Dell G3 Review
The Dell G3 is a well priced gaming laptopfrom Dell’s G series, and probably a more budget option compared to the G5 or G7, solet’s check it out and help you decide if it’s a laptop worth buying.
Let’s start with the specs in this unit,as there are a few different configurations available.
I’ve got the highest speccedG3 with the Intel i7-8750H CPU, although it’s also available with the i5-8300H.
I’ve got 16GB of DDR4-2666 memory runningin dual channel, but it’s also available with 8GB in single or dual channel configurations,and it supports up to 32GB of memory in total.
There are a number of different storage configurationstoo, but I’ve got a 256GB M.
2 SATA SSD and 2TB hard drive installed, although fasterNVMe storage is also supported by the single M.
For the graphics there’s an Nvidia 1060Max-Q, although it’s also available with 1050 or 1050Ti graphics, and this powers the17.
3 inch 1080p 60Hz IPS panel.
For the network connectivity there’s a gigabitethernet port, support for 802.
11ac WiFi and Bluetooth.
The laptop is completely plastic with a matteblack lid, and then a grey and black checkerboard pattern for the interior, although it’salso available in white.
It’s got blue accenting all around it, for example around the touchpad,the keys, the logo under the screen and on the lid.
Despite the plastic build overallit was still fairly solid, and no sharp corners or edges anywhere.
The dimensions of the laptop are 41.
5cm inwidth, 27.
9cm in depth, and 2.
5cm in height, so not exactly thin for a Max-Q laptop butnot bad for a 17 inch machine.
The starting weight for the lowest speccedmodel is listed at 3.
27kg, although mine weighed under 3KG even with hard drive installed.
With the 180 watt power brick and cable for charging, the total weight increases to around3.
6KG, and with the 1050 or 1050Ti models you get a 130 watt power brick instead, whichI suspect may be a touch lighter.
Also keep in mind the 15 inch model will not only besmaller, but will also have a different weight.
As mentioned the screen here is a 17.
3 inch60Hz 1080p IPS panel, no G-Sync available here though.
The viewing angles on the screenwere good, it looked great at just about any angle thanks to the IPS panel.
The screengets bright enough, at 306 nits when at 100% brightness in the center with a 740:1 contrastratio.
Based on my own measurements the bezel was about a centimeter thick, although I suspectthat may vary with the 15 inch model.
I’ve also measured the current colour gamutusing the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 91% of sRGB, 68% of NTSC and 71% of AdobeRGB,so not too bad for something marketed primarily as a gaming laptop.
I’ve taken a long exposure photo in a darkroom as a worst case backlight bleed test, and we can see there is some bleed.
I couldactually occasionally notice the top left spot even during normal usage from time totime, but this will of vary between laptops.
Again keep in mind all of these screen resultsare specific to the LG panel in the 17 inch G3, I haven’t tested the 15 inch versionso can’t compare them.
There wasn’t too much screen flex as it’smade of fairly thick plastic, and the hinge runs along most of the base of the laptop,further aiding stability.
Opening the laptop with one finger wasn’t possible as the hingeis quite stiff, although I wouldn’t say it was too back heavy, I could still use iton my lap no problem.
Above the display in the center is a 720pcamera.
The camera doesn’t look too bad with somelighting and the microphone sounds decent, but you’ll be able to judge both for yourself.
The keyboard has blue lettering, so you cansee it quite easily even with the backlighting off, and my model also has blue backlighting,I’m not sure if that will vary between regions and models though, as my G5 didn’t havebacklighting while others did.
The backlighting can be adjusted between two brightness levelsor turned off using a button on the keyboard, no software control.
As a 17 inch laptop there’s room to adequatelyspace out the keys, so the numpad isn’t cramped either, although we still have thoseannoyingly small arrow keys the other G series laptops also use.
I had no problems typing with the keyboardotherwise, here’s how the key presses sound to try and give you an idea of what to expect.
There was a little keyboard flex while intentionallypushing down hard, but honestly it was fairly minor and not an issue while typing normally,overall it was quite solid considering the plastic body.
The power button is found towards the topright of the keyboard, and while my model doesn’t have a fingerprint reader here Dellnote that it is available, so again it may vary between region or model.
The touchpad worked alright, it’s got separateleft and right click buttons down the bottom but you can left click anywhere or two fingerright click anywhere.
It’s got a matte texture and wasn’t that smooth to the touch.
As for the I/O on the left there’s the powerinput, USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI 2.
0 output, gigabit ethernet, two USB 3.
1Gen1 Type-A ports, and a 3.
5mm audio combo jack.
On the right there’s an SD card slot, USB3.
1 Gen2 Type-A port, and noble lock slot.
The back is mostly smooth plastic with theG3 logo on the side, but under the plastic are the air exhaust vents which are hiddenfrom view, forcing air downwards out the back.
The front is also just smooth plastic.
Up on the lid there’s a blue Dell logo inthe center, matching the blue accenting found elsewhere.
