Dell G5 15 SE Mini-Review Back

Photos: 7
Photo source: Dell
Dell presents the first (and so far only) Ryzen 4000 gaming laptop with a dedicated RX 5600M graphics card and thus also the first implemenation of AMD's SmartShift feature, which can move the limited power budget to where it is needed the most

Written: 19 September 2020, Updated: 11 February 2021

  • Excellent CPU performance
  • GPU performance almost as good as RTX 2060
  • 144Hz display
  • A lot of performance per dollar
  • Creaky plastic case
  • Poor battery life

Specifications

General
Manufacturer Dell
Name G5 15 SE
Type Clamshell
Operating System(s) Windows 10 Home
Color(s) Silver
Size & Weight
Weight 5.51lbs, 2.5kg
Width 14.4", 365.5mm
Depth 10", 254mm
Thickness 0.85", 21.6mm
Performance
Gaming Score 93
Processor(s) AMD Ryzen 5 4600H
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
Graphics AMD Radeon RX 5600M
Storage (GB) 256, 1024
Battery
Mobility Score 22
Capacity (Wh) 51
Cells 3
Wifi (hours) 6:07
Video (hours) 5:00
Load (hours) 0:55
Average Runtime 4:55
Memory (RAM)
Size (GB) 8, 16
Type DDR4
Frequency (Mhz) 3200
Dual Channel Yes
Display
Resolution 1920x1080
Size 15"
Type WVA
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Brightness (nits) 300
Glare Matte
Touch No
Stylus No
Ports
USB-C 1
HDMI 1
LAN (RJ45) 1
USB 3 1
USB 2 2
SD-Card 1
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Case, design, and build quality

Building a gaming laptop that can actually run the newest titles at 60+ fps for $900 is a huge challenge, because a good GPU adds significantly to the bill of materials. Apparently, Dell decided to start cutting costs when designing the case. It is functional but slightly creaky plastic which is slighly disappointing compared with other aluminum Ryzen laptops. Having said that, Dell made the right call: The G15 SE targets people who want as much gaming performance as possible for as little as possible. Sacrificing build quality in a bulky device that is going to be stationary most of the time anyway is a sensible tradeoff.

Ports

Power, Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, USB-A 3.1, Ethernet, USB-C (display only)

SD card reader, 3.5mm audio jack, 2x USB-A 2.0, Kensington Lock

The Dell G15 SE has an impressive selection of ports. There are 3 USB-A ports to plugin peripherals (one of them is version 3.1 for faster data transfers). Monitors and beamers can be connected to Mini DisplayPort, to HDMI (version 2.0 to support 4K @60Hz), and to USB-C. Dell even added a SD card reader and an RJ45 port to connect to Internet through cable instead of Wireless, to get much lower latencies during online play.

Processor

  • Name: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H
  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 6
  • Name: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 16
The Dell G15 SE comes with a 4600H or 4800H, but as mentioned in the 'Models' section, the upgrade to the 4800H moves the G15 into the range of the Asus Zephyrus. Fortunately, the 4600H works great for gaming: It is more than enough to feed the 5600M with data and its lower frequency means SmartShift can move a bit more (electric) power to the graphics card.
Even for CPU intensive tasks, such as converting videos, the 6 cores 12 threads 4600H offers more than enough power.

Display

  • Size: 15
  • Type: WVA
  • Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Aspect ratio: 19:9
  • Brightness (nits): 300
We did not have much hope for the display in a budget gaming laptop, but Dell managed to source a 144Hz VA display with good viewing angles. Brightness and color accuracy is mediocre at best, but that hardly matters in a budget laptop that is mainly used indoors for gaming.

ZenlaptopsVerdict

The Dell G15 SE is a careful balancing act to achieve as much gaming performance as possible at a sub $1000 price point. It is clear that Dell put a lot of thought into designing a laptop that is very attractive for gamers on a budget without cannibalizing sales of premium models. The RX 5600M performs almost as well as the GTX 2060 and much better than the 1650TI that is usually available at the 1000 dollar price point. To achieve this, Dell strategically sacrificed any semblance of mobility: The laptop is bulky, it is creaky, the touch pad is too small, battery life is terrible, and the screen is too dim to use outdoors. So if you get a laptop for gaming on the go, stay away from the Dell G15 SE. However, if you are on a tight budget and looking for a desktop replacement that you can put into your backpack, then this is the laptop to get.