Dell have refreshed their G7 gaming laptop, and it’s quite a big improvement over the older model, so let’s find out what the new 2019 model of the G7 has to offer and if it’s a laptop you should consider buying.
Starting with the specs my unit has an Intel i7-8750H CPU, Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics, 16GB of memory running in single channel, however for testing I upgraded to 16gb in dual channel, a 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD, and a 15.
6” 60Hz IPS screen. For network connectivity it’s got gigabit ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5. There are a few different configurations available though, such as newer 9th gen CPUs, 16 series graphics, 144Hz screen or different battery sizes, you can find examples and updated prices linked in the description.
The metal lid has a smooth matte black finish with a blue Dell logo in the center. It’s the same inside, all black and metal. All edges and corners were rounded and smooth, and overall the build quality was quite good.
The starting weight of the laptop is listed at 2.5kg or 5.5 pounds on the Dell website, however this will vary based on hardware customizations. My unit came in right around this, and rose to 3.2kg with the 180 watt power brick and cables for charging included.
The dimensions of the laptop are 36.4cm in width, 27.3cm in depth, and just under 2cm in height, so on the smaller side for a 15 inch laptop. It’s noticeably trimmed down and less chunky looking compared to Dell’s 2018 model of the G7, and this results in thinner screen bezels.
The 15.6” 1080p 60Hz screen has a matte finish, no G-Sync available here, but the G7 is also available with a 144Hz option. I’ve measured the current colour gamut using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 97% of sRGB, 68% of NTSC and 73% of AdobeRGB.
At 100% brightness in the center I measured 298 nits with a 930:1 contrast ratio, so decent results for a gaming laptop, and noticeably better than the G5 I recently tested. Backlight bleed seemed ok too, the bottom section towards the right was only just barely noticeable to me in this worst case scenario, however this will vary between laptops and panels.
Remember that these are the results from the 60Hz panel, expect different results with the 144Hz option. There was a little screen flex, though as a metal lid it felt fairly sturdy. The flex present is probably a result of the center hinge, which gives less stability to the far corners compared to corner hinges.
I could just open it with one finger with a little effort, there was more weight towards the back despite the large 90 watt hour battery down the front, though it felt stable on my lap. Despite the thinner bezel Dell have still included the 720p camera above the screen.
the camera looks ok for 720p, but still blurry, and the microphone sounds about average. The keyboard has 4 zones of RGB backlighting, however that’s an optional upgrade, one single colour is also an option.
You can turn the lighting on or off with the F10 key, or otherwise control it through the FX tab in the Alienware Control Center software. I thought it looked pretty good, and even the secondary functions of all keys get lit up.
Typing was alright, there was a lack of feedback from pressing the keys down, but otherwise I liked typing with it, here’s how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect. The only thing I didn’t like was the small arrow keys that Dell seem to be known for using, which were annoying to use in some games.
The power button up the back in the center is where the optional fingerprint reader will be, it seems to be a $22 upgrade. I found it to work quickly, and would recommend it if you want a quick unlock without needing a password.
There was minimal keyboard flex while pushing down hard, overall it was fairly solid, and about the same in the wrist rest areas, not much flex. The touchpad has precision drivers and worked well, it clicks down anywhere while also having separate left and right click areas toward the bottom.
Fingerprints and dust show up easily on the matte black interior and lid, however as both are smooth surfaces they were easy to wipe off. They’re even easier to spot up the back, which is either a glossy plastic or glass, and you’ll get fingerprints here by using the power button or fingerprint scanner.
On the left there’s an air exhaust vent up the back, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port which is wired for both DisplayPort 1.2 and Thunderbolt 3, although Dell note only the 2060 and up configurations have Thunderbolt support, followed by a USB 3.
1 Gen 1 Type-A port and 3.5mm audio combo jack. On the right there’s a full size SD card reader, USB 3.1 Type-A port, and air exhaust vent towards the back. On the back there are air exhausts on the left and right, then for the rest of the I/O from left to right we’ve got the power input, HDMI 2.
0 output, USB 3.1 Type-A port, mini DisplayPort output although that’s only on the RTX 2060 and above models, however they don’t specify the version, gigabit ethernet port, and I like the way they’ve put it so you don’t have to lift the laptop up to unplug it, followed by a noble wedge lock slot.
The front has this sort of grill design with the speakers found on the left and right. They sounded ok as far as laptop speakers are concerned though they did sound tinny. Maximum volume while playing music was able to get quite loud, though the Latencymon results looked quite bad.
