Dell G5 5500 (2020) Review: A Budget Gaming Laptop, Also Suitable For Content Creators
We’ve found ourselves in a time where having a gaming system at our disposal can only be considered a boon. The COVID-19 outbreak has fried the brains out of many and gaming has allowed us to escape the monotony of having to stay within four walls for weeks on end.
If you don’t already have a gaming laptop, Dell’s newly-released G5 is an interesting laptop that aims at serving those looking for a capable machine without shelling more than a ton of money. The laptop boasts of Intel’s 10th-Gen Comet Lake processor and comes with NVIDIA’s GTX 1650Ti graphics that seems well-suited for anyone looking to have a good gaming experience.
So, is the Dell G5 (2020) worth its asking price? Well, let’s find out in our full review of it.
Dell G5 (2020) Review: Build Quality & Design
One look at the Dell G5 and you’ll have no doubts about it being a gaming laptop. The G5 shares a similar form factor with the G3 but comes with a few cosmetic changes. Most notable of all is what Dell calls the Premium Metallica IMR Finish that gives the lid a shimmery finish when light strikes at it particular angles. It’s good to see Dell experiment but I personally am not a fan of the shimmer. Also, the back is a fingerprint magnet and it’s not quite difficult to grease it up.
The Dell G5 features a plastic build but it doesn’t feel cheap. The chassis boasts of a clean matte finish that does a good job of not retaining palm sweat. One aspect where I think Dell could’ve done better is the hinge of the display as adjusting the display causes it to jiggle a bit.
The laptop weighs 2.34 kilogram which is not quite surprising for a gaming laptop. Although, the overall frame is compact enough to fit in an average backpack if you want to move around with it. The charging brick weighs an additional 550 grams and that’s something you might want to take into account too.
The sides of the laptop do a good job of making the laptop appear lesser than it is. From where the ports end – on either side – the edges curve close and make way for the dual-speaker system that’s placed on the bottom side of the chassis.
Dell G5 (2020) Review: Hardware & Connectivity
The Dell G5 (2020) is powered by Intel’s Comet Lake series of processors which are based on a 14nm manufacturing process. There are two variants available – one is powered with the quad-core Intel i5-10300H processor while the other one – the unit we got for review – boasts of the Intel i7-10750H Hexa-core processor. The i7-10750 has a base frequency of 2.6 Ghz which is capable of being boosted to 5Ghz.
My unit came with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of PCIe M.2 SSD, the latter helping the laptop boot within 10 seconds. While it would’ve been good to see Dell offer more RAM on the higher-end variant, the laptop can be upgraded to have up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM in dual-channel mode. The storage can be upgraded too. For all your graphics requirements, the NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU is present that has 4GB of VRAM.
Keeping things cool is a dual-fan system that, along with the thermal vents located on either side of the display hinge, help keep the laptop cool during intensive gaming sessions. In fact, there’s even a Game-Shift Key (F7) that cranks up the fan to push the maximum performance when you need it. Although, keep in mind that the fan’s whir is quite discernible when running at max. Despite the cooling system, the chassis above the keyboard does get pretty warm. You won’t be able to cook eggs, but it’s still hot.
The Dell G5 brings to the table a healthy selection of ports. The left side is flanked with an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB Type-C (DisplayPort), an RJ45 port, a USB 3.2 Gen 1, and a power adapter port. The right side houses two USB 2.0 ports, a lock slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an SD card reader. The laptop has support for WiFi 802.11b/g/a (no support for WiFi 6) and Bluetooth 4.2.
The power button located above the keyboard also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner that works just as you’d expect it to.
Dell G5 (2020) Review: Display & Webcam
The Dell G5 comes with a 15.6-inch display with a FullHD+ resolution. The display has an anti-glare coating which should help with better visibility as it minimizes reflections and offers a gaming and media-viewing experience that’s more immersive.
The display is flanked by noticeable bezels with the bottom bezel being almost 4 cm wide. The top bezel has a 720p webcam that is good enough for your Zoom or Meet calls. But if you’re looking to live-stream, I’d suggest you invest in an additional webcam.
