Product Type: Medion laptops
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Not so Mediocre Medion
Medion Akoya P6613
Member Name: SWSt
Medion Akoya P6613
Advantages: Good processing power, value for money
Disadvantages: Not exactly portable, slightly tacky build quality
Medion are not the best known PC manufacturer in the world and, thanks to distribution deals with "pack-'em and stack 'em" outlets (Aldi promote limited stocks as special offers), they sometimes suffer the reputation of being a poor man's laptop. This one was on special offer in Sainsbury's when purchased and, barring a few minor flaws, turns out to be a great little machine.
For its price tag, this PC offers a surprisingly good spec. The original retail price was around £549 and at that price point it was undistinguished and not great value for money. Since it's now an older machine, its price has reduced considerably and represents a far better buy. In my case, it was picked up for just over £330 and blew its competitors in that price bracket out of the market, offering more memory, a bigger hard disk and a faster processor. Although they can be quite tricky to track down as stock is limited, it's well worth picking one up if you see it.
Speed-wise, Akoya is never going to blow you away, but it's certainly fast enough for most people's needs. Equipped with a Dual Core T4200 2GHz processor it copes fine with every day applications such as word processing, email, web surfing and even photo editing. Start up and shut down are reasonably quick (30-60 seconds), so you don't spend large parts of your life waiting for the PC to do something. The 3GB RAM is larger than the typical 2GB offered by similarly priced machines (at the time) and still holds up pretty well today. Thanks to this extra bit of memory programs generally boot up quickly and operate efficiently.
The machine comes with Windows 7 pre-installed and the processing power is easily enough to meet the operating system's demands. In fact, despite being a slightly lower spec machine, basic tasks (including boot up and shut down) are actually quicker on this than my other laptop running Windows Vista (which just shows how bloated and inefficient Vista is!).
The 320 GB Hard Disk may look a little mean these days, but it should be sufficient for most users, particularly since it's increasingly the norm to store your personal files on a memory stick, not the hard disk. Unless you are a massive downloader of movie files or install a massive number of space-hungry programs, storage is unlikely to be an issue. Certainly, in the time I've been using this laptop I've not even come close to filling the hard disk - I would estimate I currently use less than 30% of the available space after around 12 months' use.
Sound and vision are also fine. The speakers and sound card might be a little low spec, but they are certainly sufficient for most general use, and I have watched films on this laptop with no real difficulties. The LCD screen gives a nice sharp, crisp display, with colours looking strong and well-defined. Of course, as with any LCD screen, it can be difficult to read if it's placed in direct or strong sunlight, but this is a problem with LCD technology generally, not this laptop.
You do need to bear in mind that whilst the multimedia hardware might be fine for basic entertainment purposes, such as watching/films or photo editing, this is not a gamers' laptop. It's very much aimed at the personal/home office end of the market, intended for common tasks, such as word processing/web surfing etc. It can cope with some older, less graphics intensive games, but if you're looking to play games from the last few years, forget it: they either won't install to begin with, or if they do will be so sluggish that they are unplayable.
This is also not a PC that you're going to want to carry around with you and it's really more of a desktop replacement than a portable laptop. Weighing in at around 3kg, it's a pretty heavy beast! It's also rather on the large side (thanks to a 16 inch screen), so even if weight were not an issue, size certainly would be. Still, it's portable enough to be able to carry it between different rooms in your house, which is all most people need. Just don't expect to take it on the train with you (unless you own your own train).
Battery life is adequate without being impressive. Light use (internet access, word processing) gives around 4 hours from a full charged battery. This might not sound great in the era of machines which last for 8-10 hours, but it's unlikely to be a real issue. As noted above, this laptop is not exactly portable, so the chances are you will never be too far away from an electrical socket anyway, making battery life slightly irrelevant.
As is often the case with some of the cheaper laptop makes, build quality is a slight issue. The casing does feel slightly tacky and plastic and not particularly sturdy. Similarly the keyboard is not great to use. The keys clunk quite loudly when pressed and don't have a lot of spring in them. They are also set slightly too far apart, so it can be quite fiddly and I found a little bit of difficulty adapting to the layout of this keyboard. Even now, I still find myself hitting the wrong key far more frequently than on other machines that I use.
For those wanting to know a bit of technical stuff, the P6613 has an adequate number of ports. It comes with a DVD/RW drive allowing you to burn your own DVDs/CDs, 4 USB ports and an SD card reader. Surprisingly, it doesn't support Bluetooth. For me, this was not an issue since I rarely use it, but if Bluetooth is a killer app for you, then you need to consider this (although, of course, you can always invest in a Bluetooth dongle to make it compatible). There's also no internal modem, but of course, it supports wireless or LAN access to a broadband connection and there can't be many people these days still using a 56k modem!
If portability is not an issue and you can put up with the slightly cheap build of the machine, then this is a laptop that will not let you down and offers strong processing power at a very reasonable price.
© Copyright SWSt 2010
Summary: A good workhorse laptop for the average home/office user
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