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The Commodity Laptop Computer

I just bought a new laptop, to replace my aging Toshiba. I bought the Medion MD 96500. ‘The what?’ I hear you ask. It’s a budget laptop sold by discount retailer Aldi. I got it because it was really high-spec, it wasn’t too expensive and I just couldn’t see the point in forking out a few hundred extra extra for a branded version of the same thing.

It cost me around EUR 1160 (exc VAT/sales tax) which is very inexpensive, considering it’s got a gigabyte of RAM, a transreflective 15.4″ screen and comes with a whole load of accessories like a TV tuner, a bag (which I needed), a mouse and a bunch of other extras.

I am really pleased with it. The RAM makes it go really fast, and it can handle applications like OpenOffice, which is free and which I now use in preference to Microsoft Office. I can also use Mozilla, Thunderbird and the Sunbird calendar (also free, but a bit memory-intensive if you put them all together) -. I can work with media from my Sony digital camera.

The interesting thing is that the electronics industry has become so commodified that you can get a machine like this at such a good price through a discount chain. The parts all come from big-name manufacturers (Intel, ATI, Samsung) and the build is as good or better than other laptops I’ve looked at, so why bother paying the premium for a branded machine. There’s also a three year guarantee, which gives some comfort.

There is style to consider, of course. The look of it is a bit plain, but I can sort that out later … check out the skin I applied to my sad old laptop a few weeks ago.

Update: According to my Internet searches, like David Hasselhof, Medion is big in Germany. One of the biggest manufacturers of retail electronics, in fact.

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  1. hi antoin,

    Well wear! It is true that Aldi stock good quality hardware. I guess when you are buying it in such large bulk you an afford to sell it on at an even better price.

    I think most will operation over looks, if the specs are soo good.

    Keep the old Tosh, we are using one here at home, and with a little more RAM (an extra 256MB) it runs nicely.