The term "Ultrabook" is from the processor manufacturer Intel, it refers to very light and thin laptops that meet certain criteria. These are besides thickness and weight, among other things, the integrated Intel processor and a built-in SSD . On these criteria, which are more tuned for mobility and not on performance, is basically nothing wrong - this is not, however, Medion has opted for a fully functional SSD, but for a conventional hard-disc, which is supported by an SSD. This has advantages and disadvantages, but keeps the price within limits: With a genuine SSD the Aldi notebook would be considerably faster, but it would certainly cost more than 749 bucks.
Medion Akoya S4216 (MD 99081) Windows 8 Ultrabook
Medion's latest Akoya features a modular drive bay and great specs, but is let down by poor input devices
- Good CPU performance
- Modular drive bay
- Long battery life
- Sluggish hard drive
While the Medion Akoya S4216 (MD 99081) is an interesting Ultrabook, to be sure, the overall build quality is very much on par with the price point. It just doesn't feel solid and the culprit here is the keyboard, which bounces very noticeably as its keys are hit. That said, if you value specs and features more than input devices, then the Akoya is a champ.
Price$ 749.00 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 5 stores)
- ThinkPad 10 Ultrabook Keyboard-US English Table... 139.01
Medion has released a conventional 14in Ultrabook running Windows 8, which will be sold through Aldi supermarkets (from Saturday 24 November). The Akoya S4216 (MD 99081) is very much a bang-for-your-buck model. It offers an impressive list of features and performance for its $749 price tag, and while it's an enticing model for bargain hunters, laptop enthusiasts might also want to check it out, too. However, the low price and large feature-set means other areas have had to be sacrificed, such as the keyboard and touchpad, which are basically bad.
Specs and performance
The performance of the Akoya S4216 is zippy thanks to its Intel Core i5-3317U CPU, which has two cores, Hyper-Threading, a standard clock speed of 1.7GHz, and it also handles the graphics (Intel HD 4000). It's surrounded by 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM (via two slots with 4GB each), and there is a 500GB, 5400rpm hard drive as well as a 32GB solid state drive.
You can use this Ultrabook for office work, watching videos, displaying photos and listening to music, but it's also good enough to handle slightly tougher tasks such as media encoding, file conversions and content creation. In our Blender 3D rendering and iTunes MP3 encoding tests, the Medion recorded times of 49sec and 1min 1sec, respectively, while in 3DMark06, it recorded 5246.
These results are similar to those obtained by other Ultrabooks that use the same CPU, such as the Toshiba Satellite Z930. However, the Akoya's hard drive is the weak link in the configuration, as it recorded slow read and write rates of 80.68 megabytes per second (MBps) and 73.36MBps, respectively, in CrystalDiskMark. It got only 30.28MBps in our own file duplication tests. Luckily, it is a standard-sized drive bay that allows you to easily upgrade the storage down the line.
You can play games that are downloaded from the Microsoft store comfortably, and we had a lot of fun playing "Riptide GP", with its very smooth graphics and reactive gameplay. If you want to play more demanding games with this laptop, you will have to adjust the resolution and detail settings in order to get the fastest frame rates, but be aware that this isn't a laptop that's designed for running the latest 3D shooters and the like. It will run simpler games just fine.
Cold booting took 12sec before the Windows 8 Start screen showed up and we could take control, while resume time from sleep was about 3sec. The Medion supports Intel technologies such as Rapid Start (it uses a solid state drive to improve system resume times), Anti-Theft (which requires you to purchase a product from McAfee or another vendor in order to take advantage of tracking and remote wiping in case you ever lose your laptop) and Smart Connect (which periodically checks for email and other information while the computer sleeps so that it's up to date when you wake it up).
