The last Medion product we looked at, the Medion Akoya S5610 Notebook, won a TR award because it offered a boatload of features for a relatively small amount of cash. Now the German PC manufacturer looks set to do it again in the desktop space with its Akoya P36888 Multimedia Home Entertainment Design Center PC.
For £500, you get highlights such as an Intel Core 2 Quad Core 2.4GHz processor, 3GB of 800MHz DDR2 RAM, a 1TB hard disk and a Blu-ray drive - not bad! But let's also see how the rest of the PC holds up and if this is truly one of the desktop bargains of the year.
In addition to the PC itself you get peripherals and a remote. The mouse and keyboard are, surprisingly, PS2 models rather than USB which immediately makes them rather out-dated. The no-brand keyboard is also the most basic model we've seen for some time, though its keys are less spongy and more responsive than the monstrosity that came with the HP-Compaq dc7900. The keyboard surround is made from a dull grey plastic that doesn't match the PC at all, though the keys themselves are matte black. And forget about extra function or multimedia buttons, all you get here are dedicated power, sleep and hibernate ones.
The Logitech mouse is slightly better; a matte black three-button symmetrical affair equally suited for left or right-handed use. The rubberised two-directional scroll wheel is comfortably broad, and the buttons have a good response. But in this day of optical, laser and BlueTrack rodents, it is, of all things, a ball mouse. This is something I honestly expected never to see again, and certainly not bundled with a powerful PC.
Thankfully, the remote isn't as disappointing. It runs off two AAA batteries, so environment lovers like me can use rechargeable ones. It's a mix of glossy black and silver plastic, feels reasonably comfortable in the hand, and has small but soft buttons. The logical button layout makes it easy enough to work in the dark once you get used to it, all of which is especially nice when controlling the P36888's integrated TV tuner.
Other bits and bobs include a guide to setting up your PC plus a manual in various languages, along with a Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit disc and a Driver & Applications disc.