Perhaps everyone thinks that Dell isn’t your go-to brand when it comes to gaming laptops since they were known more on the ‘business’ side of things, although they do own the Alienware brand, which focuses on pure gaming.
When I was faced with the new Dell G5 15 5590, I was like wait a minute? Is this really a gaming laptop? That’s what we’re about to find out.
Specifications and Features
The new Dell G5 15 5590 (our review unit was equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H and NVIDIA’s GTX 1650 (could be configured up to NVIDIA’s RTX GPUs)), is technically a gaming laptop on paper.
G5 15 5590
|CPU: 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-9300H (8MB Cache, up to 4.1 GHz, 4 cores)||CPU: 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-9750H (12MB Cache, up to 4.5 GHz, 6 cores)|
|RAM: 8GB, 2x4GB, DDR4 2666MHz||RAM: 8GB, 2x4GB, DDR4 2666MHz|
|STORAGE: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive||STORAGE: 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive (Boot) + 1TB 5400rpm 2.5″ SATA Hard Drive|
|GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5||GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5|
|DISPLAY: 15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS 300-nits||DISPLAY: 15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS 300-nits|
|BATTERY: 60 WHr, 4-Cell Battery (integrated)||BATTERY: 60 WHr, 4-Cell Battery (integrated)|
|OS: Windows 10 Home (64bit) Single Language English||OS: Windows 10 Home (64bit) Single Language English|
|COLORS AVAILABLE: Black, White||COLORS AVAILABLE: Black, White|
|OTHERS: English Backlit Keyboard – Blue Print, Palmrest with Fingerprint Reader for Black Cover, 2 tuned speakers with nahimic 3D Audio for Gamers; 1 combo headphone / microphone jack||OTHERS: English Backlit Keyboard – Blue Print, Palmrest with Fingerprint Reader for Black Cover, 2 tuned speakers with nahimic 3D Audio for Gamers; 1 combo headphone / microphone jack|
In the Philippines, it also comes with Dell’s 1 year premium support with accidental damage and onsite service, as well as a Dell Professional Backpack.
The 15.6-inch IPS display isn’t touch-supported and runs only at 60Hz, which might be considered outdated in the era where high-refresh-rate displays are becoming common among gaming laptops. However, its higher configurations do have 144Hz support.
The display is vividly bright, sharp and does support Windows 10’s HD Color, which also gives you the capability to stream HDR video, although it doesn’t support playing games in HDR mode and wide color gamut (WGC) apps. It also covers 154% of the sRGB color space, which means creative professionals who prefer working with the said color space can trust this display at least.
Viewing angles are very good, no washing out of colors wherever you decided to look and peaks at around 300 nits, which is pretty decent but sometimes I still find it dark when the sun shines over it.
Design and Build Impressions
Design-wise, the Dell G5 seemed to tone down its targeted ‘gamer’ aesthetic and instead, designed it to be still presentable when you appear on a meeting with it. There’s two editions of this design, the special edition which comes in Arctic White, and the one that we have here, the non-special edition which comes in a Deep Space Black color with blue accents.
It’s also bulky, weighing around two and a half kilograms, and is one-inch thick, although its rivals weigh less while still keeping the same size.
Quality-wise, the frame, while being plastic, seems rigid enough, although there’s a different story for the part where the screen lies (the screen flex is maybe one that we’re worried about). The hinge between the body and the display is also brilliant so that the strain only lies in the middle part. Other than that, there’s nothing really special to talk about, like there’s no carbon fiber or brushed aluminum thingy here.
As for the ports, this laptop comes with many of them. There’s a 3.5mm combo headset jack, one USB 3.1 Type-A port on three of its sides (one with PowerShare), a USB Type-C with support for DisplayPort, an SD card reader, Kensington lock, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and of course, A/C power port.
On the main side of things, there’s the blue-only backlit keyboard (four-zone RGB keyboard is also available), as well as the power button/fingerprint sensor that supports Windows Hello. Speaking of the keyboard, it’s really a pleasure to type on. It’s nicely spaced and laid out, easy to actuate on and is comfortable enough even for long typing sessions. I’m writing the entire script and the article for this review on this keyboard, and I guess if most, if not all, gaming laptop keyboard are like this, that would be great.
The touchpad is one left to be desired. While it is precise to support Windows gestures, I find its placement sometimes annoying due to the fact that while gaming, I can accidentally touch it and trigger mouse movements. It could be better if it was moved away from the WASD keys a little bit. Size-wise, the touchpad is enough already and for the buttons, it just feels alright to press.
Webcam, on the other hand – forget about it. The 720p webcam is literally enough for your Skype or Messenger video calls. Don’t use it for taking pictures, you won’t get anything usable because of the visual noise. That’s why I’m not surprised that it doesn’t support Windows Hello at all. I’m really not, but I expected at the very least.
The dual forward-firing speakers on the front are loud enough to fill a small room, although they do sound a bit thin without any tinkering. Perhaps customizing it with the Alienware Sound Center would make it sound better.