Modular bay and battery life
What's really impressive about the Medion's configuration though, is that it features a modular drive bay. It has a DVD burner installed by default, and this is great for those of us who still like to pop in discs now and then. It's also worth noting that Medion supplies third party software so that you can watch DVDs under Windows 8. Medion also supplies a secondary battery. The optical drive can slide out of the chassis once the screw holding it in has been removed, and the extra battery can then be inserted and screwed in place. It's a small battery of only 25 Watt-hours; it supplements the 37 Watt-hour battery in the spine. When the two batteries are used together, they offer a combined runtime that is impressive for this price point.
In our battery rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video, the Akoya lasted 5hr 4min. This is almost 1.5 hours more than single-battery 14in Ultrabooks such as the HP Envy Spectre XT, for example. With its single battery, the Medion lasted 3hr 7min. The extra battery doesn't add too much to the overall weight of the unit either. With the optical drive installed, the Akoya weighs 1.8kg, while with the second battery installed it weighs 1.85kg.
Ports, screen quality and usability
The edges of the unit contain separate headphone and microphone ports, three USB ports (one of which is USB 3.0), VGA, HDMI, an SD card slot and a Gigabit Ethernet port. The Ethernet port gets a fancy little spring-loaded door, which will probably get annoying if you need to regularly connect and disconnect the network cable. The laptop also comes with Bluetooth, a webcam and 802.11n wireless networking in the form of an Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 adapter.
Unlike most of the other laptops at this price point, the Medion ships with a screen that has a matte finish rather than gloss, so reflections won't be a problem. The screen has a native resolution of 1366x768 and it's fine if you don't want a machine for colour-critical and high-detail work. It looked a little too pale in our tests, and the vertical angles it possesses aren't great. Some tilting will be required to fix contrast issues if you move around a lot while using the laptop. If you sit straight on and don't move, then the screen won't need to be moved either.
While the specs, battery and features of this laptop are all good stuff and worthy of consideration alone, the same can't be said of the keyboard and touchpad. The keyboard in particular feels too loose as it jumps around horribly while keys are being hit. It's the laptop's major weakness and if you're a typist, you will hate it. If you need to do more than compose short emails, you will hate it. The keys rattle and move up and down too much, which leads to typos and miss-hit characters. We got tired using the keyboard after a couple of paragraphs and had to continue writing this review on a desktop PC.
The touchpad isn't great either. It has a texture that isn't consistent. Even after we cleaned it, it was harder to move our finger across the middle portion of the pad than the edges. We would have liked a smoother surface. Its left and right buttons are also almost impossible to work with; they are very stiff and too hard to press for common tasks such as right-click-and-drag operations. The pad supports Windows 8 swipe-in gestures, but the top-edge swipe didn't work consistently.
The touchpad and the keyboard definitely tarnish what is otherwise a good value laptop. It's not a case of getting used to these parts, and we certainly gave them a chance to get better as we used the laptop. If you want to type with this laptop, plug in a keyboard. If you want to do some extensive file management with drag-and-drop operations, plug in a mouse.
The overall performance of the laptop is good though and its specifications are strong. We particularly like the idea of the modular drive bay at this price point and think it's a great idea that a second battery is included with the package. The Akoya S4216 (MD 99081) goes on sale at Aldi stores on Saturday 24 November.
If you want to find out more about Windows 8's new features before buying an Ultrabook that's pre-loaded with it, be sure to check out our beginner's guide to Windows 8. Among other things, it will show you how to make use of gestures, even if your laptop doesn't have a touchscreen.
Related notebook reviews:
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I bought one on Saturday (24/11) and the first time I used it, it locked up and I have been unable to
get it unlocked. There is no one locally to tell me what the problem is or to help sort it out.
I'm sure if I went to Aldi they would be too busy selling groceries to spare any time to advise.
I purchased one approx 10 days ago, the battery would not charge, only option from talking to Medion ph support was to return to Aldi and get a replacement.
Got the replacement, gone through all the setup again & GUESS What?
The battery won't charge - rang Medion again, they suggested to get another replacement......
