Dell G15 5515 review

Dell in an alien costume

from ₹ 73,989

Hollywood’s depiction of aliens has always been dominated by the terrifying Xenomorph. A tall, not-so-handsome looking creature with a knack for sprouting from bellies of other species. The Dell G15 5515 is the other species, and Alienware is that Xenomorph. I spent 10 hours thinking of this analogy, and it may not be worth the effort, but the Dell G15 could be worth your hard earned cash. 

Terrible analogies aside, the Dell G15 has been sitting in the entry-level gaming laptop segment for quite some time. We spent almost a year with the Dell G15 SE (2019), and for the most part, games generally ran at a respectable frame rate. The G15 5515 here shatters all gaming expectations set by its predecessor, and is just fantastic entry-level gaming laptop.

Design: G evolution

The SE, although creeping closer to the Alienware family in terms of design, maintained a sense of identity within the Dell gaming lineup. The G15 5155 though looks a lot like Alienware. It sheds all those sleek and box-shaped elements for a bulkier and more ‘Alienware-ish’ design. 

The hinge is pulled closer to the keyboard like the previous G15, but this time the rear vents and the surrounding plastic body is shaped like the exhaust tips of the Alienware Area 51m. It also has an orange G logo on the right side of the vent as if reminding everyone that it’s not an Alienware, but something far less pricey.

Does it help beyond aesthetics? Absolutely. This bulbous shape is frankly better at dissipating heat than the sleeker and boxier looking G15 SE. It also feels sturdy and reliable. And as always, even though it’s a plastic body, Dell’s attention to quality bars none. It’s one of the nicer plastic body laptops in the market and in this budget range.

Display: Quality above all

The display too is very good. It’s a FullHD display with a 120Hz panel that hits the sweet spot between casual gaming and a bit of competitive play as well. That said, it’s the colour quality which actually seals the deal.

The G15 5515 has great saturation and black point when viewed from any angle. It’s not like you’ll be sitting off centre while on a gaming laptop, but if you choose to slouch on the couch and watch Netflix on the laptop, the viewing angles are among the best. Dell says it’s a WVA panel, but we’re not sure what that means exactly. Maybe a sacred combination of IPS and VA? Well, for whatever reasons they’re calling it WVA, it’s not to hide any dirty secrets. The backlight bleeding is kept to a minimum and did we mention we like the colour on this thing? 

It’s not the most accurate though so temper your expectations.

Work Performance: Ryse to the challenge

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600H under the hood is an absolute belter. Photoshop and video editing are actually quite smooth. Our daily magazine work on this laptop is as smooth as our Intel MacBook Pro (2018), and if you want to talk numbers then this one is pretty much a multi-thread beast.

AMD really knocked it out of the park with the laptop Ryzen CPUs. The only thing you’ll be struggling with is a little more of that peak brightness levels and sharpness. The display might need to be brighter and sharper if you’re doing some serious design work. Other than that, the insides are cut out for a life of gaming and working.

You can throw in some extra cash and get a Ryzen 7 or Intel’s offerings but at this price, the Ryzen 5 is a winner.

Gaming Performance: Budget laptops can do what now?

Our review unit has 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia RTX 3050 with a maximum power draw of 90W (80W + 10W boost). This is important because that 90W power draw can give a relative performance boost in all your games, and it may perform better than other RTX 3050 cards that have a lower power draw.

Ghostrunner with Ray Tracing enabled performs between a cool 60 to 70 frames. Occasionally dipping during combat scenes. You can squeeze out a good 120 frames without ray tracing and DLSS. With DLSS set to Quality can get up to 135 frames. All this is set to the highest possible graphical settings and with High Performance mode enabled.

The F9 key on the keyboard has a G logo which toggles High Performance mode when you need that extra oomph. It kicks the fans into hairdryer mode and you might need some serious cans to cancel out that fan noise.

However, it does manage to keep the heat below an alarming level and you won’t feel the sting of the heat on the left side of the palm rest area. 

God of War (2018) also performs absolutely well on this RTX 3050 card. We got a stable 60 fps on the ‘Original’ settings with DLSS 2.0 set to balanced. Although, between Balanced and Quality there’s not much of a difference in frame rate. You can expect the game to perform marginally better in places with less draw distance and reflections. However, if you want more frames, then turning off reflections altogether is a good better option. When DLSS is set to Performance, the experience is rather jittery on Original or higher graphical settings. The DLSS magic is visibly downscaling the visuals from time to time but without being subtle. So better stick to Balanced or Quality.

FIST is another fantastic game with serious Ray Tracing chops to press the Dell G15’s insides. We got around 81 frames with Ray Tracing enabled and DLSS on. We recommend playing on these settings because the game looks absolutely beautiful with Ray Tracing enabled.

Keyboard and Features: Aliens didn’t finish the job

Although the exterior is borrowed heavily from the Alienware, the insides are still very Dell. Especially the Alienware Command Center. It is purely aesthetic and nothing more. You can’t really fiddle or fine-tune your performance. Heck, you can’t even adjust the fan speed or change the settings for the High Performance mode.

The keyboard doesn’t have the RGB disco either. The buttons have an orange accent and an orange backlight. That’s about it. In terms of customisation, there’s very little here on the G15. Although the keyboard is nice to type on. The arrow keys are hella small, and Dell has booted the fingerprint scanner from the power button this time.

Verdict: Should you buy?

The Dell G15 5515 is one of the best deals in entry-level gaming laptops. Partly because of the fantastic insides and wholly because of the top performance in gaming and for work. Both Ryzen and Nvidia have created a proper package for budget gamers. 

Pretty much everything about the Dell G15 is great and there’s little to complain about here. Oh, you might not enjoy the 512GB of NVMe SSD. It’s fast but if you’re planning to cram a lot of games, which by the way are almost always above 50GB these days, you’re out of luck.

The Dell G15 5515 starts from ₹73,989 with 8GB of RAM. Our review unit had 16GB of RAM so might have to pay a bit extra there as well. There are both Intel and AMD variants to choose from but so far the lowest of the lot seems to be great.

Stuff Says

The Dell gaming laptop that nails performance for the price
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Strong and reliable body

  1. Looks nice

  1. The display is good for gaming

  1. RTX 3050 and Ryzen 5 is a nice combo

  1. Gaming performance is great

  1. Wi-Fi 6 is here!

  1. Doesn’t heat up quickly

  1. Alienware command centre is useless

  1. You might want to splurge for more storage and RAM

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H 6-core/12-thread
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe
Weight: 2.45 kg
Display: 15.6 inch FHD (1920x1080) 120Hz 250 nits WVA Anti- Glare