Notebooks Guide

Gigabyte M912 review

Gigabyte M912 Netbook - Touch Friendly

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General Usability and Functionality

General Usability and Functionality

At first glance, the Gigabyte M912V resembles a tablet-based computer, and it's no wonder why one would assume so as the M912V has a swivel screen for using the netbook in tablet style. The touchscreen was definitely responsive and lag free, though we did have some slight problems with utilizing the press and hold function to "right click". The clarity of the LCD panel was also something we quite liked, and the 1280 x 780 resolution does make give a little bit more room to work with, but as with all things, the 8.9-inch screen does feel cramped even with a higher resolution.

Given the choice, we would have been perfectly comfortable skipping the use of the tiny trackpad and instead use the touchscreen exclusively. Why, you may ask? As we mentioned, the responsiveness of the touchscreen was definitely heaps better than trying to navigate with the trackpad, which was fine, but if one had to choose between swiping multiple times on a trackpad or instantly touching your desired location, it would be logical to assume one would prefer the touchscreen.

The cramped keyboard is another complaint and is reminiscent of the ASUS Eee PC series (which as you may recall, were tiny and hard to use for long periods of time). Sadly, the built-in Windows onscreen keyboard doesn't make things much easier as it doesn't automatically pop up and requires some legwork to get it activated, and even then the experience of using the on-screen keyboard lacks finesse and usability. Part of the issue here lies with the fact that the operating system loaded - Vista Home Basic - doesn't have Tablet support functionality and thus the onscreen keyboard isn't as intuitive as we would have expected it to be. There's no Tablet edition of Microsoft Vista, but you'll need the Home Premium version at minimum or better for Tablet functionality as listed here. We compromised by leaving the netbook in the normal open position and using the physical keyboard to type while using our finger to navigate the touchscreen instead of the trackpad. Not exactly the most ergonomic friendly option, but it works somewhat decently thanks in part to the small screen area of these devices.

Heat was also an issue with the M912V. Unlike the other models available on the market, Gigabyte's netbook got its temperature soaring pretty quick despite the valiant efforts of the slightly audible cooling fan. Note that this was in our frigid air-conditioned office, where gloves and ear mufflers are the norm (we kid, but the part about the frigid air-conditioned office holds true), though we don't think it ran as hot as the HP Mini-Note.