Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
This laptop can handle 1080p gaming with ease, but it’s let down by a poor-quality display
SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £941 (£1,129 inc VAT) from dell.co.uk
If you want slick Full HD gaming in a laptop, you normally have to pay a considerable price. For example, the £1,899 15in Gigabyte Aero 15 comes with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ and a 6GB GTX 1060. Or there’s Dell’s gorgeous £1,649 XPS 15, which features an Intel Core i7-7700HQ and GTX 1050 graphics.
The Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming is here to spoil the party, with prices starting at £899 – and that still includes a Core i5 and GTX 1050. I tested the £1,129 configuration that ships with a 2.8GHz Core i7-7700HQ, 4GB GTX 1050 Ti graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, coupled with a 1TB 5,400rpm hard disk.That’s meaty power, as reflected in a score of 113 in our benchmarks.
The Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming raced through GFXBench with flying colours, too. It ran the Car Chase onscreen benchmark at 129fps, and clocked up a ridiculous 251fps on the onscreen Manhattan 3 benchmark.
That translates very nicely to real-world games. In Dirt: Showdown, with Ultra settings, the Inspiron rendered an average of 78fps. The more challenging Metro: Last Light benchmark ran at 69fps at Very High settings with Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) disabled. Only turning this on could cripple performance, causing the average framerate to drop to 36fps.
So this laptop is perfect for 1080p gaming: most AAA titles should run at above 60fps with very high detail settings. There’s only one caveat: you’ll need to keep the laptop plugged in for optimal performance, and live with its fans running at full pelt. During the benchmark tests, we saw the processor hit 80°C – close to its thermal threshold.
Despite the powerful internals, battery life is surprisingly good. In fact, it’s the best I’ve seen from a gaming laptop, delivering 7hrs 57mins of video playback before needing a recharge. That’s 40 minutes more than the Gigabyte Aero 15.
And, like the Aero, the Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming looks stylish, with a tasteful matte black and red design that’s reminiscent of Spider-Man. It opens up via a single middle-section hinge, which does mean the panel is prone to flex and wobble. The bezels around the screen are quite large, too, with the top one home to a frontfacing 720p HD camera.
Inevitably, this isn’t the thinnest nor the lightest laptop around: it weighs 2.62kg and measures an inch thick. However, it’s well specified, with full-sized HDMI and RJ-45 Ethernet ports, an SD card reader, three USB 3 ports and a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack combo. The only thing missing is a USB-C port.
The big problem with this laptop is its display. Its base specification – a 15.6in, 1,920 x 1,080 TN panel that runs at 60Hz – is fine, but it looks dull. That impression was backed up by our i1 DisplayPro display calibrator, which measured a maximum brightness of 220cd/m2.
This is very weak, and it makes everything look drab. And colour accuracy and balance are way off: we measured an average Delta E of 6.29, while colour coverage is poor,
“Despite the powerful internals, battery life is surprisingly good. In fact, it’s the best I’ve seen from a gaming laptop”
representing only 61.6% of the sRGB gamut ( see How we test, p53). The only good news is a 1,054:1 contrast ratio, with a 0.2cd/m2 black level. While the screen lacks vibrancy, it’s easy to read text and make out graphical details.
I’m not a fan of the keyboard, which has a mushy feel and relatively small keys. These have been squeezed by the full numeric keypad alongside the regular keys; the sole consolation is that it provides extra input options for games. I wasn’t impressed by the trackpad either: tracking wasn’t always smooth, while left and right button presses sometimes missed the mark.
These lacklustre peripherals are why the Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming only earns three stars, but gamers on a budget should consider it. It offers all the power you need for Full HD gaming, a scorchingfast processor, buckets of RAM and storage, plentiful ports – and a cool Spider-Man look. For £1,129 it’s a lot of laptop.
ABOVE This is a chunky laptop, but the red-and-black finish gives it a dash of superhero style SPECIFICATIONS Quad-core 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor 4GB Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti graphics
16GB RAM 15.6n TN display, 1,920 x 1,280 resolution 256GB M.2 SATA SSD 1TB 5,400rpm hard disk 720p webcam 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4 HDMI 2 3 x USB 3 RJ-45 Ethernet SD card slot Windows 10 Home 74Wh battery 385 x 275 x 25mm (WDH) 2.65kg 1yr C&R warranty
ABOVE Prices for the Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming start at £899, and that includes GTX 1050 graphics