When it comes to graphics, Medion has wisely side-stepped Intel's own lacklustre integrated graphics offering and instead opted for a dedicated ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 graphics chip. It's not the fastest chip in the world, but it's a significant step up from integrated graphics in terms of performance and managed to post a pretty decent score of 2,309 in 3D Mark 06. This means it's got enough speed to allow you to play the latest 3D games, just as long as you turn the detail down a tad.
The roomy 320GB hard drive offers plenty of space for storing music files, videos or documents, but Medion has also kitted the machine out with an external eSata port, plus two USB ports, so adding external storage is easy. In fact, if you can live without the DVD drive, you can swap it out for an optional secondary 320GB hard disk or alternatively use the bay for a second battery. There's also an HDMI port so you can hook the laptop up to an HD Ready TV to watch movies or play games on the big screen.
Intel has made big claims about how its Centrino 2 technology can help prolong the battery life of laptops. Our Battery Eater rundown test didn't bear this out in the case of the Akoya S5610. The laptop managed to keep running for just 1 hour and 27 minutes before it ran out of steam and was begging to be plugged back into the mains. That's rather disappointing, especially as it's one of the main selling points of Centrino 2 technology.
Although the spec of this laptop is good for the £600 asking price, there are some issues with the design we weren't so keen on. The styling is lacklustre and the matte finish on the lid and interior looks cheap compared to some of its glossy rivals. We don't like the way the power button is positioned on the left-hand side of the display hinge, as it's awkward to get at when you're using the laptop on a desk surrounded by lots of papers and files.
It's a shame that Medion hasn't managed to eke a little more life from the battery or come up with a more exciting design for the chassis. However, the fact that the Akoya S5610 offers cutting-edge Centrino 2 technology for the bargain price of £600 is to be applauded, especially as the machine is such a sprightly performer.
Edited by Nick Hide