M912M presentation video. (And purchase decision!)

Posted on 01 October 2008 by

The M912M is so easy to make a nice demo with. This video was done with factory settings (I used the built-in recovery program) plus Firefox3, Grab and Drag and a few files and bookmarks. A near out-of-the-box experience. Its fast and fun and even though I’ve just boxed it up and paid for the return post for it to go back to Mobilx, I just cant bring myself to send it back. The keyboard isn’t as good as the Medion Akoya I have but the touch capability, the convertible screen, the fast and big HDD, the ExpressCard/34 slot, the Bluetooth and the possibility of a 6-cell battery it is too much for me to resist.  It feels like so much more than a netbook. Take a look at the video and see if it does the same for you as it just did for me!

HQ WMV version (1mbps PAL) is available at Blip.tv

Thanks to Mobilx for emptying my pockets. This almost impulse purchase (I’ve been looking at buying a Q1 Ultra HSDPA for the last 2 weeks) means I’m now officially going for the two-device strategy of mini notebook and MID! I’ll be waiting for a few months before that happens though.

Full specs, details, links and a new gallery of images are available in the M912M page.

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  • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

    Hi,

    You should try it with a Vista with the TabletPC support : it’s really pleasing to use the big on-screen keyboard, the handwriting recognition works really great and you can even use IE7 with the embedded drag and grab function ;)

    I use it for 3 weeks on my M912X, and it’s really great ;)

    • Dpsci

      Did you need to upgrade the RAM?

      • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

        Yes, I upgraded to 2GB, but the upgrade is not really expensive…
        You can use it with only 1GB, but for heavy works (ie : photoshop), it’s better to have 2GB.

        • Mike

          Hi can you tell me what brand you used for the upgrading the ram

  • http://Www.schulz.dk Kim Schulz

    Is the keyboard the exact same as the one used for the eeePC?….I mean: would I be able to buy a spare eeePC (with correct keyboard layout – danish in my case) and then just swap the keyboards in the netbook ?

    • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

      Yes, it is exactly the same keyboard, and the installation is really simple.

      • http://www.umpcportal.com chippy

        Yup. Can also confirm that.

        • http://Www.schulz.dk Kim Schulz

          Great Thanks.
          By the way. Does anyone know where I can by a danish eeePC keyboard (Guess that asus sells it as a repair component somewhere).

        • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc
        • http://Www.schulz.dk Kim Schulz

          Perfect! does anyone know what the difference is between their “windows” and “linux” versions of the keyboards and which ones I should buy?

  • John

    Have you tried booting Ubuntu Mobile/MID on it?

    I’d love to see a twist/convertible screen tablet/netbook that can run Ubuntu…

    • http://www.umpcportal.com chippy

      Ubuntu mobile is nearly working. At least touch is working. Wifi needs work.
      Steve.

      • turn.self.off

        nice to know as i didnt have the stamina to hang around the live session the other night…

  • quodo

    I so wish I had 500 euros right now… If only internships paid well :)

  • NoBlo

    will it be coming to the US?

    • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

      The M912 is already available in the US on Dynamism.com ;)

    • Dpsci

      Mobilx shipped me a 912M. It took 3 days to get here. I’ve ordered stuff from newegg that took longer. I needed to buy a power plug adapter, but it was easy to find at radioshack.

  • Fixup

    Chippy, if you’ve decided to go netbook+MID, then get a used IBM Thinkpad X30 series for about 300 USD, it’ll blow all the new netbooks into water. Even a X20 (I own and use 3) at about 100 USD will beat anything in your product database.

    I still prefer all-in-one and right now I’m quite happy with OQO 02. I set it to 1024×600 and wear reading glasses. I use KVM to share the desktop monitor and keyboard/mouse. Well, I use X20 mostly and I use Wake On LAN to remotely turn on the oqo if I need data on it. OQO is my data center, so I can carry and use my all data anywhere.

    So my solution is also two devices but X20+OQO02 and the oqo can serve as all-in-one well enough with a X20 to help.

    • http://www.umpcportal.com chippy

      Because i’m buying this for my business, I get it sales-tax-free (around 420 Euro) and with 1 year warranty so i’m pretty happy with the no-hassle, no risk option that buying new from Mobilx gives me.
      I guess that this will only be a 1-year ownership deal for me too so lets see whats aroun in 1 year!

  • tanjeraldy

    wonder if this baby would run OSX almost flawlessly like the MSI WIND…

  • http://Www.schulz.dk Kim Schulz

    I already have a car-charger for the MSI Wind. Does this charger by any chance work for the M912M ?

