Dell G15 (2023) review

The Dell G15 is a gaming laptop limited to those who plan mostly on gaming and nothing else

Dell G15 (2023)
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

You could do a lot worse than the Dell G15 (2023), but you can also do a lot better if you plan on doing anything else besides gaming. The large chassis, over-the-top power supply, and lackluster battery life make this laptop a chore to travel with and less than ideal for work.


  • +

    Great gaming performance

  • +

    Several affordable configurations

  • +

    Fun color options


  • -

    Abyssmal battery life

  • -

    Too large to travel with

  • -

    Oversized power supply

  • -

    Flimsy plastic casing

  • -

    Not ideal for productivity

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I filled several pages of a memo book while reviewing the Dell G15 ($699), and many of those notes did not shine a positive light on this laptop. The combination of a middling display, below-average battery life, and a bulky design didn't make a great impression. 

In fact, there is little of the G15 that is innovative, game-changing, or unexpected. It's another run-of-the-mill gaming laptop with a funny name and large cooling vents. But the more time I spent gaming with the G15, I found that it had more going on than I initially expected. 

The fun color palettes, surprisingly good gaming performance, and price were some of the factors that moved the needle for me. And while this isn’t one of the best gaming laptops, it's still a worthwhile pick if you can look the other way on several things.

Dell G15 (2023) review: Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Dell G15 (starting)Dell G15 (tested)
Display15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 165Hz display
CPU13th Gen Intel Core i5-13450HXIntel Core i7-13650HX
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 3050Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
Ports3x USB-A, 1x USB-C, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x Ethernet, 1x 3.5mm audio jack3x USB-A, 1x USB-C, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x Ethernet, 1x 3.5mm audio jack
Battery life6 hours 31 mins (rated)5 hours 51 mins (tested)
Dimensions14.07 x 10.8 x 1.0614.07 x 10.8 x 1.06
Weight6.19 pounds6.19 pounds

Dell G15 (2023) review: Price and availability

  • Great price-to-performance ratio 
  • Lacks stand-out features

The Dell G15 is available now starting at $699 from Dell's website. This configuration features a 13th Gen Intel Core i5-13450HX CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage and a 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz display.

There's also a $949 configuration packing an AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS CPU, an Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage and a 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 165Hz display.

For $1,509, which is what our review unit retails for, the G15 comes with an Intel Core i7-13650HX CPU, an RTX 4060 GPU, 16 GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 15.6-inch FHD display with 165Hz refresh rate. And, as we'll explore further down below, this combination sings when it comes to gaming.

Dell G15 (2023) review: Design

Dell G15 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
  • Great color options
  • Flimsy plastic shell

I had given up on finding a laptop with an interesting colorway. I just didn't think it was possible in the year of our lord, 2023. Yet, I found myself quite in shock when I opened up my review unit for the first time. The combination of a pastel lilac top shell, deep purple bottom shell, and a pastel mint thermal shelf is an incredible combination — the official name for this color option is "pop purple with neo mint thermal shelf." 

Had I bought this for myself, this is the color I'd choose, especially because it paired so well with my lilac Logitech G305 mouse. The platinum white color option was also a looker. For the more reserved gamers, Dell also offers the G15 in a black color.

Dell G15 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Despite the terrific color options, the G15 doesn't feel as premium as it looks. The flimsy plastic, which has a lot of flex on the top shell, does not reflect the price. I'd dread dropping this laptop, as the combined weight of the unit would likely shatter the plastic. This is an unlikely scenario, though, since this laptop is much too large to move around, which is a shame because it has the kind of looks that deserve to be flaunted.

And that's my main issue with the G15's design; that I couldn't easily take it where I wanted. When taking the laptop on vacation to do some testing, I couldn't fit it into my large carry-on bag. I had to use a smaller bag with a wider, more spacious internal laptop sleeve. Although I'm glad I found an alternative bag to take the laptop in, as other users might have to leave it behind if they don't own a big enough bag.

Dell G15 (2023) review: Ports

Dell G15 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
  • Above-average port selection
  • So-so port distribution

Putting the missing SD card slot aside, there is little else you could ask from the G15 in regards to ports. The laptop features 3 USB-A ports, a USB-C port, an HDMI 2.1 port, an Ethernet port, a 3.5mm audio jack and a power input port.

