Price Analysis And Conclusion
To date, all of the systems we’ve tested retail for over $1,000. We found $1,500 to be the sweet spot most gamers are looking to pay in terms of price/performance, whereas systems that are $1,200 or lower are typically considered budget gaming laptops. Up until now, we haven’t explored much lower than that, but Nvidia’s new mobile GTX 1050s and GTX 1050 Tis allow us to do that. The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is the first of many systems we’re testing in this realm.
Without a doubt, the Dell laptop doesn’t perform as well as the other systems we've tested, but this is easily forgivable considering its price and true consideration set. Someone's got to go first, and Dell serves that role in this segment for us. Therefore, it’s best to point out the good traits Dell brings to the table. Applications that aren’t too demanding of the overall platform won’t see a major negative impact in performance, as seen in the Cinebench single core and CompuBench Video Processing scores. An area where the Inspiron 15 can improve is storage speed.
Most games benchmarks provide less than impressive frame rates, but this is to be expected. What wasn’t expected was how the Inspiron 15 manages to trade blows with a higher end system (containing an i7-7700HQ), namely in Grand Theft Auto V, Hitman, and Rise of the Tomb Raider. The Inspiron delivers over 60 FPS in two titles, but we don't expect an i5-7300HQ and GTX 1050 Ti to consistently push this threshold, so feel free to crank back the settings if necessary.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 also takes top marks for its outstanding battery life, perhaps redefining what we previously thought to be an ideal on-the-go gaming solution. At nearly two hours and 30 minutes, the Inspiron 15 outperforms the well-received MSI Phantom Pro by a wide margin.
Another issue to take into consideration with a mobile gaming solution is thermal dissipation; with components packed tightly into systems less than an inch thick, having a laptop with adequate cooling brings peace of mind. Although the Inspiron’s inner structure doesn’t give us a clear view of the cooling solution, AIDA64’s thermal log puts our worries to rest with an incredibly low maximum temperature.
Although the Inspiron 15 features a chassis constructed entirely out of plastic, it doesn’t feel cheap in the slightest. We’ve found that laptops in the $1,200 price range are constructed out of flimsy plastic, whereas the Dell offers sturdier construction for a fraction of the cost. The laptop also features a satisfying rubberized finish that you typically won’t find in a budget laptop.
The Inspiron 15 7000’s biggest issue stems from its mediocre display. It exhibits extremely poor contrast values that are lower than those of the MSI Phantom Pro, whose display we criticized for similar reasons. Unlike the MSI, however, the Dell doesn’t have an IPS display, which means the flat image is compounded with poor viewing angles. Also, the Inspiron's overly abundant grayscale and average color errors exist at virtually every brightness level.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is priced at $900, or $200 cheaper than the Sager NP6852, making it the cheapest laptop we’ve reviewed so far. $900 gives you an i5-7300HQ, 8GB of memory, and a GTX 1050 Ti, which feels fair, given the price. The Inspiron’s impressive battery life, cooling, and build quality even exceed those of systems $600 more expensive. Our biggest reservation is the display. We'll revisit this gaming laptop, and where it fits in this price range, after reviewing a few more.
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