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Dell G5 5500 laptop

Dell G5 5500 review: "Looks aren't everything"

(Image: © Dell)

Our Verdict

A decent choice of entry-level gaming laptop for beginners, with good performance and a sensible price.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Great CPU performance
  • Wide variety of available specs

Cons

  • Runs on the hot side
  • Design won’t be to everyone’s taste
  • Build quality could be more sturdy

Dell’s G5 series of gaming laptops have been through many iterations, and we’re not entirely convinced by this one. On paper, it slots nicely into the market as a reasonably priced entry, providing decent all-round 1080p gaming performance with a broad selection of models with specs and prices to fit every gamer’s needs. Our review model is a middle-of-the-road version - no performance to emulate that of the best gaming PC here!

In practice, this new G5 doesn’t quite measure up, largely due to physical design issues. These complaints likely won’t be deal-breakers for everyone, however; some potential buyers might love features that this reviewer despised. Read on to find out if the G5 5500 is the best gaming laptop for you or one that’s safe to skip.

Design

Specs

Here are the specs for the laptop sent to GamesRadar+ for review:
Processor:
 Intel Core i7-10750H
Graphics:  Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
Memory: 16GB DDR4 RAM
Display: 15.6-inch 144Hz, 1ms
Resolution: 1920x1080
Storage: 512GB m.2 NVMe SSD
Battery: 68Wh
Ports: 1 x SD card, 1 x 3.5mm jack, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x mini DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet, 1 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3
Connectivity: Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2x2) 802.11ax Wireless; Bluetooth 5.1
OS: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Weight: starting at c. 5.16 pounds (c. 2.34kg)

The G5 5500 is a bit of a chunky boy, despite its 15.2-inch screen not being the biggest nor brightest we’ve seen in a gaming laptop. The entire chassis is formed from hard black plastic, with a full-scale keyboard truncated slightly to fit above the large trackpad - both solid enough but they won't be bothering anything on our best gaming keyboard or best gaming mouse guide for quality; you'll want to add one of them respectively, separately. The weight can vary slightly depending on the spec, but all models sit at around two and a half kilos; hardly the most portable we’ve encountered.

The back of the screen has what Dell refers to as an ‘Interstellar Dark’ finish, which is a sort of reflective effect that makes the black casing sparkle with a faint rainbow sheen. We think it looks horribly tacky, but perhaps others will like the odd glittering finish.

Unfortunately, the cheapness doesn’t seem to end there. The thick central hinge with fluted edges angling towards it is a design that gaming laptops seemed to have left in the previous decade, and we wish it had stayed there. It gives the G5 a somewhat dated appearance, and it isn’t particularly robust either, resulting in the display trembling somewhat during rigorous typing or gaming.

The membrane keyboard features muted backlighting, which looks appealing, but the G5 manages to override what would be a pleasingly understated aesthetic by adding a bright RGB light strip that runs across the front edge of the laptop. You can turn this off, but it feels like a superfluous addition. Again, some readers might love the sight of RGB lighting spilling out from beneath their laptop, so this does come down to personal taste.

Beyond the light strip, there’s nothing much to write home about when it comes to the physical design of this G5. There’s nothing missing either, to be fair; while the aesthetics won’t appeal to everyone’s preferences, the 5500 has everything a standard gaming laptop needs.

Dell G5 5500 laptop

(Image credit: Dell)

Features

We’ve got all the ports we could ask for here, with three USB-As joined by a Thunderbolt 3 compatible USB-C and an ethernet port. There’s also a mini DisplayPort and HDMI output if you want to hook it up to a second screen while you’re at home.

The screen is a fairly run-of-the-mill 1080p LED-backlit panel you wouldn't see on best gaming monitor lists, but it offers good maximum brightness and impressive colour density for the price point. The 144Hz refresh rate is a great inclusion, ensuring that this laptop is well-equipped for twitchy shooters like Valorant and CounterStrike, which demand high framerates.

Charging is provided by a monster of an adapter block, which supplies a 68Whr battery. You’ll need to keep it plugged in for any lengthy gaming binges, though, as the G5 can only manage around two to three hours of continuous gameplay with the brightness turned up; less if you use the built-in speakers. Battery life for standard use is a bit better, lasting around eight hours when performing tasks such as web browsing and word processing.