The inclusion of a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A would have been great, but the Type-C USB port can handle 10Gbps transfer speeds, which is why it's not a huge deal. The port selection, while mostly generous, could have been distributed better. Kudos to Dell for putting the HDMI port and Type-C USB with Display Port on the back, but there is one additional port I’d love to see back here.

Ethernet saved me from hours of waiting when downloading games with large file sizes like Cyberpunk 2077 and Alan Wake 2, but it was awkward hooking up to it because it was on the laptop's left side. A rear-facing Ethernet port is much cleaner and convenient, as is a more balanced distribution of Type-A USB ports. 

The two USB ports on the right are too close together, making it impossible to use both ports when I tried connecting a USB mouse dongle and an SD card reader. Spacing out the ports or placing the second USB Type-A port on the left side would have solved the issue. 

Dell G15 (2023) review: Display and audio

Dell G15 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
  • High refresh rate with even faster options
  • Lackluster display compared to other gaming laptops  

Our review unit had a 15.6-inch FHD display (1,920 x 1,080 resolution) with a 165Hz refresh rate. The best part about this display is the refresh rate. Many of the games I played had frame rates that were comfortably above 100 frames per second (FPS) — a higher framerate makes for smoother gameplay and faster reactions. The 3-millisecond response time was also good for shooters like Fortnite, though I'm not one to notice the subtle differences in response times unless it's 20 milliseconds or higher. Besides that, I didn't find other positive things to say about this display. 

The bezels were too thick, the display hinge too bulky, the plastic shell too flimsy, and the colors were far from the vibrant hues I experienced with the Razer Blade 14 (2023), which had a lively QHD+ display with great color accuracy. Playing Cyberpunk 2077 and Alan Wake 2, both games with many dark environments, the screen's portrayal of dark hues suffered in any amount of light.

The display's brightness and color accuracy are so-so. Every other laptop display in the table below had a higher average brightness and better Delta-E scores. To be fair, the G15 was second to the Razer Blade 14 when it came to sRGB and DCI-P3 color accuracy scores, but overall, I was unimpressed. 

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Display test results
Header Cell - Column 0 Dell G15Razer Blade 14 (2023)Asus ROG Zephyrus G14Alienware m17 R5 (2022)
Nits (brightness)323465473435

With large speaker grills that take up a significant chunk of the laptop surface, you'd expect loud, crispy audio They are, indeed, loud, but they are just as tinny as you’d expect laptop speakers to be. I was much more interested in the inclusion of the Dolby Access app, which this laptop is supposed to be compatible with. 

I wasn't happy having to pay $15 to use it. Nor was I happy when I tried to listen to Dolby Atmos-certified music on Tidal, as neither app ever made it clear if the integration was working. I suppose some credit is due because when I turned on one of the Dolby Atmos EQ profiles, I heard an audible difference. Was that difference in sound worth the money? No, and it didn't improve my experience with this laptop.

Dell G15 (2023) review: General Performance

  • Comprehensive performance mode options
  • Surprisingly good for work

Throwing care out the window, I decided to pack up the G15 to use at work for several days, and I enjoyed using it for everything from writing articles, surfing the web, and having Zoom meetings. 

Whether it was plugged in or running on batteries, the Dell G15 deftly handled whatever I threw at it, even when I had Tidal running in the background and two Edge windows running side-by-side with 10-20 tabs open on each window. However, it was awkward to type on the offset keyboard, and I couldn't be too far from the power supply since the battery life was not ideal (more on that later). And taking it to work was a hassle to begin with.

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General performance results
Header Cell - Column 0 Geekbench 5 multi-core CPU25GB file copy speed testHandbrake video editing time
Dell G1510,3111,470 Mbps5:25
Razer Blade 14 (2023)11,1211,230 Mbps4:45
Alienware m17 R5 (2022)9,8511,766 Mbps5:30
Asus ROG Zephyrus G1410,0041,260 Mbps5:48
Alienware x14 (2022)13,3531,156 Mbps5:04

In our performance testing, the G15 was inconsistent. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't amazing either. For example, in the Geekbench 5 multi-core CPU, the G15 had the third-best score out of the laptops listed above — the year-old Alienware x14 blew it out of the water.

