The Medion Akoya E3211 is an inexpensive laptop with an Intel Pentium ULV SU2700 low power processor.

Netbooks have their uses, but sometimes an extra inch or two of screen can make all the difference. And with the help of more efficient components, such as an Intel ultra-low voltage (ULV) processor, we're now seeing decent battery life from such compact designs.

The Medion Akoya E3211 is a 13in all-rounder, distinguished over slightly smaller netbooks by the inclusion of a dual-layer DVD writer, a healthy amount of RAM and a higher resolution screen.

At 1.8kg the Medion Akoya E3211 weighs a little more than a netbook but considering its capabilities, the extra half kilo should earn its keep. Intel's SU2700 CPU may be single-core and clocked at only 1.3GHz but that didn't stop it reaching a score around double that we usually see with an Intel Atom - we measured 54 points.

Battery life was quite impressive, especially when you consider the modest 47Wh removable battery. MobileMark 2007 pegged the Medion Akoya E3211 at close to six hours in its Productivity test.

Where too many notebooks feature glitzy gloss screens to give the impression of vibrant colours, Medion has selected a more usable anti-glare type, a 16:9 widescreen 1366x768 panel. The Medion Akoya E3211's bezel may be shiny black, but you'll have no problems focusing on the main display. And LCD contrast and colour were very impressive at this price.

Overall construction was plasticky but purposeful, including a full-size keyboard with flat-top keys. Their action required some travel and there was a little flex in the middle but it remains a step up from undersized keyboards found on netbooks.

The recessed Synaptics touchpad has a rough matt texture and proved itself precise in use. Not only that, but it carries some multi-touch control for easier navigation. Click buttons, two of them, are also slightly recessed yet accessible enough for the thumb.

The main chink in the Medion's armour was graphics performance. Saddled with an integrated Intel graphics chip, we saw average framerates of 6 frames per second in FEAR at Maximum quality. If you really want to play games, look for a laptop with an ATI or nVidia graphics card inside.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Medion Akoya E3211: Specs

  • 1.3GHz Intel Pentium ULV SU2700
  • 2MB L2 cache
  • 800MHz FSB
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home premium
  • 13.3in (1366 x 768) 16:9 anti-glare LCD display
  • 320GB 2.5in SATA HDD
  • 4GB DDR2-800 RAM
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics
  • VGA
  • DVD±RW DL tray-load optical drive
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • SD card slot
  • ExpressCard 34 slot
  • headphone out, audio in
  • stereo speakers
  • webcam
  • built-in mic
  • 47Wh Li-ion battery
  • 333x220x32mm
  • 1809g
  • 1.3GHz Intel Pentium ULV SU2700
  • 2MB L2 cache
  • 800MHz FSB
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home premium
  • 13.3in (1366 x 768) 16:9 anti-glare LCD display
  • 320GB 2.5in SATA HDD
  • 4GB DDR2-800 RAM
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics
  • VGA
  • DVD±RW DL tray-load optical drive
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • SD card slot
  • ExpressCard 34 slot
  • headphone out, audio in
  • stereo speakers
  • webcam
  • built-in mic
  • 47Wh Li-ion battery
  • 333x220x32mm
  • 1809g

OUR VERDICT

The Medion Akoya E3211 is a simple budget design that should appeal to anyone looking for something a little lighter and more portable than a full-size 15in laptop, but with more potential than an underpowered netbook.

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