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 $1,400.
This brings me back to an article I wrote highlighting the weaknesses of gaming notebooks. All those points apply here, but the opening line matters the most.
If you must have a Windows 10 gaming device during your travels and every cent counts, the Inspiron 15 is for you — just don’t expect much out of it when game requirements become hungrier a year later.
[irp posts=”4568″ name=”Dell refreshes XPS 13 with new color and faster processor”]
ASUS ROG Phone receives US pricing
Last piece of the puzzle
For the model with 128GB of storage, you’d have to shell out US$ 899. For the larger 512GB storage variant, the cost goes up to US$ 1,099. Both come with a high-end Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of memory.
Of course, there are accessories to go with it. First is the ROG Mobile Desktop Dock, which costs US$ 229; the ROG Phone Case retails for US$ 59; the ROG Professional Dock is valued at US$ 119; you can buy the ROG TwinView Dock for US$ 399; the ROG Gamevice Controller is at US$ 89; and lastly, the ROG WiGig Dock goes for US$ 329.
Those are a lot of accessories for one phone, but that’s what makes the ROG Phone a truly gamer-centric device.
As stated last week, the ROG Phone will hit US shores starting October 18, with other regions to follow soon after.
PlayStation’s PSN Online ID change coming soon
Full rollout coming early 2019!
You’ll soon be able to retire your DarkWarrior1214 PlayStation ID. In a blog post, Sony PlayStation said they will soon begin testing the PSN Online ID change feature as part of their preview program.
Beta testers part of the preview program will be able to change their PSN ID as much as they want. However, once the feature rolls out to everyone, only the first name change will be free. Succeeding name changes will cost US$ 9.99 for regular users.
PS Plus users will be charged a smaller fee of US$ 4.99. The online ID can be changed through the profile page on your PS4 or at the Settings menu. There’s also an option to display your old PSN ID alongside your new one so your friends can recognize you right away.
Not for all games
The feature isn’t available for all games, though. Only PS4 games published after April 1, 2018 along with other most-played titles that were published before that date will have the feature. PlayStation also warns that changing the ID might cause some issues with some games that can be fixed by reverting to the old ID. Here’s to hoping PlayStation finds a way to address those issues some time down the line.
The planned full rollout of the feature is in early 2019. What will be your new PSN Online ID?
Razer Phone 2 is a faster, more streamlined gaming smartphone
Truly flagship all around
Razer has been synonymous with gaming. Last year, they embraced the mobile gaming scene with the launch of their own smartphone simply called the Razer Phone. This paved the way for the popularity of gaming smartphones and other manufacturers, like ASUS and Honor, unveiled their own. Of course, Razer must fight back and now we have the Razer Phone 2.
At first glance, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the new Razer Phone and the old one. The Razer Phone 2 has the same size, same boxy shape, and same thick top and bottom bezels that house the front-facing speakers.
Don’t be fooled, because the Razer Phone 2 has some significant upgrades over its predecessor.
The new Razer Phone offers up to 30 percent better performance with the use of a Snapdragon 845 processor, Adreno 630 graphics processing unit, and an improved vapor chamber cooling system. It also comes with 8GB of memory and 64GB of storage.
As for imaging, it still has dual 12-megapixel rear shooters, but the main sensor is now equipped optical image stabilization. An 8-megapixel front-facing camera takes care of selfies and live-streaming duties.
With a new glass back, the Razer Phone 2 is capable of wireless charging. And to complement this new feature, there’s also a wireless charging accessory with Chroma — Razer’s popular RGB lighting system.
Speaking of Chroma, the Razer Phone 2 also has it. The rear triple-headed snake logo lights up in 16.8 million colors. Let’s also not forget about the added water and dust resistance with an IP67 rating.
The rest of the great specs is carried over from the predecessor including the 5.7-inch IGZO display with 120Hz refresh rate and touch sampling, and the 4000mAh battery with Qualcomm QuickCharge 4+ support.
The Razer Phone 2 is priced at US$ 799 and it’ll be available in Mirror Black and soon in Satin Black. Pre-orders start on October 11 on Razer’s website.
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