Gigabyte M912M. Less is more.

Posted on 30 September 2008 by

While the M912V had an impressive high resolution display, the M912M, with its 1024×600 display seems to be more suitable for the average user. It’s a much brighter screen with great contrast and even brings better battery life. For 50 Euro less than the high resolution model, this seems to be a better choice.

We received the retail-boxed M912M from Mobilx.EU yesterday with the sole intention of checking out the differences between it and the M912X. After 3 hours of live testing, we’ve got the answers. I think the simplest way to summarise is to highlight the changes in the ‘lowlights’ and ‘highlights’ from our M912X testing.

  • Screen. M912M has LED backlighting. Brighter, better contrast. Not the best I’ve seen but certainly very good. If you don’t need the high resolution of the M912X, this is a better choice for all-round use.
  • Battery life. M912M averages 1-2Watts less (even more at high brightness settings.) 3hrs with the wifi on still requires careful setup but in general there’s a noticeable improvement over the M912X in all situations. An extended battery has been confirmed and will be available in October. (Details not 100% clear yet but the 6-cell battery is expected to be 150% capacity and not much bigger in size.)
  • Keyboard. No flex at all. Very good quality. Same keyboard as Eee PC 700,900 etc.
  • Heat build-up seems top have been reduced. This could be a result of faster fan.
  • Same, very fast 160gb 2.5″ SATA drive. (50MB/s+ read and write speed) This is a surprise highlight (I was expecting an 80GB drive) and makes a noticeable difference when starting up applications when compared to other netbooks and UMPCs.
  • Bluetooth is included. (Was previously announced without Bluetooth)
  • Fan appears top be on more of the time than with the M912X we tested. Slightly annoying but seems have a noticeable effect on reducing heat build up.
  • Optimised windows configuration. Gigabyte have taken the time to optimise window controls. Wider scrollbar, bigger close button. Very useful for users that might not know how to do this themselves.
  • Price. At under 500 Euros, which isn’t much more than many netbooks in Europe, you really are getting something different. 160GB of fast drive storage makes this very interesting as a media device. Touchscreen makes this fun as a low-end tablet. PCI-Express make 3G connectivity easy.
  • Some play/looseness in the screen pivot is an indication that the build quality may not be as high as on other convertibles.
  • Synaptics pointer with scroll area is high quality but the single-bar mouse buttons arent. ‘Squashy’ is the only word I can find that describes them. No worse than on the Medion Akoya though.
  • Screen has a matte finish.
  • Piano black screen casing looks really great when clean. Has a slight sparkle, not the patterned finish of the M912X that we tested before.
  • Crystalmark score: 26500. Impressive. I’m not sure anyone could really squeeze much more out of the Intel netbook platform.

One issue that we have found out about since testing the M912X is that the PCI-Express Mini slot, accessible under the removable panel, is locked by default and its not possible to unlock it through BIOS or software for use with a 3G card. I suspect this will be hacked before long but it makes it difficult for people wanting to upgrade with internal 3G. Using the ExpressCard/34 slot is obviously an easy alternative though.

Overall, the Gigabyte M912M is a nice, no, very nice, mini convertible offering a couple of unique features that are really worth thinking about. Media fans looking to carry around their complete library and use a netbook as a high quality media player should take a very close look at this one. Overall, I find it has better features and a better price than the M912X for the average user.

The M912M was sent for review by Mobilx.EU who have the device in stock now. Full details about the M912M are available in the product page.

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  • liveart

    Does anyone know if this will play back 720p HD video, WMV or MKV format? I would imagine the fast hard drive would help but are the Atom processor and integrated graphics up to it?

    • http://www.umpcportal.com chippy

      Its no problem to play WMV up to about 6mbps which is enough for most 720p.
      H.264 goes up to about 4mbps, again, excelent quality
      Divx, much higher, about 7mbps.
      DOnt expect HD videos in FLV format to play well though. In general, this codec requires a lot of CPU for high-bitrate playback

      All-in-all, the Atom at 1.6 makes a great generic video playback device if you’ve got the codecs, this will probably play it.

      Steve

  • imzadi

    Chippy, many thanks for another great live session. Your review is as useful as always and finally convinced me to make a purchase :)

  • Judge

    Great review the 912x is £415 at Expansys so the M should easily be less than £400.

    Bit strange about the pci express slot why is it disabled? (for the DVB card perhaps). Might be work asking Gigabyte about this although they are normally quite good about releasing Bios updates quite quickly.

    • http://www.umpcportal.com chippy

      I already asked. It seems they have made their mind up that it should be locked. I dont agree but I guess its a matter or needed to pander to carriers.
      Steve

  • Judge

    The 6 cell battery is on pre-order at expansys for £73
    http://www.expansys.com/p.aspx?i=173708

    The 4 cell is £38 which seems quite cheap to me?

    • http://www.umpcportal.com chippy

      2x price for the battery that is 1.5 X size doesnt seem right.
      At least we know we’re looking at 4.5hrs max with the extended battery.

      Thanks for the link.

      Steve

  • http://www.umpcportal.com chippy

    One more thing, the PSU is tiny. The smallest i’ve seen (same as SC3) 12V input too.,
    Steve

    • Judge

      so does that mean it could easily run from a car cigarette lighter easily with an adapter and no inverter?

  • http://www.umpcportal.com chippy

    Dont ask me about powering devices from DC. i’ve killed at least two now. (Although, i’ve had a lot of success too.)
    Car DC will go from 11-15v so you’ll still need some form of protection.
    Steve

  • Declan

    Thank you for the informative review. I’ve decided that this is the device for me. I was sold on the Everrun Note but put off by what i saw as being a high price tag (as I’m just a general user). But this is the better all rounder. Finally a device that can be used while travelling for fun and for productivity. Roll on pay-day!

