The Coffee Lake-H-powered Dell G3579-7989BLK-PUS shows lots of promise, with its modest pricing, strong performance and appealing design.
PROS: Super affordable gaming setup. Blazing fast CPU. Ports for days.
CONS: Reduced battery life. Lacks a USB Type-C port.
At the very top of portable PC gaming spectrum, you have the MSI GT83 TITAN-027, a behemoth of power, and slightly below it, there is the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501, an ultra-portable gaming machine. Both of these, beyond going deep into your pockets, they are designed to handle any gaming and anything else you throw at them.
Next in line is the Dell G3579-7989BLK-PUS. Seasoned gamers will find real value here. With this machine, Dell is targeting prosumers who want affordability, portability and power in a single bundle.
It scores on every other angle (speed, storage, connectivity etc.,) except for the screen which isn’t the worst, but a little weak for an otherwise strong offering from an entry-level system.
Having an all-metal premium build wasn’t ever in the card for the Dell G Series –especially at this price range, but Dell managed to craft a pleasing design, without taking the cost high. The G3579 comes in a black body with a hue-blue logo on the lid.
The body is all plastic, but it has a soft finish on the lid and a padded palm rest, generally a sturdy body that prevents it from feeling cheap. As a whole, this simple but stylish design is more preferable to, say, the Acer Aspire VX 15, which comes off screaming gamer and boxy despite the solid gaming performance.
Measuring 0.89 by 14.9 by 10.16 inches (HWD) and 5.5 pounds, it strikes me as relatively slim and light, which is very reasonable for a gaming laptop. Last year’s model was slightly trimmer (1.0 by 15.1 by 10.4 inches), but all you getting is essentially the same size and looks, with improved performance.
For a 15-incher, it is portable enough that you won’t scream at the prospect of carrying it around. While it’s slim, there exist more compact 15-inch laptops out there, though the 14-inch Razer Blade is an example of what’s possible when manufacturers decide to slim things here-and-there, but it comes with a price tag.
Display and Inputs
The G3579-7989BLK-PUS’ 15.6-inch uses an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel technology, something I consider better for the price, with competitors offering the same technology for even less.
It has a maximum resolution of 1920-by-1080 (FHD), with an anti-glare coating, and it should be decent for gaming at least, better than TN panels.
Dell included a full keyboard, backlit and complete with a number pad, making good use of the 15-inch frame. The keys are fairly recessed, if you compare them to the trackpad.
If you regularly type on a MacBook keyboard (like I do mostly), you will find the Dell G3579’s keyboard to a little bit more travel than Apple’s butterfly mechanism.
Nevertheless, the amount of travel and response is at par with competing Windows laptops we’ve tested before. As a rule of thumb, there’s a learning period when adapting to a new keyboard and in a few days, everything falls into place.
If moving from a MacBook, the trackpad is something you’ll ta the most time getting accustomed to. Particularly, I had difficulties remembering that the lower right corner of the trackpad is the right-click, culminating in erratic clicks. It is set towards the left, and not in the midst like on most Windows laptops. It’s the same design on the Inspiron 15 Series.
On the right side, you wind an ethernet port, HDMI port, two USB 3.1 ports (with PowerShare), and a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the left side is a security lock, a power port, an additional USB 3.1 port and a 2-in-1 card reader. The HDMI port is capable of transmitting 4K signal at 60HZ to a supported external display. Wireless connectivity comes via 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1, in addition to the ethernet port for wired connections.
It gets a pair of speakers that are loud enough for a gaming session and media consumption, with the speaker grilles doubling as the dual-fan cooling system. A notable thing that’s not common in design is the single hinge, which is among the best around. It is sturdy enough and keeps the laptop from wobbling as you type along. Granted, this system lacks a touchscreen.
Packing Intel’s first six-core CPU (Intel Core i7-8750H ‘Coffee Lake-H), the Dell G3579-7989BLK-PUS has enough breath for CPU-intensive benchmarks. This is the company’s new high-end 8th-gen Core i-chips, that offer sufficient raw power than we’ve seen before in single core chipsets. The new Core i7-8750H scores better than its predecessor, the i7-7700H, which is used on the ROG Zephyrus, getting 157 points over the ROG’s 150 on Cinebench R15 tests. This translates to over 5 percent performance boost in general productivity.
In addition to the Core i7 chip, there’s 16GB RAM, 256GB solid state drive (SSD) for booting and applications and an additional 1TB (5400 RPM) hard drive for storage. For general work, home tasks and professional content editing, the Dell G3579 performs impressively. In fact, it powers better than any previous laptop we’ve tested with16GB RAM in the same price range.
While the G3579-7989BLK-PUS packs enough GPU power that most professionals would want in an ultra-portable, the entry level Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti (with 4GB) is middle off the road when it comes to gaming performance, especially when stacked against today’s gaming laptops. For gaming enthusiasts, it will deliver about 60fps, on most early 2017 games played at Ultra settings (1080p) resolution.
Depending on the amount of eye candy you need, there might be exceptions, though. If you turn down the graphical settings, or play older games, you’ll strike better frame rates, with les intensive games pumping upwards of 100-plus frames per second. The GTX 1050Ti doesn’t support VR gaming but holds its own as a bona fide gaming GPU that will handle almost anything thrown its way, as long as you don’t need the same amount of graphical detail you’d get on a GeForce 1070 GPU.
The HDMI port on this system supports 4K resolutions, but that will require a sacrifice in graphical content to be able to play gams at the screen’s native resolution.
Among all of its improvements of previous iterations, if there are two areas where the Dell G3579-7989BLK-PUS fails to impress is the lack of a USB Type-C port and battery life. This laptop last 4 hours 36 minutes, down from5 hours 41 minutes in the Inspiron 15 Series which we tested last year. The culprit here is certainly the 56Whr battery inside, which is a step down compared to the 76Whr juice pack inside its predecessor. Fortunately, Dell have included PowerShare and fast charge for boosted charging when needed.
On battery life, the Inspiron i5577-7359BLK-PUS will give you around 7 hours 38 minutes on normal, drops to around 3-4 hours when gaming. That’s remarkably longer that competitors like the Acer VX 15 (5:28) among others. Others like the Asus ROG (G752VT-DH72) and the Origin EON15-X, only last a little more than 2 hours given their processing power combined with large, hi-res screens sucking up power.
The Bottom Line
On paper, the Dell G3579-7989BLK-PUS looks like it has it all. An 8th generation ‘Coffee Lake-H’ processor, a GTX 1050Ti and 16GB RAM should be plenty for gaming. It is held back by factors that you would not normally consider when buying a gaming laptop like a missing USB Type-C port and not-so-long battery life. Given that you’re not paying so much for the configuration, there is no reason not to buy this machine. If anything, the Inspiron 15 Gaming series set a good precedent for future refreshes, thereby the G3579 being an improved version, it gets a few docked points as a budget gaming laptop of choice.