The Medion Akoya P6512 is an Aldi exclusive - a 15.6in general-purpose laptop with AMD processors and decent overall specification.

Medion is established as a low-cost vendor of consumer electronics, known in the UK for its branded computers and laptops. The company often works with fellow German discount brand Aldi to sell quick promotions of limited-run lines – such as this Medion-branded 15in laptop, the Medion Akoya P6512.

Selling for a penny under £500, the Medion Akoya P6512 is a relatively well specified general-purpose laptop, sporting some obvious cost-cutting measures, while paradoxically also featuring some high-end features.

Given the highly ephemeral nature of this laptop – stocks are expected to last at Aldi just three weeks or less – we couldn’t give the Medion Akoya P6512 the full PCA Labs test treatment. Instead, here’s an overview of the hardware and one teasing benchmark to give an idea of its performance.

Build quality is satisfactory, with no obvious problems. Even the keyboard is reasonably firm with its Scrabble tile-style keys, although we did notice a bizarre positioning of a hash and tilde key, between the return and delete keys on the keyboard's right. A number keypad joins the main Qwerty keyboard.

The trackpad also proved suitably sensitive – an area where some laptop vendors think they can get away with fitting poor quality versions that barely allow you to push the pointer straight.

The 15.6in widescreen has a not-unusual 1366x768 pixel resolution, and surprisingly is a matt anti-glare type. When so many budget and even not-so-budget notebooks have impractical gloss screens, it’s refreshing to see a more suitable choice here.

Brightness levels are fine, although contrast is a little poor, the deepest blacks rendered as charcoal grey at best.

To keep prices down, the Medion Akoya P6512 uses an AMD processor, running at 2.1GHz. These typically run a little hotter and a little slower than equivalently clocked Intel chips.

Two graphics controllers are included, an integrated chip for low-power use and better battery life, plus an ATI Radeon HD 5470 for more challenging gaming use. You can switch between them using ATI’s PowerXpress software, easily called up by right-clicking the desktop.

We tested gaming performance with FEAR, our usual graphics test for laptops. Using the ATI HD 5470, the Medion Akoya P6512 scored an average framerate of 33fps, a good result, although the minimum framerate here fell to just 11fps, so you may see a little stuttering in fast sequences.

Either way, you’ll still need to keep details settings modest for recent games. And expect some fan noise - the AMD CPU and graphics processors run warm, so a cooling fan will be apparent much of the time.

The Medion Akoya P6512 is riddled with pre-installed Windows software. Some may even be useful, such as CorelDRAW Essentials 4 OEM edition and CyberLink Power2Go 6 disc-burning software. You’ll also find the usual time-limited kickback trials of Microsoft Office, and anti-virus software, in this case Bullguard.

Out of the (very basic) cardboard box, the Medion Akoya P6512 lights up with a brilliant blue LED outline to the trackpad. Don’t worry, this can be dowsed using the Fn and F7 key combination.

We didn’t benchmark battery life, although the 64Wh removable battery bodes well for a few hours of unplugged time, if not as long as a similar Intel-equipped notebook would now achieve.

Useful additions include an HDMI output for connection to monitor or modern TV, an eSATA port for high-speed portable hard drives, and SD card slot.

The Medion Akoya P6512 goes on sale exclusively at Aldi from Sunday 8th August 2010.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>

Medion Akoya P6512: Specs

  • 2.1GHz AMD Athlon II X2 P320
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
  • 15.6in (1366 x 768) LED-backlit display
  • ATI Radeon HD 5470 + ATI Radeon HD graphics
  • 320GB 2.5in hard disk
  • 3GB DDR3 RAM
  • 802.11n
  • DVD-RW DL optical drive
  • multi-format memory card reader
  • ethernet
  • 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x eSATA/USB port
  • HDMI and VGA output
  • 1.3Mp webcam and microphone
  • multi-touch trackpad with surround lighting
  • 2463g
  • 2.1GHz AMD Athlon II X2 P320
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
  • 15.6in (1366 x 768) LED-backlit display
  • ATI Radeon HD 5470 + ATI Radeon HD graphics
  • 320GB 2.5in hard disk
  • 3GB DDR3 RAM
  • 802.11n
  • DVD-RW DL optical drive
  • multi-format memory card reader
  • ethernet
  • 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x eSATA/USB port
  • HDMI and VGA output
  • 1.3Mp webcam and microphone
  • multi-touch trackpad with surround lighting
  • 2463g

OUR VERDICT

The Medion Akoya P6512 is a competently specificed 15in laptop, obviously built to a budget but with some useful features such as dual graphics, matt screen and eSATA and HDMI ports. At £500 it’s not too expensive, although for less money you can also find well-made notebooks from the bigger names, using more efficient Intel processors. Look out for the Acer 5740 and Samsung R530 as worthy alternatives.

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