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Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (7559) Review - Portable Gaming on a Budget

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Manufacturer: Dell

Overview

Dell has never exactly been a brand that gamers gravitate towards. While we have seen some very high quality products out of Dell in the past few years, including the new XPS 13, and people have loved their Ultrasharp monitor line, neither of these target gamers directly. Dell acquired Alienware in 2006 in order to enter the gaming market and continues to make some great products, but they retain the Alienware branding. It seems to me a gaming-centric notebook with just the Dell brand could be a hard sell.

However, that's exactly what we have today with the Dell Inspiron 15 7000. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-6300HQ and NVIDIA GTX 960M for $799, has Dell created a contender in the entry-level gaming notebook race?

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For years, the Inspiron line has been Dell's entry level option for notebooks and subsequently has a questionable reputation as far as quality and lifespan. With the Inspiron 15 7000 being the most expensive product offering in the Inspiron line though, I was excited to see if it could sway my opinion of the brand.

Click here to continue reading about the Dell Inspiron 15 7000!

Out of the box, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gives a positive impression of overall build. Constructed of a high quality plastic with a soft touch coating, the Inspiron 15 feels like a more premium product than one might expect from a $800 notebook.

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Both the keyboard and trackpad on the Inspiron 15 7000 are what I can best describe as completely adequate. Typing can feel a bit mushy at times, but I don't feel like it slowed me down in any measurable way. The trackpad works well most of the time, but can be a bit wonky with rejecting additional fingers that might be resting on it as you try to move the cursor around.

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One major qualm I do have with this notebook are the screen hinges. Under normal operation the hinges feel flimsy, but manage to keep the screen in place under most circumstances. The worry I have is for their longevity. The design of the hinges on the Inspiron 15 7000 seem to mirror what a lot of notebook manufacturers have been using in the past few years, and have been known to break under only moderate stress. While this ultimately may not effect a lot of users, I would really like to see a more sturdy hinge design on a higher-end offering like this notebook.

The most impressive thing with this machine is the amount of hardware you manage to get for the price. Let's dig in a bit further to what exactly Dell is offering.


January 26, 2016 | 02:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Love it. The past three gaming laptops I have bought have been Lenovo simply due to gaming-per-dollar. I'm glad to see Dell dip into this territory.

I assume due to it being GM107 instead of based on GM206 that HDMI 2.0 output is not present?

February 9, 2016 | 02:59 PM - Posted by Phil Smith (not verified)

A agree, in for couple of years Dell has been trying to break in the gaming space and happy to see that they have been able to cover quite a ground. What I also like about Dell ias they have started listening to the needs and requirements of the users and that is resulting in such awesome piece.

If you are in USA, Dell Inspiron 7559 which sold in USA as i7559 is the best you can get in this price category as a pretty decent gaming machine. Other than the price, I think 7559 is an elegant looking great gaming machine with pretty decent hardware. This perfectly suits the needs of those who can’t afford to burn their wallet, but still want to have fun playing the latest games on the go– if not on the highest, then at least on medium settings. I have checked couple of detailed reviews videos of gaming laptops here on https://fanreviews.co/gaming

January 26, 2016 | 02:56 PM - Posted by punkUser (not verified)

Seriously, single channel DRAM in a "gaming" laptop? I get that it's price sensitive and users can at least add a second DIMM here, but some of these decisions are becoming a bit tiresome.

January 26, 2016 | 03:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

For a gaming rig with a dedicated GPU, it doesn't make a difference.

January 26, 2016 | 06:13 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

It's true that in MOST cases, dual channel memory on this platform isn't going to make a noticeable "real world" performance difference. I'd rather than a single 8GB in this case than dual 4GB, giving me the ability to upgrade over the next 6 months as memory continues to fall.

January 26, 2016 | 08:11 PM - Posted by punkUser (not verified)

In that case you could easily argue that the CPU is overkill then. You're already using slower DDR3L vs DDR4 and in workloads that are truly driving all four of those cores near peak I'm pretty sure you'd see a noticeable difference. And yeah, those workloads are probably not games, but the point stands.

January 30, 2016 | 03:44 PM - Posted by Thordrune (not verified)

I upgraded mine with a second 8 GB module, mainly because I'm OCD and wanted dual-channel. If there are any tests you would like me to do with single-channel vs dual, let me know.

January 30, 2016 | 05:15 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The ability to add a stick in the future is more important to me

January 26, 2016 | 03:04 PM - Posted by @BlueLED (not verified)

A couple of questions -- Can you swap the Wi-Fi module for a 2x2 or 3x3? Is the LCD glossy or mat? I'm very interested in this model, it really is compelling -- especially with the increase battery life.