    • chippy

      UNfortunately not.
      WInd is 19V. M912 is 12V
      Steve

  • DTrain

    I have been watch this blog and the live shows long enough to know that if you are excited enough to buy the M912M, it’s overall pretty good kit.
    Chippy, will you be doing a follow up review with full battery life test, Ubuntu trials, memory upgrade and the like? I’m extremely interested in purchasing it.

    • chippy

      Ill be doing a full review (although waiting a few weeks so that the review is based on real world scenarios) and i’m bound to be blogging from time to time about features.
      E.g. I just found out that the Bluetooth is V2.1
      Steve

      • turn.self.off

        if the drivers are in there for a2dp then it should make a nice media player and voip terminal at the same time then ;)

        • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

          I tried the A2DP part using the Vista drivers, and it works without any problem.

  • Wolle

    Is the fan noise still “quiet” even if its running continuous?

    • chippy

      YEs its air noise, not mechanial noise. I hate hearing fans but air noise is somehow OK for me.
      Level 0 is silent. Level 1 is only audible in a quiet environment. Level 3 is quite noticeable. Not sure if there’s a level 4!

      Steve

  • Fixup

    You have nothing to worry about the used X20/30, they all run damn cold and quietly, a sign of running forever. All metal, no plastic. I’ve bought 5 X20 (2 for friends), all no problem. If you can find anything that runs this deadly cold and quiet, you may kill me. X20/30 are a really joy to use. I almost bought a Acer Aspire One, only if it was not that hot.

  • djore

    is it able to put 2.5 ssd on m912 ? That will help with the heat problem that the divice have + plus better buttery life maybe …

    • chippy

      Yeah, as long at the SSD has the right interface.
      It should help quite a lot with battery life and heat. (Although i’m not noticiing any real heat problems. Warmth, like many other devices, but not heat.

      Steve

      • djore

        OCZ OCZSSD2-2C60G SOLID STATE 60GB SATA 2 CORE SERIES DRIVE V2

        what interface m912m use ? Sata i guess ? something like the above ssd will be great …

        • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

          Yes, it uses SATA interface.

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  • KevinR

    Hi Steve. You’ve a typo in the article title “M9129M”.

    So basically this is the device the SC3 could have been (ignoring different chipset). And by avoiding the poorly supported atom specific chipset Gigabyte have avoided all the missing codecs and poor drivers that harmed playback and (I suspect) the stability issues of the SC3. And they seem to have selected lower power HDD and WiFi based on your reviews. The faster CPU is merely a bonus although presumably it adds into the price.

    • chippy

      Thanks for the error alert!

      This isnt really an SC3 replacement. This is a tabletop device first PLUS (Couch on lap in tablet mode, some fun with the swivel screen etc), Its much heavier than the SC3. The SC3 could be held like a book for a long time, the M912 is too heavy for that.
      If the M9129M was 800gm then it would be a dream but its 1350gm which is much heavier.

      • SeniorDad

        Yes, but I’ll bet the M912M could play the blip.tv clip w-w-w-i-i-i-t-h out studdering video I enjoyed on my SC3 watching you…

  • anon

    Use SpeedFan’s “Send report” button in the Info tab to help get support for controlling that fan sooner.

    • chippy

      Thanks for that tip. I will be looking for ways to control the fan.
      Steve

  • chippy

    While you’re all watching, let me highlight the lowlights again.

    1) Fan air noise (not very loud)
    2) Slightly wobbly screen hinge is not up to the standard of others.
    3) SCreen brightness could go a stage lower (yes lower)
    4) Wifi in power save mode seems to have a large affect on throughput. Affects browsing speed.
    5) Mouse buttons a bit squishy (not really a problem with the touch-to-click and configurable areas of the mouse pad.
    6) Out of the box it might need some software clean-up E.g. remove Norton. Not full of crapware though.

    Just so that you know before purchasing. All devices have their problems and shortfalls but for me, this one fits nicely so far.

  • chippy

    One more thing – i’ve noticed some screen flicker. Very similar to what I has on the Akoya Mini before it had a BIOS upgrade. Have experienced one screen white-out too that was solved with sleep/restore. Gigabyte are now aware of these issues.

    • Wolle

      @chippy: have you checked your bios version? there might be a newer one already available here:

      http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Notebook/BIOS_Model.aspx?ProductID=2835

      • chippy

        Thanks. Theres a new version there that im going to try out now.

