Dell G3 laptop
A BIG SCREEN AND A REASONABLE PRICE TAG ARE THE PRIME ATTRACTIONS OF THIS LARGE, UNEXCITING NOTEBOOK
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.
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