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Highlights

Dell G7 15 (7590) Review




The Dell G7 is the company’s new flagship gaming laptop. Designed to be capable and portable, it sports powerful hardware in a sleek frame. With a 144hz refresh rate IPS display, the G7 aims to suit whatever game you’re into, whether it be fast-paced e-sports titles or triple-A titles. Is Dell’s latest offering the gaming laptop for you, or should you look elsewhere for your portable gaming needs? Find out in our review.

Design and Construction

 

Visually, the Dell G7 looks like something engineers or professionals would use – a portable workstation. On the outside, it looks clean and minimalistic. The Dell logo also changes hues depending on how the light hits it, too, which gives a classy, premium look.

The body is solidly built, with minimal to no flex even when pressed down, squeezed or bent.

The keyboard is the typical scissor-switch chiclet-style keyboard. There’s no pretravel, but noticeable post-travel when typing. What I like about this is that the longer keys have stabilizers, much like mechanical boards. It reduces key wobble and makes keypresses more consistent, resulting in a pleasant typing experience. I also like the layout – with narrow arrow keys compared to conventional keyboards to fit dedicated nav keys at the top of the Numpad.

The keys are individually lit with RGB lighting. Since the keyboard’s plate is about 1mm larger than the keycaps, light spills onto the top of the board. You can adjust the colors of the keyboard and assign lighting per game on the Alienware Command Center too.

The touchpad and the buttons are too sensitive for my taste. Both the tap and the actuation force required to click in feels light to me, and I often misclick, especially when I’m using two fingers to scroll through long webpages. It’s nothing deal-breaking since I’m sure most people can get used to it given enough time (or use a real mouse). It’s textured as well, so it doesn’t attract oil like compared to other laptops with smooth trackpads.

On the left, you get a Thunderbolt 3 port, USB 3.1 Type-A port, and the 3.5mm headphone/mic combo.

On the right, you have an SD card reader and another USB 3.1 Type-A port.

Located at the back are the power in, HDMI 2.0, USB Type-A, Mini DisplayPort, RJ45 port, and the wedge lock slot.

Beneath, you can find two large rubber feet spanning the entire length of the laptop, and the intake vents.

The power-on button also acts as a fingerprint scanner for added security and convenience.

Overall, the construction of the laptop is excellent. The Magnesium Alloy body makes the laptop sturdy without sacrificing weight. The keyboard feels nice, and the trackpad is serviceable. It’s incredibly portable since its thin, and the power brick is also smaller compared to other gaming laptops. It’s also light, considering that it’s built with metal instead of plastic.

Display and Multimedia

The screen is a 15.6-inch IPS capable of running at 144hz. The colors are good enough for gaming, offering wide contrast, great viewing angles, and high brightness to battle glare. I did notice very minimal ghosting with the UFOTest, though, but nothing that’d ruin your experience. The side bezels are slim, measuring 9mm, and the top bezel also measures only 9mm despite housing the webcam and microphones. The bottom bezel, on the other hand, measure around 43mm from the base to the screen. I don’t think that this is bad by any means, since having the display raised make it more ergonomic.

Speaking of the webcam, it can record at 720p at 15FPS, according to webcamtests. It works great for a built-in webcam, and it’s positioned right, so no angle issues to worry about either. Though the mics pick up a lot of background noise, the vocals are clear. Moving over to the speakers, they’re front-facing, so no need to worry about the surface you’re putting your laptop on. The sound quality isn’t exceptional, especially on the low end, but they’re not bad either.

OS and Apps

The Dell G7 comes with Windows 10 Home preinstalled. After formatting, Windows only reads 220GB for the OS drive with 179GB free and 931GB free for the data drive. At this price point, I would’ve liked to see a 1TB M.2 NVME storage instead of a mechanical drive since modern open-world triple-A games would load so slow on these.

Here are the Crystal Disk Mark 6 results for both drives:

OS Drive:

 Read (MB/s)Write (MB/s)
Seq Q32T1 1360.4229.2
4KiB Q8T8 369.7144.2
4KiB Q32T1 256.1146.4
4KiB Q1T127.5261.51

Data Drive:

 Read (MB/s)Write (MB/s)
Seq Q32T1 142.4134.9
4KiB Q8T8 0.9551.729
4KiB Q32T10.9491.435
4KiB Q1T10.3221.805

Along with preinstalled Windows 10 apps, Dell also preinstalled Dell Customer Connect, Dell Digital Delivery, Dell Mobile Connect, Dell Power Manager, and Dell Update on the laptop. They don’t hog too many resources, though, so it’s okay to keep them.

Killer Network’s Killer Command Center is also pre-installed. Here you can see an overview of the data rates of the laptop, analyze WiFi signals in range, activate Gamefast (which disables background WiFi consumption), and Xtend.

Lastly, the latest G series from Dell would come with Alienware’s Command Center. Here you can personalize the lighting on the keyboard, launch games, and adjust power options all from one app.

Performance and Thermals

The Dell G7 we have for review packs an Intel Core i7-9750H processor with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. The laptop is also equipped with 16GB of DDR4 2666MHz RAM, and 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD dual storage.

