Dell G3 lap­top

A BIG SCREEN AND A REA­SON­ABLE PRICE TAG ARE THE PRIME AT­TRAC­TIONS OF THIS LARGE, UNEXCITING NOTE­BOOK

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - NICK ROSS

There are all kinds of ex­cit­ing and in­no­va­tive gam­ing lap­tops to be found in the world nowa­days, but Dell’s G3 17 isn’t one of them. Yet, is this a bad thing? It’s not un­com­mon for peo­ple to seek sober re­li­a­bil­ity and value in the face of flair, so is this what the G3 17 of­fers?

First up, it’s big. The chas­sis is 41.5cm wide, 25mm thick and weighs a hefty 3.27KG. It feels sturdy thanks to its solid plas­tic body and there’s min­i­mal flex in the large lid.

It’s avail­able in black or blue, but there are few de­sign flour­ishes to get ex­cited about. The lid is black plas­tic with curved edges while the shiny, blue, plas­tic Dell badge is as so­phis­ti­cated as it gets. The che­quered area around the key­board cre­ates a cheap, car­bon fi­bre-es­que ef­fect.

The Full HD IPS screen is uni­formly lit and gets quite bright. View­ing angles are good but colours aren’t par­tic­u­larly vi­brant and con­trast is not im­pres­sive – de­tail is too-easily lost in the dark ar­eas. The dual, front-mounted speak­ers aren’t par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive either: di­a­logue in movies sounds a bit muddy, there’s lit­tle bass (or even vol­ume) for mu­sic play­back and it’s only in high-end, treble-rich au­dio that gets loud and of­fer any punch. Frankly, for a form-fac­tor that is sup­posed to ex­cel at mul­ti­me­dia, it’s a bit dis­ap­point­ing.

The key­board is gen­er­ally good, but not great. The keys are well spaced but smaller than ri­vals. There’s a num­ber pad with even-smaller keys, but at least it’s there. A per­sonal gripe is the half-height ar­row keys – can man­u­fac­tur­ers stop mak­ing these please – there’s also no ex­cuse on a chas­sis this big. None­the­less, the key­board is comfy to type on and looks in­ter­est­ing with its blue back­light­ing (al­though the ex­ces­sive light-bleed­ing through the sides some­what spoils the ef­fect). The track­pad is ac­cu­rate and re­spon­sive.

So, what of its per­for­mance? Our top-end unit sported In­tel’s eighth gen­er­a­tion 2.2GHz hexa-core Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB RAM plus a 256GB SSD (which is backed up by a 2TB stor­age drive). It scored an im­pres­sive 4,904 in PCMark 10 which con­firms its stature as a hefty desk­top re­place­ment.

Dell makes more of a fuss about its Nvidia 1060 graph­ics with Max-Q tech­nol­ogy. Max-Q typ­i­cally al­lows for GPUs to be in­stalled in thin chas­sis, but that point is moot in this mon­ster. In terms of grunt it scored 5,129 in 3DMark Fire Strike Ex­treme which means it will play most games at the screen’s Full HD res­o­lu­tion.

To see just how quiet it would be, we ran cryp­to­min­ing soft­ware for an ex­tended pe­riod. The G3 was very sta­ble, with con­sis­tent out­put, con­sis­tent in­ter­nal tem­per­a­tures stay­ing un­der 70 de­grees and min­i­mal noise - when the fans kick in they cre­ate only a mi­nor whoosh – but then we don’t ex­pect noise from lap­tops with 1060 graph­ics.

Bat­tery life is im­pres­sive for a ma­chine this size. It ran PCMark’s bat­tery test for four hours 32 min­utes al­though it posted a score that was one-third highrt when plugged in (which is nor­mal these days). It played our Full HD movie for al­most five hours.

There’s a full com­ple­ment of con­nec­tiv­ity ports, in­clud­ing USB 3.1 (Type-A and Type-C), HDMI and mini Dis­playPort. Thun­der­Bolt is an op­tion, as is a fin­ger­print reader. It comes with Dell’s oneyear on­site war­ranty though this can be ex­panded to four years and ac­ci­den­tal dam­age in­sur­ance is avail­able.

Ul­ti­mately, there’s not a great deal to be ex­cited about with the G3. It’s like a large, fam­ily-friendly SUV that’s rea­son­able value at $2,499 and sturdy enough to of­fer kid-grade pro­tec­tion. It can also be ti­died away un­like a desk­top PC. The main plus points are the large screen and mod­est price tag but that’s about it.

If you want a solid all-rounder that doesn’t ex­cel at any­thing but also isn’t go­ing to be some­thing that you’re too pre­cious about, Dell’s G3 17 is a rea­son­able choice.

KEY SPECS

2.2GHz In­tel Core i7-8750H CPU • 16GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM • Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU • 256GB M.2 SSD • 2TB HDD • 17.3in 1,920 x 1,080 • HD we­b­cam • Thun­der­bolt 3/USB 3.1 Type-C • 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A (Gen.2) • HDMI 2 • DP 1.4 • Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net • SD slot • 3.5mm au­dio jack • 3.27KG • 1yr on­site war­ranty $2,499 • www.dell.com.au

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