January 26, 2016 | 03:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"Personally, I prefer the default, non-touch 1080p display option since it brings increased battery life, and also maintains a matte finish."

Englash, muthafukka! Do you speak it?!?

January 26, 2016 | 05:20 PM - Posted by Jan (not verified)

What?

January 26, 2016 | 06:32 PM - Posted by nathanddrews

Pretty sure it's a reference to Pulp Fiction:
https://youtu.be/HbvYeLxMKN8

January 26, 2016 | 08:59 PM - Posted by @BlueLED (not verified)

Matte finish on the body or the screen, I heard what he said. Wouldn't have commented if I didn't already watch the video. I'm assuming you're saying the screen is a matte finish.

January 26, 2016 | 06:12 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I don't think you can. There is only a single antennae connected to that wireless card for Wi-Fi, the other is for Bluetooth. It's possible that you could use the BT antennae for the second part of a 2x2 Wi-Fi config...but I can't say for sure.

January 26, 2016 | 09:02 PM - Posted by @BlueLED (not verified)

This might be a stupid question, but is the Wi-Fi card an M.2 connector or something else? I have made the mistake of ordering the wrong replacement part when fixing others notebooks when their Wi-Fi would not work. Reason I'm asking is I don't think any spec sheets will show that. Also, that allows us to determine what types of modules can be placed in that slot.

January 30, 2016 | 03:32 PM - Posted by Thordrune (not verified)

Yes, you can. I put an Intel 7265AC card in mine, works fine. If you don't mind some disassembly, you can purchase an additional antenna and upgrade it to 3x3.

The base 1920x1080 panel is matte/no touch, whereas the 3840x2160 upgrade has glass over it (it's also a touchscreen).

January 26, 2016 | 07:42 PM - Posted by razor512

With many hinges of that design, the screws loosen over time. You eventually have to take the laptop apart partially in order to tighten them, if you do not, then you reach a point where not enough of the threads are gripping, and it ends up breaking the mount of for the hinge (super glue will not fix that).

Overall, laptop makers need to design their laptops around users servicing them. Things like moving parts and heatsinks should have easy access for servicing.

January 26, 2016 | 08:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

They need to fix their motherboard problems and warranty issue, seem like when the warranty runs out, that's the life expectancy of the product.

January 27, 2016 | 08:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Every year you can go back and add another year onto your warranty for @ $100 until you have added the 5th year.

If something goes wrong, I add on a year, then call it in and get it repaired under warranty. Easy.

January 26, 2016 | 10:39 PM - Posted by biohazard918

On the table on page two it lists 64 across the board for the display what does this number refer to?

January 27, 2016 | 05:26 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That's one Hell of a deal for $799

January 27, 2016 | 05:42 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Oh nos...Major quality control issues reported by owners on Amazon...guess you get what you pay for...this thing is junk.

January 27, 2016 | 08:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Lots of Dell haters out there. I have owned MANY Dells and the 7000 series is always the best quality short of an XPS.

January 27, 2016 | 12:53 PM - Posted by madhatter256 (not verified)

Great bang for the buck. Is there an I7 CPU option for this dell laptop and if you can get a m.2 SSD installed with OS and a 1TB for mass storage?

I still love my Lenovo Y510P with SLI 750m GPUs, which handle today's games at high setting dishing them out at 40+ FPS.

For the question regarding replacing the WiFi card, it is very likely that DELL has white listed wifi cards for their laptops and any aftermarket wifi card will not work.

That's the only drawback for my lenovo is that it is still sporting a wireless N wifi card and I cannot upgrade to a wireless AC card.

January 30, 2016 | 03:39 PM - Posted by Thordrune (not verified)

There is an option for an i7 CPU. You can install your own M.2 SSD, as long as it's SATA based. It apparently doesn't support PCIe M.2 SSDs (I was looking forward to dropping in a Samsung 950 Pro :().

I bought mine on Amazon in November and it came with a 256 GB SanDisk Z400s M.2 SSD. I then put a 2 TB mechanical drive in the empty 2.5" bay. No problems.

As for WiFi, I haven't seen anything mentioning whitelists with this particular model. While I don't have a stockpile of M.2 cards to test with, I had zero issues upgrading it to an Intel 7265AC.

