Let’s talk budget gaming notebooks. What do you value most in your gaming laptop? Is it the performance? Or perhaps you need a fast-refresh rate display, that just looks smoother than real life? Or are you in a position, that you would take everything that would let you play games, no matter how bad it is?

Well, this is where manufacturers are trying to step their game. And honestly, they are managing to do so very well. Just look at the Pavilion Gaming series from HP, the Legion 5 from Lenovo, or Acer’s Nitro 5. How about Dell, though. Thanks to their Alienware subbrand, they will always have a chunky portion of the gaming segment of the market. However, their game on the lower tiers doesn’t happen to be particularly impressive.

Let’s see how they aim to change that with their brand new (or is it?) Dell G3 15 3500. What we can tell you right now is that it comes with up to the Core i7-10750H and can be configured with an RTX 2060. Additionally, it has three display options, including 60Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz panels. Of course, picking the top end of each feature would result in a no-longer-budget-friendly price tag, but on the bright side, it is good to know you have options.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-g3-15-3500/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell G3 15 (3500) – Specs


HDD/SSD

up to
1000GB SSD + up to 1000GB HDD


OS


No OS, Windows 10 Home


Battery


51Wh, 3-cell, 68Wh, 4-cell


Dimensions


365.5 x 254 x 21.6 mm (14.39″ x 10.00″ x 0.85″)


Body material


Plastic / Polycarbonate

Ports and connectivity

  • 2x USB Type-A 2.0
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.1 (3.1 Gen 2)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.1 (3.1 Gen 2), Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Displayport mini
  • Card reader SD
  • Ethernet LAN 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac/ax
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Audio jack 3.5 Combo Jack

Features

  • Fingerprint reader optional
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone Dual Array Digital Microphone
  • Speakers 2 Speakers, Nahimic 3D Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, we found nothing particularly interesting, apart from the laptop, itself, the mandatory useless manuals and a 130W power brick (GTX 1660 Ti models and above are sold with a 240W adapter).

Design and construction

Once again, we are talking about an all-plastic build, which is not of the highest quality, but for the price – it’s not bad. This device is 21.6-23.3mm thick for the GTX 1650 Ti version (and below), and 21.6-26.6mm thick for the more powerful models. Additionally, the weight is 2.56 kg for the former and the 2.58 kg for the latter, which is kind of on the heavy side of the scale. By the way, the lid cover has a matte finish, which repels fingerprints, while the base is glossy and super prone to smudges.

It is almost possible to open the lid with a single hand, and the hinges are mounted close to the middle of the chassis. Ultimately, this means there is quite some flex coming from them, and you should really try to avoid picking the laptop by its lid. Nevertheless, the bezels are thin and the laptop feels fresh in 2020.

As of the base, as we mentioned the material is plastic and quite honestly looks exactly the same as that on the more expensive Dell G5 15 5500. However, instead of embossed, the logo of the series in the top left corner seems to be printed. Then again, there is a fingerprint reader, embedded within the Power button, and the keyboard seems decent – good key travel and somewhat clicky feedback. Plus, it has a blue backlight as well as a number pad.

Sadly, though, the cheaper build can be felt through typing, as the base has some flex. And while the touchpad feels decent, it has an annoying clearance, most notably felt in the bottom part, which results in a millimeter of dead space. It’s nothing dramatic, but this doesn’t make it less annoying.

Then, on the bottom plate, we see the same layout as last year with the rather narrow ventilation grills and the thick speaker cutouts. Once again, the hot air is exhausted from two locations on the backside of the base, and half of the air is aimed towards the bottom corners of the lid.

Ports

On the left side, you got the power plug, an HDMI 2.0 connector, a USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port, an RJ-45 connector, and a USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 2) port with DisplayPort capabilities (only on GTX 1650 Ti models, while GTX 1660 Ti and above get Thunderbolt 3). Then on the right, you will find two USB Type-A 2.0 ports, an audio jack, and an SD card reader.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

There are 10 Phillips-head screws holding the bottom panel in place. Note that the back four of them remain attached, and act as a lever that lifts the plate after you unscrew them. Naturally, you want to start the prying process from there.

Looking at the cooling, we see that everything here comes in pairs. There is a pair of fans, a pair of heat sinks, and a pair of heat pipes. Both of them are used to cool down the CPU and the GPU, and there are further heat spreaders for the VRMs and the graphics memory.

Although Dell’s official specs sheet shows, that the maximum memory supported is 16GB of DDR4 in dual-channel, we are pretty confident you can equip it with up to 32GB. As of the storage, our unit comes with a 2.5-inch SATA drive bay, as well as an M.2 2230/2280 PCIe x4 slot.

Not in the last place, there is the battery, which on our model has a capacity of 51Wh. However, there are units that are sold with a 68Wh pack.

Display quality

Dell G3 15 3500 comes with a Full HD IPS panel, model number 156CL05-6NY3H (NCP0035). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 142 ppi, their pitch – 0.18 x 0.18 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 60 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Viewing angles are good. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 235 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 215 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 13%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 7000K (average) – colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 58% Brightness (White level = 140 cd/m2, Black level = 0.11 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1300:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Dell G3 15 3500’s color gamut coverage.

