How casual is too casual? That’s what I tried figuring out while using Dell’s latest Inspiron 15 gaming laptop.
During a media presentation, Dell repeatedly emphasized how this large notebook isn’t for hardcore gamers. Strange, because that isn’t the impression you get when you first hold the bulky Inspiron 15.
Fortunately, I got to review one for a couple of weeks, and was able to answer a load of questions along the way.
What exactly is this?
The Dell Inspiron 15 we have here is a 15-inch gaming notebook for casual gamers. To be specific, this has a model number of 7566, and is the most affordable of Dell’s mobile gaming line at PhP 49,990 or about $1,000.
What’s it meant for?
Our unit has an Intel Core i5-6300HQ processor, 4GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960m. If these specs make sense to you, you already know what you’re in for. If not, rest assured this is good enough to play all the lightweight games you have, as well as handle light video editing.
But, how about more taxing games like The Witcher 3?
Trust me, I’ve thrown that and more at this laptop, but every single graphical setting must be turned down significantly to get acceptable gameplay. Playing at the screen’s native Full HD resolution is tough enough for the components; expecting mid- to high-level graphics is another issue altogether.
As an example, I managed to play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with an average frame rate of 40 frames per second, and that came after fine-tuning most gameplay settings to Medium. Turning on stuff like hair and shadow details is out of the question. On the other hand, less heavy games like Life is Strange and The Witness weren’t as difficult to run, even on higher graphics settings.
Will it last long enough to finish a movie?
Surely, but don’t expect endurance as long as, say, a featherweight convertible or tablet. Those compact computers have much more energy-efficient Core M processors, and don’t rely on a separate graphics card to power the visuals (and sap the battery).
In my experience, I could get as many as seven hours of use on a single charge when I simply surfed the web and wrote this review. It also helps that the storage for the base model is 1TB, providing you with enough space to save large games and movies.
So, you can use this for something other than games?
Yes, it has more than enough horsepower for any non-gaming tasks, but there’s a downside: Weighing in at 2.6kg — which is quite heavy for a low-powered gaming laptop — you won’t enjoy keeping this on your lap for long periods. It’s also 38.4cm in length, 27.4cm in width, and has a thickness of 25mm, so good luck finding a bag that can accommodate this.
Do I at least get a headphone jack?
Yes, definitely, along with several other connectivity options: HDMI 2.0, Ethernet, SD card reader, three full-sized USB 3.0 ports, and a DVD drive. Dell also made its bottom easy to open up, so adding memory or storage takes a few simple steps.
Is there anything else I should know?
As expected of a non-IPS display, the viewing angles of the TN panel are pretty bad. You’ll enjoy looking at the screen straight on, but anyone in the vicinity will have to adjust to get a better view. And although Dell was generous enough to add a subwoofer underneath to complement the front-firing stereo speakers, it had difficulty handling explosions from intense movie scenes. This made it hard to set the perfect volume; it either sounded broken or far too quiet.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
It’s difficult to categorize this gaming notebook. It’s easily more powerful than those slim $500 to $900 laptops you find in shops, but you can barely call it a computer good enough for actual gaming.
I’d normally go straight to recommending the higher-end model — which has a faster Core i7 chipset, Ultra HD resolution, and a much more efficient 256GB SSD for the operating system — but it again settles for a GTX 960m graphics card. That’s still not enough to future-proof yourself for newer games, and it costs a lot more at PhP 69,990 or around $1,400.
This brings me back to an article I wrote highlighting the weaknesses of gaming notebooks. All those points apply here, but the opening line matters the most.
If you must have a Windows 10 gaming device during your travels and every cent counts, the Inspiron 15 is for you — just don’t expect much out of it when game requirements become hungrier a year later.
You can soon trade and send gifts with friends on Pokémon Go
The feature we’ve all been waiting for
Pokémon Go is nearing its second anniversary in July, but before that, its developers have some treats to keep us happy.
A major update will roll out later this week that’ll allow trainers to add real-world friends to trade Pokémon and items with. A system involving Trainer Codes will be used, wherein you have to share a unique code in order to send friend requests.
What’s more special is the chance to send special gifts. By spinning Photo Discs at a PokéStop or Gym, there’s a chance of earning a gift, which you can send to anyone on your friends list. If the receiver is lucky, an egg that could hatch an “Alolan form of a Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region” might be inside the package.
