The Dell Inspiron i7559-5012GRY is a gaming laptop that promises to offer solid performance, and can as well handle other projects such as entertainment, media editing and word processing pretty well. This system is potent enough to provide a smooth gaming experience on all but the highest settings, thanks to its 4K UHD Touchscreen, latest Intel Core i7 processor (Skylake) and discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card.
It can efficiently perform daily work and media tasks, when not playing. The Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK Gaming Laptop, our Editors’ Choice for budget entry-level gaming category comes close in performance, but the Inspiron i7559-2512BLK comes with a few (but noticeable – including a touchscreen and 4K resolution) upgrades that are a kicker in terms of increased performance and gaming stability. However, it lacks the chops to unseat the ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71 as our top pick for entry-level gaming laptops.
Design and Features
The i7559-5012GRY is part of the Inspiron 15 Series, which Dell claims to have optimized for work and mid-range gaming performance, and its predecessor the Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK Gaming Laptop (released late last year) has surpassed the expectations of most gamers on a budget. We envision the same in the newer Inspiron i7559, with significant upgrades over its younger sibling from last year including an intuitive 4K resolution touchscreen panel.
The Inspiron 15 is hefty and looks larger than its 15-inch size, which is perhaps from its angular design. Though not the most portable system, it is still sturdy and well built at 1.0 by 15.08 by 10.4 inches (HWD) and 5.6 pounds. Though slightly thicker than the Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK; 0.98 by 15 by 10.4 inches (HWD) and 5.88 pounds, it is lighter than by almost 0.28 pounds. If you need to carry it around, you can slide it into the Bonvince 18.4″ Laptop Backpack, which has nicely placed compartments for the power adapter, mouse and other peripherals.
It sports a 15.6-inch touchscreen display with 4K UHD Touchscreen (3840 x 2160) resolution, which is a rarity in thi category, simply adding to the reasons why you should have the Inspiron i7559-5012GRY at the top of your list. Lately, 1080p resolution is a basic minimum for gaming rigs, but as we see 4K trickle down to mobile gaming laptops we anticipate the competition to stiffen, especially in new units based on Pascal architecture.
More powerful gaming laptops like the MSI GE62 Apache and the MSI PE70 2QD-062US also use 1080p screens. Although some of the more expensive machines now have 3K or 4K higher displays such as the Alienware 15. Having such a resolution on a laptop is a good gesture, although we’ve seen elsewhere issues of the hardware having a difficult time smoothly playing with high settings on a higher-resolution screen.
The system’s exterior is made almost entirely black plastic, except for some red flourishes on the Dell logo on the lid, the trim around the touchpad, the speaker, the fan vents, and on the rubber feet. The top lid and the keyboard deck are rubberized, which feels nice, while the bottom of the laptop and the bezel are hard plastic with similar accents on the backlit keyboard.
Connectivity is excellent. There are two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone jack on the left of the laptop, while the right side holds another USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, a 2-in-1 SD card reader, an Ethernet port, and a Kensington lock slot. For storage, there is a hybrid 5,400rpm 1 TB HDD + 8 GB SSD Hybrid Drive Storage. For such a system, a 5400RPM is a bit disappointing, not when we have machines with faster SSD drives, like the Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK Gaming Laptop.
Although it will give you somewhat better transfer rates, it can’t match a true SSD, so it isn’t much of a deal breaker. Sadly, the system dictates what files are stored on the solid-state drive partition. You may have to swap in a real SSD along the way, and even the 8GB RAM is upgradable to 16GB thanks to an available slot for seamless gaming and general performance.
The system includes a 720p front-facing webcam above the display, and wireless connectivity comes by way of Bluetooth 4.0, and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The keyboard is backlit with white light, just like other stable mates in the Inspiron 15 Series. The keys themselves are of good quality, but the key travel feels a little short. The touchpad feels very smooth and sturdy.
The speakers provide decent sound quality, though they sound a tinny at maximum volume. If you plan on playing some old movies, you might have to get an external optical drive as the system doesn’t come with a DVD drive. After all, most manufacturers are steering clear of optical drives since almost everything ranging from operating system to utility software can be installed over the internet or on USB. So this is not a deal breaker as such.
Outfitted on the Inspiron i7559-5012GRY is a sixth generation Intel Quad Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor (turbo 3.5GHz) and 8GB of memory. Combined with a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5 graphics card and 4K/UHD resolution panel, this machine is well-suited for most work and entertainment tasks thrown its way, without the unnecessary lags. We have seen the same configuration in our top pick for budget entry-level gaming, Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK Gaming Laptop except for 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor an UHD screen, while our Editors Choice for entry-level gaming laptops, the ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71 is outfitted with a NVIDIA GTX960M 2GB GDDR5, Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz processor and 16GB system memory.
With these features set, you’re assured of stable computing power and if the 8,000 points score in CPU Mark are anything to go by, then you’re off to a good start in computing. In fact, most mid-range Intel Core i5-5200U processor average ~3500 points. That said, the system stays cool even after several hours of operation and offers great performance and speed with top class functionality and a feature set.
The main consideration here, of course, is gaming prowess, and the Inspiron i7559-5012GRY performs admirably in that niche. To ascertain it potential, we took the machine on a road test on strenuous tasks. It scored 13, 017 points on the 3DMark Cloud Gate test and 2,123 points on the more strenuous Fire Strike Extreme. This score compares well with the more powerful ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH74, but the latter demonstrates the existing gulf between the two gaming laptops in terms of hardware and gaming potential.
For gamers, the system promises butter-smooth frame rates, as it even gives you some nice eye candy on most modern titles. For instance, at full resolutions (Full HD) you’re assured of around 50FPS with GTA5 and around 30FPS with the Witcher 3. As a matter of fact, this may not suffice for most hardcore gamers, but for budding and casual gamers these frame rates and settings will keep them entertained any day.
On our battery run down tests, we got around 5 hours 27 minutes from the 6-cell battery. But with a power hungry processor and graphics engine inside, we didn’t expect it to last longer, but at least four-five hours of web surfing are close to reality.
The Dell Inspiron i7559-5012GRY packs excellent value, with good gaming and productivity performance that will make most users happy. Its specifications and feature set bring it closer to more premium gaming rigs, and even beats them in some cases thanks to a 4K/UHD touchscreen among other features. Its solid, albeit hefty chassis, paired with a 4K/UHD touchscreen, dual-band wireless, and a backlit keyboard all add up to beefy laptop. That said, the Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK Gaming Laptop is at the very top of the budget entry-level gaming category especially for those on a budget; and so is ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71, though it does offer more features, and its performance on some tests is superb with some forward-looking technology. For those reasons, it remains our Editors’ Choice for entry-level gaming laptops. However, if a touchscreen and UHD resolutions are must-haves in your ideal laptop, then the Inspiron i7559-5012GRY is a safe bet that deserves a longer glance as you shop around.