We’re seeing an influx of high-end gaming laptops off-late. MSI, Asus and Dell have quite a few devices lined-up in this category and the competition is very fierce. It’s actually quite hard to pick a device based on specs alone because many of the devices in this segment boast of very similar specifications at a very similar price.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7559 is a more expensive entrant in this space, crossing the Rs 1,00,000 mark. Does it offer enough to justify the premium, however? Let’s find out.
Build and design: 7.5/10
The first thing you notice with the Del Inspiron 15 7559 is the weight. At almost 2.7kg, it’s quite heavy. It’s also not a slim device and at least 1 inch thick. Once you get over the size and weight, you realise that it’s quite a handsome device in its own right.
The lid features a black, vaguely rubberized finish—you’ll know when you feel it—and the rest of seems to be made from some sort of hard plastic. The plastic covering the hinge does flex quite a bit, but the hinge itself is sturdy.
The bottom and the rear of the device are interesting however. The bottom is at least 50 percent grill (plastic) that serves as an intake and the rear features a plastic grill and red painted copper fins for cooling.
The overall cooling solution does look beefy and as we discovered, it was actually quite capable.
The only real downside to the build quality is the display unit, which does flex a bit. We would have preferred the sturdiness of a metal frame, especially at the premium that Dell is demanding for this laptop.
Keyboard and trackpad 7.5/10
Given that this is a gaming laptop, we were expecting a really good keyboard—MSI packs in some really nice ones from SteelSeries for example. Sadly, the keyboard was a bit of a let-down. It’s not a bad keyboard as such. The keys are backlit with white LEDs and the keys are evenly spaced. You also get a full-sized number pad and even segregated arrow keys.
The keyboard felt like a let-down due to the fact that the keys aren’t as good as what we’ve come to expect at this price. The keyboard even flexes in the centre while typing. It’s not much, but it’s noticeable and if the laptop was cheaper, we wouldn’t have minded as much.Other manufacturers pack in better quality keyboards in laptops that are around 70 percent the price of this one.
The trackpad itself is fine. It’s large and responsive and sufficient for our needs.
The laptop’s hardware is very good. It packs in a 45W Intel Core i7 6700HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. The GPU is an Nvidia GTX 960M, which is a bit disappointing considering the price of the device. We were rather hoping for a 970M or even a 980M.
You get 3x USB 3.0 ports (no USB Type-C or Thunderbolt), a combo 3.5mm jack, an SD card reader and an HDMI output. It was also nice to see a LAN port thrown in.
You don’t really get anything extra in terms of accessories and the battery is built into the device itself.
The speakers come in a 2.1 variety, which is nice. Though we’ll tell you right now that the iPad Pro still takes the cake as far as speakers are concerned.
The display is a high-resolution UHD display (3840x2160) and looks stunning. Black levels are a bit of a sore spot as darker shades of black simply merge into one another. Response time was quite decent for a UHD display though. The colours are vibrant and the brightness levels were also great.
As long as you’re not looking at too many dark scenes on the device, you should have no complaints. If you’re not very particular about contrast you will also have no complaints.
Again, like the keyboard, it’s not that the display is bad, it’s just that we’ve seen better at a much lower price.
Performance was a mixed bag, but regardless of the figures, do bear in mind that the results were consistent and repeatable. The frame-rates were also very stable, which leads to a more fluid gaming experience.
We’ll be comparing the Dell Inspiron 15 7559’s performance with the ASUS G501VW as the two of them are virtually identical in terms of configuration. Also bear in mind that the G501 sells for Rs 20,000 less than the Dell and offers a blisteringly fast NVME SSD as well.
In gaming tests, the Dell’s performance was lower than that of the ASUS in most games. We saw a performance drop of between 10 percent and 20 percent in games like Grid: Autosport, Hitman: Absolution and Bioshock Infinite.
The surprise came with Metro: Last Light however, where we saw the Dell thrash the G501VW with a 120 percent increase in performance. Metro Last Light is a very CPU intensive game and since the CPU didn’t throttle, performance numbers were higher and more consistent. In the case of the G501, erratic CPU throttling brought down the performance.
This is where the 7559’s strength lies. While the frame-rates were lower than the competition, the average frame-rate was consistent because the device could maintain a certain minimum amount of power under all load conditions.
Our temperature tests indicated just that, with external temperatures barely crossing 35 degree Celsius even under heavy loads (Furmark and Prime95). The CPU hit 71 degrees and the GPU stayed at a little under 67 throughout testing.
This is also where we discovered the problem with the Inspiron 15’s performance. The clocks were very stable, but the GPU seems to be underclocked to maintain operating temperatures. The laptop aced any test involving CPU-only tasks, but lost ground to the ASUS G501 the moment the GPU was brought into the picture.
The fans do get a little noisy under full load, but it’s not too bad.
The speakers also held their own. They’re loud enough to be able to hear dialogue and most environmental sounds in games. They’re also not bad for movies and games. Regardless, Apple’s 12.9 inch iPad Pro is still king as far as speaker volume and quality is concerned in the portable device segment though.
Battery life: 4.5/10
Our battery life test indicated a figure of two and a half hours, which is, frankly, terrible when you consider that the slimmer, lighter, cheaper G501 managed to eke out almost 4 hours in the same test.
In a normal workday, we managed about 4 and a half hours from the device.
Verdict and price in India
More than the weight, the biggest consideration with the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 is the price. At around Rs 1,20,000, this is not a cheap device. Even more worryingly, both of Dell’s major rivals, ASUS and MSI, offer laptops with the exact same configuration in the Rs 90,000 to Rs 1,00,000 range.
With that in mind, it’s hard to justify the premium that the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 demands. The real problem is that it offers nothing for that premium. The cooling solution is really good, but the laptop is heavier, slower (albeit more consistent), more expensive than and not as well-built as the competition.
Shave Rs 20,000 off the price and I’ll heartily recommend this to anyone who doesn’t mind the bulk. To everyone else, I’d suggest they take a peek at what MSI has to offer.
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