A 15.6-inch gaming laptop with Nvidia’s RTX graphics, a six-core Intel processor and a quality IPS display in a quality sub-one-inch-thick package. From a big brand. For $1,149? Shut the front door, you might say. But it’s true.
Dell’s newly-revised G5 15 5590 gaming laptop can be had as specified for precisely that much. Of course, pricing of any computing product is liable to change at short notice.
Moreover, the review unit Dell sent us had the larger 90WHr battery which bumps up the price a little. And you may well find, as ever, that the precise configuration we’re reviewing here isn’t available when you hit the Dell website - or anywhere else for that matter.
But Dell is certainly adopting punchy positioning for its latest mainstream gaming laptop, a system that focuses on what really matters in a gaming portable and ditches the unnecessary frills.
The net result compared to other gaming laptops from big brands, such as the Gigabyte Aorus 15 2019, is that Dell is typically giving you better performing components at any given price point.
Here is the Dell G5 15 5590 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H (six-core, 9MB cache, up to 4.10GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6GB
Screen: 15.6-inch, 1080p, 60Hz
Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD, 1TB HDD
Optical drive: N/A
Ports: 3x USB 3.1, 1x USB-C / Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, Min DisplayPort, LAN, SD card reader
Connectivity: 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi and Bluetooth
Camera: 720p camera
Weight: 5.9 pounds (2.68 kg)
Size: 14.3 x 10.8 x 0.95 inches (34.6 x 27.3 x 2.4cm; W x D x H)
Price and availability
The Dell G5 15 5590 mostly as configured here but with the 60 rather than 90-WHr battery is currently available for Walmart for just $1,149, which is fairy insane.
Specific configurations vary considerably and the config Dell sent us isn’t actually currently available from any of its own websites, but normal pricing would be in the $1,399 ballpark as configured and perhaps £1,350 in the UK and AU$2,124.
As ever with Dell notebooks, configuration availability varies frequently over time and with location. But the good news is that the wide range of options means you can usually spec yours up to deliver on the things you care about and avoid paying for hardware you’re not going to use.
As we’ll see, our review system is missing at least one obvious high-end option and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The usual refrain for hardware reviews often involves out-of-the-box impressions. But the actual packaging in which the new G5 from Dell is delivered makes its own statement. It’s utterly unpretentious brown cardboard with absolutely no aesthetic niceties. It just ensures the system survives transit unscathed.
You won’t find us complaining. Fancy packaging like clever levitating box hinges are all very well. But it only adds to the cost of a product without adding anything to the user experience once you’re up and running.
Anyway, literally out of the box the Dell G5 15 5590 mostly impresses. The chassis is a mix of metal and plastic and feels extremely robust. The monochrome-backlit keyboard, likewise, is absolutely rock solid. Put simply, this is a portable that feels like it can take a beating.
Styling is subjective, of course, but the Dell G5 15 5590 at least ploughs its own furrow with its ribbed chassis sides and strip of polished black plastic. By today’s standards, the bezels are merely moderately slim and the lower chin is pretty fat. But at less than an inch thick, it’s pretty svelte for a system with this much punch.
The port count is another highlight. With three USB A ports, a USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, LAN and an SD card reader, you really do have all your bases covered. It’s also worth noting that most of these ports plus the power connector are at the rear of the chassis, ensuring a minimum of cable clutter.
As for specs, the number of options can be bewildering. However, most configs including our review rig come with an Intel six-core Core i7-8750H CPU. It’s an 8th rather than 9th gen chip, but that’s of zero consequence. It’s all the CPU you’re ever going to need in a laptop.
Graphics wise, we’re talking Nvidia RTX 2060, which is the entry-level GPU in Nvidia’s latest ray-tracing capable Turing generation of graphics chips, but very powerful in outright terms. It’s paired with a 15.6-inch 1080p display based on IPS panel technology. Dell optionally offers 144Hz refresh support, but our review rig is limited to 60Hz.
Elsewhere, there’s a storage combo includes a 128GB M.2 SSD with a 1TB HDD and 16GB of RAM. The storage setup is a little unusual, but in theory offers both high performance for a limited number of critical apps, plus plenty of capacity for everything else.