The display itself is quite sweet and boasts of 300 nits of brightness which is definitely above the average when you consider the price segment it sits in. Unfortunately, there’s no support for higher refresh rates here and you’ll have to look elsewhere if that’s of paramount importance to you. But if you’re a content creator looking for a powerful laptop, you’ll probably be thankful that Dell stuck with a 60Hz display as there’s usually a tussle between colour accuracy – the G5 covering 95% of the sRGB colour gamut – and higher refresh rates in this price segment.
But considering that even the G3 came with a 144Hz display, it would’ve been nice to see Dell give an option for users who would’ve liked to see a higher refresh rate display.
The display is also good enough for Netflix sessions but if the audience is a crowd (3 people or more), you should know that the brightness levels differ when looked at from extreme angles.
Dell G5 (2020) Review: Keyboard & Trackpad
The Dell G5 has a full-sized backlit keyboard with enough space at the bottom to rest your palm. Unfortunately, the keyboard isn’t RGB-backlit and you won’t be able to make the keyboard showcase a myriad of colours in varying patterns. The backlight supports two levels of brightness.
The chiclet keys on the G5 are rather standard and the WASD keys don’t get special treatment in the form of a different texture or anything else – they’re simply boxed. The keys themselves may feel mushy at first and will definitely take some time to get used to.
The trackpad is located towards the left side to make sure it doesn’t come in the way of typing. Palm rejection is decent but there were times when I faced accidental clicks. The trackpad also has support for Windows Precision drivers and you can make use of two and three-finger gestures to move around the UI. One thing I wish were better is the effort it takes to click.
Dell G5 (2020) Review: Performance
The Dell G5 makes use of the Intel i7-10750H CPU that’s coupled with 8GB of DDR4 2933Mhz RAM. Thanks to this rather powerful combination, you’ll have no qualms with the laptop’s performance in day-to-day performance. With more than 30 Chrome tabs open and music being streamed in the background, the laptop didn’t show any signs of slowing down.
As for gaming performance, the laptop fared well too. I tried playing PUBG on the laptop and at maxed-out settings the battle royal game averaged 70FPS. I even tried out FarCry 5 on the machine and the G5 handled the performance rather well and averaged at about 59FPS on Ultra settings. Older titles like the GTA V are also quite enjoyable on the laptop at the highest graphic settings.
The Dell G5 outputted a respectable score of 4,373 on the PCMark 10 benchmark test.
To improve gaming performance, the laptop also has a handy Game-Shift key that can be used in the midst of a game to max-up the fans and get the highest performance possible. Also, worth noting is the presence of the Alienware Command Centre that lets you customize settings for games individually. Once set, the games will always open up in these pre-configured profiles. Within the Command Centre, you can also monitor the temperature and usage of the CPU, GPU and RAM. There’s support for Nahimic audio output that provides for an immersive gaming experience.
The laptop comes with Windows 10 Home Edition and has Microsoft Office pre-installed.
Dell G5 (2020) Review: Battery Life & Charging
The Dell G5 (2020) has a 3-cell polymer 51WHr battery and like most gaming laptops the battery life is pretty average. If you’re doing normal tasks like browsing and editing documents, you’ll be lucky enough to cross over hours of usage. The laptop comes with a 130W power adapter.
The 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD keeps things quite nimble and the laptop boasts of good sequential read and write speeds of 1789 MB/s and 1236MB/s.
Dell G5 (2020) Review: Final Verdict
The Dell G5 (2020) is a good overall package for anyone looking to buy a gaming laptop without spending a bomb. While the entry-level Intel i5 model costs INR 85,290, the Intel i7 model costs INR 91,990. It’s important to know that the Dell G5 doesn’t offer the absolute best performance or a higher-refresh-rate display. If you’re looking for something more powerful, you should definitely check out the Dell G15 SE that’s powered by the AMD Ryzen 4000 H-Series mobile processors that boasts of better performance. And if a higher-refresh-rate display is on your mind, the Lenovo Legion Y540 and the ASUS TUF Gaming A15 with their 144Hz displays are a good option.
But if you’re looking for a gaming laptop with the latest Intel Comet Lake chips and a good display, the Dell G5 should definitely be considered.
Image Credits: Prasham Parikh | Mashable India