      • chippy

        Hmmm.
        Latest F06 BIOS might be fixing screen jitter (difficult to tell as it occurs rarely.) but battery useage has just shot through the roof! 25% average increase in power consumptoin/
        Ooops
        Gigabyte need to start doing testing. Release notes would be nice too!
        Rolling back to F04 Bios now.

        • DPSci

          I’m betting they increased the fan speed/operation temperatures.

        • Wolle

          Chippy: sounds not so good. You payed attention that there is only one version for the 1024 x 600 devices? Which bios version was original on yours? I’ll get mine next week (german version).

        • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

          I flashed my M912X with the F06 firmware (I had the F04), and I will tell you if there’s a difference concerning the power consuption.

  • neo

    Hi Chippy

    can you please explain to me how you can get it tax free for your business? I know you can make tax deductions but tax free? how?

    thanks

    • chippy

      Sales tax. Its an eu thing! Look up ‘VAT registration’ for more.

  • http://Www.schulz.dk Kim Schulz

    I can see on the driver download page that there is a driver for digital TV (Digital TV Tuner Module Driver (optional accessory)). Has anyone seen which module this is and where to get it ?

  • John

    Hm. Having looked at the video now, I have to say: while I _LOVE_ that it has an express card slot (I wish the Dell mini had the twist screen and an express card), I think it’s located in an awful location.

    IMO, netbooks need to not put things like that on the side of the device, where you might be trying to hold it for some attempts at thumb typing. That one looks like it might be forward enough to maybe not get in the way, but I bet it’d be awkward none the less. It should have it on the back edge. I’d suggest that when you have the device in tablet+portrait mode, the express card should be sticking out the left side of the device, near the top (to hep with both hand holding, and to stay clear of the battery). That location should work on just about every netbook, convertible or not.

    I’m also wondering why so many netbooks are using full sized VGA connectors. They should at least use mini-VGA, but really they should be going for mini-DVI (with DVI-I). Is DVI hardware really that much more expensive?

    • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

      I think the problem with mini-VGA or mini-DVI is that you always need to carry the adapter to use it… You gain some millimeters on the netbook, but you need to transport an adapter… I don’t think it’s really more practical :s

      • John

        I see what you’re saying about the size savings of mini-(VGA or DVI) connectors compared to full size ones, when contrasted with the inconvenience of carrying an adapter. But:

        1) I don’t think it’s that much compared to having to carry things like a power cord, and other things that you’d likely stuff into a gear bag.

        2) It depends a lot on the individual. I’m only ever likely to hook my portable machine up to a monitor at my home desk or my work desk. So, I’d be much more likely to buy 2 adapters and keep them at my desks than carry one with me as I go back and forth.

        3) My main surprise isn’t/wasn’t mini-* vs standard sized plugs, it was more that I’m surprised that we’re still seeing VGA on these things. That’s limiting the device to dinosaur technology for displays. DVI-I would give them the ability to use VGA and DVI monitors, and these days the DVI monitors are far more likely to be the norm.

  • Fixup

    Believe me, there is no way for a guy like chippy to use such a large and heavy laptop for more than a month, let’s see.

  • DTrain

    Chippy, any idea if/when Gigabyte will release the alternate color for the M912M? The flash window on the site shows them.

    • chippy

      No word at the moment.

    • http://dronthego.wordpress.com Reggie

      I think it will be available by November. I’m holding my purchase for the colored M912M

  • Mike

    Gret presentations, thanks for it. I only have 2 question after watching it. Is 1.3kgs too heavy to hold it for a coupe hours reading? And how is note taking onit? Say with Onenote? Thanks!

    • chippy

      Yes its too heavy for that. Ive tried.
      This is really, like all netbooks, a tabletop solution. Not a UMPC.
      Steve

      • Mike

        Thanks Chippy!

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  • Andrey

    Chippy, can you post pix with Acer Aspire One. It is very interesting to compare sizes/

  • Pixel Qi fan in waiting…

    OK – now that you have had a day or two to think it over, was it a wise decision still? Are you going to miss being able to use 3G with this in the future?

    Did you try one of JKK’s fast SSD (sata replacement version) inside this, to see if it:
    A) adds to battery life
    B) is quicker
    — don’t need on-board storage that big as have USB external devices for that (various, even RAID 1 Western Digital USB Book with 750Gig per disk).

    What adds to the weight of this unit (seems to weigh as much as the HP 2133)? Would SSD be lighter too (as anyone compared the weight of SSDs vs HDDs ?