On the bottom side, there are rubber feets that elevate the laptop a little bit to give the fans some cold air to take in, however, it seems that it is too little to be enough.
And being thick in form, I expected this to made sense because it seems that there’s adequate room for cooling.
Here’s where the Dell G5 got hurt. The six-core i7-9750H with a 2.6GHz base clock speed struggled to reach its max turbo speed of 4.5GHz and immediately throttled thermally after being exposed to intensive CPU workloads. Opening the thing makes us puzzled and think why, although we’re glad to report that most of its components were easily upgradable, such as the RAM, the SSD, and the hard drive.
However, we’re surprised that this very cooling system that throttled the CPU easily has maintained the GPU working fine at around 65-75 degrees Celsius, at the expense of very audible fan noise. When both are stressed together, expect it to be absolutely audible. Even just by watching YouTube videos, we already noticed that the fans are starting to get louder.
Unfortunately, despite all of its loud fan noises and efforts, the CPU struggled to maintain its 100% performance throughout sustained workloads, with the clock speeds being the worst we’ve seen during stress tests dropping below 2.0GHz in order to maintain its temperature. This translates to dropping a huge chunk in performance, which might lead to FPS drops in games or slower processing of programs.
Although we know that the Core i7-9750H is a mobile-oriented chip with a rated TDP of 45W, it bugs us out here that this cooling solution wouldn’t let us get its maximum performance. As we use it here in the office, the fans are always loud when we’re doing some tasks, even non-intensive ones such as loading webpages on Google Chrome and watching YouTube videos.
Performance & Battery Life
First, on gaming. GTA V scored an average of 94 FPS, despite the laptop being thermally throttled at some point during the benchmark run. DOOM (2016) scored an average of 87 FPS, and PUBG scored an average of 63 FPS. If you can bear playing with the fans being loud and the keyboard keys being hot, then you’ll be fine.
Easy to drive titles such as CS:GO and Rocket League scored well, with averages of 195 FPS and 157 FPS, respectively.
In terms of productivity, Cinebench R20 scored a decent 2483, while GeekBench 5.0 got respectable scores in the single-core (1090) and multi-core benchmark (4545), as well as on OpenCL benchmark (39178), considering it was loaded with GTX 1650, and Unigine Heaven 4.0 scored 1857 and an FPS of 73.7.
However, the included NVMe SSD where the OS was installed was slow. Our disk benchmark results tell us that while read speeds are good, write speeds are subpar even a SATA-based SSD could win against it.
For content creators, editing on it would be fine if you’re just editing simple projects such as vlogs or such related types of videos, but for heavy projects, that isn’t going to be easy due to the slow included drives as well as thermal constraints this laptop has. To test it, we’ve tried editing a sample project of ours, which was a HallyuLife video that we expected to deliver a balance between light and heavy video workload due to the nature of clips and effects being used. It took us a mere 9:30 to render the project at our defined adaptive high bitrate preset. This kind of test in Adobe Premiere Pro and Media Encoder will be used in our future reviews as well, for consistency.
Battery-wise, this laptop is surprisingly equipped with a 60wh battery from Alienware, and it’s surprisingly lasting longer than many of the gaming laptops that we know. Using it once without being plugged in and continuously browsing the internet and watching YouTube videos, it lasted me around 5 hours before turning to a power outlet to charge it up. Most gaming laptops, as we all know, suck in this aspect.
Here’s also a piece of advice, don’t try to game heavily here while running on batteries, as the game performance really sucks.
Dell luckily included less bloatware on this laptop. At the very first time I received it, I would immediately think of uninstalling them, such as the McAfee AntiVirus (just a personal preference, btw), LinkedIn, games such as Candy Crush (which I’m already done with), and of course, some apps that I really don’t use.
Aside from the mentioned, there’s nothing else we should immediately get rid of. The Dell programs are quite useful, such as the Mobile Connect which allowed me to operate my smartphone from the laptop itself, as well as the Dell Power Manager, the Alienware Command Center which optimizes gaming experience and SupportAssist.
If the operating system is in question, it includes Windows 10 Home by default.
The Dell G5 5590 (2019) is such a promising laptop, whether you are a gamer and a work-oriented person as well. Its build quality is undeniably sturdy aside from the screen flex that worries us, the thermal solution that appears to be inadequate for the supplied six-core i7-9750H inside, and the slow drives which would effectively hamper performance, whether gaming or working with huge files.
Upgradability-wise, this won’t disappoint so another huge point for that, as well as a very nice display and reasonable battery life.
To wrap it up, the Dell G5 15 5590 (2019) is one promising laptop due to its specs that will make most of today’s games run smoothly on high settings, and do productivity-tasks easier than your old computer.
If Dell got the thermals for this right, I will be more than happy to recommend this. Sadly, that alone could be a huge deal-breaker for many. Price-wise, I guess Dell has it reasonably priced starting at around PhP67,990.
With that said, Revealed is giving the Dell G5 15 5590 our ‘Silver’ award.