On the black metal lid there’s the Dell logo in the center, it has a blue shiny finish which can also look a little green depending on the angle. Underneath there are only small vents for air flow directly above the fans, but we’ll see if this is a problem for thermals soon.
It can be removed easily by taking out 9 screws with a phillips head screwdriver, and the two at the back towards the center don’t fully come out of the panel. Once inside from left to right we’ve got the single M.
2 slot, two memory slots, WiFi card up the top in the middle, and large 90 watt hour battery down the bottom. You’ve got the option of getting a smaller 60 watt hour battery instead and that also gets you a 2.
5 inch drive bay, and I really like that Dell are giving you that option here, something I wish many others offered. Powering the laptop is that 90 Watt hour battery. I’ve tested it with the screen brightness at 50%, background apps disabled, and all keyboard lighting off.
While just watching YouTube videos it lasted for 7 hours and 8 minutes, the best result for a gaming laptop with these specs out of all machines I’ve tested. It was using the Intel integrated graphics thanks to Nvidia Optimus.
While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the battery lasted for 2 hours and 21 minutes, however before you get too excited after an hour and 46 minutes it had 19% remaining and the frame rate dipped down to 13 FPS and wasn’t really playable anymore.
I suspect this would be less problematic playing less demanding games, but even so this is one of the best results for this test I’ve had out of all laptops, again thanks to the large battery, expect lower results with the 60 watt hour variant.
I’ll also note that I never saw the battery drain during any of my testing with the provided 180 watt power brick. Let’s move onto the thermal testing, again the bottom of the laptop doesn’t appear to have many vents for airflow, and on the inside we’ve got two fans and heatpipes shared between the processor and graphics, so a change of temperature in one component will affect the other.
The Dell Power Manager software allows you to change between a few different modes, however I didn’t really find them to do too much, as we’ll see soon. I’ll also note that while you can install the Alienware control center software, this did not give me any fan control, the best you get is changing between the power manager profiles.
Thermal testing was completed in an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, so expect different results in different environments. I’ve tested idle down the bottom with the quiet profile, and temperatures seemed about average while also being quiet, more on fan noise later though.
The rest of the results are from combined CPU and GPU workloads and are meant to represent worst case scenarios. The gaming results towards the upper half of the graph were tested by playing Watch Dogs 2, as I find it to use a good combination of processor and graphics.
The stress test results shown on the lower half of the graph are from running the Aida64 CPU stress test and Heaven GPU benchmark at the same time to fully load the system. Let’s start with the stress test results, we can see that the ultra profile ran a bit warmer under the same workload when compared to the default optimized profile, and we’ll look at clock speed differences in the next graph.
The ultra profile was providing slightly better performance though, so I’ve used it for the majority of the testing. If we apply a -0.15v undervolt to the CPU the temperatures don’t change, but when I add my Thermaltake Massive 20 cooling pad we can lower the GPU by 6 degrees Celsius and the CPU by 4.
The gaming results weren’t too different, the GPU was slightly warmer in this game compared to the stress tests, while the CPU undervolt managed to barely lower the CPU temperature. With the cooling pad applied there were some nice improvements, lowering by 7 degrees on the GPU and 6 on the CPU.
These are the average clock speeds for the same tests just shown. With the stress tests we’re getting a small boost to CPU performance with the ultra profile enabled, which is why it was a little warmer than the default optimized profile in the last graph.
Under this workload I found the power limits for the CPU would dynamically change, however on average over a 30 minute period the optimized profile averaged a 30 watt TDP, while the ultra profile averaged 35 watts.
When we undervolt the CPU the clock speed rises by more than 400MHz on all 6 cores, and then a little extra was gained with the cooling pad in use. I’m not certain why there was improvement to CPU clock speed with the cooling pad, I wasn’t seeing thermal throttling, just power limit throttling, however the software was clearly dynamically changing the CPU TDP as time went on.
Perhaps with cooler temperatures it’s smart enough to raise the TDP limit and improve performance, which would explain the higher average TDP reported by HWInfo for this test. Back to the clock speeds, the gaming performance out of the box was around 3.
4GHz on all 6 cores in Watch Dogs 2, while the undervolt improved this by around 400MHz on all cores, with no change seen here using the cooling pad, though as we saw earlier temperatures were improved by a fair amount.
