There’s something to be said for aspiring to move away from a full-sized desktop and towards a more portable, low-space notebook. The latest Erazer gaming laptop from Medion is technically portable: at 17 inches on the diagonal, it’d be considered a desktop replacement.
Packing an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, a 480GB solid-state drive (SSD), an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics chip and a G-Sync enabled, 17.3-inch, IPS 1080p screen, this Erazer isn’t about to rob you of a desktop-grade gaming experience just for shrinking down a bit.
This is a system more than capable of driving any of the latest AAA titles at a full 60 frames per second (fps) at 1080p, in beautifully color accurate detail with little to any worry. Couple that with Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, and watch as screen tearing and frame drops become a thing of the past.
Price, availability and value
But, with an asking price of £1,699 (about $2,199, AU$2,937), is the Erazer worth plunking down that much for a recently-dated processor and an apparent lack of spinning storage? That is a huge chunk of money, regardless of how you look at it, especially for the spec sheet this laptop touts, compared to the desktop competition much less laptops.
Don’t believe us? As of this writing, for £1,706 you could get a Ryzen 7 1700 CPU, Samsung 850 Evo 500GB SSD, 1TB Seagate HDD, 32GB of HyperX DDR4 memory, a Gigabyte GTX 1070 and a 27-inch, BenQ 1440p IPS screen – with a solid set of peripherals – for almost exactly the same amount of cash.
That’s a system with four times as much computational power, three times as much storage, twice as much memory, running on a screen that’s 10 inches larger and at twice the resolution.
Ultimately, you’re paying for that portability. For that same money or less, you could have an HP Omen 17, replete with one of the latest Intel Core i7 processors (Kaby Lake) as well as a 128GB SSD + 1TB hard drive (HDD) combo. Likewise, you can get a custom-built Origin EON17-X laptop for a few more hundred bucks with more recent hardware.
And, honestly, we just don’t see a big portability play here with the Erazer. It’s big, it’s bulky and it’s just too much to cart on a commute. What does that leave you with? A system that you essentially still leave in one place from day to day.
As for availability, Medion serves both the US and UK as well as most of western Europe.
That said, the Erazer is truly a beauty. Although the LED lighting, situated around the trackpad and the back of the screen, may be less than appealing to those looking for a sleeker, more professional device, the soft touch finish wrapping the rest of the system is simply stunning.
And, while it’s certainly not the most portable of notebooks, the sharp angles situated around the design keep it looking sleek. The bezel is a little chunkier than we’d like, and the standard membrane keyboard leaves much to be desired (especially for the price), but there’s a lot to be said for it.
What did impress, however, was the cooling system. No doubt due in part to its large size, but it was rare for us to hear the fans ramp up, if at all.
That said, unsurprisingly, the fans are somewhat whiney when they do kick in, but they’re nothing that a good pair of headphones can’t drown out. While, frankly, you shouldn’t have to, most of the time you’ll be buried into a good game, so it’s not something we’ll get too hung up on with how rarely it happens.
The I/O, on the other hand – oh boy, what a compliment. With the Erazer, you could effectively run three additional displays attached to this monster.
Memory abound, storage absent
Storage, however, is one area in which the Erazer really comes unglued. In short, you get a single 480GB SSD. Fill that up with your run-of-the-mill OS programs, and you’ll be left with less than 280GB for games – not ideal. Considering the Erazer nears the £1,700 mark, and given it’s humongous dimensions, we have to ask: why no additional HDD?
Fortunately, the situation regarding memory is far merrier. With two out of four available DIMMs taken up with two 8GB RAM modules of DDR4 RAM, meaning you could throw another 16GB in for good measure, to give you a total of 32GB, which useful for media rendering tasks.
However, in that scenario, a seriously beefy external HDD, or a dedicated NAS, would almost be a necessity.
Computational performance was a little lower than we expected, averaging below 700 on CineBench R15’s multi-threaded performance, as to be expected from the mobile Skylake processor buried at the heart of this wee beastie.
That last point is a bit of a stickler for us. At this point in time, Skylake is looking positively old in the world of advancing processors. Although Kaby Lake launched early in 2017, the mobile parts have been available since before December.
On top of that, Kaby Lake X, Intel’s next generation processor, is supposedly right around the corner, meaning we could soon see a slew of new mobile parts hit the mainstream. Couple that with AMD promising Ryzen mobile parts within the next quarter, and the aging Skylake core looks positively decrepit.
Does that mean the Core i7-6700HQ is chump change at this point? Yes and no. It’s still a serious contender, even in its mobile form factor, equalling roughly the same processing power as any keen-eyed Core i5-6600K desktop-side. If you’re looking to dabble in video rendering and editing on the move, it should be more than plenty to whet your appetite.
As for graphics performance, the Erazer is well outclassed by the Origin EON17-X we reviewed last winter and on par with the HP Omen 17 of fall 2016.
A battery bummer
But, the big one is battery, right? In our testing, we found that during intense video playback, the battery lasted 2 hours and 37 minutes. So, enough to get the latest Marvel film done and dusted, and maybe go through some bonus features, but not quite long enough to get a good Peter Jackson ode to New Zealand quite all the way through.
Similarly, the PCMark 8 Home battery test reported a somewhat lackluster 2 hours and 53 minutes. Both of these figures are expectedly a far cry from the 4 hours promised by Medion.
Ultimately, the Erazer is a fine piece of work. Its soft touch finish makes the product feel premium enough, but it doesn’t tout the aluminium stylings we’ve seen from similarly-priced Asus, HP or Dell laptops.
That said, this laptop should feel like home to any who spend the majority of their free time gaming, its frame resisting sweaty fingerprints and greasy food stains. Performance is solid, dependable even. And, the coupling of that GTX 1070 with a 1080p screen should mean you’re set for any AAA title that launches over the next two to three years at least, without tweaking any major settings.
The price, though, and the lack of portability that comes with it, makes the Erazer less appealing than we’d hoped. If a spinning hard drive was thrown into the mix, we could perhaps forgive it, but for what Medion is asking, well, it’s just a little too much for what’s on the table.
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