Dell G7 15 Gaming Laptop Review: Affordable, Stylish, And Powerful
Dell G7 15 Gaming: Stylish Bang For Your Buck
Gamers are willing to spend more on PC hardware than the average consumer, but at the same time, they are a knowledgeable and discerning bunch who understand exactly what it is they are getting for their hard-earned buck. They also follow market trends and appreciate a good value when one comes along. Dell is likely hoping that is what gamers will see in its recently introduced G Series laptops. And after spending some hands-on time with the new G7 15 Gaming, we think the Round Rock crew might be on to something.
As the model name suggests, the G7 15 Gaming is a 15.6-inch laptop. It sits atop the new Dell G Series stack, offering a bit more power and style than the G5 and G3 SKUs, but with a surprising amount of price restraint on Dell's part. Pricing for the G7 15 Gaming starts at $849.99, which is only $120 higher than the baseline cost of the least expensive model in the G Series.
The specific configuration we took a look at packs an 8th generation six-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 16GB of DDR4 2666MHz memory, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with Max-Q design and 6GB of GDDR5 memory, all wrapped in a dapper chassis. For storage, it pairs a 128GB M.2 SATA SSD with a 1TB hard drive (5400 RPM). Dell lists the market price for this setup at $1,209.99, but sells it online for $1,099.99.
There are some things to nitpick, though overall this setup offers a good amount of bang for the buck, based on the spec sheet alone. And aesthetically, it is arguably a better looking laptop than the Inspiron line from which the G Series emerged.
We will dive into the design and performance in a moment, but first let's have a look at the full spec sheet...
|Processor Options||8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H Six Core (9MB Cache, 2.2GHz to 4.1GHz)
15.6-inch FHD (1920x1080) IPS (Non-Touch)
Intel UHD Graphics 630
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q (6GB GDDR5)
||16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 2666MHz
128GB SATA Solid State Drive
1TB Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
|Audio||2 x Tuned Speakers w/ Waves MaxxAudio Pro
|Ethernet||Killer Ethernet 2400|
||802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2|
||Gigabit LAN, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 2-in-1 Card Reader, Noble Lock Security Slot
HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3 w/ Type C, 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A w/ PowerShare, 3.5m Headphone/Mic Combo
||HD (720p) w/ Dual Array Digital Microphone
Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
|Battery||56 WHr, 4-Cell (Integrated)
|Dimensions||0.98 (H) x 15.32 (W) x 10.82 (D) inches (24.95 x 389 x 274.7 mm)
||5.82 (2.63 kg)
||1-Year Mail In Service
|Pricing||$1,099.99 As Tested
Our Detailed Video Review Of Dell's G7 15 Gaming
This SKU we're looking at sits in the middle of the pack of Dell's G7 lineup. There are more expensive configurations available, culminating in a $1,599.99 configuration with a Core i9-8950HK processor, along with the same GPU and same amount of RAM and storage.
Dell also offers a few different storage options, including up to a 512GB SSD paired with a 1TB HDD, and a 4K display upgrade that is perhaps handy, if you plan on plugging in an external GPU enclosure with a graphics card capable of gaming at that resolution. However, Dell unfortunately limits the level of customization overall, with some upgrades available only on certain SKUs. With the model we are evaluating here, for example, Dell gives the option of upgrading to a Core i9-8950H CPU for $400 more, but locks buyers out of bumping up to a bigger SSD. If you want something bigger, you're forced to an even pricier SKU to get that extra storage.
That is unfortunate because a 128GB SSD is easy to fill when downloading and installing triple AAA games, many of which measure in the tens of gigabytes. Gaming PCs really should ship with at least 512GB of storage these days. Storage options are kind of all over the place on the G7—the $979.99 SKU offers a bigger 256GB SSD but no supplemental HDD, the $1,199.99 models pairs a 256GB SSD with a 1TB SSD, and the $1,399.99 setup gives you the option of upgrading from a 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD to a 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD for $250 more. Granted, all these different storage permutations are a tough mix to grapple with.
However, though the customization options are a little wonky, Dell has mitigated this somewhat with very easy access to all of the G7 15 Gaming's upgradable guts. Dell thoughtfully makes it convenient to get in and upgrade and/or swap out certain components—just remove a single screw on the bottom cover and carefully pry it off. This exposes the core parts most folks might want to have options for, including the storage, memory, Wi-Fi radio module, and even the battery.
There is plenty more to digest with the new Dell G7 15, so let's get started by taking a closer look at its design and build quality...