Fingerprints show up on the lid, althoughthe matte texture hides them a little compared to a glossy finish, and as a smooth surfacethey’re easy to wipe off.
As the interior has this checkerboard pattern they’re harderto notice here, but still easy to wipe away.
Underneath there’s some air intakes towardsthe back to keep everything cool, as well as some rubber feet that do a good job atstopping the laptop from easily moving around while in use.
The speakers are found towards the front leftand right corners, they sound alright, there’s no bass at all but they get loud enough andsound clear.
The bottom panel can be opened up easily witha phillips head screwdriver once you remove the 12 screws.
Inside from left to right weget easy access to the single 2.
5” drive bay, the battery, two memory slots, singleM.
2 slot and WiFi card.
Powering the laptop is a 4 cell 56 Watt hourbattery, and with a full charge and just watching YouTube videos with the screen on half brightness,keyboard lighting off and background apps disabled, I was able to use it for 5 hoursand 2 minutes.
It was using the Intel integrated graphics in this test thanks to Nvidia Optimus.
While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settingsand Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the battery lasted for 1 hour and 14 minutes,and it sat at 30 FPS the whole time without dipping.
Overall I thought the battery lifewas acceptable, considering the fairly decent hardware we’re running.
Thermal testing was completed with an ambientroom temperature of 18 degrees celcius, so expect warmer temperatures in a warmer environment.
I’ll also note that it wasn’t possible to manually modify the fan speed of the G3,so all temperatures were with the fans at default speeds.
Starting at the bottom of the graph, at idlethe CPU and GPU are running cool enough, shown in light blue.
Moving up to the green barI’ve tested gaming using Watch Dogs 2, as it uses a good amount of CPU and GPU resources,and this rose the temperatures a fair bit.
If we apply a -0.
150v undervolt to the CPUwe’re able to drop the temperatures slightly, shown in yellow.
The stress tests were done by running Aida64and the Heaven benchmark at the same time in order to attempt to fully utilize boththe processor and graphics.
Moving up in the graph to the red bar there was power limitthrottling present, fairly standard with the 8750H CPU under stress test.
By applying thesame -0.
150v undervolt to the CPU in purple the temperature actually rose slightly, butas we’ll see in the next graph it’s now performing much better.
These are the average clock speeds for thesame temperature tests just shown.
The green gaming and red stress test bars were subjectto power limit throttling which is why only a 3.
4GHz average was seen over all 6 cores,but performance was improved with the -0.
150v undervolt applied.
In particular, the purplebar shows that we’re very close to getting the full 3.
9GHz all core turbo speed of the8750H CPU.
These are the clock speeds I got while justrunning CPU only stress tests without any GPU load, and power limit throttling was stilltaking place at stock, although there was no thermal throttling.
With the -0.
150v undervoltapplied though we’re able to reach the full 3.
9GHz all core turbo speed of the i7-8750HCPU, and I’ll also note that it wasn’t possible to change the power limit from the45W TDP default with Intel XTU.
To demonstrate how this translates into performanceI’ve got some Cinebench CPU benchmarks here, with the older 7th gen 7700HQ just there forcomparison.
We’re able to improve the score by over 100 points by applying the CPU undervolt,and no real difference between either in terms of single core performance, as single corealone isn’t enough to trigger power limit throttling.
Here are the GPU only clock speeds while undera graphical only stress test both at stock and with a 200MHz GPU core overclock applied,but it’s worth noting that your CPU undervolting and GPU overclocking results will vary betweenchips based on the silicon lottery.
As for the external temperatures where you’llactually be putting your hands, at idle the body of the laptop is peaking in the low 30s,quite cool.
While gaming the wrist rest was still cool, but the center of the keyboardstarts approaching 50 degrees, and with the stress tests running we saw a similar result.
As for the fan noise produced by the laptop,I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests.
At idle it was almost silent, only just audible.
While gaming the fans pick up, but overall it’s still a fair bit quieter compared tomost other gaming laptops, likely due to the Max-Q graphics, and then about the same resultswith the stress tests running.
I’ll also note that there was no noticeable coil whinewhile testing in my unit.
Finally let’s take a look at some benchmarks.
All games were run at 1080p with the latest Nvidia drivers and Windows updates to dateinstalled, no overclocking at this point, but we’ll look at that afterwards.
Fortnite was tested with the replay feature,and even at epic settings we’re seeing pretty nice results, above 60 FPS averages, so it’srunning quite smoothly, with higher frame rates available at lower setting levels, althoughit’s worth keeping in mind the G3 only has a 60Hz display.
Overwatch was tested playing in the practicearea, and again even at epic settings it was running perfectly, with 1% lows that wereabove the refresh rate of the display and an average frame rate above 100.
PUBG was tested using the replay feature,the results at ultra settings aren’t great which isn’t too surprising as this isn’ta very well optimized game, at lower setting levels the results are decent enough to playwell though.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested withthe built in benchmark, and this is after a recent game ready driver for the game fromNvidia, in any case the results don’t seem too bad at the lower setting levels.
CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical benchmark,and the frame rates were alright for this test, actually slightly better than when Itested the G5 with the same specs a few months ago.
Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the builtin benchmark, and we’re still able to average well above 100 FPS even at ultra settings,again with fairly high 1% lows, so this game should run pretty smoothly without any problems.
Far Cry 5 was also tested with the built inbenchmark, and with ultra settings we’re just able to average above 60 FPS, a prettynice result for this particular test with 1% lows that aren’t too far behind.
Assassin’s Creed Origins was another gamethat was tested with the built in benchmark, the results aren’t too bad as this is amore demanding title, although I don’t think it needs super high frame rates to play anyway.
Dota 2 was tested using a fairly intensivereplay, so this should be a worst case scenario, these results are not the same as playingthe actual game, this benchmark is far more intensive than typical gameplay, and despitethis the frame rates are pretty good for these specs.
Testing Battlefield 1 in the first campaignmission ran nicely regardless of setting level, it played great for me even at ultra settings,with 1% low results around the refresh rate of the display, so even the dips in performanceweren’t too bad.
Watch Dogs 2 is a somewhat demanding game,although I don’t think it needs a high frame rate to play, and it played great at highsettings, still playable at higher settings but not good, as shown by the 1% lows in the20’s.
Ghost Recon was tested with the built in benchmarkand is also a demanding game, pretty much no laptops can really run this at ultra sono surprise there, but definitely playable with lower settings.
The Witcher 3 was almost able to average 60FPS at ultra settings, granted that’s with Hairworks disabled, but it was running muchnicer at basically any other setting level, and the 1% lows didn’t really change muchbetween settings.
I’ve got a few more games covered in thededicated gaming benchmark video if you’re interested.
Now onto the benchmarking tools, I’ve testedHeaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy, and VRMarkfrom 3DMark, just pause the video if you want a detailed look at these results.
I’ve said in the past that the Nvidia 1060graphics are an excellent choice in a gaming laptop if you’re looking to play moderngames at 1080p with high settings and still get nice frame rates, and my previous testinghas shown that the Max-Q 1060 is only about 10% behind the 1060, so we’re still seeingpretty nice results in these games, but again if you go for a G3 with 1050Ti or 1050 graphicsthen expect lower results.
As for overclocking although it’s not possibleto overclock the 8750H CPU it is possible to overclock the graphics, I’ve just retesteda couple of games to demonstrate how this affects performance.
Testing was done withthe same -0.
150v undervolt to the CPU as shown before, along with a 200MHz GPU core overclockand 400MHz GPU memory overclock.
CS:GO was tested again with the Ulleticalbenchmark, and with the changes in place the 1% lows are slightly higher and average framerates at max settings are about 7% better, but then no real change at the other settinglevels.
Far Cry 5 was tested again using the builtin benchmark, and again at ultra settings there was a similar 7% boost to the averageframe rates in this game with higher 1% lows all round.
So we’re seeing a little improvement withthe CPU undervolting and GPU overclocking applied, although it will depend on the particulargame in question and setting levels in use.
In Crystal Disk Mark the 256GB M.
2 SATA SSDwas getting above 500MB/s in sequential reads and above 300MB/s in sequential writes, butit’s also worth remembering the laptop does support faster NVMe storage too.
Here arethe speeds for the 2TB 5,400RPM hard drive that was installed, fairly average for thistype of disk.
I’ve also tested the SD card slot using a V90 rated card, so the card shouldn’tbe the bottleneck and the speeds weren’t anything special.
Pricing will change over time, so check thelinks in the description for the most up to date prices.
At the time of recording, herein Australia the 17 inch Dell G3 starts at around $1700 AUD while on sale, and goes upto $2500 AUD for the same specs as the one featured in this video.
Over on the US sitethough, the 17 inch G3 starts at $880 USD for the lowest specs, or is $1300 USD forthe exact specs featured here.
So what did you guys think of the G3 gaminglaptop from Dell? The prices seem quite fair, Dell’s gaming series laptops have generallybeen pretty competitive, although depending on current sales you may be able to get thesame specs at a better price with the G5, so check that before buying.
With these particularspecs we can play pretty much any game with good settings at 1080p without getting toohot or loud.
The battery life was fair, and aside from the cheaper feeling plastic buildcompared to the metal of the G5 and G7 I can’t really think of any problems that I had withit without nitpicking further.
It’s not doing anything extremely well, but it’salso not doing anything really bad, I guess it just seems fairly average, you’re gettingwhat you pay for.
Let me know what you guys thought down inthe comments, and leave a like to let me know if you found the review useful, and also letme know if you’d be interested in seeing the G3 compared with the G5 or G7, keepingin mind that I’ve got the 17 inch model of the G3 here whereas I tested the G5 andG7 with the 15 inch versions, so that may affect things like cooling performance slightly,but if you still think it’s worth doing let me know! Thanks for watching, and don’tforget to subscribe for future tech videos like this one.
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Dell G3 Review Review
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