The Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop makes a distinct visual first impression. After unboxing the thing I sat it upon my desk and just stared at it. Big, black, angular, the G5 has a visual aesthetic similar to that of the imposing monolith from Stanley Kubrick’s mind-bending sci fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Unlike that obtuse cinematic masterpiece, however, the G5 is a much more approachable proposition.
This is a good thing because, despite being involved with tech for over two decades, your humble writer is a bit of a PC noob without the requisite “l33t skillz” to fully master the more complicated iterations of the hardware. Oh sure, I’ve admired them from afar, but after spending years working at both Official XBOX and Playstation Magazine my home gaming experience is skewed much more towards the simple on/off switch + arse on couch variety one attains with consoles. It’s pleasing then that the G5 booted up without fuss and let me install a bunch of games with minimal effort and only brief consultation with my long suffering tech savvy chum, Josh.
Once I’d opened the top off the thing and had a squiz inside, it has to be said the screen felt a little small and dark. Compared to the generously proportioned case, the screen felt a little miserly. This wasn’t a deal breaker, mind you, but worth noting. A little bit of messing around with the settings and I managed to get a little more light and colour and it was time to play some damn games.
How does she go?
I plugged a range of games into the G5, ranging from scrappy little indie titles to high end AAA behemoths. The Forest, Fallout: New Vegas, The Division and Warhammer: Vermintide 2.
The Forest – ran as slick as a greased piglet. Certainly it’s not the prettiest game in the world, but it moved responsively and quickly on the highest settings without a hiccup.
Fallout: New Vegas – is a deadset classic game with a wonderful story that puts the narrative of Fallout 4 to shame. That said, it’s also notoriously ugly graphically and riddled with more bugs than a Dario Argento ballet school. Playing on its maxed out settings New Vegas finally looked… okay. Not beautiful, but certainly a lot prettier than any other version I’d previously played. It also moved with confidence, swaggering through detail-heavy environments, dense with NPCs, with nary a problem. Still, NV is a pretty old title. Let’s see how the G5 handles newer games…
The Division – Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy shooter looter was no discernible challenge to the G5, even maxed to the highest settings. Image was stable, and so very pretty, and the animation remained smooth throughout. Still didn’t change the fact The Division kind of dies in the arse during the endgame, but that’s not the fault of the hardware.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 – interestingly it was this Warhammer game that caused the only discernible problems. A couple of times in the game’s environment and enemy-heavy opening the animation stuttered. Just a little bit, mind you, and as the game progressed it didn’t repeat, but it’s worth noting. The G5 is a beast but everything has its limitations.
Who is she for?
One of the biggest questions re: the G5, and indeed gaming laptops in general, is “why?” Why drop your hard-earned dosh on a laptop rather than save for a bit longer and nab a huge beast of a gaming rig? I reckon the big answer is: location. Space is at a premium in this modern age – especially for those of us haemorrhaging money in an urban environment – and finding room for that epic computing behemoth is becoming downright unsustainable. Plus, there’s the simplicity of the thing. The G5 is easy to use and easy to store, even for a deadset PC scrub like me, so not having to get on the phone for tech support (or poor Josh) every five minutes appeals. Plus, the G5 is a portable gaming platform that can be plugged into most modern tellies, giving you multiple ways to enjoy your games on the go. Like a much more expensive Switch with beefier processing power.
What’s the verdict?
Ultimately the Dell G5 is the perfect gaming laptop for those who prefer their games to come with portability options. It may not have the blistering levels of under-the-hood grunt of Dell’s higher end models, but for the significantly cheaper price it’s a no-brainer for those who don’t require every spec to be maxed to infinity. Some minor niggles involving the screen size and brightness – and very occasional stuttering – don’t mar the overall experience. Put simply this is easily one of the better gaming laptops on the market and a steal at the price. Just beware of tribes of bone-hurling apes that might lob up to worship your gaming monolith.
The Dell G5 15 Gaming laptop starts at AUD $1,798.99, with the slightly fancier model reviewed costing AUD$2,199.00. It also features heavily in Ant-Man and The Wasp. And if it’s good enough for Ant-Man…