Will probably get a refund as the keyboard & touchpad are YUK
Bought one today, but the touchpad click pressure is just nuts, it takes about 4-5 kg of finger pressure to work the touchpad click buttons, way more than the weight of the unit. I thought it was probably going to break it took so much pressure to get it to work. It would be seriously likely to cause finger joint wear and tendon/wrist problems in a short time. Also, on this keyboard which is a bit bouncy and noisy but I could otherwise tolerate, the @ and " are reversed the 'hash' key produces the £ symbol and 'tilde' isn't; I'm not sure what '¬' is but it isn't tilde. I've never had such problems before. I'm not willing to test the function buttons as I may get a dead screen and be unable to show these faults. What a shame, it could have been a great unit at the price but will be going back tomorrow for refund. Note to Aldi, buyer assessment and quality control needs major work.
So there I was buying my groceries at Aldi and suddenly noticed a Medion Akoya UltraBook for sale at $749.00. What got me was the specs on the box boasting 8GB RAM with 500 GB HDD running on Core i5. Those three specs on the box prompted me to make a spontaneous decision there and then to buy it, even though I'd never even heard of the brand, I knew that to get anything close to that from another "Brand" would be up around $1200.00 plus, even then not too many with this much RAM.
Notwithstanding it was loaded with Windows 8 that takes some getting used to, I use it exclusively for music and video production and it works fine.
Keyboard isn't the best, but certainly not the worst either compared to other "big" brands at this price point but the touch pad is ridiculous, but who seriously uses a "touch pad" for serious workloads in design, navigation etc.?. I really like this little baby. Stuck in an optical mouse, AVG out to a 40" monitor, and use an external AVID keyboard, and so far performance is fine, in fact its very rapid and fired up straight out of the box.
From where I stand, this Ultrabook looks the goods, performs above expectations, and bar the touchpad keyboard issues, packs a wallop in performance thanks to 8GB RAM with the i5.
Up spec is also really easy for both Video and Audio cards. Bang for the Buck indeed.
From Sat Feb 9 it's only $649. For the Aldi knockers, you need to chill. You are either very stupid or trolls. Aldi offers a no-query 60-day satisfaction return warranty (ie you can use it for TWO months). If you don't like it, simply return it. Also, if I'm not mistaken, it also comes with a two-year guarantee. What other computer brand offers that! Medion is also just a rebranded offering from the likes of Lenovo...
I purchased the Medion akoya S4216 and I agree with Paul Aldi knockers do need to chill. The keyboard and touch pad are a fault but what other computer in the $649.00 price range would have no faults. At least Aldi do give the customer a choice to return the product within 60 days if not satisfied and the 2 year warranty is a big plus. I love the computer and thank you to Aldi
Jan 16th March 2013
I also bought one in March and am very impressed -given the price point. Sure the keyboard and trackpad are not ideal but I use a mouse and can live with the keyboard.
The only issue I have is after a couple of weeks the battery stopped charging... I am sure it is a software problem but still rather annoying.
To "A Flint" -when you first turn on the PC it asks you to select the keyboard layout, if you choose UK it will switch the @ and " keys and # will be pound etc. simply change it back to US layout and all be good.
The 60 day satisfaction guarantee and 2 year warranty is unmatched by any "PC retailers" so I have no problems buying from a grocery store. I have purchased a few computers from Aldi before and had an issue with the graphics card on one and their support and prompt (in house) service really surprised me.
BTW, I just found a BIOS update that is supposed to address the battery issue: http://www.medion.com/au/service/_lightbox/treiber_details.php?did=11843
I have owned one for a few months now and must say I am very impressed. Bang for bucks its the best on the market. The 60days satisfaction guarantee plus 2 year warranty make this a great buy
- powerful and cheap
- not good for fast tiping
- • • •
good price, with two batteries it lasts up to 6 hours works. win8 and keyboard are not good!
- Too Cheap
- Too Cheap
- • • •
Too cheap for this product. cheap cheap cheap
- Low price,thin and light.Good display, camera with a small LED for light,xtra battery if needed
- Loose key board, difficult touchpad.
- • • •
Over all good for price.
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GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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