2017 has been a great year for budget gamers. New and better specced gaming laptops have managed to wrestle our wallets.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 puts up a good fight in terms of battery life and superb build quality which most budget laptops fail to achieve.
Though the main focus here is ‘budget’ and with the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 in the foray, we’ve been spoilt for a good collection of choices.
This Dell is directly in line with the Acer Aspire VX 15, Acer Nitro 5, the Lenovo Legion Y520 and the Asus ROG GL553, all of which have almost the same specs with individual features trying to outsell one another.
So we decided to put this one through its paces to see if it's worth your hard earned money.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000: Build and design
It’s hard to comprehend a gaming laptop not looking flashy and decorated with more angles than a, well, a gaming laptop. While the Acer Aspire was following the footsteps of its elder sibling - Predator series, this one is rather subtle.
The 15 7000 manages to sit in your office conference room without attracting much attention. Not many can tell how subtly the black colour and the matte finish body wraps a powerhouse of gaming performance.
We got the matte black colour for review, but the bold red is bright enough to double down as a traffic light. In case you’re are looking for something bright, we’d recommend the red color, otherwise the black subtle is just enough to amaze people with its understated looks and insane budget specs.
Holding the laptop feels natural, thanks to the matte finish which we loved. The back grill is made from plastic, but hardly feels cheap and is understated. It’s pretty thick too, almost as thick as two macbooks.
The red front grill houses the speakers but the edges are pretty sharp. The round body opens up with sharp side edges where your palm rests which can be a bit annoying if you’re lying down and watching Netflix.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000: Screen and Battery
Let’s face it, budget gaming laptops have some serious processing power but most of them have a TN panel which in all honesty, don’t stand out as well when it comes to viewing angles and accurate color reproduction.
The 15 7000 has a 15.6in 1080p display which is the most undesirable thing about the laptop. The Acer Aspire VX 15 we tested had an IPS panel, and in comparison, it was better than the Dell’s screen.
The viewing angles are not great and you can notice an immediate color and contrast difference just by tilting the screen back and forth. The only way to get decent color ratio is if you sit dead straight in the center.
We were really expecting a better screen at this price point. On the bright side TN panels offer a great response time for competitive shooters like CS:GO.
In my experience, I’d rather stick to an i5 7th Gen processor and have an IPS panel rather than an i7 7th gen processor with a TN panel. If that implies maintaining the budget line, then the Acer Nitro 5 is exactly that at ₹74,990.
The battery life on this thing was fantastic. I managed to use it for my daily office work without looking at the charger for at least a good five to six hours. The Acer Aspire VX 15 lasted half of that on working hours.
Gaming was limited to two and half hours. Which is quite normal for a budget gaming laptop.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000: Features
For ₹1,12,800, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 comes with a 256GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive along with 16GB of RAM. The ₹91,900 version comes with a 1TB hard drive along with 8GB RAM.
So, basically you pay ₹20,900 more for that extra SSD space and more RAM. Which only makes sense if you do editing work on it and are really impatient with boot times and in-game loading screens.
Most games run smoothly with 8GB of RAM but we really hoped that the lower variant had a 128GB of SSD as well.
It has one HDMI output and three USB 3.0 ports, with one having Dell’s PowerShare feature. You can use that slot to charge your ever-draining smartphone and even set a certain threshold percentage to keep your laptop from running out of juice. Simply speaking, if you set it to 25% then the smartphone will charge till the laptop’s battery life reaches 25%.
The speakers are quite loud but don’t offer anything special like the Acer VX 15’s Dolby enhanced speakers. The trackpad and the WiFi bands are average as well. Where I managed to juice out a full 10Mbps of speed on the Aspire VX 15’s WiFi bands, here the Dell only managed to scratch till 8 Mbps on my 10Mbps connection.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000: Performance
If hardcore gaming is your agenda with this one, then it can surely take some load. We cranked up the settings to high in Doom, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and Rise of the Tomb Raider. All three games performed exceptionally well with a solid framerate of 50 to 60.
We did experience a bit of screen tearing, but enabling V-Sync and lowering a few settings here and there fixed the problem.
Naturally, games like CS:GO and DOTA 2 were exceptionally smooth thanks to the Nvidia GTX 1050Ti.
The laptop was surprisingly loud under load, but cool enough for another round of online shooting with friends. So, make sure you pop in a pair of headphones to keep that hair dryer sound away.
Oh, and you can’t really be comfortable working on your Adobe softwares knowing that the screen’s color accuracy is as good as a blind man’s. We really wish the display was made better on this Inspiron.
That said, the laptop can handle softwares and load times pretty well. The extra buck you pay for 256GB SSD will make your laptop hop like an easter bunny.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000: Verdict
Dell’s new laptop is good, but there are better options out there in the market. Ones with a better price to performance return.
The Inspiron finds itself in a rather sticky situation. Its less-than-appealing display quality does very little to complement the GTX 1050Ti sitting inside.
Games will run smoothly without a shred of doubt, but paying ₹1,12,800 to net in a GTX 1050Ti would mean turning up the graphics power only to meet with a visual eyesore. Your GTA 5 will run smoothly but you’ll not be able to enjoy that in-game sunset like it should’ve been.
The battery life, overall build quality and the 256GB SSD are the three main reasons why you would consider this laptop, but apart from that, we would keep our options open.
Even the ₹91,900 option will not change much except for RAM and an SSD storage. Where we wholeheartedly recommend the Acer Aspire VX 15 and its GTX 1050 at ₹85,990 or the even cheaper Acer Nitro 15 at 74,990.