With the new G3, G5 and G7 series laptops, Dell made no out-of-the-world design concessions to make the laptops appealing. Dell must have figured out what entry level gamers need versus what they can live without. And with that went on forward to build a simply designed, no-frills entry-level gaming laptop. For our review unit, the Dell G3 15 3579 (G3579-5941BLK-PUS), it’s no Dell XPS 15 and has no pristine touch of design sophistication like most gaming rigs. For this model, Dell dropped the far too popular red accents. Also, because of its budget pricing, it also succumbs to other flaws as a result of cutting costs. Flaws such as a plastic chassis and subpar keyboard. Still, at the end of the day, we highly recommend it. Read the review below to find out why.
- Simple design
- Great comfortable keyboard
- Great gaming performance on medium settings
- Full HD display
- Budget priced
- Built with upgradeability in mind
- Dim display
- Massive bezels
- Lacks future proof USB-C or Thunderbolt
- Plastic build with slight flex
- Trackpad surface is a bit imprecise
The Dell G3 15 is packs a decent build quality, remarkable on-paper specs and power to muscle through entry-level gaming. For all intents and purposes, it’s a great under $1000 gaming laptop that should get you started if you’re new to the gaming world. We loved the fact that Dell made it upgradeable in every way too. Its biggest caveat is the lack of a USB Type-C port and a dim display. Otherwise, the Dell G3 15 3579 (G3579-5941BLK-PUS) is a go-to gaming laptop if you’re pinching pennies and need to get started on gaming. For all its positives, it receives our Editor’s Choice for best budget entry-level gaming laptop.
Dell G3 15 Specs
|Screen Size||15.6 inches|
|Display Resolution and Brightness||1920 x 1080 / 217 nits 64% SGB, 48% Adobe RGB|
|Processor||3.9 GHz Intel Core i5-8300H|
|Storage||1TB HDD (5400RPM)/ 128GB SSD/ media card reader|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 4GB DDR5|
|Ports||3 USB 3.0 ports|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Dimensions/ Weight||10.16 x 14.96 x 0.96 inches/ 5.96 pounds|
|Battery Life||4.5 to 5 hours|
Design and Features
Between the G3 15’s thick, matte curves and Dell’s logo and stamp of approval at the center of the chassis, nothing about the G3 screams gaming. There are no flashy LED patterns, racing stripes, monstrous looking cooling grilles or out of the world themes. The Dell G3 15 3579 (G3579-5941BLK-PUS) could easily be confused for a business laptop. It sports a smooth, contoured lid that has more to do with a modest casual home/office laptop than a gaming rig.
Opening the lid, the Dell G3 15 3579 (G3579-5941BLK-PUS) presents a low toned theme too. The display is shrouded in an average width bezel, and the deck a no-frills WASD keyboard and palm rest.
As far as dimensions go, the Dell G3 15 weighs 5.2 pounds and 15 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches making it the thinnest among entry-level gaming laptops. That makes it thinner than the respectably compact Lenovo Legion Y530 (0.95 by 14.37 by 10.24 inches (HWD) 5.1 pounds) and the Acer Nitro 5 (15.4 x 10.5 x 1.1 inches LWH). The Dell G3 15’s dimensions and weight allow it to fit easily into a 15-inch backpack and easy to lug around. Among the listed laptops, Lenovo Legion Y530 stands out as the one affordable gaming laptop with the design flair that makes it look like a higher price tier laptop.
Flip the G3 15 on it back and you’ll find a removable panel alongside and vents. You’ll definitely need a screwdriver to loosen the screws in order to get under the hood. You can upgrade the RAM and the storage through here.
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As far as display goes, the Dell G3 15 boasts of an IPS panel with a 1920 x 1080 pixel native resolution and anti-glare coating. The viewing angles are great but the biggest wrinkle we found was the dim screen. Tilting the screen up or down dims the image reducing its visibility. The display registered 217 nits which is not bright enough as per our 250 nits standard average for comfortable indoor viewing. That means you might struggle viewing images, better yet reading in dimly lit rooms and outdoors. To be more precise, the display sports a 64% SGB, 48% Adobe RGB which is fine for a mainstream budget laptop, but we have more expectations for a gaming rig.
