Gigabyte U60 Netbook Review

352
Gigabyte U60 netbook

When firstly introduced in 2007, the Gigabyte U60 UMPC/Netbook was considered one of the smallest and yet most loaded netbooks on the market. With a powerful ULV C7-M (1 or 1.2 GHz) processor, a sensitive touch screen and elegantly sliding  full QWERTY keyboard, the U60 netbook was created to attract attention, and steal the devoted Sony and FSC UMPC fans.

Gigabyte U60 Netbook/UMPC Specifications

U60 Gigabyte all side views

  • Processor: VIA Esther ULV C7-M (1.0Ghz or 1.2Ghz, 400Mhz, 128KB L2)
  • Display: 6.5-inch TFT LCD WVGA, 800 x 480 with LED backlight
  • HDD: 1.8-inch 30GB IDE HDD, 4200rpm
  • Memory: 768MB DDR2-533
  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11g+b WLAN, Ethernet 10/100 Base T support (with docking station)
  • Dimensions: 190 x 120.8 x 28.3 mm (H X W X D)
  • Weight: ~740g
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

 

Gigabyte U60- General Information

There’s absolutely no chance of somebody taking the Gigabyte U60 for anything other than a small-factor netbook (UMPC) because of all the way it looks and feels in the hand. Its dimensions, proportion and styling will definitely make UMPS fans’ hearts tremble with anticipation and joy.

With measures small enough to fit in one hand (namely 190(W) x 120.8 (D) x 28.3 (H) mm), the Gigabyte U60 is a leader as it comes to the portability criteria. Though phisical dimensions suit most of the netbooks fanatics, the weight of U60 is not so acceptable – a total of 740gr is a bit more than expected and desired. There is even a bigger problem to that – with the QWERTY keyboard slid open, holding a firm grip can be a little tricky, especially when the Gigabyte U60 is held with just one hand. In that sense, both the Fujitsu U1010 and VAIO UX series of UMPCs have a good advantage in handling over the Gigabyte U60.

A screen size of 6.5 inches with a native resolution of 800 by 480 pixels is quite OK for navigation and browsing, which is the core purpose of the Gigabyte U60. For more demanding customers, the software provides opportunity for interpolation to higher resolutions such as 1024×600, 1024×768 and 1280×768, with the late two being completely illegible. The WVGA one (1024×600) qhough is quite usable.

Basic navigation on the Gigabyte U60 is done via a four-directional keypad that’s escorted by a left and right mouse button. The two mouse buttons work well in tandem with the touchpad, which proved to be a well conceived implementation as we managed to get around without using the keyboard most of the time. Of course, one can also utilize the touch screen interface with the stylus located at the back of the Gigabyte U60. Gaining access to the QWERTY keyboard is an effortless process of simply sliding up the LCD screen that rests on two sliding tracks. However, due to its compact dimensions, the keys had to be built small and as a result, typing is not immediately intuitive. Even though there is a stand at the back of the Gigabyte U60, it doesn’t make it any easier to perform character input. It is however, useful in letting users enjoy hands free video content as it lets the Gigabyte U60 sit at a tilted angle with the screen facing users.

Gigabyte U60 – I/O ports

It may be a UMPC but the Gigabyte U60 has a good set of connectivity and input/output options to offer. You can expect to find two USB jacks, a SD card slot, built-in microphone, earphone out, and VGA out for external display. Of course, if these aren’t enough for you, there’s always the option of purchasing an external docking station that adds on four more USB slots, a speaker out and an Ethernet port for high speed network access through wired networks.

Gigabyte U60 – Computing power and Connectivity

Naturally, battery power is more important than absolute computing performance where UMPCs are concerned. This is why you’ll find the Gigabyte U60 equipped with a VIA Esther ULC C7-M (1.0Ghz, 400Mhz, 128KB L2) processor. It’s certainly not the fastest but with 768MB of DDR2-533 RAM fitted to run the preloaded Windows XP Home Edition, the Gigabyte U60 managed to be pretty responsive. Common applications such as Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Windows Media Player and Office Applications did not take an unusually long time to be fired up.

With its 802.11b+g WLAN connectivity, one can enjoy wireless web browsing, music and movie playback for up to two hours, which is what a UMPC such as the Gigabyte U60 is all about. Unfortunately, there was a rather unsettling issue of heat when the Gigabyte U60 was used for more than an hour. Though there are two ventilation channels located at the bottom, the heat dissipation rate was not efficient enough to cool down the handheld to return a more comfortable usage experience.

Gigabyte U60 – General Opinion

With the U60 UMPC/Netbook, Gigabyte is definitely making a fast and stunning entry in the netbooks market. Priced at a bit over US$1000 the Gigabyte U60 is an affordable netbook with good computing performance giving us a chance to experience convenient Internet lifestyle in the open – sturdy build, several connectivity options and QWERTY keyboard providing for a positive user experience.