01.IntroductionMedion Akoya P7812
Some Aldi products tend to sell out almost as fast as they hit the shelves, so they don't often turn up in reviews. Thankfully, we've got in early to take a sneak peek at the latest 17.3” Medion Akoya laptop ahead of its release this Saturday (November 26).
The Medion Akoya is, like most Aldi products, designed to give you decent bang-for-your-buck – in fact, the specs are quite generous. It has a very capable 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 2430M processor, while the whopping 8GB of memory (RAM) is double that of most mid-range laptops.
Likewise, the hard drive is a very spacious one-terabyte (1TB) unit, while most competitors weigh in at only half that capacity. Together with the huge 17.3” screen, this puts this machine in the desktop-replacement class, but at a price that compares favourably with many 15” models.
There’s also a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 555M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated RAM, DVD burner and plenty of connections for your other equipment: four USB ports (three of which are the faster USB 3.0 standard), plus VGA and HDMI for connecting external monitors, a 6-in-1 memory card reader and Gigabit Ethernet. It also supports Intel’s WiDi (wireless direct) technology for displaying screen content directly on a TV.
A nice feature is the “Medion Fast Boot”, allowing quick access to programs and content without having to load up the full Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) operating system. Programs accessible from Medion Fast Boot include Thunderbird (email), Chrome (web browser), VLC (media player), File Manager, Photo Viewer, Skype, Pidgin (all-in-one instant message client), Facebook, Twitter and a calendar.
If the system runs into trouble the Akoya is well provided for with a choice of using the supplied system recovery optical disc or the recovery partition on the hard drive.
The Akoya PP7812 comes with a very good instruction manual and is bundled with a bunch of regular software including Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 (90 day trial), CorelDraw Essentials X5, Ashampoo Burning Studio, Ashampoo Photo Commander, Ashampoo Photo Optimiser, Ashampoo Snap, PowerDVD Media Suite, Microsoft Office 2010 (trial).
With all the inclusions you wouldn’t expect this family-sized laptop to be super slim or light. It weighs 3.3kg by itself and 3.8kg with the external power supply (which does have a handy on/off switch built-in). Like most 17” laptops, you’ll think twice before carting it off with you.
As you’d expect of a laptop with a generous spec, the Medion Akoya offers respectable performance, with our customised benchmark test producing a performance score of 73 points -- which would place it mid-field for performance compared to our recent test of family all-rounder laptops.
Pros and cons
To have a large-screen laptop in this price range must require certain economies however, and while it is by no means unattractive, the cost-cutting is evident in the high-gloss plastic body and pseudo-brushed metal look. The top cover flexes very noticeably, as does the keyboard, but overall fit and finish is not bad. The matte screen and surround are a departure from most laptops these days, and have the benefit of freeing it from the annoying glare potential of a glossy screen and surround.
On the minus side, however, is the bank of status lights located somewhat awkwardly below the smallish touchpad, where they are totally obscured when the lid is closed.
Nitpicks aside, at this price the Akoya represents very good value and is likely to fly off the shelves quickly, so if you’re in the market for a large laptop that will cater for all the family you’ll need to get in to Aldi pretty quicksmart on Saturday.
For more information on Laptops and netbooks see, Computers and accessories.