Dell’s newest gaming notebook packs it in for $799.
Dell has never exactly been a brand that gamers gravitate towards. While we have seen some very high quality products out of Dell in the past few years, including the new XPS 13, and people have loved their Ultrasharp monitor line, neither of these target gamers directly. Dell acquired Alienware in 2006 in order to enter the gaming market and continues to make some great products, but they retain the Alienware branding. It seems to me a gaming-centric notebook with just the Dell brand could be a hard sell.
However, that's exactly what we have today with the Dell Inspiron 15 7000. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-6300HQ and NVIDIA GTX 960M for $799, has Dell created a contender in the entry-level gaming notebook race?
For years, the Inspiron line has been Dell's entry level option for notebooks and subsequently has a questionable reputation as far as quality and lifespan. With the Inspiron 15 7000 being the most expensive product offering in the Inspiron line though, I was excited to see if it could sway my opinion of the brand.
Out of the box, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gives a positive impression of overall build. Constructed of a high quality plastic with a soft touch coating, the Inspiron 15 feels like a more premium product than one might expect from a $800 notebook.
Both the keyboard and trackpad on the Inspiron 15 7000 are what I can best describe as completely adequate. Typing can feel a bit mushy at times, but I don't feel like it slowed me down in any measurable way. The trackpad works well most of the time, but can be a bit wonky with rejecting additional fingers that might be resting on it as you try to move the cursor around.
One major qualm I do have with this notebook are the screen hinges. Under normal operation the hinges feel flimsy, but manage to keep the screen in place under most circumstances. The worry I have is for their longevity. The design of the hinges on the Inspiron 15 7000 seem to mirror what a lot of notebook manufacturers have been using in the past few years, and have been known to break under only moderate stress. While this ultimately may not effect a lot of users, I would really like to see a more sturdy hinge design on a higher-end offering like this notebook.
The most impressive thing with this machine is the amount of hardware you manage to get for the price. Let's dig in a bit further to what exactly Dell is offering.