So to summarise, the CPU hits power limits under combined CPU and GPU load, preventing thermals from getting out of control. The best improvement we could make was by undervolting the CPU, which improved performance, while additional cooling did seem to help in some cases.
These are the clock speeds I got while just running CPU only stress tests without any GPU load. The full 3.9GHz all core turbo boost speed of the i7 was possible, so no change from undervolting. When we look at the temperatures for the same test though we can see a large improvement of 14 degrees Celsius, and this was due to a lower TDP, as less power is needed while undervolted which equals less heat.
To demonstrate how this translates into performance I’ve got some Cinebench CPU benchmarks here. I actually got the exact same results even though I take an average of 5 runs, not too surprising given we got the same CPU clock speeds earlier.
Things change a little with the newer Cinebench R20 though, this test seems to be more intensive so was able to cause some power limit throttling at stock, which is why the score was higher once undervolted.
As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, at idle with the quiet profile on it was only just getting to the low 30s, about average. While gaming the wrist rest area remains cool, with the center getting into the mid 40s, warm but not hot.
The results were similar with the stress tests running, with the back getting into the 50s and feeling hot to the touch, granted you won’t need to touch back there except for the power button, though that is where the optional fingerprint scanner is.
While gaming on battery power the wrist rest area heats up a bit, as the discharging battery is directly underneath, however the rest remains cool compared to the previous tests. As for the fan noise produced by the laptop, I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests.
At idle with the quiet profile it was completely silent, no fan noise at all. While gaming, or with the stress tests running in the optimized or ultra profiles, there was no change. The fan was maxing out at around 52 decibels, a little below most other gaming laptops I’ve tested while under the same loads.
Overall the new Dell G7 gaming laptop performed quite well in these tests without getting too hot, at least when compared with the G5 that I tested previously which would hit 99 degrees under the same workloads.
This seems to be due to power limit throttling that’s present in the G7, so while the clock speeds aren’t quite as high as the G5, the temperatures are much more reasonable. Let me know if you’d be interested in seeing a full comparison video between the G5 and G7 down in the comments.
Finally let’s take a look at some gaming benchmarks, I’ve tested these games with the these Nvidia drivers and all available Windows updates to date installed with the ultra performance profile in use.
We’ll start by looking at all setting levels, then compare with some other laptops after. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode and not in multiplayer mode, as it’s easier to consistently reproduce the test run.
The purple bars show the results with ray tracing disabled, while the green bars show RTX on. The RTX results weren’t great at ultra and high settings, though it was mostly playable. For a game like this I’d want higher FPS though, and RTX off at ultra settings looks better and runs similarly to RTX on at low settings.
Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum, or all settings on the lowest possible values, as it doesn’t have predefined setting presets. It played alright even with everything maxed out, averaging about 80 FPS, and averaging about 47% higher with everything on minimum.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark, the results were alright here, close to many other 2060 laptops I’ve tested so far, but again there will be some comparisons with other laptops later.
Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the built in benchmark. In this test above 75 FPS averages were possible at ultra, very similar to other 2060 laptops I’ve covered. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature, and even with max settings over 100 FPS was easily possible in this seemingly well optimized game.
Overwatch is another well optimized game and was tested in the practice range, and again even maxed out at epic settings was giving us around 140 FPS, plenty to take advantage of the optional 144Hz screen.
CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and like always high frame rates were coming out of this test. Even with all settings at maximum over 160 FPS was possible with much lower at lower settings if you need it.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the built in benchmark, still enough to play the game fine, and at most setting levels I found it was performing a little ahead of the G5 with same specs that I’ve previously tested, most likely due to the lack of thermal throttling on the CPU.
Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark, and is a game I’ve found to benefit from Nvidia’s new turing architecture. Even with ultra settings almost 120 FPS was possible in this test.
Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane with an average amount of action going on, and it was running very smoothly without any problems at all. Even ultra settings were capable of 140 FPS in this game, so another that would benefit from the optional 144Hz panel upgrade.
Watch Dogs 2 is a resource intensive game, although I still found it to play perfectly fine even with ultra settings. With a stable 30 FPS to me it runs fine, and we’re seeing that with the 1% lows maxed out.
The Witcher 3 was running well with hairworks disabled, and played well with ultra settings in my test, although you can get much higher frame rates if you prefer with lower settings, with almost 150 at low.
