Yeah all of those factors actually appeal to me... The 92 isn't a cannon (easier recoil for the newbie behind the grip), less expensive ammo to make holes in paper at the range, reliable, easy to field-strip.. probably easy to maintain (which I plan on keeping it immaculate as possible)... won't be a side-arm for carry except on rare occasion.. Sounds like a great 1st pistol, and sure isn't hard on the eyes.
The more I read up on the M&P's, it seems like the magazine reviewers really dig those as well as the XD's.. I did read some criticisms about XD's being a little more prone to rust issues which makes me lean toward the S&W M&P's, though I imagine it's all pretty much who you ask.. I did see an HS2000 (pre-springfield XD) that had 20k+ rounds through it and looked fabulous for it's age.. rails were crisp anyway (to my novice eyes).