    Hmmm, with the HP 2133 having the best keyboard (I wonder what that would be like with a JKK touch screen mod). The last pod-cast had HP selling a large number of 2133s, so with the weight of that one, if it were touch screen too, then would you have selected that one?

    • Judge

      An SSD like this 64GB ocz SATA drive
      http://www.pcwb.com/catalogue/item/A0436207
      weighs 77grms.

      A Conventinal 2.5inch HD like in the Gigabyte typically
      weigh between 100-120 grams. So this means you would probably only save 30-50 grams in weight.

    • chippy

      Enjoying it a lot as a cheap, fun, fast, hot-desking laptop but its nothing like a umpc. No handheld use as its just too heavy. No all-day mobility due to average batt life.
      There is still space for a 3g umpc or mid in my life.
      Steve

      • fixup

        I told you! This thing is too large, heavy, noisy, hot and short battery life. Imagine how thick and heavy after you add a 6 cell battery. I see no point of it other than a desktop unit if cheap enough. Then, for a desktop unit, nothing comes close to an IBM X20/30.

        The satisfactory UMPC does not exist yet. The U820 is the closest only if it has a 7″ screen, this would certainly happen in the next version. The Everun Note is also close, only if it can run 3 hours. All the netbooks such as Acer Aspire One, HP 2133 and ASUS EEE PC… are all craps; they are good for average people, not the cup of tea of UMPC fans.

        So many small computers around, but none of them is the one. This is life. Clothes are the same; so many in any store, but see if you can find a 100% cotton vest (other than those full of pockets for fishmen).

        • John

          Actually, based upon recent articles on here, I finally decided to go ahead and buy the UMPC I’ve been looking at for a while: The Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium. Got it with 2GB of ram and the optional keyboard for under $1000, on ebay. Then I went and got the otterbox that’s specially made for it.

          If Ubuntu runs on it as well as the Ubuntu MID article on here showed (which had been running on a 1GB/800MHz Q1U, whereas I bought a 2GB/1.3GHz Q1UP), then I think that will be MORE than “satisfactory”. It’ll be absolutely wonderful.

          I do agree that most UMPCs aren’t satisfactory though. They all run some flavor of Windows, which is completely useless to me. If Ubuntu hadn’t gotten themselves working on the Q1’s, I wouldn’t have ever decided to buy one. I’d prefer vendor support though (like with Dell on the mini 9 netbook, which would have been my second choice).

          Now I’m just on the hunt for the right 3G USB dongle, a decently priced and decently performing 64-128GB 1.8″ SSD, and a good price for the Q1U docking station and DVD drive. Maybe I’ll get work to buy the 3G, docking station, and DVD drives for me…

        • chippy

          Did you think I was buying this as my one and only mobile device? No No! I bought this as a tabletop device and am totally happy with it so far. Its an absolute bargain and certainly not a mistake purchase.
          S.

  • Judge

    is it possible to disable the wi-fi and still use bluetooth on the 912?

    • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

      Yes.
      In fact, the WiFi has a keyboard shorcut to activate/deactivate and to enable/disable the bluetooth, you have to do it using the driver.

      But there’s no problem to use them separately.

  • Robert

    Hello Steve:

    Reduce the price an extra $150US on the Gigabyte and it will sell like the NetBooks did in early September.

    Regards Robert

    • turn.self.off

      hmm, indeed. id grab one on the spot then.

      • Pixel Qi fan in waiting…

        With Microsoft as part of the price… one wonders what would Linux with Ubuntu Mobile cost instead? Good unit, but the price, is maybe a bit high vs other netbook options these days.
        Sub-$500 range might be ok.

        • turn.self.off

          the pessimist in me says “not much less”, as i suspect that microsoft have more or less made XP zero cost for the companies, just to make sure people do not get to know a pre-installed linux system of any kind.

  • dryfire

    any news as to when this will be state side? $800 for the imported version seems a bit steep.

  • Tim

    Chippy,

    You said in the video that it has a couple of ethernet ports on the right side. Aren’t they USB ports?

    • chippy

      My mistake i guess. sorry

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  • neo

    THE QUESTION IS…

    where are you gonna get one. Mobilex charges $160 yes that’s right lol $160 for shipping hahaha

    i hope DFJ store has them soon, cos they have free shipping

  • Nix

    Chippy, Do you think it would be fairly easy to replace the screen with the 1280×768 resolution and LED backlit from the SX3?

    Also any word on the M1012(10″ version rumoured?) Wondering if it will be same chassis but screen will replace the that shroud?

    • Judge

      Why would u want to replace a 9 inch screen with a 7 inch one?

      • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

        The SX3 has a 8.9″ screen.
        The SC3 has a 7″ screen ;)

  • Judge

    Does anyone know any high street/ major internet stores that are getting these in. i.e PC World, Carphone Warehouse, ebuyer, Amazon?

    • http://itmobility.blogspot.com Loïc

      The known internet stores are :
      – UK : eXpansys.com
      – DE : Notebook.de
      – HU : MobilX.hu

      • chippy

        US – Dynamism

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  • imzadi

    I’ve just bought PicLighter for my M912M and it works like a charm! It is a 3D I-Phone-like image viewer. You only have to turn off right-mouse-button-on-press-hold for smooth use of zoom buttons. Still, it requires some time to prepare presentation and number/quality of pictures are limited for smooth show, but the result is breathtaking. Ideal to shock your friends ;)

    • :(

      it is very slow on >20 images. wasted 12eur :(

    • imzadi

      It has to resize entire, usually hi-res gallery so it takes few minutes to prepare presentation. Set quality fixed 512 (not auto), I am browsing over 60 7M photos smoothly. Options window is over 600 in height, so turn your screen by 90 degrees. Let me know if it helped.

      • :(

        ok, at 512 it is smoothly but about 6min to load 60 images????

        • imzadi

          It is not loading that takes this time – it is high quality resize from hi-res. You can set lower quality algorithms for fast resize.
          There is no way to have such nice show “on fly”. However, there should be an option of saving gallery for immediate future watch. Hope in future versions…

  • masculean

    hi @ all!
    i went through all the comments but unfortunately i did not find any info regarding the usability of the M912M as a hand-writing utensil. i really like the touch-feature, but i want to do more with it than just browsing and image sliding. does the M912M have a digitizer? is handwriting working well (even if it does not have da digitizer). I own a portege m200, so I am a little spoiled regarding note-taking via stylus ;)
    thx for the info!

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  • http://Www.schulz.dk Kim Schulz

    Could you elaborate a bit more on the difference in screen brightness (CCLF vs LED backlight) and how much it actually impacts on the battery life.
    I would really love to have the higher resolution but not if it has to big an impact on the screen brightness (on the level where you would normally use it) or the battery life.

  • http://www.jkkmobile.com/ jkkmobile
    • http://Www.schulz.dk Kim Schulz

      brilliant. how about a 7.2Mbit card? can anyone recommend one?

  • tanjeraldy

    a few quick queries:

    1. SD card flush? SDHC capable?
    2. how’s hibernate/sleep? no batt drain during hibernate?

  • chippy

    Im having a lot of problems tracking this thread so if you’ve got outstanding questions, please join in the forums and ask there where I can see the questions and others can see/track/search the answers.
    http://www.umpcportal.com/modules/newbb/viewforum.php?forum=30

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  • maxi

    in the datasheet on your site stands, that it hasn’t BT onboard. i think u realized thats wrong. please update the database… :) some people (including me at first) could get confused.

    • chippy

      I believe BT on the M912M is still an option but i’ll put a note in the product page. Thanks. Steve.

      • maxi

        Ah ok. that could be of course. i just concluded from the available devices to the whole model. thx n grtz.

  • Mire

    How is the pen (stylus) when it comes to scratching?
    Does it make any scratches after heavy use?

    I was thinking of testing it as a sketch pad (with Sketchbook Pro).
    I have another PC for it but a smaller one would be good and this one seems quite good.

  • Skip

    In the demo video, you switch to portrait mode with a hot key. I can find no mention of this in the documentation. Can you identify the hotkey? I’m sure I just overlooked it in the documentation, but it would help me out. Thanks!

    • nielske

      I’m looking to for this hot-key, but cant find it in any documentation from gigabyte. It looks like your pressing the Fn+Alt button and something else…. what is it?

      • docangulo

        what you may be looking for is

        Control + Alt + -> (use the arrow key pointing where you want the top of the scrren. i.e tablet use the left or right arrow; then back to laptop use the up arrow)

      • http://www.umpcportal.com Chippy

        docangulo got it.
        It’s the Intel graphics driver that controls this and works on most netbooks and UMPC running windows.

        Steve

  • Kevin Simerly

    Ordered M912M from Mobilx Monday night and it arrived in San Diego Thursday afternoon with the 2gb memory already installed (the 1gb memory card was in the box). I don’t think any company could have delivered it faster. Initial tests are quite positive. I’m thinking this was a great buy.
    Thanks for the video Chippy, it was instrumental in my decision making process.
    R/Kevin

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