This is the third generation of Dell’s Inspiron gaming laptop. First and foremost, It’s an inexpensive laptop that’s gaming oriented and provides excellent build quality and performance. I have used this laptop for about 2 months, so my experiences are quiet solid and reflect the real life usage cases.
The laptop has a dimension of 24.95 x 389 x 274.7 mm (H x W x D). It might be considered very thick, but it’s a real powerhouse – therefore I really don’t mind the extra thickness.
The laptop on its own weights 2.65 kilograms which doesn’t sound much, but if you put the original charger, a few textbooks and a few other accessories in a bag, it will weight you down in no time. Luckily, if you do not need textbooks (as most things are available online these days), I found that it fits really well in a bag and although it is certainly noticeable, it’s not a big issue.
The design is rock solid. It’s all made out of metal and provides a sturdy feel and excellent build quality. The design in my opinion looks very stylish and elegant, not like many other gaming oriented laptops that you can find on the market today – and to be honest, that’s why I bought it, I wanted a laptop that can handle tasks that a high performance office laptop wouldn’t be able to cope with, such as rendering or playing AAA games.
The hinge feels great, there really isn’t anything bad I could say about it. The laptop can be opened with only just a single hand and the other one is not needed to hold down the base while lifting up the screen.
There is some flex on the display, but you really shouldn’t be worried about it on a daily use – it’ll do just fine.
On the other hand, the keyboard is rock solid and it also feels great. The typing experience is fantastic and luckily the keys aren’t mushy or hard to press. I’ve seen a few other reviewers with a red keyboard setup, however that may be market dependent. I live in the United Kingdom and here we have the white version, so it’s worth checking out what’s being offered in your country.
There are also two backlit options for the keyboard. The first option is to turn them on, it could be useful in dim lighting conditions, while the second option bumps up the brightness of the keys a little more. It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t use this while using the laptop on battery – to conserve some of that juice if you aren’t near a power outlet.
The trackpad is plastic, but it uses Windows precision drivers that provides a smooth and overall really great experience. I’m still unable to say that it’s just as good as on a Mac, but it’s getting really close. There are all sorts of gestures available, so if you’re into that kind of thing, you will likely feel right at home.
Surprisingly, there’s also a fingerprint sensor that’s embedded into the power button on the right side. This was surprising due to the fact that Dell doesn’t even advertise this on their website. I personally only found out about the fingerprint sensor when I was setting up the laptop and checking out the documentation. Unlocking the laptop with it is plain simple. It’s the kind of feature that – If you once get used to it, you will never want to go back to typing in your password again.
The webcam is nothing amazing. It provides enough quality to be enough for a Skype call and use it with other services, but it’s not really great for anything else. It also has a weird issue due to which it turns yellow when you turn it on after a while. I figured out – this can be fixed by using your phone’s LED flashlight and point it directly towards the camera. It’s strange, but nothing that a software update can’t possibly fix – I hope.
In terms of port availability, the laptop comes with a wide variety of ports. There are 3x USB-A 3.1 ports available as well as an Ethernet, full sized HDMI 2.0, SD Card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack and a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port. There are definitely no complaints in this segment and the Thunderbolt is definitely a nice touch for future proofing.
The previous version had a TN panel that was…take it simply, not good. This, the updated version finally comes with a 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS LCD panel that provides somewhat accurate colours (which is slightly a bit warmer to my likings) and great viewing angles. It’s not excellent, but for editing images and even rendering videos – it will do just fine.
I personally have the non-touch model, but you can also upgrade to a 4K panel that has Touch functionality enabled for about an extra £200.
Keep in mind that the 4K panel with drain more battery but offer more accurate colours – you decide if it’s worth it. I use a large secondary display, so in my case, it’s not really a big issue.