The world of big and wide laptops that once were lumped under the description ‘desktop replacement' has been expanded recently. When fitted with Blu-ray Disc drives and ‘HD' screens they're now promoted as hi-def home entertainment machines.

They're still quite unwieldy beasts, of course, although with the help of modern cooler-running processors you can now expect more than two hours use between battery charges.

A quick glance would suggest that the Medion Akoya P6810 sports all the credentials for high-def happiness, with its huge 18.4in widescreen display and a Blu-ray Disc reader. But the Medion Akoya P6810's 16:9 screen is specified at 1680x945 pixels, so expect a little downscaling to fit 1920x1080 films on its glossy expanse. Medion says it chose this sub-Full HD resolution in order to make screen fonts, etc, more readable.

The Medion Akoya P6810 has simple and unostentatious styling, delivered in charcoal grey matt plastic. Large hex-headed screws across a speaker panel beyond the keyboard underline an air of German utilitarian styling. The Medion Akoya P6810's keyboard itself uses smooth flat-topped keys with a rather squidgy action, and combined with the greasy-feeling plastic trackpad, the overall tactile interface is not overly endearing.

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Specification of the Medion Akoya P6810 is harder to fault, including as it does HDMI and eSATA ports, a dedicated digital audio output, gigabit ethernet and an ExpressCard/54 slot. The Medion Akoya P6810's BD drive can read and write DVDs and CDs, but only read Blu-ray media. CyberLink software is included for watching Blu movies, and you can tune in to Freeview digital TV with the help of a DVB-T tuner on an included ExpressCard/54 card. There's even a small remote control included.

Even though the Medion Akoya P6810's CPU is an older pre-Centrino 2 part, a 65nm ‘Merom' processor, overall battery life was not terrible at around three hours (186 mins). Our MobileMark 2007 test took longer than usual to configure as the program was confused by the interesting Hybrid SLI graphics configuration.

Medion has given the Akoya P6810 two graphics cards - one integrated for everyday light use, and a more powerful discrete solution for 3D gaming. Switching between graphics on the Medion Akoya P6810 is automatic, based on whether the system is on mains or battery power.

Using the more powerful nVidia GeForce 9600M GS card, we recorded a good 37fps in our FEAR test at Maximum quality settings. Stressing the rest of the Medion Akoya P6810 with the WorldBench 6 benchmark test, the Medion scored 79 points, in line with expectations for a dual-core 2GHz machine.

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Medion Akoya P8610: Specs

  • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5800
  • Windows Home Premium 32-bit (64-bit disc also included)
  • 18.4in (1680x945) glossy LCD display
  • 320GB HDD
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 802.11b/g/draft-n
  • nVidia GeForce 9600M GS with 512MB RAM graphics card & 9100M G with 256MB RAM
  • HDMI & VGA video out
  • Blu-ray ROM/DVD±RW drive
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA/USB
  • ExpressCard/54 slot
  • ExpressCard DVB-T TV tuner
  • multi-card reader
  • gigabit ethernet
  • S/PDIF digital audio out
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • carrying bag
  • 6300mAh li-ion battery
  • 441x299x39mm
  • 3.7kg
  • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5800
  • Windows Home Premium 32-bit (64-bit disc also included)
  • 18.4in (1680x945) glossy LCD display
  • 320GB HDD
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 802.11b/g/draft-n
  • nVidia GeForce 9600M GS with 512MB RAM graphics card & 9100M G with 256MB RAM
  • HDMI & VGA video out
  • Blu-ray ROM/DVD±RW drive
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA/USB
  • ExpressCard/54 slot
  • ExpressCard DVB-T TV tuner
  • multi-card reader
  • gigabit ethernet
  • S/PDIF digital audio out
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • carrying bag
  • 6300mAh li-ion battery
  • 441x299x39mm
  • 3.7kg

OUR VERDICT

The Akoya P8610 is a monster-sized and well-specified laptop, suitable for home TV and film entertainment. Build quality and styling are basic but functional; and the pricing is at the lower end for a big screen Blu-ray Drive laptop, making this a model worth investigating.

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