Speaking of the keyboard, Medion deserves some kind of award, together with a reprimand. Let me explain this contradiction; the amazingly good news is that the company has managed to include a full number pad on a 15.4in notebook! This really is an example to other manufacturers of how it can and should be done and is likely to please accounting types no end. On the other hand, that old bugbear of having the Fn key on the outside of Ctrl makes an unwelcome return. If you’re used to typing on a Desktop PC with a regular keyboard, you’re likely to make mistakes frequently when accessing shortcuts.
If you can get past this major pain, however, the keyboard is really rather good. Despite the full number pad, keys are large enough that you’ll never miss one and their matte surface feels just right. Vitally, Fn key aside, there are no obvious layout gremlins and no compromises have been made to integrate that number pad. Feedback does tend to be just the slightest bit spongy, but nonetheless keys produce a noticeable click and have a nice amount of travel.
Moving on, the touchpad is easily one of the better and more attractive implementations on a budget notebook. It’s perfectly integrated in the palm-rest area, being demarcated by a slight recess but featuring the exact same matte plastic finish as the rest of the machine.
Like its surface, the touchpad’s buttons are perfectly responsive, with just the right level of response. They’re also shaped to fall comfortably under your thumb. Between them is nestled another rarity on a cheap notebook; a very unobtrusive fingerprint reader, always handy if you’re the type that can’t remember passwords or want some extra security.
When it comes to connectivity, you’ll also find little room for complaint. On the left there are VGA and HDMI options for video, as well as a USB 2.0 port, Gigabit LAN port and a lock slot. Furthermore there is a 54mm ExpressCard slot and a 4-in-1 card reader that will handle SD (including SDHC), MMC, MS and MS Pro card formats.
On the right, you’ll find one ordinary USB 2.0 port and one that combines with e-SATA, an essential for those who transfer large amounts of data to external drives. Naturally, a DVD Writer is also present, as is an interesting mix of audio connectivity: in addition to the usual headphone and microphone sockets, there is a separate S/PDIF one. Combined, these give the Akoya S5610 the rare capability of outputting six-channel analogue audio, a nice boon for those with cheaper surround sound systems.
Even the power brick has some unusual features worthy of a quick mention. Though it’s a bit larger than usual, it does feature its own on/off switch, and even better, an indicator LED on the L-shaped connector that plugs into your notebook. This is a neat feature, since it enables you to easily see if you’ve forgotten to turn the power on at the mains, or if the cable has become detached from the power supply.