Dell In­sp­iron 15 7000 Gam­ing

This lap­top can han­dle 1080p gam­ing with ease, but it’s let down by a poor-qual­ity dis­play

PC Pro - - November 2017 Issue 277 - CHRISTO­PHER MINASIANS

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

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