I’ve tested 20 games in total on the G7 in the dedicated gaming benchmark video, check the card in the top right corner if you’re after more results. Let’s also take a look at how this config of the Dell G7 compares with other laptops to see how it stacks up, use these results as a rough guide only as they were tested at different times with different drivers.
In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the G7 up the top in red, and the results were extremely similar to the G5 that I tested with same specs. The Clevo NH58EDQ that I’ve recently tested was further ahead, due to excellent CPU performance I found in that machine, while the ASUS Scar II also saw higher average FPS, and a bit higher 1% low.
Here are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. The results are similar to other 2060 laptops I’ve tested, though it does seem to be just slightly below the others, and also behind the Dell G5 with same specs, but realistically still quite close.
These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider with the built in benchmark at highest settings, and in this one the G7 scored the same as the G5, and again similar to most of the other 2060 laptops that I’ve tested.
Overall I thought the gaming performance from the new Dell G7 gaming laptop was alright, it seems to be pretty well inline with many other laptops I’ve tested with i7-8750H CPU, RTX 2060 graphics, and dual channel memory.
Now for the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy, Port Royal and VRMark from 3DMark, just pause the video if you want a detailed look at these results.
As we saw earlier we’ve got the option of making some changes to improve performance, so let’s see how these changes actually help in gaming. Far Cry 5 was retested using the built in benchmark at 1080p.
At ultra settings there was a 3.4% improvement to average FPS with the CPU undervolted and graphics overclocked, with a larger 5.6% boost to 1% low. The 1% low saw the biggest improvement at all setting levels, then at the lower settings there was hardly any difference in average FPS, so for the most part we can boost the performance in games with some simple tweaks.
I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage, and the 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD that was installed was offering excellent read and write speeds. I’ve also tested the SD slot with a v90 rated card and unfortunately it’s on the slower side, but still better than not having it.
For updated pricing check the links in the description, as prices will change over time. At the time of recording in the US the Dell website has already put up the 9th gen models, so I’m not even sure you can buy my specific config anymore.
Anyway the base model is around $900 USD, while the RTX 2060 model, though with newer 9750H CPU, is around $1500 USD. I’ll also note that I’m glad most of these seem to be listed with dual channel memory, the 8th gen ones were primarily single channel which results in worse performance in games.
Here in Australia the 8th gen models are still available, and you can see they’re all sold with single channel memory for some reason. Anyway for the 2060 model with 16gb of memory we’re looking at about $2,250 AUD at the moment.
As the 9th gen models have just launched it might be worth keeping an eye out for sales if you’re still interested in the 8th gen, from what I’ve seen so far there’s not too much practical difference.
So what did you think about the new refreshed Dell G7 gaming laptop? Last year the G5 and G7 were quite similar, and that still seems to be the case here with the new models, though the newer refreshed models do have some nice improvements.
These include a smaller overall footprint, a less chunky design, higher end spec options all the way up to RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, optional 144Hz screen and of course the all important RGB keyboard. While these are key features for a gaming laptop, I can’t ignore that for the most part Dell seems to be playing catch up with most of the competition who have had these features for years now.
That said it’s good that the G series is now more modern, for the most part it still seems to be offering good value for money options with the lower 1650 and 1660 Ti configs. Last year the best you could get was a 1060 Max-Q, now the G7 goes all the way up to 2080 Max-Q, which of course costs more money as a result of that increased performance, but the option of higher performance is now there if you need it.
I liked that you’ve got the option of the larger battery if you want it, otherwise you can get the 2.5 inch drive bay if you prefer to have more storage space. I also liked that the rear I/O has all the bulky inputs, such as power, HDMI and ethernet, so they’re kept out of the way of your mouse hand.
There’s also Thunderbolt available should you be interested in improving performance with an external GPU enclosure. In terms of thermals the G7 performs well enough, not quite as high in terms of clock speeds when compared to the G5, however the result of this power limit throttling is that it runs cooler and doesn’t spike to 100 degrees Celsius under load, so that’s good.
It was possible to further improve performance with some tweaks, however I still want to have better fan control than what’s currently being offered. Otherwise the only other thing I didn’t personally like was the smaller arrow keys.
Overall I found the new Dell G7 to be a pretty good gaming laptop, it’s got important features for gamers and solid build quality without being too expensive. Let me know what you guys thought about the new Dell G7 gaming laptop with RTX graphics down in the comments.
Hopefully I can get the already updated version with 9th gen CPU soon, so if you’re new here get subscribed for future tech reviews like that.