Dell G7 15 review: A powerful gaming laptop you can also use for office work
Whenever the phrase "gaming laptop" comes up, most of us visualise a big and bulky laptop with some crazy RGB lighting. Of late, manufacturers are trying to move away from this idea and trying to make gaming laptops slimmer but the good intentions don't always translate to real products. With this context behind, the new Dell G7 15 a particularly enticing option.
The new G7 15 is a laptop that appears to have the best of everything on paper. I got my hands on a well-equipped variant of this laptop powered by the latest Intel 8th Gen Core i7 processor and an Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card. Priced around Rs 1,57,400, it is pricey but then considering the market for gaming laptops it seems reasonable machine. In fact, it falls in a sweet spot for a gaming enthusiast, offering the right mix of power and styling on paper.
Design and build: A breath of fresh air
Dell is synonymous with some of the most elegant looking laptops in the market and the company also extends the same philosophy to its G series gaming lineup. The G7 15 at first glance is extremely identical to any other Dell Inspiron series laptop a first glance. And that's not a bad thing, considering that these designs are the most practical ones to live with on a daily basis. Since you are paying upwards of Rs 1,50,000, Dell pampers you with a premium metallic body.
The G7 15 also takes design cues from Alienware laptops of the past -- the lid rests on a hinge that seems to float above the edge. The rear has a couple of ports that aim to keep the clutter of the bulky cables and wires away from you. Since the hinge also stays virtually on the top, I believe the G7 15 can sustain some accidental drops without taking hit in its structural integrity. The edges have a unique vent-style design that helps trim the visual bulk, all while hosting the important ports -- a USB-C Thunderbolt port, three USB-A ports, a headphone jack, an SD card slot, a mini HDMI port, a normal HDMI port and an RJ45 LAN port.
When you open the lid, you will notice a neat keyboard layout with a substantially large trackpad. The subtle G7 logo sitting alongside the power button in a glossy strip looks classy. What's new with this year's G7 series is the narrow-bezel display that makes for a more immersive display.
Overall, the G7 15 is easily one of the most elegant looking gaming laptops I have ever used. The subtle blue accent along with the blue-backlit keys make it a joy to use. The metallic body feels premium and lack of any kind of wild stickers or graphics means you can use it in your office or at a coffee shop without getting stares from others. Why can't other gaming laptops follow this design philosophy?
Display: Get ready to be spoilt
These days, a gaming laptop needs more than just a good CPU and GPU to sell well. The display is one of the key aspects in a gaming laptop and Dell has made sure you don't complain in this regard with the G7 15. It's a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS LCD display. Similar to many of its rivals, the G7 15's display comes with 144Hz refresh rate.
On a daily basis, the display on the G7 15 offers a comfortable viewing experience. The screen renders vibrant colours with great contrasts and adequate brightness. Viewing angles are impressive with the screen hardly losing the colours at extreme angles, thereby making it a joyous experience to watch movies with a group of three people. The 144Hz refresh rate makes for extremely smooth gameplay experience -- I have been spoilt by the smoothness of the screen and it hurts to go back to a computer with 60Hz monitor.
This is one section where I can hardly complain about a gaming laptop. The G7 15 is Dell's midrange gaming laptop and hence has all the specifications that you expect. The variant that I was using had an Intel Core i7 8750H CPU clocked a 2.20GHz along with 16GB RAM. There's a combination of a 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD for storage requirements. For the graphics department, there's Nvidia's RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB VRAM. And as usual, there's Windows 10 onboard to look after daily stuff.
With a combination of such powerful specifications, a laptop is hardly going to struggle. Dell's additional reinforcements such as the custom cooling system and some slight behind-the-scenes software enhancements make sure that the G7 15 continues to deliver consistent performance for longer durations. I was playing Watch Dogs 2 for close to two hours at a stretch daily and the laptop returned a healthy 40-60 fps in the ultra-high settings.
Codemaster's Formula 1 2018 ran on the highest settings at a stretch of four hours and it returned a consistent 60-80 fps. The RTX series graphics cards are known for ray tracing effects and sadly, I didn't have a game that supports it at the moment. That said, the other non-ray tracing games benefitted highly from this monstrous GPU. In a nutshell, this configuration can easily handle most modern games in high graphics.
Practicality: It hurts to part ways with this now
I have used a lot of gaming laptops and the none of them have felt as practical and user-friendly as the G7 15. The compact 15.6-inch form factor makes it easy to carry around in a backpack. Surely, with the metal chassis and the custom cooling systems, the G7 15 isn't the lightest laptop but Dell's clever engineering has made sure this won't be restricted to the desk.
Then there's the keyboard -- it's great. The keys have substantial travel to make long sessions of typing comfortable. The spacious layout reduces ghosting to a higher extent while the elegant blue backlighting makes for a comfortable typing experience. The trackpad has a matte surface that aids precise cursor movements. A slightly bigger trackpad would have made it even better though.
As for the battery life, it almost on par with most gaming laptops in this price category. Under normal usage without any sort of gaming, the G7 15 can last up to a maximum of four hours. Therefore, you would still need to carry the charging adapter if you plan to get some work done at a stretch for close to 8-9 hours.
To sum it up, this is one of the most practical gaming laptops I have used in a long time. The G7 15 works as a laptop when you aren't gaming or rendering videos.
Audio: That one jarring note
The G7 15's in-built speakers sound tinny at their best. You are not going to enjoy playing games if you are relying on these speakers. The low-end audio performance seems absent. On the upside, the higher frequencies are decent and the volume is high enough to fill up a small room. Similar to most gaming laptops, I would suggest plug-in a headphone or an external speaker for the optimum audio speaker.
Should you buy the Dell G7 15?
The G7 15 is one of those few laptops that is almost good at almost most of the things that matter for a good laptop. Most gaming laptops are very good at being gaming laptops but struggle with the normal' laptop stuff. The G7 15 is a highly capable gaming laptop that can satisfy your gaming demands while also being a very good conventional laptop. The performance, display, design and practicality -- all are at a sweet spot. At a starting price of Rs 1,57,399, the Dell G7 15 is an ideal option for those who want to carry around their gaming laptop without grabbing attention and without compromising on performance.