Design and build: thorough but perfectible
The ERAZER X6811 design takes us back to the look seen on entry level models in early 2010. Here it's black or grey plastic all over. At least it's mainly matte, which means it's not too much of a magnet for fingermarks. Only the glossy black screen surround needs special care.
There are however a few problems when it comes to the finish on this machine. When you press down on the shell, pretty much anywhere, the keyboard or the side of the panel sinks in. It's a shame that the outer casing doesn't do justice to the internal components. The only part which does look a bit better is the hood, in black plastic, thanks to its false brushed aluminium look.
The keyboard offers comfortable and quiet keying. Most keys are well proportioned and in their usual place. Its instinctive keying will be appreciated by those who do a lot of word processing or spend time on forums or chats. Note however that the 'Enter' key could easily have been a bit bigger. As things stand, you might confuse it with the 'Shift' key when touch typing.
The touchpad is precise, but the slightly rough coating isn't very nice to the touch. It's also very small when you look at the available area on the palm rest. It's a shame Medion didn't think a bit bigger here. 6 cm is too small when you have 39 cm to play with, especially when you've got a Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixel) screen and you've got to start over several times to get the cursor all the way across it.
The webcam is just about okay. There's a lack of fluidity and the blacks lack all nuance but the image is sharp. We've seen better but it'll be okay as a fallback. For daily use however, best to get an external webcam.
Connectivity covers all the bases. On the left there are two USB 3.0 ins, an SD card reader, a USB 2.0 port and an ExpressCard port - which allows you to add peripherals such as a wi-fi card, USB ports, a card reader and so on. On the right, there's a DVD reader/rewriter, a USB 2.0 port and the audio connectivity (headphones socket, S/PDIF out, audio in, mic socket). Like the power socket, the video outs (VGA and HDMI), the RJ45 and the eSata ports aren't on the side but at the back.
The fan is pretty efficient but not the quietest. Even when you're just on the Windows desktop, doing nothing, it can be heard. Don't go for the X6811 if you're going to be using it in a quiet environment. Even when in heavy load situations however, the temperature doesn't get beyond 36 °C :
Underneath, a panel gives access to the RAM and the HDD. They can therefore be replaced without too much difficulty. Don't go sticking your mitts in there unless you have at least some know-how however.
Back, power socket, VGA, RJ45, eSATA port, HDMI
USB 3.0 (x2), card reader, USB 2.0 (x2), ExpressCard
Processor power: excellent performance
With a quad core Intel Core i7-740QM, the X6811 offers excellent performance. It scores 149 on our index! This can be compared to 100 for our reference machine, the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi3650 (equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400). This computer is therefore as much at ease with multimedia usage (photo, video and gaming) as with office documents and Internet.
You can play HD 1080p (Blu-ray equivalent) no problem on this machine. The core i7 will handle it no sweat. We do nevertheless advise you to use the video decoding capacities of the NVIDIA GTX 460M graphics card. For that, you'll just need software that supports the graphics card hardware decoding. This is the case with Power DVD 9 or Media Player Classic HC for example or VLC (recent versions). The processor is then totally freed up, which reduces energy consumption and makes it available for other tasks.
Windows 7 Family Premium edition (64-bit) takes 1 minute 08 seconds to boot. It turns off in 14 seconds.
Gaming: excellent performance and a little bonus!
In addition to decoding HD video, the NVIDIA GTX 460M graphics card also offers excellent gaming performance. Recent video games are perfectly playable at high graphics settings. Even at 1920 x 1080 pixels, the native resolution here, only the most demanding titles, such as Crysis, require a slight adjustment of your settings.
Medion has also added two buttons for gamers beside the power on button. One of them turns off the blue diodes on the front and the other deactivates the Windows key. Thanks to this second button, you won't find yourself accidentally returning to the Windows desktop, which can cost you dear when gaming online. Having experienced this issue more than once, we would certainly be willing to pay a premium for this facility.
Audio: some doubtful improvementsLike most recent large laptops, the ERAZER has very clean outs with a nice amount of available power. We do however wonder about the so-called improvements to the audio, on offer when you activate the Dolby: we found the sound much better when they're turned off. The speakers are also rather puny.
Battery life: don't stray too far from the power socketWith battery life measured at 2 hours and 10 minutes for video playback (wi-fi deactivated, headphones plugged in and brightness at 100 cd/m²), you won't be able to go far with the X6811. In any case, given its size and weight (almost 3.5 Kg), not many of us would want to be lugging it round all day. While just over two hours may seem mean, it's actually pretty good for a gamer machine.
- Very strong CPU performance
- Powerful graphics card
- Button to deactivate Windows
- Finish needs revisiting
- Glossy low contrast panel
- Touchpad coating too rough and too small
The ERAZER X6811 offers high-end performance designed for gamers. The poor finish may well put some users off however.