If you liked the idea of the ASUS X205TA, the compact fanless 11.6-inch low-cost laptop launched last year you might also be interested in the £149 Medion Akoya S2218 (MD 99599) laptop that’s at Aldi on Thursday in the UK. It will be available in mainland Europe one week later and I expect there’ll be queues at opening.
Update: It’s launched in the UK. Live updates on specs and customer opinion in this post. (Detailed.)
11.6-inches is the smallest screen-size that can offer a full typing experience in a laptop format and it’s been a popular one for low-cost laptops in the last 12 months. The HP Stream 11, ASUS X205TA and Acer ES1-111M were all good offerings but had one small issue – screen resolution. While a 1366 x 768 screen might be OK for basic browsing, email or blogging it’s not the best for a sharp media playback experience and that’s where the Medion Akoya S2218 laptop might hit the mark.
Like the ASUS X205TA this laptop uses Intel’s low-cost tablet platform – Baytrail-T, not the latest Cherry Trail platform – to drive the PC. The quad-core CPU and integrated GPU can drive high bitrate 2K videos without any issue at all and should be very efficient at doing it too. Retailer Aldi is claiming 7-9 hours (depending on which of their many country-specific websites you read) battery life on video playback although there’s no detail on the battery capacity yet. Update: I got a tip that it might be 38 Wh which would be good.
The design looks simple but attractive and you’ll get full-size USB 2.0 (x2) and HDMI ports. Unfortunately the SD card slot is micro-sized which makes it awkward for photographers looking for a cheap laptop with a good screen for quick photo-previewing.
- Intel Atom™ Z3735F processor
- 1920 x 1080 IPS screen.
- 32 GB flash memory
- 2 GB RAM memory
- Weight 1.2 KG – 1.3 KG (different figures seen at different Aldi websites.)
- Integrated webcam and mic. (Wait for tests to see if this gives a good Skype experience.)
- Fanless (assumed)
Implied in the specifications above is the Gen 7 Intel GPU (enough for some Windows Store gaming but not for ‘classic’ PC gaming. Minecraft, at a pinch.) and the Quick Sync video decoder and encoder. WiFi-N is supported (not the latest AC standard) along with Bluetooth 4.0. Miracast should be supported.
Expect 20-24 GB of free storage although Aldi are guaranteed to have pre-installed a bunch of software on the S2218. Thankfully you’ll be able to use Windows 10 ‘reset’ to clear out all that crap. Note: Some Aldi country websites are saying that the S2218 comes pre-installed with Windows 8. The UK site indicates a Windows 10 build.
The speakers are ‘high-definition audio with 2 speakers Dolby Advanced Audio certified’ (I don’t know that means) and there’s a 3-year warranty which is worth highlighting.
The price in the UK is just £149 (inc. taxes) which is about 15% less than the €239 that it’s being offered for in, for example, Germany next week. (£149 post tax is about €208 or $190 pre-tax-converted at current rates. Sales taxes average around 20% in Europe.)
There’s no micro-USB charging (important for people on the road) but it’s possible that the S2218 supports Modern Standby. Given that the Z3735F platform doesn’t support SATA or socketed RAM there’s little chance of any upgrading or hacking.
The Medion Akoya S2218 will make a great social-TV laptop for the sofa, an excellent holiday laptop and could even serve as a kids homework PC although please note that there’s no free Office 365 license included. If Windows 10 Universal Apps take-off it could even become more useful over time.
Interesting fact: The first Medion Akoya netbook launched 7 years ago for €399. I’ve still got it and it’s still working!