Dell made some big announcements at CES this January, including a completely revamped gaming lineup. From introducing a brand new design language called ‘Legend' to refreshing its budget-friendly G-series, there was a lot to get excited about. Today, we'll be focusing on the new G-series, more specifically, the Dell G7 15 7590 gaming laptop.
Dell's new G-series models are slimmer than their predecessors, and feature a more aggressive design. They also get a few features that were previously only available with the expensive Alienware series, such as four-zone RGB backlighting, high refresh-rate screens, and Alienware's Command Center software. Perhaps the biggest change is support for high-end GPUs, since the earlier G-series were restricted to just mid-range options.
It's time to take the Dell G7 15 7590 for a spin and see if it's worth its asking price.
The new Dell G7 15 7590 is quite slim for a gaming laptop, measuring a smidge under 20mm in thickness. The other dimensions are fairly compact too, partly thanks to the slim bezels around the display. This makes it easy to slip the laptop in and out of a backpack. However, at around 2.5kg, it is still heavy, which is noticeable when you hold it or carry it around in your bag.
Dell has gone with a dark grey colour scheme, or ‘Abyss Grey' as it calls it, with blue accents for the logo, keyboard and port labels, and even the exhaust vents and heatsink. The contrast is subtle but we think this understated stealthy look works well. The laptop has plenty of vents all around for airflow.
The Dell G7 15 7590 packs a few ports on the sides, including two USB 3.1 Gen. 1 ports (one of which supports PowerShare for charging devices even when the laptop is off), a Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone/ microphone combo port, and a full-sized SD card slot.
There's a single power LED on the left. The rest of the ports are placed at the back, between the two exhaust vents. These include a Kensington lock slot, Gigabit Ethernet by Killer Networks (E2500V2), Mini-DisplayPort, a third USB 3.1 Gen1 port, HDMI 2.0, and the power connector.
The Dell G7 15 7590 model we're reviewing has a 15.6-inch full-HD (1920x1080) IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate. The higher refresh rate is immediately noticeable in Windows, and makes the UI feel a bit more snappy and responsive.
The panel has good viewing angles and colour reproduction, and the matte finish doesn't attract many fingerprints or reflections. Brightness is also very good. When using this laptop in a typical office environment with bright overhead lights, we found the 20-30 percent brightness level to be adequate. The display is protected well thanks to the metal lid, and you get slim bezels on three sides. Dell has managed to squeeze an HD webcam into the upper bezel too, which is nice.
The single hinge offers good torsion, and due to the heavy base, opening the lid is a one-handed affair. The keyboard area is spacious enough for a full-sized keyboard with a number pad. The spacing between the keys is good, and nothing is scrunched together, including the direction keys. The model we're reviewing has blue backlighting for all the keys, and it can be adjusted by two levels. You can opt for a keyboard with four-zone RGB backlighting if you want.
The Dell G7 15 7590 also has a fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button. There's ample space for the palm-rest area, which also has a metal finish. The trackpad is decently wide, tracking is smooth, and the buttons don't require much effort to press. The trackpad did get a little ‘sticky' at times when moving the cursor around, and we noticed it would accidentally highlight text when we were just passing the cursor over it.
There are front-firing stereo speakers with Nahimic's Sound Centre software for tweaking in-game audio. This is accessible through Dell's Command Centre software. You don't get any quick access panels on the bottom of this laptop for accessing the RAM or storage.
Overall, the Dell G7 15 7590 is built well, looks stealthy, and offers a good selection of ports. In the box, you'll find a 180W power brick, which is quite big, along with a warranty leaflet and quick-start guide.
The Dell G7 7590 is available in multiple configurations, and the one have for review features an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8750H hexa-core CPU with multi-threading and a base clock speed of 2.2GHz. Dell recently announced that it's refreshing its gaming laptops with Intel's 9th generation CPUs and will also offer Nvidia's 16-series GPUs as options, but there's still time before these variants comes to India.
Of the two RAM slots, only one is populated with a 16GB DDR4 (2666MHz) RAM stick. There's a 256GB NVMe SSD which has Windows 10 installed on it, as well as a 1TB Toshiba mechanical hard drive.
The star feature of this G7 15 variant is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR6 RAM. This GPU is based on Nvidia's latest Turing architecture, which besides offering better performance than the previous series, also supports advanced features such as ray tracing and DLSS. We've done a deep dive into this new architecture and its features, which you can read about here.
You can also use the Intel UHD graphics 630 integrated in the CPU, which is automatically chosen when running non-graphics intensive programs.
Connectivity options on the Dell G7 15 7590 include dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac with 2x2 MIMO antennas and Bluetooth 5. There's a 60WHr, 4-cell battery. On the software front, there's Windows 10 Home 64-bit and several of pre-installed apps from Dell. You also get some third-party programs such as a 12-month subscription to McAfee LiveSafe and a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365.
The software from Dell includes an update program and a few useful tools. Mobile Connect lets you accept calls and reply to phone messages from your laptop, SupportAssist helps you troubleshoot issues, and Alienware Command Center organises your games and lets you monitor system temperatures.
The latter program has long been exclusive to Alienware laptops, but now G-series owners can also take advantage of it. The first tab automatically lists installed games from Steam, and you can also add games manually. The ‘Fusion' tab in the software lets you monitor the temperature of the CPU and GPU, switch power profiles, choose audio profiles for different game genres, and enable custom virtual surround sound effects for more realism in games. The software is well designed and easy to use.
The Dell G7 15 7590 has no trouble keeping up with regular PC workloads. The laptop boots very quickly, and you're all set to go about your business within a minute. The SSD is the primary reason for this snappiness.
