Medion Erazor P7647

The Medion Erazor P7647 is a gaming laptop that brings decent power for a very decent price. While many gaming laptops these days can cost a lot – with price tags well over the $1,000/£1,000/AU$1,400 mark – the Erazor P7647 comes in at quite a bit less.

Of course, when you’re a fair bit less expensive than your competitors there are bound to be compromises. Medion’s task when creating an affordable gaming laptop is to make sure it keeps the price down while not skimping too much on components, or build quality.

Has Medion achieved this delicate balancing act with the Erazor P7647? We put it to the test to see if it can handle some of the latest and most demanding PC games.

Price, availability and value

The price tag for the Medion Erazor P7647 is perhaps its biggest draw, coming in at £929.99 (about $1,180). That’s quite a bit cheaper than its bigger brother, the Medion Erazer X7849, which costs £1,699 (about $2,199).

The big difference between these two machines is the graphics card; while the X7849 comes with the powerful and relatively recent GTX 1070, which can handle virtual reality games, the P7647 comes with the older (and weaker) GTX 950M.

We’ll go into more detail about the specifications later on, but it’s clear that the Medion Erazor P7647’s relatively low price comes at the cost of graphics horsepower. Of course, the GTX 950M is still a very competent GPU for mobile devices, and will play most modern games at medium settings without too many problems. 

So if you play older games, or don’t mind tweaking graphics settings for less bells and whistles but more consistent frame rates, then the lower cost of the Medion Erazor P7647 will be very tempting.

However, if you want to play in VR, or run the latest games at the highest graphics settings, then you’re going to have to spend quite a bit extra for a more powerful graphics card.

The HP Pavilion Gaming Notebook is another gaming laptop that comes with the GTX 950M GPU, and while it's showing its age (it was released at the beginning of 2016), we hailed its great value – it costs £800 (around $1,140). While the Medion Erazor P7647 is a bit more expensive, it boasts newer components than the HP machine (such as a seventh-generation Core i7 processor) and twice the RAM (16GB vs 8GB).

So, as far as value goes, you’re getting a pretty good deal here, with only the graphics card taking a hit when it comes to compromises.

Medion serves both the US and UK, as well as most of western Europe, when it comes to availability.

Design

At Computex 2017 Nvidia showed off its Max-Q technology, which ushers in a new generation of powerful (and expensive) gaming laptops that are impressively slim and light. The Medion Erazor P7647, being a relatively affordable machine, is not one of those – but neither is it a bulky monstrosity, as some gaming laptops can be.

It has a rather plain and restrained design – but its lack of flashy gimmicks is actually quite appealing in some ways. The body of the Medion Erazor P7647 is made of a tough-feeling rubberized plastic, which doesn’t give you a premium feel, but does at least feel like it will protect the Medion Erazor P7647 from knocks and bumps.

On the rear of the lid is the Erazer logo – which doesn’t light up, unlike those on some flashier gaming laptops. There’s no backlighting on the keys of the keyboard either (the Medion Erazer X7849 features this, however), which may disappoint people who like to show off their gaming machines, but the understated design also means you can take this laptop into the office without it looking like you're there to play rather than work.

Instead of LED backlights on the keyboard, parts of the keys are subtly painted blue, which sort of gives a similar impression – but it’s not really fooling anyone. The WASD keys are also highlighted with the corresponding directions when used for gaming, which Medion says is to help gamers quickly find them – though we’d argue that most gamers’ hands will gravitate to those keys automatically.

Speaking of the keyboard, the keys are a decent size, and comfortably spaced, which means writing (as well as gaming, of course) on the keyboard feels comfortable – and definitely not cramped.

The keys are rather flat, and the travel isn’t very pronounced when pressing them, so the keys don’t feel particularly responsive when in use – this is particularly noticeable if you’re coming from a mechanical keyboard. Still, during our time with the Medion Erazor P7647 we didn’t experience any problems typing or playing on the machine.

Above the keyboard sit two speakers and two chunky hinges that attach the screen to the body of the laptop. Again, not terribly stylish, but they certainly feel robust.