The port system of the Dell G3 15 is healthy with a slew of ports on both right and left sides. Here lies one of our complaints about this laptop. Dell did not include a USB Type-C port or Thunderbolt which removes the futuristic aspect of the laptop. It would have been great to have USB-C even without the Thunderbolt option. A mini-DisplayPort would have been a good addition too. But I think that’s one other thing budget laptops fail to include in attempts to drop the pricing.
That said, the ports available favor the basic needs for gamers. The left side houses a few ports including a power jack, HDMI 2.0 port, RJ-45 port, two USB 3.1 ports and finally a headphone/microphone combo jack. Meanwhile, the right side is home to a security lock slot (Noble), a single USB 2.0 port and a 2-in-1 SD/MMC card reader. You can use the USB 2.0s to connect to your printer, mouse or keyboard if need be.
Other connectivity options include a 720p webcam, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1.
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Battery life on the Dell G3 15 is just like on any other gaming laptop, that is, low and disappointing. Well, it’s might not be so abysmal that you can’t even watch your favorite 2-hour movie without a charger being close, but you quickly drain out of juice when trying to play games. Under heavy loads, the laptop delivers a meager 3 hours.
On the flipside, if you’re trying to get some work done, say browse the web for assignments or write an essay for your midterms, you should be able to get between 4.5 hours to 5 hours. While it isn’t enough to get you through a full day’s work, it’s enough to accomplish a few tasks done.
Right at the back of the laptop are some downward firing speakers. The speakers are mostly average and are simply just fine for casual watching movies. They can get pretty loud for blasting through your favorite movies. There is some notable distortion at high volume levels so it might not be as great for listening to music. We recommend having your earphones/headphones for music.
A poorly cooled notebook is extremely uncomfortable to use and nobody wants that for their machine. Though many notebooks remain cool to the touch not all of them manage to do that, especially gaming ones. For the Dell G3 surface temperatures were fortunately very much in line with gaming laptops. The top side (palm rest) maintained anywhere from 48C to 50C (118 to 122 Fahrenheit) which while a bit toasty is not so far above the gaming laptop threshold of 100 Fahrenheit. At its hottest point, the temperatures rose to 122 F – the lower-left underside.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Keyboards on Dell budget laptops have always been good and this time Dell did not disappoint either. The keyboard is a decent full-sized keyboard with number pad just as you would expect for a 15-inch laptop. It’s no gaming keyboard though it has some clicky, tactile feel that most gamers love. The keys come with a 1.2 mm travel which we thought is a bit short for a gaming laptop. Dell should have ensured at least 1.5mm of travel which is more gamer oriented. Also, the keyboard on our configuration has a blue light-up backlit. The Dell G3 keyboard is almost similar to the Levono Legion Y530 and neither of the two offers the kind of mechanical keyboard hardcore gamers are after.
The touchpad doesn’t fare that well either. However, it does offer a great size; plenty of room to move fingers on. While it’s not a glass trackpad or offers almost perfectly accurate tracking, it does have a Windows Precision drivers which is detailed in selecting texts and moving windows. That means it’s generally a great touchpad for multi-touch gestures. There is a click to every touch and the trackpad feels a bit stiff while in use. For that reason, it wouldn’t be wrong to spend a few bucks for a mouse here.
For laptops and especially the gaming ones, portability comes at a cost and that is heat buildup. So your laptop has to dissipate the heat to prevent components from overheating. And that means fan noise. Necessary as it may be, it is annoying and we loved that the Dell G3 15 keeps it’s noise levels at par with most gaming laptops. That’s to say that while there is some noise that is obviously noticeable, it is under the normal threshold for gaming laptops. On idle, the G3 produces 42 to 43 decibels which should be noticeable by your friends sitting close by in class. When ramped up it produces up to 57 decibels which is in line with most gaming laptops.
The bottom line: For such an affordable gaming laptop, the Dell G3 15 gets you through the door for smooth gaming in some style. It great that has such a low starting price packs enough heat for entry-level gaming, decent battery life and audible speakers to blast through your favorite movies
Unfortunately, Dell included a rather dim display and low-travel keyboard that might not offer as much comfort to users. These two drawbacks and lack of a USB type-C port are what holds it back. If you’re willing to dig deeper into your wallet, there are better options out there. Consider the Lenovo Legion Y520 which offers a faster SSD, better graphics performance and some useful gaming software.
Otherwise, our review unit, Dell G3 15 3579 (G3579-5941BLK-PUS) is a perfect candidate for budget entry-level gaming. It should handle most mainstream gaming titles with flair.
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