Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (7557)
Can Dell’s price-conscious 15-inch gaming laptop inspire budget gaming buyers?
On paper, Dell’s latest Inspiron 15 is the ideal configuration for those interested in a well-rounded gaming laptop that doesn’t cost too much. With a 15.6-inch Full HD screen, Core i7-7700HQ CPU, GTX 1060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, a smaller 256GB NVMe SSD and a roomy 1TB HDD, a lot of the necessary boxes have been ticked, but without going overboard. If we then consider that all this is packaged in a 38.9 x 27.5 x 2.5cm form factor that offers ample room for the device’s mobile components and covers off any space-related thermal pressures, you have a recipe for a gaming laptop that can be highly competitive on price.
This configuration’s RRP is $2,299 and while it isn’t available at a wide range of stores, we have seen it for as little as $1,998. It also comes in a variation with 8GB of RAM that jettisons the 1TB HDD, but this inexplicable storage design choice renders it largely useless as a gaming laptop, so we’d suggest avoiding the $400 saving, unless you’re OK to permanently sticky tape a portable hard drive to it.
The keyboard surround and outer shell of the Inspiron is subtle for a gaming device, placated by a space-grey metal casing that shows only hints of its gaming tendencies through a jellybean red outer-shell logo and soft maroon key-cap lettering. While the keys are a little smaller than competitors’ models, the compact shape does allow a far more uniform layout that won’t trip anyone up. And although the actual travel distance feels shallow, the responsiveness and soft key feel make it a nice device to type on. Sadly, the same can’t be said about the trackpad, which feels more coarse than the metal casing surrounding it.
While the Inspiron 15 7000 might be considered in the budget category of gaming laptops, it’s got some powerful components that’ll outperform many pro and general use devices. The Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU was one of the most powerful laptop chips available in 2017 and, though it’s now been superseded by Intel’s latest 8th-gen mobile processors, it’s still up-there in terms of performance. The device’s benchmark scores match up with other similarly specced laptop units on media encoding and general homeand work-related tasks — getting 4,033 on PCMark 8’s Home accelerated benchmark — similar to devices like Acer’s Helios 300, Gigabyte’s Sabre Pro 15 and HP’s Omen 15.
The Inspiron gets above 30fps on Ultra settings in all the 2017 games we benchmarked (with most closer to the 50fps mark) and it powers through older titles like GRID 2, netting a 111fps average on Ultra.
The Inspiron 15 7000 hasn’t been kitted out with the biggest battery, even by gaming laptop standards, lasting a mere 1 hour and 23 minutes in PCMark 8’s Home Battery (accelerated) benchmark, so don’t leave home without the power cord. It also weighs 2.65kg.
On balance then, this is a solid offering, but there are a number of devices that offer a very similar layout for the same price or less.