Gigabyte launches BookTop T1125 with USB 3.0 dock

With ultra-low Voltage Core i processor options

GIGABYTE HAS BEEN trying very hard to differentiate itself from other notebook manufacturers and it all started with the original BookTop, the M1022 which came with a vertical dock. This was later followed up with the M1305 and M1405, both of which featured a regular horizontal dock, but with a standard desktop graphics card fitted inside it. The latest addition to the BookTop series is the new T1125 which we wrote about back at Computex and which features a new vertical dock that sports two USB 3.0 ports among its features.

Notebooks are generally not that innovative of products when it comes to new ideas outside of what you’ll find inside the chassis and Gigabyte is obviously trying to cash in on this fact. However, as a small player in the notebook market, Gigabyte is having to fight a battle with more established brands and considering that the company is charging fairly high prices for its products, this is going to be a tough battle to win.

So what about the BookTop T1125? Well, for starters it’s an 11.6-inch convertible tablet with 1366×768 resolution, something that in itself is unusual, albeit not unique in the market. It will be available with either a Core i3 380UM or a Core i5 470UM, although it’s possible other CPU options will become available at a later date. The Core i3 380UM is clocked at 1.33GHz and as this is a Core i3 processor, it lacks Turbo. However, Gigabyte has added its own “Smart Turbo” feature which allows the processor to run at 1.77GHz. The Core i5 470UM is also clocked at 1.33GHz, but it supports Turbo Boost up to 1.86GHz.

The model with the Core i3 380M is known as the T1125M and it will only be available with Intel HD graphics, while the model with the Core i5 470UM – called the T1125N – is offered with a GeForce 310M with DDR3 memory (we don’t have details on the exact amount) and support for Nvidia’s Optimus graphics switching technology. The T1125M comes with a 320GB hard drive while the T1125N gets a larger 500GB drive. At least in Taiwan, the T1125N will also be offered with a built in 3G modem as an option.

Both models feature one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, a combo eSATA/USB 2.0 port, an HDMI and D-sub connector, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR,  802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a pair of audio jacks, a memory card reader and a 1.3 Megapixel webcam. Both models feature an unspecified 6-cell battery and weigh in at 1.73kg. The dock is a rather unusual affair, as not only does it feature a slot for the notebook itself, but also one for the supplied optical drive. The optical drive connects to the notebook via USB when out of the dock; however in the dock it’s connected by a micro SATA connector, as it too is mounted vertically in the dock.

Add to this the fact that the part with the notebook and optical drive can be rotated at least 90 degrees and you have a very unique dock. Around the back of the dock you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, two audio jacks, an HDMI port and a D-sub connector. The power connector is located on the side and this part of the dock is always static. Those are some pretty nifty features which set this new model from Gigabyte apart from the competition, but it’s not all good news.

We don’t know what the US pricing will be, but the T1125M has a list price of a whopping $1110 in Taiwan with the T1125N coming in at $1269 without 3G and $1365 with 3G – in all case 2GB of RAM and Windows 7 is included. If you’re just after an 11.6-inch convertible notebook, then the Acer Aspire 1825PTZ can be had for as little as $665 in Taiwan as a comparison, although it has a much slower CULV processor in it and lacking some of the other features. Acer also offers the TimelineX 1830T in Taiwan with the Core i5 470UM processor and an 11.6-inch screen for about $855, but this is not a convertible. It just goes to show that all these extras cost extra, but for those that find these features useful, there aren’t really many options in the market.S|A

Picture of the dock courtesy of Engadget Chinese.

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