Keyboard and TouchPad
The GIGABYTE U2442F in the lab today has an international keyboard installed, due to the fact it came out of Taiwan. The keyboard is of the standard island style that has become so popular as of late and is not one of the best ones I have used.
There is basically no flex over the entire range of keys, which helps the typing experience. However, it produces a very annoying tinny sound when keys are pressed. It's not oppressively loud, but it certainly was like fingers on a chalkboard to me.
The keys have a matte texture on the surface and appear to be perfectly flat. The keys have a smooth travel when typing, but seem to feature a slightly shorter travel distance. I would guess that the shorter throw is due to the engineers saving thickness on the unit.
One nice aspect of the keyboard is the inclusion of a backlit keyboard. For whatever reason, backlighted keyboards are still a premium feature, and with this Ultrabook being a premium device, the lack of a backlight would have really hurt it.
The touchpad is a two-piece assembly. The touchpad portion and click buttons are two different pieces. The left and right click buttons are a single piece of plastic, which makes clicking towards the middle somewhat difficult. I'd prefer two separate and distinct buttons for left and right click.
The touch-sensitive area of the touchpad has small bumps over the surface, which sets the touch-sensitive area off from the rest of the system. The bumps make it so you can tell when you are on the touchpad since it is not recessed.
GIGABYTE has fitted the U2442F with a 14-inch 1600x900 screen. The screen is an LCD version and features a matte coating so as to reduce glare. As with most matte implementations, it has a slightly grainy texture, though it's basically not noticeable when using the screen.
Unfortunately, the GIGABYTE U2442F has a pretty poor panel. Viewing angles are quite small, with color distortions happening fairly rapidly when you move your head left or right or up or down.
Colors are vibrant and seemingly well reproduced. Of course, no TN panel will ever be able to compete with an IPS on viewing angle or color reproduction. There shouldn't be any surprises when looking at pictures on the screen, and games look good.
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