Medion Akoya E3211 review

6 Nov 2009

Its low price makes it a tempting portable, but it's not a large enough leap over a netbook to totally convince

Price when reviewed 
499
4

The Atom's quest to take over the world through netbooks has been largely unthreatened this year, as most rivals have yet to provide a similarly powered alternative at a low enough price. The closest competition comes from the growing band of low-cost ultraportables using Intel's ultra-low-voltage (ULV) processors. They pack a bit more of a punch than the Atom at slightly higher cost, and the Medion Akoya E3211 demonstrates the difference that can make.

For a start it's a 13.3in laptop, that perfect mid-point between portability and usability. At this size you need a little more power than the average netbook can provide, and Intel's 1.3GHz SU2700 processor just about obliges. It's hardly a huge leap forward over the Atom, but its overall benchmark score of 0.51 is around 25% faster than most netbooks.

Medion Akoya E3211

The other important factor is the inclusion of 4GB of RAM, twice the amount you'll find in any netbook – and in everyday use it's noticeable how, when multitasking, the Medion doesn't grind to a standstill.

The 13.3in screen has a 720p-capable 1,366 x 768 resolution, and the quality is decent, with fairly accurate colours and a sharpness that lower resolution screens can't provide. It's glossy, so reflections do occasionally annoy, but it's a good size for web browsing and office apps.

Add in the 320GB hard disk and an integrated DVD writer, and the strengths of a true laptop over its netbook brethren are clear to see. Yet all of this costs just £434 – not a huge margin over the dearest netbooks. Recent laptops we've seen at anywhere near this price have all been at least 15.4in, in which it's not too difficult to cram cheap components. Doing the same at 13.3in is more of a challenge.

Details

Price ex VAT £434
Price inc VAT £499
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5
Performance 3

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 333 x 220 x Unknownmm (WDH)
Weight 1.800kg
Travelling weight 2.3kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Pentium ULV SU2700
Motherboard chipset Intel GS45
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel GMA 4500M
Graphics card RAM 128MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 278GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Western Digital Scorpio Blue
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive TSST SN-S083B
Battery capacity 4,300mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 1
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Multitouch touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Front edge
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 6hr 16min
Battery life, heavy use 2hr 40min
Overall application benchmark score 0.51
Office application benchmark score 0.65
2D graphics application benchmark score 0.52
Encoding application benchmark score 0.50
Multitasking application benchmark score 0.39
3D performance (crysis) low settings 5fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery disc
Software supplied Microsoft Works 9, Nero Essentials