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Dell G5 15 review: New name, same great budget-gaming deal

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The Good Dell's G5 15 is a refinement of last year's model -- the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming -- but continues to offer good entry-level gaming performance with extras like Thunderbolt 3 and PCIe NVMe as well as memory and storage that's easily upgraded or expanded.

The Bad Some might find the color, contrast and brightness of the full HD display disappointing.

The Bottom Line Dell's G5 15 still rises to the top as one of the best entry-level gaming laptops you can buy despite being just a minor update from its predecessor.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 8

Dell's G-series gaming laptops are part of the company's continued push into gaming PCs "for players of all levels and budgets." That basically translates into computers that are cheaper than those from its Alienware division, but still capable of playing the latest AAA titles. 

The 15.6-inch G5 starts at less than $1,000, £730 and AU$1,800 is essentially the same as last year's Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop, but with a new product ID and eighth-gen Intel processors as well as the option for a 4K UHD-resolution display (though those configurations drive the price up considerably). The configuration reviewed here comes in at $1,049 with a hex-core Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics direct from Dell, but you can also find it with a quad-core Core i5 and a GeForce GTX 1060 Max Q for just under $950 from Amazon.

The G5 15 is a great value for what you're getting, but it has some stiff competition in Lenovo's Legion Y530Acer's Nitro 5, doesn't necessarily have the build quality of the Dell, but its price starts around $600 for a strong component and feature set. Likewise, Asus' TUF Gaming FX504GD is competitive at $700 and is designed for better durability. Still, the G5 offers a well-rounded package for the price making it a top pick for an entry-level gaming laptop.  

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell G5 15 (5587)

Price as reviewed $1,049
Display size/resolution 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display
CPU 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
Memory 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz
Graphics 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
Storage 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Window 10 Home (64-bit)

A couple bells, one or two whistles 

As was the case with its predecessor, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop, a considerable chunk of your money is going toward the processor and graphics card. That means the rest of the system isn't as polished as something from Dell's Alienware division or a Razer laptop. It's a pretty tame design for a gaming laptop (a plus or minus depending on your preferences). It does, however, feel sturdy, but part of that is its 6-pound weight (2.7 kg) and it's relatively thin for a budget gaming laptop. 

Similarly you won't find a glass touchpad or a mechanical keyboard with multicolored backlighting. You get a full keyboard and number pad and it is backlit in red and the touchpad is surrounded in red. The keyboard is good, perhaps a little shallow and soft, but still good for typing and gaming. And while I wish it had discrete buttons for casual gaming, the touchpad performs well and didn't have me immediately reaching for a mouse. 

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The G5's keyboard is backlit in red. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Likewise, the speakers didn't make me scramble to put on headphones. They have good clarity for movies and music without being too bright and a fair amount of bass to add some heft to gunshots and explosions. You'll hear the dual fans keeping things cool when gaming, but they're not super loud. Still, you'll probably want headphones for the best experience with games and movies. 

The full HD matte 15.6-inch IPS-type display is decent and one of the best you'll find on an entry-level gaming laptop. It doesn't have a lot of punch in color and contrast, and it doesn't get particularly bright. Off-angle viewing is good, though, so at least you can move your head and tilt the screen without losing the picture like the Asus TUF Gaming FX504GD. 

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