The laptop also fell right in the middle when testing Handbrake video editing times, which provides a good estimate of the computer's ability to render video. Lastly, the G15 had the second-best score in the 25GB file copy speed test. In the end, the Dell G15 was very middle of the road, a prevalent theme for the laptop across multiple categories.

Dell G15 (2023) review: Gaming Performance

Dell G15 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
  • Nearly seamless, high-frame rate gaming
  • Outclassed my reigning top gaming laptop pick

I have a lot of gripes when it comes to the Dell G15. Gaming isn't one of them.

With an RTX 4060 GPU, I wasn't expecting the G15 to perform as well as the Razer Blade 14, let alone perform better than my top gaming laptop of this year. And yet, I was wrong. The best-looking game of the year, Alan Wake 2, which I didn't think this laptop could do a good job of running, ran very well. The game looked gorgeous. Creepy, yes, but gorgeous with lifelike textures and lighting. The game ran at a comfortable 147 FPS with custom medium-to-high settings and DLSS 3.5 (balanced) and frame generation turned on. There was a bit of graining/noise when turning the camera too fast, but I wasn't put off by it.

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Frames per second (@ 1080p)
Header Cell - Column 0 Dell G15Razer Blade 14Alienware m17 R5
Assassin's Creed Valhalla97102112
Cyberpunk 207777N/AN/A
Grand Theft Auto V9199103

Cyberpunk 2077 ran at 143 FPS, also with medium to high settings and DLSS 3.5 and frame generation turned on. Compared to the Razer Blade 14, which had a better RTX 4070 GPU and ran the game at 95 FPS, the Dell G15's performance was a pleasant surprise. The game looked better than it ever has before, with smooth frame rates that rarely chugged when zipping through the streets or running between large open spaces and crowded alleys. Of course, the new 2.0 update for Cyberpunk 2077, as well as the updated DLSS 3.5 did a lot of the heavy lifting, but I truly wasn't expecting a gaming experience nearly this good.

Another game, which was just recently released, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, also ran exceedingly well. I ran the game with medium setting and DLSS set to balanced, resulting in an average FPS of 101. The framerate wasn't as high as I expected because it only has the option for DLSS 2 and doesn't offer DLSS 3.5 frame generation.

Overall, however, there's not a ton I'd ask for in the gaming department. The three graphically intensive games I played — along with indie titles and "Fortnite" — ran much better than I anticipated, and though the fans were louder than I liked, it was nothing a pair of headphones couldn't fix. 

Dell G15 (2023) review: Keyboard and touchpad

Dell G15 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
  • Offset keyboard awkward for productivity tasks
  • LED backlighting is limited

There's little to say about the G15's keyboard besides that it's functional. The keys have a standard keyboard feel, which is to say that the keys have little travel with a small tactile bump. When using it to write for long periods, it was mostly comfortable. The bottom edge of the laptop didn't dig into my forearms as with other laptops.

My main issue was with the placement of the keyboard. The addition of a number pad on the right side shifted all the keys to the left, a decision that resulted in awkward hand placement and many typos. 

I simply can't comprehend why this laptop would need a number pad. I certainly didn't use it, and unless a prospective buyer is planning to use this for gaming and accounting, I don't see many others using it as well. Without this pad, the keyboard surface may have looked too sparse, so perhaps that's why. However, it didn't sit well with me. 

The other two issues I noticed weren't a bother to me, though I suspect they might be for others. The backlit keys are the first issue. Though I care little for smart LED features that can change the color of the backlit keys based on certain profiles, I know others, especially gamers, do care. The model I received for testing offered only one backlit color, orange. Aside from dimming the keys or toggling them on, there are no other settings to adjust. For $50 more, Dell offers an upgraded keyboard with four zones of keyboard lighting. 

Finally, the last issue had to do with the trackpad. Again, the trackpad was too close to the keyboard, which got in the way while I was typing and caused me to accidentally move the mouse with my palm many times. On top of that, the G15's trackpad was very small relative to the size of the laptop, which is a result of the large speaker grills pushing the keyboard further down. This wasn't an issue for me, as I much prefer using a mouse, but I could see this being a problem if a user is stuck with just the trackpad. 

