In every way except one, the Dell G16 (available from Dell) is a prototypical gaming laptop. This chunky chassis hides a high-end mobile gaming processor and a great mid-range graphics card beneath its corporate grey aluminium exterior, allowing it to run just about anything at maximum graphics on its 2K display. In exchange for some portability and battery life, the Dell G16 includes a lot of cooling hardware and doesn’t limit the power draw of its components. This gaming laptop is ideal for utility-oriented gamers who value performance over versatility.
Concerning the Dell G16
The following are the specifications of the laptop we tested:
Intel Core i7-12700H processor
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 graphics
16GB DDR5-4800 MHz RAM
SSD storage of 512GB
Display: 16-inch 2160 x 1440p @ 165Hz display with 100% sRGB coverage.
Ports include three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one Thunderbolt 4 port, one HDMI 2.1 port, one RJ45 Ethernet port, and one headphone/microphone jack.
Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connectivity
0.92MP, 1280 x 720p @ 30fps camera
Lithium-ion battery with an 86Whr capacity
5.95 pound weight
Dimensions: 14.06 x 10.71 x 1.03 inches
Limited warranty of one year
The Dell G16 is a mid-range gaming laptop with two major configuration options. The high-end Intel Core i7-12700H processor and the flagship Intel Core i9-12900H processor are both available.
We tested the $1,499 Core i7 configuration, but you can also downgrade the graphics card to a $1,339 Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti. For $2,185, the Core i9 version includes an Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, 32GB of memory, and 1TB of storage.
What we enjoy
This could be the most practical gaming laptop I’ve ever seen. The thick obsidian aluminium is so rigid that it appears to be able to withstand a brick to the lid with minimal damage. The 16-inch display occupies 85% of the lid’s real estate, and the laptop looks like any other Dell laptop when closed. It only shows its gamer colours when the keyboard’s garish, non-customizable RGB backlighting turns on. But its best feature is also one of its biggest flaws: it’s a big laptop.
Because central and graphics processors have become smaller, more efficient, and more powerful over time, bulkier laptop designs have become increasingly rare. In the case of the Dell G16, the extra space allows it to fit copper pipes and heat sinks, which keep the processors cooler than they would be in a thinner chassis, such as the Razer Blade 14.
The Dell G16’s essential hardware is easily accessible if you open the laptop from the bottom. It employs a standard M.2 2280 solid state storage drive and DDR5 memory, both of which can be replaced with third-party components.
The display is excellent for gaming.
The 165Hz refresh rate of the G16 1440p display makes everything look incredibly sharp and smooth. It could be a brighter screen, as it only has a peak brightness of 300 nits, but its full coverage of the standard RGB colour gamut ensures that its image is vivid and accurate. When compared to the latest OLED HDR displays on models like the HP Spectre x360 14, it feels a little underwhelming, but it’s miles ahead of most gaming laptops in its price range.
It outperforms expectations.
The Dell G16’s power brick can deliver up to 240 Watts of power, which is roughly ten times that of a MacBook and twice that of some power-limited gaming laptops. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 is a powerful graphics card with good ray tracing capabilities, but it’s not uncommon to find laptops with a low power draw limit. The Dell G16’s solid thermal design allows it to push its 3060 and Intel Core i7-12700H processors without fear of overheating the components.
So you want to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider in 1080p Ultra? It runs at 108 frames per second on the Dell G16 (fps). This laptop also holds its own against the notoriously demanding Cyberpunk 2077, running the game at 74 fps without ray tracing and 23 fps with ray tracing on the 1080p ultra graphics preset.
The MSI Delta 15, which uses a comparable AMD Radeon RX 6700M graphics card and a Ryzen 7 5700H processor, can run the game at 64 frames per second without ray tracing and 16 frames per second with ray tracing. Meanwhile, using an RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, the much more expensive (but thinner and lighter) Razer Blade 14 runs it at 74 frames per second without ray tracing and 33 frames per second with ray tracing.
The Dell G16 is ideal for more taxing cinematic masterpieces of gaming, such as Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, or The Medium, thanks to its excellent graphics performance and colourful 165Hz display. Even at maximum graphics settings, less demanding games like Fortnite and Final Fantasy XIV will run much closer to 165Hz.
Its central processor, the Intel Core i7-12700H, is no less powerful. This 14-core processor excels at CPU-intensive tasks such as model rendering and film editing. The Dell G16 is one of the fastest laptops available in synthetic benchmarks, scoring 16331 points in Cinebench’s multi-core test and 12441 points in Geekbench 5.
That’s hundreds of points higher than the MacBook Pro 16, and even a hundred points higher than the top-tier Acer Predator Triton 500 SE gaming laptop (all of the Dell G16’s cooling pays off). Desktop processors such as the Intel Core i7-12700K or AMD Radeon Ryzen 7 5800X are the only ones capable of outperforming the Dell G16’s.
It scored 1752 in Cinebench and 1770 in Geekbench for single-core performance. This is among the higher end of single-core performance scores, only outperformed by the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE’s Intel Core i9-12900H by a few hundred points.
If you’re curious about how it performs in real-world tasks, the Dell G16’s processor completed a Blender render in two minutes and 25 seconds. The scene was rendered in three seconds longer by the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE’s Core i9 processor, and two minutes and 58 seconds by the comparable Asus TUF Dash F15’s Intel Core i7-12650H processor. To get better performance, you’d need to upgrade to a laptop with an Intel Core i9-12900H processor or higher (for an apples-to-apples price comparison, Dell’s Core i9 variant of the G16 is about $600 more expensive at the time of writing).
It has a lovely RGB keyboard.
In the laptop’s Alienware keyboard controller software, you can change the RGB backlighting to almost any colour and pattern you want. (Awesome!) More important than the flashy lights, however, are the keys themselves, and it is here that Dell demonstrates why it is also a favourite brand among typists.
The keys are large, well spaced, easy to press, and have a snappy feel to them. There is no mushiness, and no missed inputs. It’s not as refined as the keyboard on the Dell XPS 13, but it’s a solid offering that hits the essentials.