The Erazer Crawler E40 has a few faults but gaming performance is good and it’s spectacular value
- Outstanding value
- Decent gaming performance
- Memory can be upgraded
- Poor battery life
- Fans get rather loud
- No MUX switch or adaptive sync
Buying a gaming laptop for £1,000 and not ending up with some awful piece of tat can be quite a challenge. The odds are that you’ll get a machine with either a low-rent screen, dismal speakers or insufficient power to pull the skin off a rice pudding, let alone play Returnal with ray tracing.
So what about buying one for just over £800? Am I having a laugh? Surprisingly, I’m not, because that’s exactly what Medion has accomplished with the new Erazer Crawler E40, a budget gaming laptop that’s not only not terrible but, in many ways, is really rather good.
Medion Erazer Crawler E40 review: What you need to know
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that Medion has been on a bit of a roll in the UK of late. Long the butt of Aldi middle-aisle jokes, 2023 has seen Lenovo’s German division release a string of impressive machines such as the Erazer Beast X40 and Erazer Major X30.
There seems to have been a shift in the focus of its retail efforts, too, with increased availability through the UK’s bigger specialist resellers rather than supermarket outlets.
Now, it’s time for the cheapest machine in Medion’s gaming lineup, the Erazer Crawler E40, to get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series makeover and, in the process, potentially redefine what it’s realistic to expect from an entry-level gaming laptop.
READ NEXT: The best gaming laptops to buy
Medion Erazer Crawler E40 review: Price and competition
Configuration tested: Intel Core i5-1245H CPU, Nvidia RTX 4050 (100W) GPU, 16GB RAM, 6GB vRAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS non-touchscreen; Price: £806 inc VAT
There’s only one model of the Erazer Crawler E40 available in the UK so there’s no confusion over spec. The 13th gen Core i5 model is seemingly on sale only in the EU. At launch the RRP was £999, but Medion told me it would support the more recent £806 or thereabouts price point for “some time”.
Very little can touch the new Erazer Crawler at that price but, if you have a few more quid burning a hole in your pocket, here are some competitors we’ve reviewed recently that are worth considering.
When HP launched its Victus 16 range in 2021, it was one of my default affordable recommendations. Sadly the 2023 Victus 15 has been shorn of most of what made the Victus 16 so attractive, including the option to fit a second SSD. It’s still a good-looking laptop, but be aware that the RTX 4050 GPU is limited to 75W TGP. If you can find it on offer for around £950 it’s worth a ponder.
The Asus TUF A15 impressed us when it was released, and subsequent price drops have only made it more attractive. At the time of writing, you can pick up the RTX 4050/Core i7-12700H model for a mere £929, which is outstanding value, though not quite as outstanding as the Medion.
Acer’s Nitro line has long been a stalwart of the affordable gaming laptop world, and the new Nitro 17 is another excellent machine. It uses the same RTX 4050 GPU as the E40 but runs it at the full-bore 140W TGP. You also get a larger screen and a much more powerful Raptor Lake CPU, but at £1,349 it’s quite a bit more expensive.
Medion Erazer Crawler E40 review: Design and build quality
The shell of the Erazer Crawler E40 is an off-the-shelf white-label unit, in this case from Taiwanese OEM Clevo. The Gigabyte G5 uses the same case and keyboard, and the two laptops even share the same capacity battery.
That’s not a problem because both machines are rather smart and well made. The lid is a little on the wobbly side, but the worst thing I can say about the styling is that it’s rather generic.
The E40 weighs 2.26kg, which is good for a 15.6in gaming laptop, and it isn’t overly bulky at 361 x 241 x 28mm. The 230W power adapter adds 430g but it’s one of the smaller power bricks I’ve come across, so the E40 and the power supply can be slipped into the average backpack without any bother.
The selection of ports around the edges is pretty decent, too. On the right side, you’ll find a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and a gigabit Ethernet LAN connector, while on the left are two USB-A ports (2.0 and 3.2 Gen 1) and two 3.5mm audio jacks. At the rear is a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, HDMI 2.1 and Mini DisplayPort 1.4 video outputs and the DC-input jack. The USB-C port supports DisplayPort video but not PD charging.
Removing the base panel from the E40 is a piece of cake, and once inside you can access the two SODIMM mounts and the SSD mount. Don’t get too excited by the fact that there’s a gap for a 2.5in drive, though, because there are no connectors for it. Normally I’d administer a good kicking to any gaming laptop without the option to add storage but, given the price of the E40, I’m inclined to be more lenient.
Medion Erazer Crawler E40 review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam
The Medion Erazer Crawler E40’s keyboard is a standard Scrabble-tile affair with four brightness levels and a single-zone RGB backlight with full-sized arrow keys and a numeric keypad. The keys have 1.7mm of travel with a rather indistinct end stop, but the deck itself is solid with very little flex in evidence, no matter how hard you hammer down on it. Somewhat surprisingly given this is a gaming laptop, no gamer-targeted optimisations exist. You don’t even get bold WASD keys.
