With its solid construction and striking sleek design – looking like something you’d see in the Batmobile – the Dell G3 15 is clearly not your standard laptop. In fact, from its blue-backlit keyboard to its 3D sound system, it’s very much designed with one thing in mind: gaming.
This is evident from the moment you start the computer up. Courtesy of its super-fast SSD, decent complement of RAM and (for the review model) an Intel Core i7 processor, from pressing the on-button to being ready to play took little more than a few seconds.
This speed translates into gameplay, with it easily having enough grunt to keep the latest games running at a high frames-per-second. At the G3’s native resolution of 1920x1080, DOOM (2016, of course) effortlessly maintained a silky smooth 60fps at Ultra settings, and Final Fantasy XIV happily ran at 60-70fps, with only occasional dips into the high 40s.
This grunt comes at the cost of heat and sound. When placed under extended load, it does heat up: the rear edges (near the exhaust vents) get fairly toasty, and the keyboard can feel like it’s your fingertips’ personal heaters. That said, it doesn’t get too hot to touch (like some laptops do) and, when no longer under load, the dual-fans cool it down incredibly quickly (and noisily).
With regards to the display, as may be expected at this price-point, there are pros and cons. The best thing about the G3’s display is how smooth it is. When it runs smooth, it runs super-smooth – DOOM felt like the camera was simply gliding through the levels and it was an utter delight to play. It also has exceptional viewing angles, particularly the verticals. While its resolution of 1920x1080 is not the highest, it’s more than sufficient for the size of the screen and the distance you’ll be sitting to it (you’ll only notice pixelation if you fully lean in). Also, the colours aren’t the most vivid, though this didn’t really detract from gameplay.
Worth mentioning is the G3’s onboard 3D sound system. While it’s lacking in the bass (a byproduct of small speakers – audiophiles will definitely want headphones at the least) it allows players to easily determine the location of sounds in the virtual space. In DOOM, for example, it was easy to track where the monsters were coming from.
Indeed, the only real things to be aware of here is that the keyboard is not the most comfortable for sustained typing, the storage size isn’t huge, and despite how slim it is, it’s not particularly light once you factor in charger and peripherals.
That said, as a portable gaming rig Dell G3 15 certainly delivers, and does so at a reasonable price. With more than enough power to play the latest games at 1920x1080, a good 3D sound system and a silky-smooth monitor, the Dell G3 15 should definitely be on the list for anyone looking for a gaming laptop which won’t break the bank. ■