September 20, 2016 | 03:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I had that exact lenovo laptop! Anyway, if you want to switch your network card, back then I found a "homebrew" bios on the web that removed the white list. Upgraded to a Killer Wireless 1535. Look around dor custom bios if you still wanna upgrade your network card

September 20, 2016 | 03:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

here is the link for y510p custom, unlocked bios, I went back to my
old bookmarks :-)

https://www.techinferno.com/

index.php?/forums/topic/3546-lenovo-y410p-y510p-unlocked-bios-wlan-whitelist-mod-vbios-mod/

had to cut the link because of pcper spam filter bu it is not a spam!!!

January 28, 2016 | 04:56 AM - Posted by Robert (Visitor) (not verified)

The notebook that could.

It has very good specs for the price. Let's forget about Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort over USB-C.
And even casual/entry level gamers always went elsewhere for their fix than to the Inspiron range.

But, for the non-gamers
No DisplayPort 1.2 port equals no 4K@60Hz external monitor, or 2 daisy chained QHD@60Hz monitors.
No HDMI 2.0 port equals no 4K@60Hz external monitor.

DEAL BREAKER!

Sad really if you know about this: http://www.displayport.org/cables/driving-multiple-displays-from-a-singl...

January 28, 2016 | 01:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I was just looking at the laptop on dell's website and right now they have coupon code that takes an additional 50 bucks off. I don't know how long the code will be around. The code is listed on there somewhere. For 750 bucks, this laptop is an insane deal. Take that lenovo

January 29, 2016 | 11:08 AM - Posted by VeritronX (not verified)

Looked at getting this laptop, it costs $1698.99 AUD here in Australia.. dunno wtf is up with that. I think the low price might be a US only thing.

January 29, 2016 | 07:39 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

GSYNC 75Hz would have made this ideal.

Since we don't need a GSYNC module in laptops (due to the known screen specs), what's preventing GSYNC on every laptop with a new NVidia GPU?

There's no cost, so is it just taking time due to the design pipeline for new laptops or what?

January 30, 2016 | 03:42 PM - Posted by Thordrune (not verified)

Apparently the tradeoff is that you either get GSync or Optimus. Dell went with the latter.

January 30, 2016 | 06:43 AM - Posted by Dilip (not verified)

Anyone tell me is that upgradeble internal WiFi? and what SSD type will use in this laptop?
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-Inspiron-15-7559-Notebook-Review.15463...

according to this link

*Brightness Center - 276

*Contrast - 354

hope this is lower display level to compare other laptop brands. so this will affect display performance?

can any one explain clearly?

Thanks

January 30, 2016 | 03:29 PM - Posted by Thordrune (not verified)

Yes, you can upgrade the WiFi card - it uses an M.2 slot. I swapped mine out for an Intel 7265AC. If you don't mind some disassembly and buying an additional antenna, you can upgrade it to a 3x3 setup.

As for an SSD, it has an M.2 2280 slot for a SATA-based SSD (no PCIe), as well as a 2.5" bay. If you look at the picture in the review of it opened up, the M.2 2280 slot is between the battery and the left fan. I got mine from Amazon and it came with a 256 GB SanDisk Z400s in the M.2 slot. I then tossed a 2 TB mechanical drive in the 2.5" bay. Works great.

As for the review you linked to, I can't comment much there - that one uses a 3840x2160 screen, whereas mine has the base 1920x1080 one. While both are IPS, the color gamut is pretty low on them, especially the 1080 one (somewhere around high 40% AdobeRGB, low 60% sRGB). For me, it's acceptable as I'm not doing any photo/video editing on it - just web browsing and gaming. I haven't had any issues with brightness indoors, I usually have to turn it down a little bit.

I bought mine in November to replace an Inspiron E1705 that I bought in February 2006 (it's still going!). Other than the clickpad, which I hate, it's been a fantastic upgrade in every way.

February 1, 2016 | 06:12 AM - Posted by Dilip (not verified)

Thanks for your good explanation and quick reply Thordrune.

me too want to replace my 6 years old Dell Inspiron 1464. so i have to buy this in few months.

am hardcore gamer so its need maximum brightness even though hope this brightness enouth

i see the 3 vents in this model
how about cooling? is this enough for continues 5 to 6 hours of games use. did you get any warm.

as you said i want to assemble

can you suggest best reliable brands to this

1) 1tb 7200 rpm 2.5 bay
2) 512 GB ssd
3) 802.11 AC wifi card with linux injection support(atheros chipset).

some people spotted the wifi issues in this model.

February 21, 2016 | 03:22 AM - Posted by Thordrune (not verified)

Sorry for the late reply, I forgot about this.

