I looked at several 29er options, and finally settled on the SC Tallboy. Bought frameset, fork (Rock Shox Reba XX) and wheels (ZTR Crest), and moved all other components over from my 26" Yeti (components are a mix of XTR and SRAM X0, Truvativ Noir seatpost, Easton XC bar).
The result is a 11.3kg Tallboy (including pedals, bottle cage, garmin accessories). From the first ride, I absolutely loved the bike: it's stiff (very stiff, made of one piece carbon), fairly light (I don't think another 200-400 g off will be noticeable, unless perhaps it's in the wheels), strongly built and very responsive. From some timed circuits in my MTB area (Tokai, Silvermine), I noticed an instant 5-10% improvement in speed, even with lots of climbing.
It's also a very versatile bike, that with a 5" fork and a few basic changes transforms itself into a light All Mountain bike. See threads on the Net.
I prefer smaller boutique brands with excellent designs and well engineered bikes (Santa Cruz, Yeti, etc) to the many me-too brands that come up with new models and new colours every year. For Specialized, I prefer some of their accessories (gloves, helmets, etc) over their bikes!
I recieved my new Tallboy only yesterday! Whow, I still have to get use to the 29'er and XO combo feeling... and I am still too scared to take it into the mountains around Franschhoek, rather just enjoy the view for now! Use to ride a Litespeed full suspension but gave up after the bike's been in the US for 14 months (still is) on warranty repairs, a damn disgrace! Hope SantaCruz gives a better service?