The one-piece plastic touchpad is usefully large at 120 x 75mm, and fingers glide across the surface with little resistance. It also has a positive, quiet click action. In all it’s inoffensive, which is exactly what you want.
Another surprise is that the E40 uses an Intel AX211 Wi-Fi card for wireless connectivity, which supports the 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E protocol, and Bluetooth 5.2. The Ethernet port is 1GbE rather than 2.5GbE, but that didn’t come as a shock given the asking price.
The 720p webcam, on the other hand, was every bit as awful as I expected. It captures images that are dull, drab and fuzzy, with two strange lines of interference running across the screen whenever the camera app runs, and there’s no support for Windows Hello facial recognition.
Medion Erazer Crawler E40 review: Display and audio
The displays fitted to sub-£1,000 gaming laptops usually aren’t up to much, but the E40 bucks the trend with a rather decent 15.6in Full HD IPS panel that refreshes at 144Hz.
It backs up those positive first impressions with a solid set of measurements. Maximum brightness reaches 331cd/m2, the contrast ratio hits 1,069:1, and colour reproduction isn’t at all bad for the money. The panel delivers 90.5% of the sRGB gamut, which equates to 64.1% of DCI-P3 or 62.3% of Adobe RGB. These last two aren’t stunning, but I’ve tested laptops in this category that barely deliver more than 40% on either front.
The average Delta E colour divergence versus the sRGB standard was 2.7, which I was, again, impressed with. Any figure below the magic cut-off point of 3 on a sub-£1,000 laptop gets a big thumbs up.
Running the Blur Buster’s ghosting test showed no problems with motion handling either and, again, the performance was better than I expected. There’s no support for Adaptive Sync, however, nor is there any kind of MUX switch.
The stereo speakers won’t be winning any awards for audio fidelity but there’s a decent amount of volume at 77.2dB(A), no distortion even when turned up to 11, and the sound quality isn’t at all bad even if it is just a little brittle. More bass would be welcome, but I could happily live with what’s on offer.
READ NEXT: The best budget gaming laptops to buy
Medion Erazer Crawler E40 review: Performance and battery life
The E40 isn’t the most powerful gaming laptop around when it comes to productivity. That should be obvious just from looking at the CPU it’s built around, the 8-core 12th gen Intel Core i5-12450H.
In our 4K multimedia benchmark, the Medion impressively scored 240, only one point less than the 2023 HP Victus, which has a 12-core Intel Core i5-12500H CPU. The small gap is due to the Medion’s GPU having a higher TGP at 100W to the HP’s 75W. However, it’s much slower than the Acer Nitro 17 with its 12-core Core i5-13500H processor.
The Cinebench R23 multicore test makes the Medion’s CPU shortcomings more obvious: 9,244 compared to the HP Victus’ 11,102 and the Acer Nitro 17’s 15,627. That isn’t to say the Medion is a slow laptop; it just isn’t as fast as the competition.
When it comes to gaming, the E40 makes a much better case for itself. The ever-demanding Metro Exodus ran at 35.7fps with ray tracing set to Ultra and DLSS disabled, and at 51.1fps with DLSS set to Balanced. Cyberpunk 2077 ran at 25.4fps and 56.9fps with the same settings, while Returnal averaged 59fps and 88fps.
Less demanding titles such as Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, naturally, run faster: 105fps and 67fps, respectively, with ray tracing enabled but no upscaling. For an £800 laptop, those are all excellent results.
The Medion Erazer Crawler E40’s fans do make a bit of a racket when they’re running flat out, but the cooling system is efficient, with the CPU temperature never getting above 63°C.
However, storage performance isn’t wonderful. The E40 comes fitted with a Phison-made PCI-E 4, 512GB SSD, which returned sequential read speeds of 3,589MB/sec and slow write speeds of just 837MB/sec in testing.
And battery life isn’t great, either. Not that we usually expect much in this department from budget gaming machines, but with only a 52Wh battery on board it was never going to be good.
In our standard video rundown test, which involves looping a low-resolution video using VLC with the display brightness set to 170cd/m2, the E40 only managed 3hrs 58mins. This isn’t a laptop you’re going to want to use when you’re out and about.
Medion Erazer Crawler E40 review: Verdict
For just over £800, the Medion Erazer Crawler is outstanding value. Granted, there are a few issues, such as the poor webcam, lack of an option to add storage and the very short battery life, but those are hardly uncommon failings, even for gaming laptops costing twice the price.
The core attributes of a decent gaming laptop are all present and correct, from the solid gaming performance, decent quality display and speakers to the solid keyboard. If you’re in the market for a budget gaming laptop, this is the machine to choose.