There's 3 vents and 2 fans (the left fan blows out of 2 vents). I just checked the keyboard surface with my cheapo infrared thermometer, the hottest area was around the F12 key - ~45 C. That was with the GPU running Folding@Home for several days with the screen completely closed (and thus insulating the keyboard surface somewhat). To me, it didn't feel uncomfortable touching it. The underside was slightly cooler at the hottest spot (middle), everywhere else was room temperature.

The GPU on mine maxes out around 60 C while running Folding@Home on my desk (as I write this, the 960M is running at 58 C at 96-99% load, 23 C ambient). When gaming on my lap, it goes anywhere between 62-74 C, depending on how much I choke off the fans. That's plenty of thermal headroom to try your hand at overclocking, which I hear the GPU does pretty well at (I haven't tried it...yet ;) ).

The CPU on mine tends to run a bit on the hot side when stressed, although I think there might be thermal paste application issues (two coworkers bought the same laptop around the same time, I tested one of them myself and the CPU in it ran much cooler than mine under Linpack). Two of the cores on mine run about 10-12 C hotter than the others when running full blast, and it's not hard to push them above 80 C. The cooling system seems to do a good job isolating that heat though, it doesn't translate to "burning hot lap". At some point, I'll take mine apart and try reapplying the thermal paste. Even with the CPU running well above 80 C, it doesn't seem to throttle - it sat happily at 2.8 GHz with Handbrake running all four cores at 100%.

For hard drives, an HGST Travelstar seems to be your only option for that size and speed. I've used 3 different Travelstar 7K drives in my old Inspiron and had zero issues with all of them, so I have no reservations with recommending them. I put a 2 TB Seagate/Samsung 5400 RPM drive in mine to hold my Steam collection and some movies.

For SSDs, there doesn't seem to be too many retail options for SATA-based M.2 SSDs. It looks like your best bet for that would be either the Crucial MX200, or Samsung 850 Evo (SanDisk X-series would work as well, if you can find one). Make sure you DON'T get a Samsung XP941, SM951, 950 Pro, or any other PCIe M.2 drive! If you get a 2.5" one instead, then there's tons of options (but then, no mechanical drive).

I haven't had any wifi issues with mine since updating the UEFI a week or two after I got it. Back then, it had an issue with the laptop slowing to a crawl after coming out of sleep. Since then, it's worked fine. I haven't tried running Linux on it though, so I can't help you there.

If you want a laptop that comes with the three criteria that you listed, you might have to look at a Clevo reseller (Sager, Eurocom, etc). They tend to have lots of options for each component. There are some smaller vendors out there that sell laptops that come with various Linux distros, although I have no familiarity with them. Presumably, those ones would be less likely to have compatibility issues.

Good luck!

March 3, 2016 | 12:39 AM - Posted by Dilip (not verified)

Hi Thordrune,

Thanks for your such a wonderful reply.

you have explained almost everything. HDD,SSD,GPU,Temperature,WiFi.

coming April Nvidia pascal GPU will be release, am just confusing now between Maxwell and pascal.

but i hope after pascal release Maxwell price slightly reduce.

yes sager have lots of options in custom build.am in India.
sager customize laptop price is good. but shipping/Import cost seems to be little high. i would like to buy asus/msi but in my country there is no msi authorized service center.no asus high end laptops here. am frustrated.
so that i looking for other brand like dell.

if am live in USA and i must get laptop from sager.

Thanks
@Dilip

February 4, 2016 | 06:42 AM - Posted by scajjr2

Got one of these a couple days ago. Great for what I need it for (web, videos, Steam games). Got the 256Gb SSD model through Amazon, $799. Added another 8Gb memory, put a 128Gb 2.5" SSD in the other drive bay. May add the 7265 wifi card to boost through-put.

No complaints with the keyboard or trackpad, no better nor no worse than other low end laptops I've used. Excellent bang for the buck.

It's not a high end gaming laptop so those expecting that kind of performance/features really need to read the specs before they buy.

February 22, 2016 | 09:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

great job guys on the review , so good that I bought one . Good machine for the money . Thanks to all who wrote this and thanks to Ryan for the good vid review

March 5, 2016 | 03:39 PM - Posted by scajjr2

I ended up returning the i5 model and getting the i7 for $699 through a Dell special though the SlickDeals site. I put in a 850 Evo 256Gb M.2, replaced the 1Tb HDD with a 500Gb 850 Evo, kept the 8Gb ram module and the 7265 wifi card I had gotten for the i5 model and added them to the i7 one.

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