Dell G7 15 (2019 RTX Model)
Last year Dell introduced a new line of gaming laptops with the G Series, designed as affordable alternatives for those looking to get into gaming. With Alienware falling under the Dell umbrella in terms of ownership and partnership the company was able to leverage this very specific technical expertise to create a line of gaming laptops that might not hit the design or aesthetic goal of the Alienware range – but still manage to feature all the right components. As well as leverage Dell’s global reach for both distribution and repair. The resulting devices were certainly functional but fell short of a line-up that adopted the ‘G Series’ label.
In a few short months, and with the arrival of NVIDIA’s new range of RTX graphics cards for laptops, the G Series has been redesigned – sporting a new look and a bigger focus on performance.
Look and Feel
The concept that is the gaming laptop is more than simply a focus on performance and the inclusion of a decent video-card so you can run games with a smooth framerate and the detail settings dialled up. It’s also an ideal. And sure, that’s probably a sentiment born from years of allowing corporate marketing to define exactly how we feel – but at the end of the day if this decade has taught us anything it’s that products in the gaming hardware realm have their own visual identity. From RGB lighting to sleek angular design to logos that could double as energy drink branding – gaming hardware needs to look like more than simply a tech thing.
"With the arrival of NVIDIA’s new range of RTX graphics cards for laptops, the G Series has been redesigned – sporting a new look and a bigger focus on performance."
This is all a long way of saying that the original Dell G Series failed in this regard, with a laptop range that looked exactly like a range of laptops one might see in a department store display area. And really, like regular Dell laptops. Which is why we were pleasantly surprised when we opened the Dell G7 15 to discover that alongside the upgrade to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics the actual form factor of the G7 laptop itself was now well and truly in the gaming hardware realm. From the new grills to the angular shape to the small bezel surrounding the display to the RGB-lit keyboard – it’s a definite improvement. A little on the heavy side coming in at 2.5kg, but very much the look and feel of a gaming product. With a surprisingly great keyboard to boot.
Under the Lid
Processor: Intel Core i7 8750H
Display: 15.6" IPS FHD (1920 x 1080) panel, 60Hz refresh rate (144 Hz also avail.)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
Memory: 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 (up to 16GB)
Storage: 128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive, 1TB 5400 rpm 2.5" SATA Hard Drive
OS: Windows 10
Interfaces: 1 HDMI 2.0, 3 SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A with PowerShare, 1 2-in-1 SD / MicroMedia Card slot, Headphone Jack, 1 USB-C DisplayPort/USB-C Thunderbolt, 1 Mini DisplayPort, 1 RJ-45 Killer Networks E2500V2 Gigabit Ethernet Port
The big change here comes with the addition of the RTX 2060 – which is proving itself to be a great way to keep overall costs down whilst offering great performance. Paired with the Intel Core i7 8750H it certainly has the stuff to take on even the most demanding titles – as seen in our performance breakdown below. The result though is a rather noisy and hot laptop when under full load – with both CPU and GPU temps regularly quickly climbing into the 80-degree Celsius range forcing the cooling to kick in regularly. It’s worth noting that these are standard temps for a gaming laptop.
"The big change here comes with the addition of the RTX 2060 – which is proving itself to be a great way to keep overall costs down whilst offering great performance."
Compared to the competition the fan noise is probably in the same ballpark as other laptops but feels more pronounced when you factor in the overall slower speed of the SSD included. Or, when you choose to install games on the much slower 1TB secondary storage -because the fans go crazy during the noticeably longer load times. We didn’t notice ay throttling during out testing, so the cooling on offer is quite capable during periods of extended use – with fans located on the rear. Where Dell seems to have fallen short though comes with the battery life as without direct power, you’ll only be getting a handful of hours before its drained completely. As a ballpark figure, compared to the Alienware offerings it’s easily around an hour more less when it comes to gaming.
The RTX 2060 hits the right spot between price and performance with it easily handling gaming at 1080p, with the ability to push fast framerates with certain settings dialled down. In our testing there were no real surprises considering this is a CPU and GPU comb we’ve seen before, but it was still good to see a sub $3,000 laptop put in this kind of performance.
One area not depicted in the numbers above, nor could it be is with the quality IPS display included in the new G7. Although the version we tested was limited to a 60Hz refresh rate the 300-nit brightness and colour output was exceptional and resulted in the world of Far Cry New Dawn popping off the screen and the intense horror of Resident Evil 2 not looking washed out at all. The viewing angle is also quite wide, and it’s something that at a glance is up there with the displays found on the more expensive Alienware range.
3D Mark figures for the G7 also impress with even the RTX-specific Port Royale test showcasing that the laptop is capable of high-end effects like raytracing. Of course, this is a trade-off and we had to turn down the detail settings in Battlefield V to medium for it all to feel smooth.
The new look and RTX powered G Series from Dell hits many of the right marks. From affordability to performance to stuff like RGB lighting and a stylish design. There are shortcomings, namely with slower than expected drives, battery life issues, and an overall heavy build. Oh, and the inclusion of all the pre-installed apps and programs and Dell specific stuff, doesn’t really belong on a gaming laptop – where avoiding bloat is paramount to optimising performance.
In the end these give the G7 an ‘almost premium’ feel that we feel could get there in future revisions. But what’s here definitely delivers, and it’s all brought together with an impressive IPS display from Dell. Something that often gets overlooked in the name of cutting down costs.