The Medion Akoya S5610 (£600 inc. VAT), is a budget machine with a reasonably impressive amount of power inside.

We were surprised to find how powerful this machine was for the asking price. Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo P7350, it has full Centrino 2 branding. This is a powerful machine for daily use, with 3072MB of memory and a 320GB hard drive.

The chassis is made from black plastic and has a solid feel to it. Weighing 2.8kg, this isn't a machine to carry around on the daily commute, but for use around the home or the office, it's more than capable. Battery life proved in-keeping with this notion, which at just three hours from a full charge is minimal.

Eco mode

That said, battery life can be saved by dropping the machine down into Eco mode. To do this you'll find a dedicated button above the keyboard, which lowers screen brightness and reduces the speed of the CPU in our test by some 20 per cent.

The 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen isn't the sharpest we've seen, but it is bright and, for the price, offers value for money. Graphics are handled by the latest ATi chipset, the Mobility Radeon HD 3470.

This is a powerful GPU that comes with 256MB of its own dedicated memory that makes it ideal for basic gaming.

Laptop layout

The keyboard is of a standard laptop size, but the keys have a reasonable amount of space around them. They are individually mounted, but there is a fair degree of rattle as you type. There is also room for a numeric keypad, which can be used for number-crunching or games.

The touchpad is made from the same material as the chassis itself, but sits in a small hollow. It's big and proved responsive. The mouse buttons are small and awkward to use. Between the mouse buttons sits a fingerprint scanner.

If you're looking for a machine that can handle the latest array of devices, the Akoya is more than accommodating, as extra features include a webcam, HDMI port for connecting to a high-definition (HD) TV, eSATA port for hooking up high-speed external hard drives and the standard Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n wireless LAN.

Underwhelming machine

The Medion Akoya S5610 isn't about to grab headlines, as it comes across as a rather understated laptop. However, we found it a well-rounded and ably specified machine at a great price.

It will suit the user looking for a degree of future-proofing, but who doesn't necessarily want to pay a premium for the privilege.