When you think of Dell gaming laptops, your mind probably automatically turns to Alienware, their flagship PC which is known for its performance and sleek design. However, now there is a new kid on the block and Dell’s latest Inspiron looks to take gaming on the go, and not break to bank. Starting at £899 the notebook offers decent graphics, 8-16GB ram, an SSD and a FHD screen.
Laptop gaming has continued to grow in popularity as devices become less bulky, more affordable and more powerful. There are now portable 13 inch devices up to gaming laptops which can feature massive 18 inch screens. Now with the next generation of Nvidia graphics cards, companies are able to fit even more power into the same frame while supporting 3D or 4K gaming.
The thing about Dell’s latest i5 & i7 model that makes it so tempting is the cost. Instead of deciding to pump as much high tech components into the Inspiron, they have gone with the more methodical approach. Plugging in only what is needed to make it a machine that plays the latest games with no excess. You’ll still find your usual gaming nuances of red flairs, grills and curves to make you feel at home with your 14 million colours of RGB headset but more toned back.
The model that we looked at featured an i7-7700HQ processor, 16GB of ram, Nvidia 1050 Ti graphics with a 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD. Our laptop was the mid-range version which was priced at £1099 and there is an option to upgrade the SSD to 512GB for 200 more pounds of your money or drop down to the i5 for £899. Depending on your location, prices and configurations differ slightly, so those in America will want to check what is available and the rest of the world. You can if you also want as an extra, instead of coming in matte black, go full red and have the chassis coloured in a very bright and deep red colour.
For other laptops in that same graphical range, you can pick up an MSI GE62 7RE with only 8GB of ram, a 128GB SSD and 1TB hard drive for £1,109.90. So Dell have done a pretty decent job at giving you a little bit more for your money where it really counts.
There is only one way you bring down costs for a product and that is by cutting out other areas of the device. One noticeable “cut” is the quality of the screen as all the variations only feature a standard 1920×1080 15.6″ screen. The screen was a pretty big let down, the colours always felt washed out and the brightness at max was just not that bright. Even on the highest setting, my Surface Pro 3 was able to display a much clearer and brighter picture. On top of the dim picture, if you view the laptop from anything but straight on the image fades more making the viewing angle not the best.
Trackpads on laptops are something I don’t usually get along with anyway, there really has yet to be a trackpad which works as well as a mouse. Dell’s Inspiron laptop has similar problems, it feels quite cheap with the plastic with a “clicky” feel to it, even when you are not actually clicking. When you compare these to the more solid touchpads of other laptops, this is definitely an area where they tried to cut costs. If you are PC gaming anyway it won’t matter too much as I’d expect you’d plugin in a mouse, but just be prepared if you want to use it “out of the box”.