Dell G7 15 Review: Mucho Muscle for Your Money


Gaming laptops, once immune to price pressures, are the latest segment in the mobile space to see true competition at the cash register. The latest gaming laptop to attack the market is the Dell G7 15, which starts at just $850. (My review unit, considerably upgraded from the base specs, runs closer to $1,200.)

The G7 15 is a 15.6-inch machine that can only be described as a bit of a beast. The 30mm of thickness isn’t out of the ordinary, but its 6.3 pounds of weight put it at the top of the class, half a pound heavier than HP’s Omen 15 and a pound and a half bulkier than the Gigabyte Aero 15. If you don’t plan to tote the monster around campus, that may not matter, so let’s consider what does: Performance.

While it’s outfitted with an 8th generation Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and two storage devices—a 128GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive—the centerpiece is the video card, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. It’s not quite the state of the art, but it’s close enough, and it powered the G7 to some impressive benchmark scores in my testing, including some of the best I’ve seen on 3DMark, VRMark, and high-end video game framerate tests. General app performance—which can suffer on some gaming rigs—is also top-notch, as is battery life, which I clocked at 5 hours. Connectivity includes three traditional USB ports, a USB-C port, full-size HDMI, Ethernet, and an SD card slot.

A single screw on the bottom of the chassis allows the entire bottom panel to pop off, giving you access to RAM, the SSD, the hard drive, and the battery.

Now, if that performance doesn’t meet expectations, you can always upgrade the G7. It’s got arguably the easiest upgrade pathway of any laptop built to date: A single screw on the bottom of the chassis allows the entire bottom panel to pop off, giving you access to RAM, the SSD, the hard drive, and the battery. Even an amateur could upgrade most of these components in a matter of minutes without a hiccup. The only problem I encountered: One of the many plastic tabs holding the panel in place (I counted 23) broke off when I removed it the first time.

Of course, the G7 is far from perfect, as low prices invariably lead to compromises. While the touchpad is so-so, the keyboard is completely unacceptable, with mushy response and minimal key travel. The fan is loud and runs often, and the screen, while it offers a wide viewing angle, is very dim compared to the competition. I found stability to be fine on the whole, except for a nagging crash issue I encountered during video playback.

Lastly, opinions about the design are bound to vary, but I find its angled chassis and plasticky grilles to be hopelessly dated, needlessly adding weight and size to an already over-large machine. In an era of brushed aluminum and carbon fiber, there’s just a ton of plastic here, from the lid to the thick frame around the LCD. For what it’s worth, the laptop is available in two colors; pick white or black.

Given the affordability of the machine, many of these flaws feel surmountable, the keyboard issue being the only real deal-breaker here. While it doesn’t really merit a hands-down recommendation, gamers without deep pockets may find this an appealing proposition.

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