Even better is the ability to trade Pokémon like on the older games — finally! Doing so requires Stardust and a trainer level of at least 10, but you get bonus Candy for every successful transaction. The only catch is that certain Pokémon, such as Legendary or Shiny ones, require special conditions to trade, and these can only happen once a day with more Stardust involved.
But this isn’t just some social networking gimmick. By battling alongside online friends and sending them gifts or Pokémon, you can increase your friendship level for added bonuses, such as extra attack power during fights.
Truth be told, these are features that should’ve been released a long time ago. They’ve been demanded since the app first launched nearly two years ago and are only now being implemented.
I guess it’s better late than never, but it’s probably Niantic’s way of bringing former trainers back. Nintendo is doing the same thing by adding Pokémon Go integration into the Switch’s first Pokémon game. These tricks are certainly working on me!
WHO officially recognizes gaming addiction as a mental health disorder
Not everyone agrees with the inclusion
Gamers everywhere are in for the toughest boss fight of their lives.
Following an announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO), gaming disorder is now an officially recognized mental health sickness in the organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
The new classification adds the disorder to every physician’s repertoire of diagnoses. Yes, if you’re a gamer, doctors can diagnose you with gaming disorder.
According to the ICD, gaming disorder consists of symptoms spanning for at least 12 months. If you fear a diagnosis, gorging yourself on video games for a couple of days doesn’t count.
The disorder’s symptoms include impaired functioning in other aspects and a lack of control towards this behavior. As it is, the list of symptoms sounds remarkably similar to most addictions today.
The WHO assures gamers that the disorder pervades only a minority of the population. The diagnosis is not applicable for every gamer. However, the gaming populace and some physicians worry that the classification opens a Pandora’s box for mental health.
Gamers, of course, worry that it will stigmatize their hobbies even further. Currently, gaming is one of the most active industries for both leisure and eSports.
On the other hand, concerned physicians worry that this enables the medical field to create more strange conditions in the future. Some protest that the inclusion will trivialize gaming’s capabilities as a coping mechanism for other conditions.
Against this, the WHO states that the inclusion will increase awareness and research for gaming addiction. At the same time, opposing physicians insist that research should come before the inclusion.
Regardless of its inclusion, obsessive gaming is still an issue among today’s gamers. The incorporation will either increase awareness or stereotype its sufferers even further.
NEX is now, E3 2018 was a blast: Weekend Rewind
The future looks exciting!
Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.
1. NEX is now!
Launched alongside the World Cup 2018, Vivo nearly hit a hat trick by announcing two variants of the Vivo NEX. The Chinese company’s all-screen smartphone with an in-display fingerprint scanner is finally here in midrange and flagship forms. The midrange variant is powered by a Snapdragon 710 with 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage while the flagship is running on a Snapdragon 845 with 8GB RAM and up to 256GB of storage.
Speaking of the World Cup, here are four apps you can download to keep tabs on this major football tournament.
2. Samsung Galaxy S9 overtakes iPhone X in sales
X doesn’t mark the spot for the iPhone as the Samsung Galaxy S9 nabs the crown as best-selling smartphone according to the latest report from Counterpoint Research. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ captured a global market of 2.6 percent each against the iPhone X’s 2.3 percent. The report is dominated by Apple and Samsung phones but Xiaomi managed to crack the list with the Xiaomi Redmi 5A and Redmi 5 Plus
3. Xbox came out with a bang!
Microsoft arguably had the best conference at E3 2018 as their Xbox briefing was absolutely jam-packed: 50 games, 18 exclusives, 15 world premieres to be exact. Exclusives include Forza Horizon 4, Halo Infinite, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Also part of the announcement are Fallout 76, Kingdom Hearts 3, Devil May Cry 5, Jump Force, and Cyberpunk 2077.
4. PlayStation still king
Sony didn’t blow the competition out of the water but they still had plenty of interesting titles to keep E3 2018 attendees hooked. The company revealed new gameplay footage for previously announced titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man and Ghost of Tsushima, and also announced the remake of classic horror RPG Resident Evil 2. However, most people were buzzing over the trailer and gameplay footage for the Last of Us 2.
5. Nintendo looked to smash
Not to be outdone, Nintendo announced two major titles for the Nintendo Switch. Battle royale game Fortnite is finally coming and that alone could play a major role for the Switch’s growth, but they didn’t stop there. Every character to ever appear in Super Smash Bros. alongside new ones will make their way to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The characters are unlockable instead of being downloadable content. It doesn’t get any more ultimate than that.
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
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