Its display is limited just to 57% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Dell G3 15 3500 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 25 ms.

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Dell G3 15 3500’s backlight is not PW-modulated above 60 nits of brightness. Generally, this won’t be a problem, but considering most people are most likely to use their notebooks in a dark environment, the 1050Hz flickerings would be rather unpleasant.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusions

Dell G3 15 3500’s display in this configuration has a 60Hz IPS panel with a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and good contrast ratio. Its backlight doesn’t flicker above 60 nits, which is good, but below that value, the flickers have a bit low frequency (1050Hz), which may be noticeable to some people. If you are one of them, and you tend to work or play games at nighttime, it won’t be a bad idea to check our Health-Guard profile. Other than that, the laptop has a modest color coverage and accuracy, rendering it impractical for design use.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for HP 15s (15s-eq0000) configurations with 15.6″ NCP0040 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work - screen profile

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard - screen profile

Health-Guard

THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

All

Sound

While the sound coming from Dell G3 15 3500’s speakers is relatively loud, the quality is not great. Its mid, low, and high tones have some deviations from clarity.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/g-series-15-3500-laptop/drivers

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with.

CPU options

This notebook can be purchased with the quad-core Core i5-10300H or the hexa-core Core i7-10750H.


GPU options

As far as the graphics cards go, there are the GTX 1650, GTX 1650 Ti, GTX 1660 Ti, and the RTX 2060 at your disposal.


Gaming tests

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i5-10300H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell G3 15 3500 3.70 GHz (B+48%) @ 97°C 3.53 GHz (B+41%) @ 97°C 3.32 GHz (B+33%) @ 95°C
Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i (15) 4.00 GHz (B+60%) @ 94°C 3.76 GHz (B+50%) @ 94°C 3.57 GHz (B+43%) @ 94°C
Acer Predator Triton 300 (PT315-52) 3.35 GHz (B+34%) @ 72°C 3.33 GHz (B+33%) @ 79°C 3.31 GHz (B+32%) @ 84°C

Yes, we see relatively high frequencies from this notebook, but at what expense? 95C at the end of the run at a clock speed, which is 250 MHz lower than that of the Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i (15).

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Turbo mode)
Dell G3 15 3500 1560 MHz @ 77°C 1453 MHz @ 79°C
ASUS ROG Strix G15 G512 1647 MHz @ 66°C 1626 MHz @ 70°C
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-55) 1628 MHz @ 74°C 1601 MHz @ 81°C
Acer Predator Triton 300 (PT315-52) 1581 MHz @ 70°C 1551 MHz @ 78°C 1673 MHz @ 66°C
ASUS TUF A15 (F506) 1566 MHz @ 68°C 1549 MHz @ 69°C

And in addition to that, we have a GPU which throttles as a mad man. The machine even needs to push the TGP down to 45W (5w down from the default) in order to maintain the heat.

Gaming comfort

Expectedly, this results in noisy fans and temperature on the keyboard of about 50C.

Verdict

Honestly, what is with all of the companies these days. Most of them are just pushing mere redesigns, instead of delivering true new models. Yes, you get the latest Intel CPUs (which to no surprise are a very minor improvement over the older models), Wi-Fi 6 support and that’s it. The cooling is not better, the hardware is barely a mild upgrade. Why don’t you just stick with the older devices, until you finally think of a better design?

Let’s start with the screen – Dell G3 15 3500’s display in this configuration has a 60Hz IPS panel (156CL05-6NY3H (NCP0035)) with a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and good contrast ratio. Its backlight doesn’t flicker above 60 nits, which is good, but below that value, the flickers have a bit low frequency (1050Hz), which may be noticeable to some people. If you are one of them, and you tend to work or play games at nighttime, it won’t be a bad idea to check our Health-Guard profile. Other than that, the laptop has a modest color coverage and accuracy, rendering it impractical for design use.

When it comes to the battery, we got nearly 8 hours of Web browsing and around 6 hours and 48 minutes of video playback. This is pretty decent for a gaming laptop. On the other side, the performance was just on par with the competition, but the laptop was fairly loud and gets pretty warm.

Indeed, you get SD card support, and if you purchase the more expensive models, you get Thunderbolt 3 (others are limited to USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 2)).

Honestly, we would prefer the ASUS TUF A15 (A506) with its superior processors and a more pleasant price tag (for what it offers). But if you are a fan of Dell, don’t hesitate – there is nothing particularly wrong with the machine, the problem is that we can’t consider it as a new model. It would be more suitable to call it the Dell G3 15 3590 2.0 or something.

Pros

  • Reasonably affordable gaming notebook
  • Decent battery life
  • SD card reader on board
  • Has a good contrast ratio and comfortable viewing angles (156CL05-6NY3H)
  • 144Hz IPS display options

Cons

  • Merely a hardware refresh
  • Not the greatest build quality
  • Covers only 57% of sRGB (156CL05-6NY3H)
  • Uses aggressive PWM below 60 nits (our Health-Guard profile fixes the issue) (156CL05-6NY3H)
  • Thunderbolt 3 is offered only to the more expensive models (equipped with GTX 1660 Ti and above)

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-g3-15-3500/





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