According to the Medion blurb, this Akoya Mini E1311 is a bigger notebook to give even more pleasure. However its size, price and configuration put it firmly in the large netbook category, alongside the Acer Aspire One 751. It is also part of the Akoya range, like the Akoya Mini E1210 that we have tested. Its particularity: it uses an AMD Sempron processor while the majority of netbooks on the market use an Intel Atom.
Handling, design and build
In the tradition of previous Akoya Mini models tested, such as the E1210, this E1311 has a rather sober look. All white, the outer casing is also glossy while the inside is matte (which we prefer so as to avoid finger marks).
It has a rather average finish, with some parts lacking a little attention. The plastic protection around the screen hinge is badly adjusted and overall the assembly of the plastic leaves something to be desired. These details show that the machine is very much in the budget section. The competition has made efforts over the last few months to combat this impression and with a certain amount of success. The E1311 is not unfortunately of the same quality.
The keyboard takes up the whole width of the netbook which means the keys can be wide, similar to those on a standard keyboard. Some are slightly smaller, but this doesn’t really cause any problem. They are firm and responsive. Unfortunately the keyboard is very flexible and tends to bend easily. This doesn’t make it particularly agreeable to the touch or the ear (dry and aggressive). The same poor finish can be observed on the clicks that are situated under the touchpad; they have a little bit of play and the click is not a very flattering sound.
The touchpad is fine in terms of size and is nice to use. It is nevertheless far from the current best in touchpads (wide and multi-touch).
We should however acknowledge the fact that the model we received is a pre-series, with a QWERTZ keyboard. The FN key is also badly placed at the bottom left, where you’d expect to find CTRL usually; everything but practical. Let’s hope that these faults will be corrected on the full series version.
The webcam is not very good. It tends to burn over-exposed zones and colours are rather cold. The microphone is well-placed above the screen to the left of the webcam. This means there isn’t too much interference from the sound of the keyboard, as sometimes happens when the webcam is placed too close to the keyboard.
Noise levels on this machine are manageable. That said, the fan is constantly running and isn’t the quietest you’ve ever heard. The hard drive makes a slightly odd sound during access and copying. You’ll find much worse elsewhere, but no one would say the E1311 was quiet.
Connectivity is placed on the sides of the laptop: 3 USB 2.0 ports, 1 HDMI, 1 VGA, 1 RJ45, 2 mini Jacks, 1 memory card reader and an ExpressCard port.
You cannot get access to the components inside this netbook unless you take it apart completely. There is no panel under the machine and only the battery can be moved. As this is a pre-series model, it is possible that this will change before it comes on the market.
|Lock, power supply, VGA
|Phones, micro, 2 USBs, ExpressCard, RJ45
||Card reader, phones, microphone, 2 USBs
The particularity of this E1311 is its processor. The AMD Sempron 210U is supposed to give better performance than an Intel Atom. In practice, it got an index of 26. This is better than an Atom N280 (index 20), which earns it a five star in this part of our survey, but nevertheless it is 2 or 3 times beneath the Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 (index 50 to 55). So the difference in performance is pretty limited, especially as this processor uses more power, an important factor when it comes to battery life.
The other negative is that it can’t play HD films fluidly. The ATI X1250 graphics component cannot handle decoding of these films and the core processor isn’t powerful enough.
These choices then are regrettable but we would like to see this sort of initiative more often with higher performance coupling of processors / graphics cards. On the condition of course that battery life isn’t compromised and they don’t come in at too high a price for a netbook. Here, as peformance levels aren’t sufficiently improved, it would be better to prioritise battery life than increased but underutilised performance.
Although giving higher performance levels than a GMA 950 (used with the Intel Atom in the N series), the ATI Radeon X1250 doesn’t give comfortable gaming. As with other netbooks, gaming with the E1311 will be confined to enthusiasts willing to put up with compromised gaming quality.
Netbook speakers are often very mediocre and this Medion is no exception to the rule. The maximum volume isn’t very high but enough for a netbook. The headphones out is good enough without being any more than that. It does give quite a clean sound.
Battery life and portability
Our test model only had a 3 cell battery. Battery life only extended to 2 hours 22 minutes when playing films (brightness at 100 Cd/m², Wi-Fi disactivated and headphones plugged in). This is definitely a weakness but better than we got with the Mini E1210 in the same range (1 hour 48 minutes). Medion is however going to sell this model with a longer-lasting 6 cell battery. Battery life should therefore be around 4 hours, which would already be reasonable for this type of product.
The Akoya Mini E1311 charger is relatively compact. It shouldn’t hamper you too much when you’re moving around , even though you do sometimes find smaller on other models. At 1.5 Kg, this machine weighs more than a feather. Although reasonable, anything over this and portability would suffer.
- Large screen
- Full connectivity
- Very average finish
- Glossy panel
- Keyboard bends too easily
- Cant handle 1080p HD films
Wanting to be original with an AMD processor, this Akoya Mini E1311 is not really convincing. Performance gains are not sufficient compensation for the loss in battery life. It is nevertheless a complete model with a large screen and is comfortable to use.