Apart from Windows 10 and the preinstalled programs, you still get enough space to install a few big games. Because we had a lot of games to test, we only managed to put a few on the SSD, and had to dump the rest on the 1TB mechanical drive. Apps load quickly as well thanks to the ample RAM.
We used the laptop in our office for our regular work and didn't have any real issues. The keyboard offers good travel, and typing even for long stretches wasn't fatiguing. We wished the keys were a bit sculpted rather than flat. The blue backlighting is soothing to the eye and the spread across the keys is even.
The fingerprint sensor works with Windows Hello, for logging you into the system. On battery or mains power, the laptop runs fairly cool and silently when it isn't under load. There are instances where you'll hear the fans for brief moments, but they quiet down very quickly.
Benchmark and real-world performance are very good. We got a trace time of 1 minute and 48 seconds in POVRay, while Cinebench R20 posted single and multi-threaded CPU test scores of 408 and 2,702 respectively. In PCMark 10, we got 4,892 points, while 3DMark returned a score of 5,772 in the Time Spy benchmark. As for our real-world tests, compressing a 3.2GB folder of assorted files took 3 minutes and 57 seconds, and encoding a full-HD video clip to MKV took about a minute.
The real power of this laptop lies in gaming. This being our first laptop with a GeForce RTX-series GPU, we lined up a few titles such as Shadow of The Tomb Raider (SOTR), Battlefield V, and Metro: Exodus, which support Nvidia's DLSS and/ or ray tracing features. SOTR supports Deep Learning Supersampling or DLSS, which renders games at lower resolutions and then uses AI to fill in the missing pixels, thereby boosting the frame rate a game can run at.
We averaged 62fps in the game's built-in benchmark at the native full-HD resolution, using the highest quality setting with TAA anti-aliasing enabled. However, this was with DLSSA and ray tracing turned off. With ray traced shadows set to the 'Ultra' preset and DLSS off, the framerate tanked to 42fps. Turning on DLSS didn't help much here as the average framrrate in the benchmark only went up to 43fps. The framerate fluctuates quite a bit in real-world gameplay when running through the Peruvian jungle, but it was consistently above 40fps, at times even hitting 60fps.
Metro: Exodus supports both ray tracing and DLSS and they can be toggled on or off individually. For some reason, the game's built-in benchmark kept crashing so we ended up playing through the initial levels of the game manually while keeping an eye on framerate through the FPS counter of the GeForce Experience overlay. With ray tracing disabled, we easily averaged above 60fps. With it set to the ‘Ultra' level and DLSS off, the framerate dropped quite a bit, averaging around 35fps.
The game looked stunning with more realistic lighting, but gameplay wasn't smooth. Switching DLSS on helped somewhat as we got an instant boost in the framerate, which then averaged about 45-50fps. The game still looked good but certain edges and objects did appear a little soft. Of course, this was only noticeable because we went looking for it but with otherwise, it doesn't really stand out.
Battlefield V was one of the first games to support ray tracing for realistic reflections. It has since been patched to support DLSS too. With the graphics cranked to the Ultra preset, we managed to average about 45-50fps, with ray tracing on but DLSS turned off. Even at this seemingly playable framerate, gameplay was jerky. Switching DLSS on improved things quite a bit, and the framerate immediately shot up to 60-65fps.
In other demanding titles, the Dell G7 15 7590 delivers equally good performance. We managed to average 41fps in Assassin's Creed: Origins with the ‘Ultra' graphics preset and the field of view maxed out. In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, we got 42.5fps with DX12, 2x MSAA anti-aliasing, and the Ultra preset, which is very good. Finally, in FarCry 5, we averaged 67fps in the built-in benchmark with the graphics set to the ‘Ultra' preset.
While gaming, we found that the laptop's palm-rest area didn't heat up but the keys did get warm. The area above the keys gets quite hot and so does the bottom of the laptop. Fan noise can be an issue if you aren't wearing headphones. The fans get very loud, which is a little distracting when you're using the laptop's speakers. Thankfully, as soon as you quit a game, they ramp down very quickly.
The speakers offer decent spatial separation, once you enable 7.1 channel simulation from the Command Centre software. The speakers get loud, but in games, we would have liked a bit more volume. They're good enough for videos and songs though.
Battery life is a bit weak, which we were expecting. In our usual Battery Eater Pro test, the laptop lasted for 2 hours and 59 minutes, which is not bad. However, with actual usage, working within Chrome, streaming music through Spotify, and with the backlight on level one, we managed to get less than three hours of runtime before we got the low-battery warning. The bundled charger can top up the battery up completely in about two hours.
The Dell G7 15 7590 is the first laptop with a GeForce RTX GPU that we've tested, and even though there are a limited number of games right now that support ray tracing and DLSS, we're quite impressed with what we've seen so far.
Since GeForce RTX GPUs are expensive and laptops featuring them are still relatively new in the Indian market, you will have to pay a slight premium. The Dell G7 15 7590 configuration that we reviewed will set you back a cool Rs. 1,57,400. This is the same story with laptops from other manufacturers too. The Asus ROG Strix Hero II, HP Omen 15, and MSI GL73 with roughly the same core configuration as the G7 15 7590, are all in the same ball-park price range.
The Dell G7 15 7590 doesn't have great battery life, it gets quite hot when gaming, and the fans are distracting if you aren't wearing headphones. However, gaming performance is solid, the display is bright and vivid, and you get a great keyboard plus a good suite of software programs bundled.
Also, unlike the rest of the models mentioned above, which scream “look at me, I'm a gaming laptop,” the Dell G7 15 has an understated look, which we really like. This means you can easily use it in an office environment without drawing unwanted attention — until those exhaust fans kick in, anyway.