Dell G15 (2023) review: Software

  • Minimally invasive bloatware 

Unlike the Alienware m17 R5, the G15 features minimal bloatware. The Alienware Command Center is the only software users need to worry about.

This software handles the laptop's performance modes and keyboard lighting options, if available. Users can overclock the GPU through this software or change the performance mode to unlock more of the CPU's and GPU's power. It's also possible to change the performance mid-game through the barely noticeable software overlay button hiding on the very edge of the screen. Alternatively, users can hit the "G" key, or F9, to toggle "Game Shift" mode, a performance mode that kicks the fans into overdrive and pushes the CPU's performance. 

Dell G15 (2023) review: Battery life and heat

Dell G15 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
  • Gargantuan power supply
  • Middling battery life

Before getting into battery life, I first have to talk about the elephant-sized power supply in the room. When I say it's huge, I'm not kidding. Several people I showed this to either gasped or laughed at its size. The closest thing I could compare it to is the power supply for the original Xbox 360, which looked like a solid block of gray cement and weighed about the same. 

This power supply is even bigger than that one, and it's supposedly meant to be carried around from place to place, which the Xbox 360's was not. When I put it in my carry-on bag, the power supply took up a considerable portion and weighed the bag down. While one might consider leaving the power supply behind when taking the laptop out for a spin, I'd reconsider that notion since the battery isn't great.

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Battery test results (gaming)
Header Cell - Column 0 Time (hours:mins)
Dell G150:59
Razer Blade 14 (2023) 1:46
Alienware M17 R5 (2022)1:01
Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022)1:00

According to Dell, the G15 has a max battery life of 6 hours and 31 minutes. However, this battery life rating is for a G15 model with slightly different specs than mine which was tested in a vacuum. Our testing revealed that battery life was closer to 5 hours and 51 minutes when surfing the web and doing general productivity tasks. When it came to gaming, the G15 lasted 59 minutes before giving out. 

In my personal testing, the laptop lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes when using it for web surfing. Granted, I used testing conditions that reflect my likely use case, meaning I had the laptop set to balanced mode in the Alienware Command Center with the display and keyboard set to full brightness. I found that choosing any other performance mode below the balanced plan resulted in sluggish performance.  

When it comes to heat, I commend Dell for the cooling design. The laptop wasn't uncomfortable to the touch like some others I've reviewed, and setting it down on my lap to surf the web didn't make me want to decrease the A/C, either. It didn't get as hot as another large gaming laptop, the Alienware m17 R5. The hottest part of the laptop was the underside, which got up to 132 F while gaming and 106 F while surfing the web. It's not the best, but for a laptop this size, it's not bad either.

Dell G15(2023) review: Verdict

Not all gaming laptops are built the same. Some are portable, others are powerhouses for productivity and gaming, and some are good at everything, especially gaming. Then there are laptops like the G15, which seems to be good for gaming only. 

It's much too big, too noisy, and too flimsy to lug around for work — its display doesn't make it ideal for video editing, the offset keyboard makes typing awkward, and the battery life is disappointing. If you're the type of person who wants to use this as their everyday laptop, there are many issues you'll have to overlook to enjoy this laptop and feel like you made a good purchase. 

The Razer Blade 14, for example, is more expensive, but it has a nicer display, more unique features, and similar gaming performance that is all enwrapped in a portable and sturdy metal case. The Alienware m17 R5 is another option if you're looking for a similarly sized laptop at a more affordable price — it starts at $1,099 and comes with a last-gen RTX 3050 GPU.

Now, if playing games at home is what you're mainly going to use a laptop for, the Dell G15 is an attractive option. The laptop does come in fun colors and plays games at a level similar to more expensive gaming laptops. More importantly, for $1,509, you get a great CPU and a GPU that can leverage AI to increase gaming performance past what the laptop can deliver purely on hardware. Though I'd recommend waiting to possibly purchase a better laptop that's a little higher in price, the G15 isn't a bad pick so long as you're okay with compromising on everything but gaming performance.