Dell G7 15 Gaming: Design And Build Quality
Dell has a thing for dressing up its laptops in spiffy attire, and that trend continues with the G7 15 Gaming. It is available in two color options, Licorice Black and Alpine White, the latter of which we received for this review. To our eyeballs, it is a step up in aesthetics from the Inspiron line. The Alpine White in particular looks more premium than it actually is.
As with most of the more affordable gaming laptops on the market, the Dell G7 15 Gaming comes housed in a plastic chassis. That is not immediately apparent at first glance — Dell did an excellent job designing the G7's chassist so that it appears to be constructed from more premium stock. As part of the illusion, Dell painted various bits a metallic silver color, notably the thick hinge and some strips that frame the vents on the backside.
This is where the Alpine White takes things up a notch, visually. It is sort of a pearlescent coating that makes this laptop pop. The color scheme also extends to both sides of the laptop, giving the G7 some accented decoration. The same is true of Dell's reflective logo on the lid.
Overall the G7 is one of the best looking laptops in this price range currently. It is also thicker and heavier than some of the more expensive alternatives, though certainly manageable. The G7 15 measures 0.98 x 15.32 x 10.82 inches and checks in at 5.82 pounds. Compared to an ultraportable, it is a bit on the heavy side for lugging around long distances, like across a college campus day in and day out. Dell does not intend for the G7 to compete with exceptionally thin and light machines though, and instead is focused on delivering an affordable and capable gaming laptop.
The sloped lines at the front and back of the G7 contribute to a racing motif that Dell seems to be aiming for with this laptop. This theme is also evident when lifting up the lid. The 15.6-inch display connects to the base by way of a center-mounted hinge, giving it a unique appearance. This also creates a gap between the lid and base on either side of the hinge, and there is some flex in the panel, if you push and pull at the edges where it is not tethered. It does not feel flimsy though.
There are two display options—1080p (1920x1080) and 4K (3840x2160). Both are IPS panels and both are non-touch. We received the 1080p model, which is the wiser choice for gaming, unless you plan on plugging in an external GPU box with something like a GeForce GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti inside. Barring that, the GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU that's underneath the hood should have plenty of horsepower to play games at 1080p.
In line with the G7's price tag, this is not a premium panel. It tops out at 60Hz and lacks G-Sync support, and does not get super bright. The screen also sports chunky bezels that are in stark contrast to Dell's nearly borderless InfinityEdge displays found on some of its premium offerings, like the XPS 13. It is serviceable for the money though, and bright enough for gaming.
There is a full size typing deck inside the G7, complete with a number pad on the right in case you need to crunch some figures in between gaming sessions. The keys feel a tad slippery, but otherwise it is a solid chiclet-style plank with snappy action and reasonably good key travel. It also has a blue LED backlight with two illumination levels (or you can turn it off) and outlined WASD keys, because this a gaming laptop, after all.
A large touchpad sits off center below the keyboard. Most gamers will likely plug in a mouse, but outside of gaming, the touchpad offers a large and soft surface area for navigating Windows. We also like that there absolutely no flex in the deck, as is sometimes found in value-priced laptops.
Dell G7 15 Gaming Ports (Right)
Dell offers pretty good I/O connectivity on the G7 15 Gaming as well. On the left, you have a Noble lock security slot, power port, Killer 2400 Ethernet port, USB 3.1 Gen 2 port, and a 2-in-1 memory card reader. Flipping over to the right side, there are is a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack, two USB 3.1 ports (both with PowerShare), a Thunderbolt 3 with Type-C port, and HDMI 2.0 output.