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.