Been playing with the Gigabyte M912 Netbook for quite a while now and I’m ready to write a review of it. It’s specs are quite similar to other netbooks but what’s unique about it is its touch screen display which is very uncommon for netbooks.
Yuga covered the first impression stuff here so you might want to check that out. My review’s gonna be about my experience on it doing things you might want to try on a netbook and my overall thoughts on it. I’ll skip the usual stuff like WiFi, Webcam, Internet, etc.
So let’s start shall we?
LOOK AND FEEL
The glossy black cover attracts fingerprints and the aluminum casing looks cheap but sturdy. It’s a bit heavier and thicker than the MSI Wind and it runs hot quickly for my taste. Still, I hope it would look sleeker like the MiniNote or Aspire One.
There are also no locks or latches so whenever you close the lid or convert it to tablet form, you might find yourself adjusting the display quite often.
The M912x sports a wide screen resolution of 1280 x 768 on its 8.9″ touch screen display. Frankly, my sweet spot display size for a netbook is the 10″ but the screen on this one can be swiveled into tablet form. Sweet!
It can only support a refresh rate of 61Hz in all available resolutions and I think this is the reason I’m getting eyestrain after using it for more than 30 minutes. Also, there are angles where it’s hard to see the display near the edges so it would be tricky if you’re sharing the screen with someone.
This is the bread and butter of this netbook (aside from the swiveling LCD). I’m not comfortable using a laptop’s touchpad so having to click the links with my fingers makes it easy to surf the net. It’s touch screen is quite responsive and you can use your fingers or its stylus for pinpoint accuracy. Swivel it into tablet form for a better and comfortable experience.
The keys look cheap and small and will take some time to get used to. One thing I had problem at first is the location of the right SHIFT key. If you’re used to the right SHIFT instead of the left one, prepare to hit the UP ARROW key by mistake a lot.
The WiFi switch, mute, and other settings are treated as Fn keys. Got no problems with the touch pad.
Obviously, netbooks are not made for gaming although you can easily play some Solitaire or Freecell to pass time.
But you know what games would be cool with a touch screen display? Seek and Find games! I installed the latest Mystery Case File and it worked like a charm. I was actually surprised how the graphics looked on it which is pretty amazing. Change it into tablet form and you can start clicking off items with your fingers.
Don’t forget to change the resolution to a 4:3 aspect ratio before playing so you could maximize the whole screen.
Playing a video also looked good on the wide screen display of this netbook. Its tablet form can make this a decent in-car video player.
Another cool thing you could do with this netbook is to make it a heavy eBook reader. I downloaded and installed Microsoft Reader, rotated the screen 90 degrees then swiveled the M912 into tablet form and voila! An e-Book Reader that you can use with your fingers to turn the pages.
Ahhh, maybe because of the touch screen display that a 4-cell battery can only give it 3 hours (lesser if WiFi is always on). There are different power management modes that you can easily switch from the system tray to save battery on demand.
Power Saver, I tried this with multiple browser tabs and the click response becomes slow. Works fine when only viewing videos though.
Balanced is the default power management option which can give you almost 3 hours of use with this netbook.
And High Performance, which you would probably never use.
According to BuyQube, there are 2 models for this netbook. The M912m (1024 x 600) which costs Php25,999 and with plain glossy black cover and the M912x (1280 x 768) which costs Php27,999. I guess the 2k price difference is because of the increase in touch screen area. It comes with Windows XP as its OS but you can upgrade it to Vista Basic. Add Php1,500 to upgrade from 1GB to 2GB RAM.
I think the Gigabyte M912 is the best value that you can get for a touch screen netbook (that can also be easily switched to tablet form) these days. The Astone UMPC is also a touch screen netbook which is considerably cheaper but really, don’t bother with it. Kohjinsha also makes good touch screen netbooks but are fairly expensive and not available locally.
So if you’re in need of a decent netbook with touch screen capabilities, Gigabyte might just do it for you. Or you could opt to wait for next year with news of Asus releasing its own touch screen netbook.
Calvin is a newbie blogger who’s working as an IT consultant and blogs for a hobby. He has his own personal blog, Calvin’s Hub, where he writes about his thoughts on just about everything that interests him.