When we spoke to Peter Hortenius earlier this year, he mentioned that Lenovo used Medion, the German company it acquired several years ago, as some sort of laboratory to explore the European market.
Medion, which employs around 1,000 people, produces everything from wooden toys for kids to high-end gaming laptops, and a slew of products not usually associated with computers. One of its latest propositions is likely to get a lot of interest though, potentially from some folks in Cupertino.
Because you see, the Medion Akoya S3401 looks a lot, and I mean a LOT, like the 13.3-inch MacBook Air. Some say that imitation is the best form of flattery but this may be a bit too close for comfort.
That said, the S3401 is an absolutely stunning piece of kit – it's the sort of laptop you'd expect Apple to produce had the firm opted to build one for Microsoft's Windows 10.
Because Medion is part of Lenovo, it could have tapped into the extensive R&D and production resources of its parent company to deliver something different. Instead, it seems to have gone the ODM/OEM way as the S3401 is almost the spitting image of PC Specialist's Lafite Ultrabook (see the picture below).
The S3401's profile is not as tapered as its MacBook Air alter ego but everything else seems to be in place. Aluminium unibody? Check. One big hinge? Check. Fairly large bezel? Check. Massive trackpad? Check.
It measures 32.5 x 21.9 x 1.8cm, making it slightly bigger than an A4 sheet of paper but smaller than its Apple rival. It does weigh slightly more though (1.46kg compared to 1.35kg).
The laptop's finish is up there with other premium, high-end Windows laptops. And there's no flex on the keyboard or the display and a decent keyboard action. Ditto for the trackpad – it's as responsive as can be expected from a good laptop.
This laptop has a starting price of £650 (about $1000, or AU$1400) in the UK; we asked our PR contact for some clarification regarding the exact specification of the laptop that will go on sale for that price.
The 13.3-inch display is an IPS model with a full HD resolution and an option for a QHD+ display (3200 x 1800 pixels), similar to the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro. Note that it is non-touchscreen though, and therefore doesn't suffer from much glare.
There's also 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB SSD storage, plus an option for a 1TB SSHD or HDD drive. The rest of the specification includes an Intel 802.11ac wireless radio with Bluetooth 4.0, a 4-cell battery that can drive the laptop for up to seven hours, Dolby Audio Premium speakers and the ability to upgrade to a Skylake-based Intel Core i7 processor.
Connectivity is more than decent – this machine has an SD card reader, a USB Type-C (Gen 1) connector, a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port, HDMI out (but no DisplayPort) and an audio connector. There's no Ethernet port either.
This is one great looking laptop and it won't be as expensive as many of its competitors, especially if it delivers all the specs that we've seen on paper. Will it be enough to wow the crowd and translate into sales?
Medion, unfortunately, is not a household name in the UK and other than Lidl and Aldi aficionados, is unlikely to attract the same level of interest as its rivals, including models from its own parent company, Lenovo. We will have to wait for our full review and detailed pricing before finally delivering a verdict.