In front of the keyboard is the trackpad, which is slightly off center towards the left. It’s a decent size and seems responsive enough – though of course for most games you’ll want to plug in a proper mouse. There are no separate left and right mouse buttons on the trackpad – instead you press down or tap the trackpad to mimic a mouse click, while pressing on the bottom-right corner of the trackpad mimics a right mouse button click. This is a perfectly usable trackpad, which also includes gesture support.

On the right-hand side of the laptop are a mic and headphone jack, two USB 2.0 ports and an optical drive. Optical drives in laptops are definitely a rarity these days, mainly due to most people downloading programs rather than installing them from discs. Omitting an optical drive also enables manufacturers to keep the size and weight of their machines down – considerations that Medion clearly doesn’t worry about with the Erazor P7647.

Still, the inclusion of a DVD drive gives the Medion Erazor P7647 some extra flexibility, be it for installing legacy games or programs (or if you suffer from a dodgy internet connection), as well as allowing you to watch DVD movies.

On the left-hand side of the laptop are the power port, a VGA connection for older monitors or TVs, a gigabit Ethernet network port, HDMI, UBS 3.0 and a USB Type-C port – the latter is a nice addition, as an increasing number of peripherals are coming out that make use of the faster USB standard. 

While the USB-C port future-proofs the Medion Erazor P7647, the VGA and DVD drive also gives you the flexibility to use older hardware – a nice combination that's possible thanks to Medion not having to worry about making the laptop as thin and light as possible.

Although the Medion Erazor P7647 is by no means svelte, with dimensions of 16.5 x 1.10 x 11 inches (42 x 2.8 x 27.9cm) it’s actually not that bad by gaming laptop standards. With a weight of 5.95 pounds (2.7kg) it’s perfectly feasible to carry this laptop to friends' houses, although you wouldn’t be able to do so one-handed.

So in some ways the fact that the Medion Erazer P7647 doesn't feature a premium design – it's robust and chunky rather than slim and light – works in its favor, especially when it comes to its generous array of connections. 

However, let’s not gloss over the fact that at £929.99 (about $1,180), this is still a very expensive laptop – that price is what many people would consider premium, and if you're one of those people then you may be disappointed in the plain looks and lack of pizzazz of the Medion Erazer P7647.

As we've mentioned, the Medion Erazer P7647’s specifications mix some impressive new components with some compromises – namely the GTX 950M graphics card.

Last year the GTX 950M was seen in a lot more gaming laptops as the entry-level GPU, while this year we’re seeing a number of machines make use of the newer GTX 1050, GTX 1060, GTX 1070 and even (for very expensive machines) GTX 1080 graphics cards.

Including the GTX 950M has enabled Medion to keep the price of the Erazer P7647 relatively low, and despite its age it still comes with 4GB of graphics memory – that's a great deal more than gaming laptops came with a few years ago, and it means the Medion Erazer P7647 can handle games with higher-resolution textures and greater draw distances.

Games from a couple of years ago will mostly run pretty well on this GPU, but when it comes to newer, more graphically-ambitious titles, you will need to drop  the graphical settings to get a playable frame rate.

Things are helped by the Erazer P7647's 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 screen, which doesn’t tax the GPU quite as much as higher-resolution monitors while still providing impressive image quality.

The Intel Core i7 7500U processor is much more impressive, a seventh-generation Kaby Lake offering that comes with two cores clocked at 2.70GHz and a max turbo frequency of 3.50GHz. The fact that it’s a dual-core CPU in a world where quad-core CPUs are increasingly the norm is a bit of a shame, but if you're using this as a pure gaming machine that doesn’t run CPU-intensive games, then you shouldn’t see too much of a performance impact.

The 16GB of RAM is a good amount – though really Medion could have stuck with 8GB to further lower the price. Still, 16GB will give this laptop a bit of future-proofing where it lacks in other departments.

Windows 10 Home is installed on a 256GB SSD, which means the Erazer P7647 will boot and perform quickly, and it also features a 1TB hard drive. This dual storage option is a nice touch, as it means you don’t have to worry about storing your games, while still getting the benefits of an operating system running from an SSD.

