A large, powerful laptop with innovative graphics
Medion's Erazer series is a line of relatively high-powered laptops. Many of them are suitable for gaming, but the Erazer X6815 (model number MD97824) is more of a general-purpose workhorse.
It has a 15.6in widescreen display which was quite clear and reasonably bright, and though we have seen other screens that looked sharper, it was perfectly fine for all uses.
We found the keyboard quite uncomfortable, however: the keys were nicely sized and widely spaced but their tops had a textured, unpleasant feel to them. The letters and numbers were printed in a not-terribly helpful font and when we pressed the keys their ‘action' felt distinctly odd.
We were still able to type without a problem but we have certainly found better keyboards on laptops.
Likewise, the touchpad mounted below the keyboard wasn't particularly good: it isn't distinguished from the rest of the keyboard surround, as it's made of the same black glossy plastic.
It is recessed slightly to indicate where the active area is, but we found it uncofmrotable to rub our fingers on it. The left- and right-click buttons were too small and plasticky.
The power button is pushed off to the side of the keyboard, which made it slightly hard to find the first couple of times, and there's a row of touch-sensitive panels to control such things as music playback but we found them unresponsive, and the case bent alarmingly when we pushed them (we had to push quite hard to get any kind of response).
Otherwise the X6815 isn't badly designed: a row of status lights blinks away unobtrusively below the touchpad and a speaker and fingerprint reader are mounted above the keyboard.
A webcam is mounted above the screen. The internal speaker was very impressive – quality was fine and it went quite loud without the sound breaking up.
In terms of power the computer was more impressive – it uses an Intel Core i7-2630QM processor, 4GB of memory, a 500GB hard disk and on one side is mounted an optical drive that will read and create all CDs and DVDs and read but not make Blu-ray discs – so it can be used to watch high-definition Blu-ray films.
The powerful internal components helped it to a very impressive result in our DVD copying lab test, which means it'll easily be able to cope with intensive tasks such as video-editing, and simpler tasks such as word processing and internet use will be a breeze.
It has an innovative technology from graphics card maker Nvidia – in general use the computer doesn't make use of a graphics card, which saves on power and boosts battery life. It's supposed to detect when a game is being played or extra graphics power is needed, at which point the built-in Nvidia Geforce GT555M graphics card kicks in.
This worked for us on some games, giving a very good result in the game Portal, but not on others, which it failed to detect properly. Given that the laptop's battery life wasn't great anyway, this seems a bit of a waste.
At the front below the keyboard is an SD memory card reader, and on the sides are VGA and HDMI sockets for connecting monitors and flat-panel TVs, two USB 3 sockets and two USB 2 sockets. There's also a Kensington lock socket for attaching it to a desk or other fixed object, and it can connect to wired and wireless networks and Bluetooth devices.
In addition to the 64-bit edition of the Windows 7 Home Premium operating system the computer comes with Cyberlink software for working with discs and Microsoft Office Starter which gives access to cut-down word-processing and spreadsheet software.
Weighing 2.65kg and with a battery life of under three hours on average the Medion Erazer X6815 is not particularly portable but it is powerful for general use. However, we were put off by its flaws and there are better-value laptops available.
Read more reviews
It's not the best laptop we've seen recently, but nor is it the worst – the X6815 is a mixed bag
Powerful in general use; graphics card worked well most of the time
Switchable graphics didn't always work; battery life not great; keyboard quite unpleasant
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