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Hands on with Aldi’s £200 ‘Specialbuy’ Medion Akoya notebook

With impressive specs, should this budget-priced notebook find a way into your shopping basket?

Aldi is currently selling a 14-inch laptop for £200 with some impressive-looking specifications, but is it really all it’s cut out to be? We take a closer look to see whether it’s good value or a false economy.

Aldi is becoming well-known for its so-called ‘Specialbuys’. These are limited-run products sold very cheaply, so when they’re gone they’re truly gone.

The most notable deal right now is this Medion-branded laptop that’s exclusively found at Aldi. £200 laptops rarely become Best Buys in our tests, but we have seen some almost-as-cheap Best Buys over the years. So there is every chance that this machine could fit the bill.

We’ve taken a look at this machine in our First Look review, so if you want to know whether it’s worth your money, read our Medion Akoya 4242 First Look review.

Ultra-budget laptops: pros and cons

Super-cheap laptops have a couple of advantages over more expensive models because of the cheaper parts that are used to make them.

The first is that they’re smaller and lighter, down to the fact that it’s cheaper to make a small laptop than a big one, and plastic is generally lighter than the metal used in more robust models. This makes them great as ultra-portable devices to be chucked in a bag when travelling.

The second big pro is that because these laptops have less powerful (and thus less power-hungry) processors and smaller screens, they often have much better battery life than their larger siblings.

Indeed, of all the laptops we’ve tested between 2016 and 2018, those that cost under £200 scored an average four out of five for battery life, while those tested in the same period costing between £200 and £400 scored a meagre 3.2 on average. That’s the difference between getting through a whole work day away from the mains, and having to plug in with a few hours still to go.

But there are significant cons as well, normally around performance. You don’t often get cheap laptops that are fast, no matter what the marketing blurb might say. Laptops costing under £200 have scored 2.2 on average for overall performance, while machines costing between £200 and £400 score consistently close to three out of five, averaging 2.7.

Is this an Aldi bargain?

Based on the specifications, there are some definite highlights for those who favour portability. This laptop has a 14-inch screen but weighs just 1.4kg, making it convenient for carrying in a bag. The screen itself also has a Full HD (1920 x 1080-pixel) resolution, which is very rare at this price.

The Intel Atom processor, however, is not known for its speed so it’s unlikely to serve heavy users – such as those who open lots of programs and browser tabs – particularly well.

To find out whether it can at least handle the basics, read our Medion Akoya 4242 First Look review.

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