Medion laptops offer strong value for money with impressive specifications for their asking price. The Akoya E6221 is no exception and an excellent choice for cash-strapped students in need of lots of power.

This is one of the cheapest laptops we've seen to feature Intel's latest Sandy Bridge technology. Our Core i3 2310M model with 4GB of memory handled even complex design suites without slowing, and there's even a more powerful Core i5 version available for a little more cash.

The Akoya doesn't have dedicated graphics, opting for more basic integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics instead. This means the processor handles image rendering, but thankfully it does a great job, providing enough power to edit your home movies, watch HD video and fill your spare time with some light gaming.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 286
MobileMark 2007: 233
3DMark 2003: 10,012

Vibrant screen

A matt finish to the 15.6-inch screen prevents annoying reflections from blinding you when you're working outside or in bright environments – this is further helped by the battery, which keeps you going for almost five hours between charges.

TFT displays can sometimes be a little muted when it comes to photos and movies, but the Akoya's screen is impressively vibrant with strong contrast.

Further value is provided by the 500GB hard drive, giving you plenty of space for your work files, personal photos and hundreds of movies and albums. If you want to get online, you can access wireless and wired networks via 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet support.

While the internal components offer impressive value for money, the Akoya's chassis looks and feels a little cheap. A glossy black design has been used and the lid and interior are magnets for dust, fingerprints and smudges. The plastic body flexes under pressure, but not enough for us to worry.

We still like the isolation-style keyboard, which proves excellent for touch-typing as each key is separated from its neighbours. The arrow keys are a little cramped, but there's room for a dedicated numeric keypad. You also get a row of touch-sensitive media shortcuts for changing the volume and pausing or skipping through your media.

We had issues with the touchpad, however, as we kept brushing it with our palms when typing, causing the cursor to skip about on the screen.

Despite these minor gripes, the Akoya E6221 offers tremendous value for your hard-earned cash. With impressive performance that exceeds the low asking price, a strong TFT screen and long battery life, this is a fantastic bargain that will suit students and cash-strapped yet demanding users.

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