The Erazer range from Medion has been gaining ground in the minds of gamers, but even if you're not an avid Skyrim player there's still plenty to be had from the 17-inch daddy of the range, the Medion Erazer X7815.

You not only enjoy premium features like USB 3.0 and Blu-ray, but Medion has managed to keep the price fairly reasonable. There are compromises - the keyboard isn't the best we've used - but overall this is an exceedingly competent laptop.

In terms of design, the Erazer X7815 has a curved black chassis fashioned from moulded plastic, positioning it somewhere between a hulking games machine and an everyday laptop. It's not outlandish on the scale of an Alienware laptop or some of the MSI machines, but we still reckon you'd get admiring glances if you pulled it out in the company of gamers.

Part of that impact is its sheer size. It measures 427 x 287 x 58mm and weighs an impressive 3.8kg. Because of the 17.3-inch screen and thick bezel, it does feel more like you're sitting at a command module, than a laptop.

Of course, as you will have guessed, the Erazer X7815 isn't made for portability. Along with the weight, you also have a weak 128-minute battery life and an AC adapter that can only be described as a brick.

While we're on the limitations, we might as well touch on the keyboard. It may be well-spaced and comfortable, but it suffers from a couple of oddly-sized keys. For example, we frequently found ourselves hitting Caps Lock which sits snugly next to the A key, so typing takes some getting used to.

The touchpad is both comfortable and responsive but, unfortunately, the left and right click buttons are horrendously stiff.

Surround sound

Medion Build

The Erazer X7815 offers users a great media experience thanks to the punchy speakers to the left and right of the keyboard and the on-board Dolby Home Theater v4 sound equaliser. When we cranked up the volume, we were impressed at the clarity of the sound this laptop has to offer.

The 750GB hard drive also means you have plenty of space for your music collection, and there's also a 160GB SSD so boot-up time isn't compromised.

Of course, the reason we've included the Erazer X7815 in this group test is because of its 17.3-inch Full HD screen. Although the screen is bright, there's no Super TFT coating, so deep colours - black, especially - lose some of their glossiness in media playback. However, it does mean that you can play games or work in brightly lit areas and not be distracted by irritating glare from overhead lights or sunlight.

Both the Intel Core i7-2670QM processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 570M graphics card are powerful and there plenty of connections to take advantage of, like the aforementioned USB 3.0 and Blu-ray, as well as VGA, HDMI, and eSATA display connections.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 127 minutes
Cinebench: 18,219
3DMark 2006: 17,600

For out-and-out gaming we'd pick the Samsung Series 7 Gamer over the Erazer X7815, but in terms of general usage and value for money, this is a serious contender - and further confirmation that Medion is one to watch.