We tested several synthetic and real-world benchmarks to give you an idea of how well the G7 performs. All tests were done in a 28C ambient temp room, plugged into the socket, with the feet raised 1.5-2 inches to allow better airflow. The laptop was tested in its vanilla, out of the box state, with no OS optimizations done using the balanced power plan. Game benchmarks were run three times in succession, and the average was taken to take into account variance and throttling, while synthetic benchmarks were run in 10-minute intervals to let the laptop cool off.

First, we have the Cinebench scores:

 

The Cinebench scores are in line with how an Intel Core i7-9750H performs.

Next, we have Unigine benchmarks to test GPU performance.

For our last synthetic benchmarks, we ran 3D Mark’s Fire Strike and Time Spy:

Now onto the game benchmarks.

To test the ray-tracing capabilities of the mobile GeForce RTX 2060, we ran the in-game benchmark at different quality settings:

The system recommended settings were a mix of high and ultra settings. Setting ray-tracing to ultra, we saw a performance loss of 45% on the system recommended quality settings. At ultra, turning ray-tracing to ultra nets a performance loss of 32%. If you’re gunning for the 60fps threshold, we suggest you get the RTX 2070 variant or turning it down to high as the medium setting offer minimal visual improvements over turning it off.

Testing for other resource-heavy titles, we used Shadow of War, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and World War Z.

The system recommended settings for both games were a mix of high and ultra quality settings. Due to the low speed of the mechanical drive, loading into the two open-world games took some time. Though when playing the game, we saw no micro stutters or slowdowns.

For World War Z, frame times were inconsistent when using lower quality settings as the GPU usage never hit the high 90s. I suggest keeping the game at Ultra to smooth things out.

For the last two games, I chose two popular competitive FPS games that I know will take advantage of the 144hz display.

I tested Counter-Strike: Global Offensive using the Ulletical’s community benchmark at competitive settings 1080p and 960pstretched (a lot of players and pros use 4:3 aspect ratio for more FPS and stretched characters). As expected, the Dell G7 hit well over the 144FPS mark.

Lastly, we have Player Unknown’s BattleGrounds. Here I tested the game both at Ultra and competitive settings. All testing was done on the Erangel map, starting from when the players are in the plane to 5 mins after landing. Since no two matches are alike and it’s hard to land on the same spot every time, expect a little variance from this result.

When it comes to thermal performance, the laptop doesn’t throttle too much, although it gets really hot. The highest recorded GPU temperature was 78C, which was fine for an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060. What’s alarming, however, is the CPU temperature. While playing games, the highest reported temp for a single core goes as high as 99C. Since the laptop is of a metal alloy, the entire body heats up as well. You can feel the heat when typing, and using the body as a wrist rest would be uncomfortable. I suggest you get yourself an external keyboard if you want to play for extended periods as the body gets uncomfortably hot after hours of use. Carrying the laptop after playing is also a no-go as the back part would be too hot to touch.

Unlike the Lenovo Legion Y545, the Dell G7 pushes the processor to its limits. Playing in an airconditioned room, or having better external cooling solutions wouldn’t improve temps since the laptop would opt to increase the processor’s clock speeds over maintaining a steady frequency. You could also limit your game’s framerate or try and undervolt the CPU, but paying a premium price and having to go through several steps is a negative.

Battery Life

Using our usual video loop test (1080p movie, 50% brightness, 50% volume with headphones, airplane mode, and balance power setting), the Dell G7 lasted about 5 hours and 58 minutes. The battery lasts long, considering that this is a gaming laptop. The power brick included isn’t too bulky as well, so you can easily carry it around with you.

Conclusion

The Dell G7 is a powerful machine. It has a clean design, with an excellent keyboard and display. The CPU and RAM config allows you to multitask with ease, and the GPU will enable you to experience NVIDIA’s ray-tracing technology. You could play most games at ultra settings, and you can take advantage of the display’s 144hz refresh rate (for esports titles). However, it does get hot – and I mean really hot. You’d have to get an external keyboard if you want to do some heavy gaming on this laptop, which defeats the purpose of getting a portable solution. Compared to other laptops that limit CPU frequency to keep cool, the Dell G7 pushes its hardware to the limits.

For a starting price of PHP 113,990, the Dell G7 is expensive. For that money, you could get an ultrabook as a portable workstation and a desktop at home to game on since you can’t really play heavy games without bringing an external keyboard. That said, if you do move around a lot, traveling from your dorm/apartment to your home, or move a lot due to work, then this could be a suitable all-in-one solution for you.

Dell G7 15 (7590) specs:

15.6-inch FHD IPS display running at 144hz, 240hz
Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro
Intel Core i7-9750H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB, RTX 2070 8GB
16GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM
512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
WiFi 802.11 ac 2×2
Bluetooth 5.0
720p Webcam
Dual Array Digital Microphone
3 x USB 3.1 Type-A
1 x USB Type-C/Thunderbolt
1 x SD/MicroMedia Card Slot
HDMI 2.0
Mini DisplayPort
RJ45
Wedge Lock Slot
3.5mm Headphone/Mic combo
60Whr, 90Whr battery
19.9mm x 364.3mm x 273.4mm
2.5 kg

What we liked:

  • Clean aesthetic
  • Capable hardware
  • 144hz refresh rate display
  • Excellent keyboard
  • The power button + fingerprint scanner combo
  • Inclusion of SD card reader

What we didn’t:

  • Poor heat management
  • The entire body gets hot
  • The touchpad
  • Low fast storage configurations



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