Dell’s Inspiron 15 Gaming takes me back to the old days of laptops. It’s a mid-range multimedia and gaming laptop, but instead of trying to make it thin and light, Dell has instead decided to let the components breathe a little and jacked up the weight and thickness.
The result is a laptop that’ll satiate the needs of anybody looking for a gaming laptop for under £1,000, as long as they aren’t planning on carrying it around too much.
Video: Hands-on with the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming
Weighing in at over 2.6kg, it’s almost laughably heavy for a non-hardcore gaming machine. It’s an inch thick as well. Baggable this laptop ain’t.
But what you get inside more than makes up for it. There’s a choice of quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 H-series chips from the Kaby Lake generation. These are 45-watt chips with excellent processing performance that’s more than capable of editing video and photos very quickly indeed. Dell’s also stuffed two speakers and a subwoofer inside for better audio performance.
The pricing I have for the UK says it will start at £899, and while I don’t have the exact specifications for this model, the $899 model in the US comes with an up-to 3.5GHz, quad-core Core i5-7300HQ, 8GB of RAM and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics. There’ll be a choice of hard disk and SSD combinations.
The GTX 1050 model will be great for Full HD eSports-style games such as Overwatch and DOTA 2 at high settings. The Ti model will net you extra performance in AAA titles, and I was able to play Forza Horizons on my demonstration machine in Full HD and High settings at pretty smooth frame rates.
You get either Full HD or Ultra HD IPS displays. The Full HD model comes in either anti-glare non-touch or glossy touch configurations. I wasn’t blown away by the colour and vibrancy of the Full HD touch panel, but it’s an area of compromise most people probably won’t mind too much.
Cooling takes place around the back, with hot air being ejected at speed with a fair amount of fanfare (no pun intended). It was very hot back there when playing Forza, so if you like to game in bed you should make sure you have enough clearance to let the fans do their job. A little noisy they may be, but they do a good job of keeping the keyboard area relatively cool.
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The keyboard was fine with no nasty surprises, while the touchpad was nice and sensitive. I’d be happy to use it for non-gaming purposes without a USB mouse.
The 72watt-hour battery is large, but with beefy components on board I wouldn’t get too optimistic about gaming away from a wall socket, even if it does have more power-efficient Intel Kaby Lake and Nvidia Pascal tech on board.
Dell could be onto a winner here, targeting gamers with a sub-£1,000 budget can be a tough nut to crack but with high-end processor and mid-range graphics kit on board along with proper speakers could make this a dream machine for many.
The latest Inspiron 15 Gaming isn’t available on Dell’s UK site just yet, but it should be very soon.