Medion S2218 Aldi SpecialAugust 27th, 2015 | Posted by in Reviews
I often wonder if it is ever worth reviewing these sort of devices, as they seem to sell out the same day they are put on sale. I doubt this will be any different, but as they go on sale a week later in Mainland Europe than here in the UK, I agreed to do this quick mini review mainly for Steve over at http://www.umpcportal.com/ as his viewers and readers will still have a week to decide if they should get one (spoiler alert, yes, they should!)
So, I got up early, and arrived at my local Aldi in Ipswich around 8.15am, and was half expecting a queue, but nobody was about at all. There was no sign of the S2218 so I asked, and a few moments and £149.99 later, I was on my way with my new PC. The small store I went to only had 6 in total in stock, it seems that some stores had a lot fewer, some only 1 unit, which is poor.
Let us just look at the price for a moment, under £150 including 20% UK VAT. That is remarkable, and in terms of value is simply staggering. None of this would matter if the laptop is complete rubbish of course. The great news is, it most certainly is not. In fact I would say it is a no brainer as our American friends are fond of saying.
Let’s start with the overall feel of the machine. It is attractive, completely plastic of course, and quite lightweight without being flimsy. The supplied PSU (in the UK at least) is a one piece neat affair, and has a normal barrell pin arrangement. I suppose USB charging would have been nice, but an HP Chromebook I had once was very slow to charge, so maybe this is better? Its got a USB (2.0) ports, a full size HDMI, and a MicroSD card slot on the left hand side, and of course a charging port. There is also one of those combined 3.5mm audio in/out jacks, which take headphones or a mic, but of course you can connect a mic to a USB. On the right side, there is just one more USB socket, also a 2.0 version.
The S2218 come with a 30.68 usable SSD, which is a Hynix HBG4e, same as HP use in the Stream models I think. I have installed only Chrome, and deleted McAfee Live, and have just over 12GB free. I am sure I can delete a few more apps, so you can probably free up a bit more. It does of course have an SD slot, but this is only for MicroSD cards, which limits it a bit, although you have 2 * USB sockets as well. On the plus side, MicroSD is now really cheap. I tried a 64GB version, which worked fine, and it goes completely flush in the slot, which is great, I simply hate those ones that stick out a bit. Oh, one other thing, you may need a pair of tweezers to remove it, as it does not have much ‘bounce’ when releasing!
Now on to the best thing about this machine, the display. I was not expecting that much to be honest, but it is very, very nice. It is 1920 * 1080, and is very bright. People who know me, know that I run all my smartphones at 100% all the time, but 70% about as high as I need to go here. It is also very ‘white’, unlike some screens that give a cast of some sort. Text looks very sharp, and viewing angles are wide. I have not had a chance to play much on this yet, but can already say this screen puts a lot of far more expensive devices to shame, and frankly, it’s as good as my Macbook Air screen. It also has a full HDMI socket on board for added flexibility.
This is a fanless laptop, which is just great for me. The original reason I dumped Windows laptops for Apple a few years ago, is that so many Windows laptops are just too noisy for me, it really annoys me. I love how quiet this thing is, and it does not get too hot at all. Been using it for several hours straight, and is just a little warm in one spot on the base.
Keyboard / Trackpad
The keyboard is pretty good, not too much bounce, and decent spacing. I am writing this completely on the S2218, and not making too many mistakes! One odd thing is that every now and then, the cursor jumps to another part of the Google Doc, and I am typing in the wrong spot. Very odd but probably just me getting used to it.
If the keyboard is decent, (and it is!) then the trackpad is the first real disappointment. Let me qualify this a little. I am used to using the MacBook trackpad, which is excellent, and of course at about five times the price, it should be. This trackpad is OK, but at the moment, I can not get it to either scroll web pages or select blocks of text with a two finger tap. It feels as if it needs some sort of driver installing, and I will be investigating this in the next few days.
UPDATE 28/8 Looks like this driver works for Touchpad scrolling http://www.medion.com/gb/service/_lightbox/treiber_details.php?did=14621&hgt=660
Tip: Once installed the above, go to normal mouse settings and change scroll to One Line at a time, and set to 1 line. Mine was set to 17 lines and made scrolling really jerky. Once you set this you can adjust scroll speed in the Elan Touchpad software.
I have to say though, at this price, it seems churlish to be complaining about anything. The fact is, for the money this is simply a great little unit, it is light, has a great screen, battery life looks like it will be pretty darn good based on this first charge, and even the speakers are not terrible. OK, that is damning with faint praise really, they are just OK, but with Bluetooth on board you can simply send the audio to a speaker or hi-fi.
Taking all this into account, I am not sure why you would not just get one of these if you are able to find one left in stock, it is a great buy, and not just ‘at the price’ either.
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