    • http://www.umpcportal.com chippy

      Yeah, its a fun, productive device. Well put!

  • dryfire

    I know you mentioned the screen was soft touch, is it still possible to write on it?

    I plan to take notes with it in class and typing is insufficient.

    • chippy

      Personaly, I wouldn’t recommend it for serious note-taking work. You might be able to find a way to make it work for you but in general, its not for note-taking. Sorry.
      Steve.

      • dryfire

        It would mainly be for annotating power point slides. No lengthy essay’s or anything of the sort.

      • chippy

        For annotations, probably OK,

  • Kes

    It would be nice if Gigabyte marketed this to students (such as myself) perhaps with a nice discount (hint) as I think it’s an ideal student device. The swivel screen looks ideal for reading textbooks in .pdf format (good for reading in bed!)as well as lecture notes (which we get in Powerpoint form). As I sometimes cycle in – it’s better to fit in my bag than a laptop in terms of its size and weight. It shouldn’t put too huge a dent in the student loan either.

    • chippy

      As a reader, I can think of lighter devices but at this price, tere’s nothing that can offer the same experience, even if it is 1.4kg.
      I dont actually recommend any netbook for long-term use due to kneck/back risks but its a good device for hour-long sessions.
      Funnily enough, a Q1 Ultra on a stand with a USB keyboard is a very comfortable solution. Expensive though.

      Steve

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  • tal

    So have you ordered one Steve?

    • chippy

      Not at the moment. I’ve seriously run out of gadget cash. Would prefer this to my Akoya Mini.
      Anyone want an Akoya Mini?

      • Dpsci

        I’ll take it. Do I have to pay for it?

      • chippy

        ;-)

    • steve

      I changed my mind.
      I’m buying this one. Its too much to resist!
      It’s so much more than a netbook!
      Steve.

  • bpm

    re “not for long=term use due to neck/back risks”: use your big monitor when at the desk. I’ve been using a Picturebook hooked to a 17″ for years – only turn the built-in 8.9″ screen on when roaming.

    • chippy

      I tend to work in the family living room. No monitor there!

  • neo

    Can anyone please tell me where i can order one with the cheapest price :P including shipping?

    i live in australia ^_^

  • Kes

    I assume that by neck/back risks you mean having to slouch down somewhat when using the netbook on a table? I suppose that one should really take a break every hour or so while using any computer (although who among us can claim to do so with any degree of rigour?).

  • Rolyat

    Neo: I don’t know what you mean by cheapest, but in Malaysia (so just little bit to the North of Australia), the official retail price is in Malaysian Ringitts 2000, more or less 400Euros.

    • Mike

      Do you know a reliable retailer that will ship within SE Asia?

  • Mike

    A couple followup questions to this review?

    1) Is the 912M cool enough to hold for 3 hours? For example, can I read a book on it in bed without burning myself (like the 912V/X)?

    2) How is the finger touch sensitivity? I read a few reviews of the 912v/x that said it didn;t respond to finger presses, only stylus pressess.

    Thanks!

    • chippy

      Finger touch is fine. Very light.

      3hrs in bed is difficult to predict but im testing out now in tablet mode with the inscribe OSK.
      The brightness at lowest setting might be too high for dark room use.
      Steve

      • Mike

        Thanks Chippy!

      • steve

        It still hasn’t got too hot for me.
        I used it for about 45 minutes in converted mode (21 degrees ambient) and it was fine.
        Steve.

        • Mike

          Thanks Steve, that is all I needed. Paying too much for shipping but mine’s coming next week :).

  • Rolyat

    Mike:
    Unfortunately, I don’t know any *reliable* company in SE Asia. It should exist, but for the M912M I am dealing directly with the distributor, they seem to be more reliable and helpful.
    Bad experience with retailers here in fact: no answer to email, you are looking for something specific they could order (because it is in their catalogue), they don’t even propose to you, etc. I still have to find a *reliable* retailer here, either online or off-line. That’s a pity.

    • Mike

      Yeah same here (Philippines), I also buy from the distributor. However, there is no big Gigabyte distributor here. Only small motherboard ones and I can’t find even the 912v/x here yet. Only from direct sellers on places like TipidPC (and no 912m yet).

      Guess I’ll be ordering it from Singapore. Prices there are always too high, I like buying from KL for better prices.

  • tyl

    Nice !

    I would chose the X due to the higher rez.
    More productive for me.

  • Sam

    Sorry to ask this here, but can someone please direct me to where I can find the camera driver or utility of the M912 for WinXP as it’s not present on the gigabyte’s support page.

  • http://oseres.com OlivierSeres

    Hi,
    i just received the M912x and installed Ubuntu Mobile on it with a USB key. Works fine, except touchscreen is not active on the borders. Any idea where to find a calibration tool ? Thanks

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  • http://www.mortgage-loan-calculator.loanonlinedirect.com/ Student Loan Default Solution

    I Googled for something completely different, but found your page about e M912M. Less is more. | UMPCPortal – The Ultra Mobile Computing reference site …and have to say thanks. nice read.

  • Joe

    I need some help. Should I buy the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 or the Gigabyte m912-m? I would use it when I am on the go and just for fun. I have always wanted a touch screen computer, but is this a good one to get? Please reply with which one you think I should get.

  • daisy

    how much is the price of the m912m in singapore any idea?

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