Dell G5 15 review: A slim gaming laptop that won't break you

The G5's base full-HD matte display isn't anything special, but it does have good color, contrast and off-angle picture quality, and itis reasonably bright. It's not good enough for any sort of critical work where you need color accuracy, but it's fine for entertainment. Also, this panel is 60Hz, which is fine given its GPU, but if you step up to one of the higher-end graphics options for the G5, you might also want to get the 144Hz version of the display Dell offers. 

Dell G5 15

Dell swaps red keys for blue on the new G5. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Want to hook up to an external display? There's a HDMI 2.0 port on the rear with the power jack, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.1 port. There's also USB-C DisplayPort on the left side with another USB 3.1 and headphone jack. The right has a third USB 3.1 port and an SD card reader. As with the 144Hz display, USB-C Thunderbolt 3 is available when you add more powerful graphics. 

More FPS for less

The G5 I reviewed was running on a ninth-gen Intel Core i5-9300 and Nvidia's new GeForce GTX 1650. The Intel chip didn't bring much to the table compared to the eighth-gen version. While it's nice to have the latest CPU, you won't see significant performance gains. The GTX 1650 benefits are a little more noticeable, giving you better frame rates than the older GTX 1050 Ti but for about the same price (although less than 1050 Ti laptops originally went for). Its performance falls just below the GTX 1060, which can be found in older gaming laptops around $1,000 such as the Acer Predator Helios 300

Dell G5 15

Rear connections help you keep cables out of the way. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Basically, with the 1650 you're unlikely to hit the smooth 60fps we look for on demanding games at 1920x1080-pixel resolution, but getting over 30fps at that resolution for current titles is doable. If you want headroom for future games you'll want to shell out for a G5 with either a GTX 1660 Ti or ideally a GeForce RTX 2060.

The Nvidia chip does seem to be more power efficient, however. The G5 lasted a little more than 8 hours in our streaming video playback test. That's a time more typical of a current mainstream thin-and-light laptop with integrated graphics, not a gaming laptop with discrete graphics. It's not doing much more than streaming video, of course, but it's still a remarkable battery life for that task. 

A gaming laptop bargain again

The redesigned Dell G5 15 is worth checking out if you like its smaller, slimmer body and want the latest entry-level or midrange graphics from Nvidia. The base model, while fine for what you're getting, is a tougher sell since there are currently better deals out there on older hardware -- including the G5's predecessor. It'll no doubt be more attractively priced toward the end of the year. If you're planning to step up the graphics to Nvidia's GTX 1660 Ti or RTX 2060, however, the G5 15 5590 is a solid value. 

Geekbench 4 (multicore)

Lenovo Legion Y7000P
20965
Alienware m15
20851
Lenovo Legion Y730
17786
Dell G5 5590
15615
Dell G5 5587
17246

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

Lenovo Legion Y7000P
1182
Lenovo Legion Y730
1181
Alienware m15
1142
Dell G5 5590
844
Dell G5 5587
1043

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test (Streaming)

Dell G5 5590
490
Alienware m15
397
Lenovo Legion Y7000P
346
Lenovo Legion Y730
169
Dell G5 5587
359

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

Alienware m15
3669
Lenovo Legion Y7000P
2716
Lenovo Legion Y730
1899
Dell G5 5590
1867
Dell G5 5587
1851

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Far Cry 5 gaming test

Alienware m15
82
Lenovo Legion Y7000P
66
Dell G5 5590
48
Lenovo Legion Y730
44
Dell G5 5587
52

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (fps)

Alienware m15
71.5
Lenovo Legion Y7000P
58.1
Dell G5 5590
48.7
Lenovo Legion Y730
37.7
Dell G5 5587
37.5

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (fps)

System configurations

Dell G5 5590 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-9300; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeFroce GTX 1650; 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Lenovo Legion Y7000P Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeFroce GTX 1060; 1TB SSD
Alienware m15 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeFroce GTX 1070 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD
Lenovo Legion Y730 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2HGz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 2TB HDD + 256GB SSD
Dell G5 5587 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2HGz Intel Core i7-8750H; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD

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