Dell Inspiron, a charmingly cheap gaming laptop, kicks off CES 2017

The new Inspiron 15 7000 has updated graphics and new look, but the same modest price.

Dan Ackerman
Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings

Laptops , even high-quality ones, have become much less expensive over the past few years. But one exception to that rule is gaming laptops, which still cost $1,500 to $2,000 or more for anything decent.

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That's why I'm so impressed with what Dell has managed to fit into the new Inspiron 15 7000. It's a 15-inch laptop from Dell's very, very mainstream Inspiron line, but it incorporates a lot of the hardware and design touches from the more-expensive Alienware family. We liked the 2016 version of this laptop a lot, even though it was more mainstream-looking. Like that older version, the new Inspiron 15 7000 keeps the starting price down to a very reasonable $799 (£645 or AU$1,100 converted). It goes on sale in the US January 5.

For that very reasonable investment, you get a bit of design edge, with big red fan vents in the back and red details on the keyboard and front edge; new seventh-gen Intel Core i-5 and i7 processors; and either a full HD or 4K screen.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming Laptop

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But the most important thing is the graphics card. Here it's an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 or 1050Ti -- which is a pretty good mainstream part for playing games at Full HD resolution and medium-to-high settings. It's a bit better than last year's mainstream GeForce 960M card, and while it won't support VR, it's about as much gaming laptop as anyone can reasonably expect for the price.

Watch this: The best of CES 2017: Our final countdown

All the cool new gadgets at CES 2017

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