Dell G3 15

A VER­SA­TILE PER­FORMER THANKS TO THE GEFORCE GTX GRAPH­ICS, BUT DON’T EX­PECT A GREAT DEAL OF EX­CITE­MENT

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - TIM DANTON

Dell isn’t putting all its gam­ing eggs into the Alien­ware bas­ket. Back in March, it an­nounced the G3 and G5 gam­ing lap­tops, with the idea that these 15in and 17in lap­tops would of­fer a bud­get al­ter­na­tive to Alien­ware kit. A sen­si­ble move, it would seem, so we were keen to test an early ex­am­ple.

The G3 here is ac­tu­ally the low­est-spec model in the range. That means a quad-core Core i5-8300H pro­ces­sor and GeForce GTX 1050 graph­ics, along with a 128GB SSD, so hardly bar­gain base­ment. You can even spec­ify a two-disk setup, but one of the beau­ties of the G3 range is that it’s easy to add this your­self fur­ther down the line. Re­move eight screws, prise the base off, and you have full ac­cess to the empty 2.5in SATA drive bay (and an empty SODIMM slot).

Dell claims this is its slimmest ever gam­ing lap­top, but don’t ex­pect a svelte mas­ter­piece of art deco de­sign. The clos­est it gets to style is the back­lit key­board and blue edg­ing around the track­pad, al­though I’ll ad­mit the grey cross­hatch squares on the base can catch the light nicely. Re­ally, though, it’ a bog­stan­dard Dell ma­chine with a cou­ple of visual

our­ishes. Peo­ple won’t be queue­ing up to gaze at it.

Nor will they gasp in won­der at its frame rates. At the screen’s na­tive 1080p res­o­lu­tion, the un­de­mand­ing Dirt: Show­down man­aged 67fps at Ul­tra set­tings, while Metro: Last Light re­turned a 24fps av­er­age with set­tings turned to the max. Both games caused the fans to run at full throt­tle, too, which is un­usual for this nor­mally se­date lap­top. Drop­ping each set­ting down a notch, but keep­ing the res­o­lu­tion at 1080p, saw a 72fps re­turn in Metro, so it is playable. Start play­ing Fort­nite or Over­watch, though, and you’ll quickly dial the set­tings to the low­est qual­ity.

You may be tempted to up­grade to the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti model, which should give a 15% to 20% boost in per­for­mance, but that costs an ex­tra $400. This up­grades the pro­ces­sor to a Core i7-8750H, and swaps your sin­gle 128GB SSD for a 256GB SSD plus the 1TB hard disk, so it’s worth con­sid­er­ing.

As a day-to-day sys­tem, though, this $1,599 model is more than fast enough. An over­all score above 100 is great in a lap­top and demon­strates the power of In­tel’s new H se­ries of lap­top pro­ces­sors – these sit just above the U se­ries we’re used to. All those easy up­grades mean this lap­top should also keep go­ing for years. My rst up­grade would be to dou­ble the RAM, which should give it a push, but it’s by no means nec­es­sary.

The one thing you’re stuck with is the screen. This is the only as­pect of the Dell G3 Gam­ing that is dis­ap­point­ing, with a max­i­mum bright­ness of 244cd/m2 and woe­ful colour ac­cu­racy: it cov­ers less than 50% of the sRGB gamut, while its Delta E av­er­aged at 7. The ideal is a Delta E of less than 2, so this is not the lap­top for pho­tog­ra­phers.

There’s a full-size HDMI 2 out­put if you have a screen handy, but note the lack of USB-C ports. In­stead, you have one USB 3 port on ei­ther side, an SD card reader, and a handy Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net con­nec­tor. Dell pro­vides some wire­less smarts, too, with SmartByte soft­ware pre­in­stalled so you can pri­ori­tise traf c by con­tent type (such as stream­ing video) when con­nected via the 2x2 802.11ac card.

I can’t get ex­cited by the key­board. It’s full-size, with a num­ber pad to the right, but the ac­tion of the keys is limp. In Dell’s de­fence, all the keys are well-sized and it makes no silly lay­out de­ci­sions, while the pre­ci­sion track­pad re­sponds well to ges­tures.

Where it wins – even when placed op­po­site the sim­i­larly thin Acer Preda­tor Tri­ton 700 – is for porta­bil­ity. That may sound odd when it’s heav­ier (2.53kg vs 2.4kg) and thicker (22.7mm vs 18.9mm), but with a bat­tery life of 7hrs 30mins in our video run­down test you can get away with leav­ing the power supply be­hind – you couldn’t do that with the Acer.

This isn’t enough to earn the G3 Gam­ing an award – the screen is too big a let­down – but if ev­ery cent counts, and a GeForce GTX 1050 is enough for the games you’re in­ter­ested in, then don’t write it off.

KEY SPECS

Quad-core 2.3GHz In­tel Core i5-8300H pro­ces­sor • 4GB Nvidia GTX 1050 graph­ics • 8GB RAM • 15.6in IPS dis­play, 1,920 x 1,080 res­o­lu­tion • 128GB SATA SSD • 1TB HDD • 7720p we­b­cam • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Blue­tooth 5 • HDMI 2 • 2 x USB 3.1 • SD card reader • RJ-45 port • Win­dows 10 Home • 56Wh bat­tery • 380 x 258 x 22.7mm (WDH) • 2.53kg • 1yr C&R war­ranty

$1,599 • www.dell.com/au

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