Supermarket tech specialist Medion may not be a brand traditionally associated with high performance gaming laptops, but even the most discerning Steam addict will find it hard to be snobbish about the components inside its latest machine.
The Erazer X6813 has the kind of specs that you'd normally associate with an Alienware or high-end Asus laptop. They start with a high-speed quad core processor and gaming grade Nvidia graphics, but also take in a bright and contrasty Full HD screen. There are many bigger brand notebooks with similar specs that cost at least a third as much as this again. So what's not to like?
The most obvious cost saving effort has gone into the body. Alienware and Asus both favour a rubberised finish, while others go for a metal shell. But Medion's brushed aluminium look turns out to be a thin plastic coat sculpted to appear rather more durable than it is. Not that durability is a huge issue. At over three and a half kilos you won't be carrying this around much.
There's also not a lot of thought gone into what makes a 'gaming laptop' beyond the core components. There are no refinements like macro buttons or keyboard backlighting. The keyboard itself is a generic ‘chiclet’ affair which is better suited to word processing than hundreds of actions per minute in Starcraft II, for example.
One thing we can't complain about, however, is the performance. Those very well regarded internal components throw out enough frames per second to easily play Shogun 2, Crysis 2 and any other recent title in native resolution at high detail settings.
And thanks to the Sandy Bridge graphics, when you're not gaming it's also got a battery life of around five hours too.
Costly, not Costco
While the Erazer might seem like a bargain, however, it's not notebook the cash conscious gamer should be looking at right now. The best value gaming laptop around is the MSI GX660. That's a faster machine with a better graphics card and killer looks, and Amazon is currently selling it for just £100 more.
The Erazer isn't a bad start for Medion, and we'd like to see it expand its gaming range in the future. But as it stands, it falls just short of being either an unbeatable bargain or the very best looks and performance – and it could have done with being one of either.