 hours out of such a tiny battery.

Isnt that the same size cell as the ones in surface pros? My chromebook is about the same thickness but has a 45wh unit,a nd that's an 11.6" machine.
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#12
Solid State Soul ( SSS )
TheLostSwedeNot quite as impressive is the 1920x1080 resolution of the 14-inch IPS-level panel, as there are plenty of similar notebooks with higher resolution displays.
Reading things like this always makes me cringe, like in what world would a 1080p not enough for a 15.6 inch or below for most average users, on a notebook with a battery ?? :confused:
or is being an enthusiast by definition is always asking for diminishing returns...
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#13
Zareek
Solid State Soul ( SSS )Reading things like this always makes me cringe, like in what world would a 1080p not enough for a 15.6 inch or below for most average users, on a notebook with a battery ?? :confused:
or is being an enthusiast by definition is always asking for diminishing returns...
I'm the same way, some people swear they can see the pixels. I'm on a 27" 1080p monitor and if I stare really hard from 6 inches away I can see individual pixels. To each their own, I suppose.
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#14
Solid State Soul ( SSS )
ZareekI'm the same way, some people swear they can see the pixels. I'm on a 27" 1080p monitor and if I stare really hard from 6 inches away I can see individual pixels. To each their own, I suppose.
on 27 inch, yes, you can, but at 24 and below... 1080p is fine, the pixel density of 1080p on a 15.6 inch is almost as good as 4K on 27 inch, which considered a great sweet spot.
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#15
Wirko
Solid State Soul ( SSS )on 27 inch, yes, you can, but at 24 and below... 1080p is fine, the pixel density of 1080p on a 15.6 inch is almost as good as 4K on 27 inch, which considered a great sweet spot.
My age is past the sweet spot already, so my retina's requirements are a little bit lower.
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#16
TheLostSwede
Solid State Soul ( SSS )Reading things like this always makes me cringe, like in what world would a 1080p not enough for a 15.6 inch or below for most average users, on a notebook with a battery ?? :confused:
or is being an enthusiast by definition is always asking for diminishing returns...
The world is moving on, but I guess I should've said aspect ratio as well, since 16:10 is making a comeback and 3:2 is a thing in these types of more "work" focused notebooks and both offer higher resolutions than 1080p.
I'm not asking for 4K here, but 1080p is not what I want at least.

I presume you have a 640x480 resolution screen on your phone, as anything higher would drain the battery too fast?
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#17
Minus Infinity
Seriously how pathetic we are still using that heinous 16:9 screen format. Instant fail.
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#18
StaticVapour
freeagentThey need to incorporate a blast wall so when it explodes it wont hurt the operator :)
Luckily the charger is usually located some distance away from the operator
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#19
Chrispy_
Minus InfinitySeriously how pathetic we are still using that heinous 16:9 screen format. Instant fail.
There's nothing heinous about a screen aspect ratio that matches the majority of the content it will be used to display. If you don't want 16:9 there are niche laptops that cater to you, but this one - just like most laptops on the market - is not one of them.

It's more important than ever on a laptop that the screen aspect matches the content aspect since laptop IPS panels exhibit some of the worst black levels and backlight edge bleed in the industry. The last thing they need is black bars blotchy grey light leakage.
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#20
TheinsanegamerN
TheLostSwedeThe world is moving on,
Progress doesnt mean "shove higher numbers in, no matter what".
TheLostSwedebut I guess I should've said aspect ratio as well, since 16:10 is making a comeback and 3:2 is a thing in these types of more "work" focused notebooks and both offer higher resolutions than 1080p.
I'm not asking for 4K here, but 1080p is not what I want at least.
Resolutiona nd aspect ratio are two very different things. If you're dissapointed that the machine is still 16:9, dont say "it needs higher resolution", just say "it needs to be 16:10 or 3:2". See how easy it is to clarify your point?
TheLostSwedeI presume you have a 640x480 resolution screen on your phone, as anything higher would drain the battery too fast?
"you hate eating preserved soy, you must eat only what you catch with your bare hands eh? :smugface:"

Disliking one extreme does not mean someone automatically support the other extreme. Belive it or not, it is possible to think going over 1080p on a small display is a total waste without demanding resolutions go back to the stone age. There is this addage of "good enough", and for many screen resolutions are "good enough" that putting in more only results in higher costs and detrimental system performance.
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#21
Solid State Soul ( SSS )
TheLostSwedeI presume you have a 640x480 resolution screen on your phone, as anything higher would drain the battery too fast?
Would you also say having 4k or high refresh rate on smartphone,does not decrease battery life ?

And now we are starting to complain about Smartphones only having 1080p, wtf ??!

Do you know that a 720p res on a 6.5inch ( average screen size of today ) give you more pixel density than 4k on a 24 inch computer screen!
But no we mus have moooore, everything or nothing, come on...
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#22
Minus Infinity
Chrispy_There's nothing heinous about a screen aspect ratio that matches the majority of the content it will be used to display. If you don't want 16:9 there are niche laptops that cater to you, but this one - just like most laptops on the market - is not one of them.

It's more important than ever on a laptop that the screen aspect matches the content aspect since laptop IPS panels exhibit some of the worst black levels and backlight edge bleed in the industry. The last thing they need is black bars blotchy grey light leakage.
What a load of malarky.
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#23
TheLostSwede
Solid State Soul ( SSS )Would you also say having 4k or high refresh rate on smartphone,does not decrease battery life ?

And now we are starting to complain about Smartphones only having 1080p, wtf ??!

Do you know that a 720p res on a 6.5inch ( average screen size of today ) give you more pixel density than 4k on a 24 inch computer screen!
But no we mus have moooore, everything or nothing, come on...
My previous phone was 1440p and yes, I can tell a difference between that and this stretched 1080p screen. Not all the time, but it's definitely possibly to tell the difference.

We all have different preferences.
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#24
Tardian
My 32 inch 2160p screen looks really sharp and I sit quite close, so 14 inch 1080p ought to be fine. I love the connectivity and the micro SD slot. I would want a minimum of 32GB, so 16 soldered would be necessary.

Can we have a review?
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#25
watzupken
"So far it seems like Gigabyte is only offering a single processor option, which consists of an Intel Core i7-1195G7 CPU, which is a quad core part with a top boost speed of 5 GHz and Iris Xe graphics."

I am very doubtful that the 5Ghz can be sustained for more than a second on this laptop. While this is only a quad core processor, but to hit 5Ghz even on a single core is going to need a much bigger heatsink that what is offered here. Just hope Gigabyte don't make an exploding laptop too.

Screen resolution wise, I think it is ok for a very slim laptop because it helps to preserve battery life for people on the go.
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