Overall, the specs are about what we would expect for a gaming laptop of this price. Sure, there are more powerful machines out there, but they also cost a lot more. It appears that Medion has done a good job of balancing power with value.

Performance

Considering the price and specifications, we kept our expectations in check when it came to the gaming performance of the Medion Erazer P7647 – and this proved to be a wise decision.

As we thought, there’s enough graphical oomph here to handle older games very well, with mid-to-high settings. More demanding older games, such as GTA V, needed their settings on medium, but still played very well.

Newer games, such as Dues Ex: Mankind Divided and Hitman proved more strenuous – and ‘Ultra’ graphics settings sent frames per second counts into the single digits, making the games stutter and generally become unplayable. It was also during these games that the fans kicked in audibly; while not terribly loud some people may find them distracting – but it’s a fact of life when you’re running powerful components in a small laptop form factor.

As you can see from our benchmark scores, at low settings the Medion Erazer P7647 returns perfectly playable frame rates in games, and returns high scores in undemanding benchmark tests. 

It actually scores marginally lower in the 3DMark benchmarks compared to the HP Pavilion Gaming Notebook, but in reality the performance of both machines is very close. This doesn’t paint the Medion Erazer P7647 in a particularly flattering light, however, as the HP machine is both older and cheaper.

The 17.3-inch 1080p screen does a very good job of displaying games, media and the Windows 10 desktop, with bright and vibrant colors. The fact that it's ‘just’ 1080p means games look good, while the resolution isn't as demanding as 1440p or 4K.

Battery life was very short, at just 3 hours 12 minutes, in our TechRadar battery benchmark, which plays a looped 1080p video until the battery becomes depleted. As anyone who's familiar with gaming laptops knows, this kind of reduced battery life is expected (though no less annoying) due to the power-hungry innards of most devices.

So this is definitely not the laptop you want for working on away from a power source – our day-to-day testing bore this out, as we were needing to plug it in every four hours to charge it up, even when doing relatively simple tasks such as word processing and web browsing.

Overall, the Medion Erazer P7647 performs as expected of a mid-to-low range gaming laptop. It doesn’t excel at pushing modern games with graphical effects turned up to 11, but it will handle pretty much any game – you’ll just need to tweak the settings first, and live with reduced visuals.

We liked

The Medion Erazer P7647 does a good job of playing games at reasonable settings for a decent price. This isn’t a monster rig that will push out 4K visuals at impeccable frame rates – but for that you’d have to pay much, much more.

Instead, it does a competent job that makes its relatively low price tag very tempting. We also quite like the no-nonsense design of this laptop.

We didn’t like

While we understand the logic of going for an older, lower-powered graphics card, it does limit the capabilities – and future-proofing ability – of this laptop. While it does include some nice new components, the reality is there are more powerful gaming laptops out there.

Also, while we appreciate the design, in this age of increasingly thin and light gaming laptops the Medion Erazer P7647 could quickly look like a bit of a relic.

Battery life is also low, even for a gaming laptop.

Final verdict

At the beginning of this review we mentioned the careful balancing act that Medion needed to perform with the Medion Erazer P7647, to create an affordable gaming laptop without making too many compromises.

On the whole, we feel that Medion has done a good job. We weren’t expecting a premium design, but the company has done well to make the Medion Erazer P7647 look good, while also feeling secure thanks to the rubberized body. It’s not as chunky or bulky as gaming laptops of yore, and it puts its size to good use by including a range of connectivity options, both old and new, as well as a DVD drive.

When it comes to power the compromises are more apparent, with the Erazer P7647 relying on a dual-core processor and an ageing GTX 950M graphics card. This limits the laptop’s ability to play modern games at the absolute maximum visual settings, but crucially these games can still be played, as long as you don’t mind tweaking settings and lowering graphical options.

So, if you want an all-singing, all-dancing gaming laptop that can handle VR and run games at ultra settings, this is not the laptop for you. However, if you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars or pounds on a laptop, and want a machine on which you can play games that still look good, but don’t have all the bells and whistles they'd have when played on a monster gaming rig, then the Medion Erazer P7647 is worth consideration.

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