I was in a similar position going from a hardtail mtb. I had a quick go on a mates Giant Reign and Specialized Enduro but went for the 2009 Meta 5.5.1.
I think its a great bike, the rear supension is fantastic. Dont listen to poeple who say they have got a flexy rear end (I can only comment on the 2009 model), I put a bolt through rear hub on it and didnt really notice any difference. I only did this because I needed a wheel for another bike so I thought I’d try it to see what difference it made.
All in all a great bike and it looks like you can get a very good deal from Merlin.