2020 Dell G7 15 Gaming Laptop Review
Strong Performance with a Budget Price Tag
The Dell G7 15 sports an MSRP comfortably under $1500, but it delivers an outsized level of performance for its mid-range price tag. If you’re shopping for gaming laptops or a beefy business multitasker and can’t afford to drop a few grand, it can suit your needs perfectly.
Gaming laptops naturally tend to put a priority on graphics cards above all else, which is why it’s odd to see the G7 15 make use of the mid-range Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q. It’s not a bad GPU by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a choice that stands out due to the presence of a Core i7-8750H CPU. It’s an incredibly powerful processor from Intel’s Coffee Lake generation, and it ensures not just zippy speeds when gaming but also the horsepower needed for creatives. That also makes it a strong choice for professional rather than gaming professionals. If you’re looking to shoot YouTube videos, stream over Twitch, or multitask in some other way while you game, there’s few mid-range options that can accommodate you as well as this machine.
Similar six-core gaming machines like the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE may outperform the G7 15, but you can expect to spend a few hundred dollars more for that privilege. The G7 15 crushes just about anything else in its price range in terms of speed and multitasking. Graphical performance is a bit more of a mixed bag, but it’s certainly not bad. It can achieve frame rates of roughly 80 – 90 fps on current generation games.
Design and Display
That midrange graphics card is partnered with an equally midrange display. The IPS screen offers a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 and boasts solid viewing angles. Display dimming only starts to appear when bent to 45 degree angles. That said, the screen can run a little dimmer than some gamers might prefer, but it should only be an issue if you’re playing in a really trying environment. It won’t be an issue in the majority of circumstances, and it’s a reasonable sacrifice to make given the price tag and the value of the hardware packed inside this frame.
Fitting the multi-use functionality of the G5 17, it doesn’t feature the sometimes flamboyant look of many modern gaming laptops. The smooth white or black finish and modestly rounded corners means it can double pretty easily as an office or personal laptop without looking overly boring. It’s neither the lightest nor the smallest 15″ laptop you’ll find, but it’s certainly not unreasonable. With a weight of just under seven pounds, it has a substantial heft, but it won’t be a burden to lug around in a bag. An indented palm rest providesa level of ergonomic comfort for long gaming or streaming sessions.
Trackpad and Keyboard
If there’s one major flaw to note about the G7 15, it’s in the keyboard. But don’t take that as a breaking point. That it doesn’t exactly thrill is more an indication of the quality of the other features than an indictment. The chiclet style keyboard is what you could typically expect for a laptop under $1500. It’s not a mechanical beast, but it does offer a smooth, flat surface and a nice tactile responsiveness to the touch. Fitting with the laptop’s more muted design is simple two tone blue backlighting. The keys are comfortably spaced for an organic typing experience, and all the typical function hotkeys are present.
The trackpad is a similarly standard piece of work. It’s smooth and accurate without any standout features. But for day-to-day activities, it will get the job done. It’s also set a little to the side to keep it flush with the location of the spacebar. And since most serious gamers will be using an external mouse anyway, it’s hard to make any serious judgments about its value. A trackpad is more or less a trackpad, and this one gets the accuracy right on point.
Speakers and Camera
Chances are you won’t be expecting your gaming laptop to serve as a powerful sound system, but if you do want to make use of its front facing speakers, you’ll find that they project a surprising amount of power. There’s a nice, sonorous detail to music coming through their surface. The bass has a nice heft to it, and it can hit an impressively high volume without having to worry about distortion or imbalance.
We’ve mentioned already what a great machine this would be for content creators, so of course the built-in webcam is decently equipped. It supports recording at 720p, not quite enough for true professionals, but with enough clarity for semi-pros and hobbyists. The color quality has a nice balance to it that’s not overly washed out, but you’ll likely want to invest in a more professional camera if you’re looking to vlog professionally. Be sure to check out our guide to the best vlogging cameras if that’s something that interests you.
There are ports for about any use you could find for this gaming laptop. Of course there’s a 3.5mm jack for headphones and the requisite USB port (a respectable 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A model). There’s also space for an SD memory card and a Noble lock security port for keeping your laptop tethered and safe. The opposite side features a Thunderbolt 3.0 port, HDMI 2.0 for connecting easily to external displays, and two additional USBs. It’s hard to imagine what else Dell could add, and while many users will only be using a few of these regularly, they’re certainly nice to have.
The G7 15 may be marketed as a gaming rig, but its real strength is that it can do so much more. While it competes admirably with far more expensive gaming laptops, the six core CPU makes it an ideal choice for content creators as well. And while the CPU is clearly the biggest selling point here, it’s a solid laptop by almost any metric. All-around strong specs result in a balanced machine that’s something of a jack of all trades.