Poor viewing angles
This laptop packs a lot of graphics power, that's for sure. For just under a grand, you're getting a powerful GPU plus a classy design that strays from the typical gaming laptop aesthetic. The "New" models even offer Intel's quad core 8th-gen processors. But while there's a lot we love about this laptop, we had a few gripes.
The display isn't very bright or colorful and viewing angles are poor. In addition to the disappointing screen, the laptop is bulky and awkward to handle—you're not going to enjoy lugging it from class to class. Nitpicks aside, we feel the Inspiron 15 is still a killer choice, as it's a great laptop for work and play and you can't beat the awesome price.
The Inspiron 15 comes in a couple of different configurations. The souped-up version ($1,249.99) has an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, a 4K display, and a 512GB SSD. We reviewed the base model ($979.99), which is armed with an Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and a 256GB SSD. The maxed-out model is nice, but it may not be the best option for the budget-conscious consumer. We feel as though the entry-level version is a better value due to the GTX 1060 GPU. You can check out the specs (in detail) below:
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
Memory: 8GB RAM
Storage: 256GB SSD
Weight: 5.76 lbs
Ports: USB 3.0, USB-C, HDMI, Card Reader, Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth
It's super affordable
With a starting price of $979.99, the Inspiron 15 is one of the most inexpensive gaming laptops out there. Plus, it comes with a Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, which is awesome for the price. So, not only is it light on the wallet, it's capable of handling visually-demanding games on high settings and heavy video editing as well, though we'd recommend upping the RAM and storage if you're going to use it for that purpose.
This laptop certainly packs a punch, but I wouldn't say it beats out the best of the best. While it can't compete with something like the Razer Blade (2017), this mid-range laptop is still worth considering, especially if you're working with a tight budget. It's powerful enough to run modern games and scratch that itch, for sure.
The subdued aesthetic is mature and professional-looking
The Inspiron 15 doesn't look like a typical gaming laptop (much to my delight). Unlike the hibiscus red model we reviewed last summer, this color scheme is far more subtle. The red accents compliment the matte-black chassis just fine, but I like that it's not flashy. It's the kind of laptop you wouldn't mind bringing to your local coffee shop.
You can play most AAA titles on high settings
I was able to play Overwatch (D.Va is my Queen) on high settings at 88 fps. But since it's not the most graphically-intensive game, we put the laptop through the Metro benchmark as well. Surprisingly, the machine ran the test at 30 fps. While you're getting pretty good graphics power, for more visually-demanding games, you may want to lower your settings to get a better frame rate.
The display isn't very bright or colorful
When I watched gameplay footage of the latest downloadable content from Horizon Zero Dawn, I noticed that Aloy's fire-orange braids weren't as vibrant as they are on other screens. Though colors aren't very eye-catching, I could still see the intricate details on Aloy's furs. While the screen is on the dull side, it'll get the job done in a pinch.
It's really bulky
Weighing almost six pounds, the Inspiron 15 is one heck of a beast. When I brought it home for testing, it sat like a brick in my bag. Gaming laptops aren't known for being portable, though. If it's a lightweight gaming machine you're after, we'd recommend the Razer Blade (2017), which weighs close to four pounds.
Battery life is so-so
The 56Wh battery is actually smaller than the previous model's 74Wh battery. When we put the laptop through our Wifi browsing test, which continuously cycles through different websites, it lasted a little over four hours. That's about average for a gaming laptop. You'll definitely need to bring the charger with you because it's not going to last a full work day.
Yes! It's a great machine for on-the-go gaming.
If you're looking for a powerful gaming laptop that won't break the bank, then the Inspiron 15 is a great choice. From the Nvidia graphics to the subdued color scheme, this laptop checks off a lot of boxes. Some of the "New" models (like the New Dell Inspiron 13 7000) now offer Intel's quad core 8th-gen CPU at a reasonable price point, too. Though we love the attractive price tag and professional aesthetic, there were a few minor drawbacks.
The display isn't very bright or colorful, which may be a problem for some people. Though I appreciate a sharp display, some folks can't live without one. This laptop is also very heavy, weighing close to six pounds, making it awkward to handle. I didn't enjoy carrying it around at all. Despite these shortcomings, we still feel the Inspiron 15 is an excellent buy. It's the kind of laptop that works well for work and play, especially if you're working with a tight budget.
Meet the tester
Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.
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