From hardcore gaming to everyday use, there’s a new MSI laptop for everybody
Medion Akoya E7216 (MD98550) laptop
Medion's Akoya E7216 (MD98550) review: Big, fast and feature-rich notebook that's also very affordable
- Great price, USB 3.0, HDMI and Displayport, ExpressCard/54 slot, digital TV tuner, 640GB hard drive
- Doesn't look great, touchpad sometimes sticky, keyboard's number pad is squished
With a low price and lots of great features, the Medion Akoya E7216 (MD98550) is a great alternative to big-brand entry-level notebooks. It's a 17.3in laptop, and it's not pretty, but it has a solid configuration and modern conveniences such as USB 3.0 and HDMI that really set it apart from the competition. It goes on sale at Aldi supermarkets on 27 January, 2011.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Medion's Akoya E7216 (MD98550) laptop offers great performance and lots of features for a very competitive price. You pay only $799, but you get an Intel Core i3–equipped notebook with lots of modern connections, including HDMI, DisplayPort and USB 3.0. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find another notebook on the Australian market that costs so little yet offers so much. It goes on sale at Aldi supermarkets on 27 January, 2011.
Medion Akoya E7216 (MD98550): Design and build quality
The Medion Akoya E7216 (MD98550) is a big laptop with a 17.3in screen and it's not suitable as an everyday mobile solution; instead, it makes for a great desktop replacement or even a home entertainment machine (it's supplied with a digital TV tuner). However, it also has very good battery life, so you can move it to different places around the home to watch videos or browse the Web without being limited by the location of your power points.
The design of the Akoya E7216 (MD98550) is the same as the previous Medion 17in notebooks we've seen, such as the Akoya E7214 (MD98410), which is to say that it doesn't look spectacular. It has a plain design with lots of space around the keyboard, and stereo speakers across the top of the keyboard. The touchpad is the same material as the palm rest and while it's big and comfortable to use for the most part, we found it to be a little sticky and unresponsive at times during our tests.
The build quality of the laptop feels a little creaky when you pick it up with one hand from either side, but as this laptop is designed to be used as a desktop PC replacement it should hold up well enough. The screen has a matte finish, which we like as it is not susceptible to reflections. The 1600x900 screen is decent for watching TV, videos and viewing photos, but you always have the option of plugging in an external monitor if you want a better quality screen.
Medion Akoya E7216 (MD98550): Performance
The CPU in the Akoya E7216 (MD98550) is a 1st Generation Intel Core i3-380M, which proved to be a good all-rounder in our tests. The notebook also has 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a 640GB hard drive and integrated Intel HD graphics. In the Blender 3D rendering test it recorded a time of 59sec, while in the iTunes MP3 encoding test it recorded a time of 1min 2sec. These times are better than the Akoya E7214 (MD98410), which had a Core i3-350M CPU at the helm and 3GB of DDR3 SDRAM.
The Akoya E7216 took 1hr 10min to transcode our test DVD movie to a 1.5GB Xvid file, which is a much improved result on the previous Akoya (1hr 32min) and it's actually the same time that the very popular Dell Inspiron 15R N5010 recorded. The Dell 15R N5010 was tested with an Intel Core i5-430M CPU.
Gaming isn't a forte of the Akoya E7216 (MD98550) as its integrated Intel HD graphics adapter isn't very powerful. It recorded 1721 in 3DMark06, which is a better result than the previous Akoya thanks to the faster Core i3-380M CPU, but it won't allow you to play games that have complex graphics. Its hard drive speed was average in our tests (24.65 megabytes per second), but its capacity of 640GB is perfect for storing lots of videos, recorded TV shows, photos and music files.
If you need more storage, you could always install a second SATA-based 3.5in hard drive.
The overall performance of the Akoya E7216 (MD98550) makes it perfect for office work, editing photos, and even for more complex tasks such as transcoding video files for your iPhone or for editing videos off your digital camera. You can also use it as a media centre PC and a personal video recorder; it ships with a USB-based TV tuner and a remote control, both of which worked fine in our tests. A portable antenna is supplied, which allowed us to watch a few channels (such as One HD) without having to plug in to our rooftop antenna.
We had no problems typing on the Medion's keyboard, but the three-column number pad proved to be a little frustrating. It's the same peeve we have with the other Medion laptops we've reviewed recently. The tuner and remote control will take up two USB ports, so you'll be left with only two ports after that. If you want to use a USB keyboard and mouse then you won't be able to plug anything else in, so it might be worth investing in a powered USB hub.
Medion Akoya E7216 (MD98550): Battery life
One area in which the large Medion laptops always seem to surprise is in their battery life. In our rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video, the Akoya E7216 (MD98550) recorded a time of 3hr 1min, which is excellent. You won't want to use this laptop while on the road (it's just too big to lug around) but the battery life will come in handy if you want to use the laptop in a part of your home that's not near an outlet.
We like this notebook a lot. It may not look pretty, but its performance is great for a low-cost laptop and it has a lot of features that simply can't be found on comparably priced units yet. We recommend it for everyday office work, multimedia work and even if you want an inexpensive media centre–style laptop. The only thing it can't do well is run the latest games.
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