Dell G5 5500 laptop

(Image credit: Dell)

The star of this show is the CPU, a hexa-core i7-10750H chip that does plenty of heavy lifting. CPU-bound games like the Total War titles shouldn’t struggle here. Graphics aren’t quite such smooth sailing, handled by the GeForce RTX 2060, a GPU that is now more than two years old. It’s a reasonable component to pair with the 1080p display, though, and it keeps the price point sensible. Supporting these parts is 16GB of high-speed RAM in a two-DIMM configuration.

Once again, there’s little to set the G5 5500 out from the crowd, even if there are no glaring gaps in its resume. The webcam is a bog-standard 720p affair. There’s a 512GB internal SSD, which sounds like a lot but will be quickly consumed by anyone who likes to keep multiple games on local storage. For reference, downloading Call of Duty: Warzone would consume over a third of that drive space.

Performance

Benchmarking

How does the Dell G5 5500 fare against some industry benchmarks? Here's how it got on with some rigorous gaming tests.

Cinebench CPU: 1,301 cb
3DMark Fire Strike: 12,978 points
3DMark Time Spy: 5,311 points
CrystalDiskMark: SSD: 2,217 MB/s read; 1,133 MB/s write
Metro Exodus: RTX (ray-tracing on Ultra): 29 fps; High: 49 fps; Extreme: 38 fps
Tom Clancy's The Division 2: Ultra: 44 fps; High: 46 fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Highest: 63 fps; High: 66 fps
Total War: Warhammer II: Ultra: 54 fps; High: 64 fps

As predicted, the 10th-generation i7 processor at the heart of this laptop had no trouble in our tests. Other benchmarks painted a slightly less convincing image, but considering the asking price, we weren’t disappointed. The G5 did get rather warm during testing, even with the dual fans working overtime, so we’d advise against setting this laptop atop your lap.

Surprisingly enough, ray-tracing might actually be an option on this laptop, provided you’re willing to dial down the graphical settings a bit. The brutal benchmark offered by Metro Exodus didn’t crack this machine; in fact, we’d wager that just about any game should be able to hit 60fps without needing to lower the settings too much. Games with low graphical requirements (say, Fortnite) should run like a dream at 1080p.

One slightly unimpressive result came from the CrystalDisk benchmark, which tests read and write speeds for the internal SSD. Despite being a third-generation NVMe drive, a format that traditionally allows for transfer speeds of up to 3.5GB/s, the G5’s storage struggled to break 1GB/s in write speeds and only managed around 2.2GB/s in sequential reads. In practice, though, this deficit isn’t likely to be noticed by the vast majority of users, as this drive still comfortably outpaces the SATA storage found in many older laptops.

Dell G5 5500 laptop

(Image credit: Dell)

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Overall - should you buy it?

Looks aren't everything: if the external design doesn’t put you off, the Dell G5 5500 is a fairly priced gaming laptop that gets the job done. It’s nothing special and doesn't seem to impacted by the influence of Dell having Alienware laptops in their wheelhouse, but performance is generally good and there are no major bum notes to worry about.

For anyone looking to buy their first gaming laptop, this is a pretty good choice. The cheaper £899 model packs half the RAM and the excellent 1660 Ti GPU, which should offer performance only slightly behind the 2060, which makes it a potentially more appealing option for gamers on a budget. Conversely, the £1,199 version has an RTX 2070, which probably won’t offer improved performance quite in line with the price increase. Even with the release of the new RTX 3060 laptops, RTX 3070 laptops, and RTX 3080 laptops, this is a fine choice for those not chasing frame-rates or those who want a gaming-capable work or home laptop without breaking the bank.

Our review model sits in the middle, and we feel comfortable recommending it to anyone who wants a no-nonsense PC gaming experience at home and away. It’ll work best as a desktop replacement system, ideal for working from home when you’re not busy gaming!

The Verdict
3.5

3.5 out of 5

Dell G5

A decent choice of entry-level gaming laptop for beginners, with good performance and a sensible price.

More info

Available platformsPC
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