The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is only $799, but it looks like a much more expensive gaming notebook and it is able to play the latest games thanks to a 7th Generation Intel processor and a Nvidia GTX 1050 TI GPU.
While you can easily spend over $1,000 on the latest and greatest gaming notebooks from Alienware and Razer, Dell offers a middle ground that allows you to step into gaming with a nice looking well-built computer that won’t break your budget.
The two biggest catches, are that you will need to run most games with medium settings and you to live with the lackluster display. Plugging in a monitor at your battle station can help alleviate the display, but you will need to live with graphics at the medium setting with this notebook.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Review Summary
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 delivers the best value in gaming notebooks with long battery life and the ability to play the latest games in a sleek and sexy package. When it comes to budget gaming notebooks, you need look no further than the Dell Inspiron 15 7000.
We reviewed the $849 Inspiron 15 7000 with a 256GB SSD, but if you want to get the most value, you should look into the $949 version with a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive unless you are willing to keep your installed game library to a minimum.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 design is eye-catching with a bright red soft touch lid that definitely calls attention to this notebook. The look and feel is that of a more expensive notebook, which is a very nice touch considering that this is still a semi-portable machine.
Red and black grilles on the front and back edge accentuate the style, and bright red edges round out the look. Inside is a spartan black interior with a matte finish. Dell doesn’t bring the soft touch onto the palm rest, but it is still comfortable for longer periods of use.
You’ll find a whole host of connectivity options including three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, Gigabit Ethernet and an SD card reader. The power brick is rather large, but it includes a long cord so you can plug in even when you can’t work right next to an outlet. Dell includes a 720P webcam that delivers a decent image, but isn’t special.
This notebook weighs in at 5.8 pounds, which is hefty, but still light enough that you can bring it with you. You’ll need a larger backpack though as this notebook is 15.2 x 10.8 x 1 inches.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 display doesn’t do the colors justice, which is a tradeoff for the price. The 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display includes an anti-glare coating that helps you play in harsh lighting conditions. The panel and potentially this anti-glare coating wash out the colors on the built-in display.
Your games still look sharp and there is plenty of detail to be seen, but the colors simply don’t pop, leaving your environments looking muted. The display isn’t the brightest but combined with the coating it is bright enough to use in most settings.
If you are settling in for extended gaming sessions at home, you will likely want to look for a brighter display, but this one will get the job done when you are mobile.
Dell packs in a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB GDDR5 RAM to provide gaming prowess under $1,000. With this setup you can play the latest games on medium settings without any issues. You’ll be able to pull of the FPS needed to remain competitive in online gaming and the game still looks very nice. If you push the graphics settings up higher you will definitely see it with visual issues and dropped frames.
Don’t buy this with hopes of using the HTC Vive, but you can, in theory use it with the Oculus Rift with games on a medium setting. The SteamVR Performance Test reports a 3.8, which is usable, but it is on the lower end.
With games on a medium setting, it is tough to find a game that this budget gaming notebook cannot handle, and it delivers impressive performance for the price. When you are watching videos or performing less intense tasks, the notebook switches over to the Intel integrated GPU that will deliver better battery life.
Intel’s Kaby Lake processors are inside these machines and they deliver more than enough power to handle your day to day activities including streaming videos and working on a spreadsheet or surfing through a number of open tabs.
After a long gaming session the bottom of the notebook is warm, but it wasn’t too hot to use on my lap when a desk wasn’t available.
Keyboard & TouchPad
The Keyboard and touchpad are good on the Inspiron 15 7000 gaming notebook. It is an island style keyboard with decent travel and spacing. I can type quickly and nearly match my output on the 2016 MacBook Pro. There is a small amount of give in the center of the keyboard that is disappointing but not an overall deal breaker.
Dell includes a number pad that allows for easy access to numbers while working on spreadsheets and for the option to set up shortcuts and macros that come in handy while gaming. The touchpad is responsive and accurately handles gestures. It is very usable for day-to-day tasks, but I wouldn’t try to game with it.
Dell includes two front-facing speakers that fire out of the front edge and a bottom subwoofer. The speakers sound good for music and movies and you can play games using the built-in speakers. One catch to gaming is that this budget gaming notebook is loud when you are playing a taxing game. You will want a good headset to play games unless you want to hear a fan mixed in with your gaming audio.
One major surprise is the Inspiron 15 7000 battery life. This notebook can easily last all day when you are working in a web browser or similar apps. The 74 Whr battery is capable of 10 to 11 hours of use in a web browser. Gaming will cut the battery life down significantly, but you can still get in a decent session on battery power.