Laptop Mag Verdict
The Dell G16 is a great gaming laptop for those who need a powerhouse in both productivity and gaming performance without breaking the bank. If you can look past underwhelming color depth and subpar battery life, it’s absolutely worth the asking price.
Impressive gaming performance
Phenomenal for productivity
Sturdy and satisfying build
Decent display brightness
Affordable for a gaming laptop
Mediocre battery life
Runs hot during gaming
Underpowered speaker system
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CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
RAM: 16GB Storage
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
Display: 16-inch 165Hz QHD IPS (2560 x 1600)
Battery: 4 hours
Size: 14.1 x 10.7 x 1.1 inches
Weight: 6 pounds
The Dell G16 is a solid gaming laptop that utilizes its RTX 3060 to offer powerful gaming performance, while also putting in the work to be an absolute powerhouse in productivity. And I'm an enormous fan of its simple design as it feels great and boasts an impressive sturdiness.
There are a few small flaws, including underpowered speakers, a display that’s lacking in color depth, and low battery life. But considering this sub $1,500 gaming laptop managed to hold up in performance when compared to its more expensive competitors, it’s hard not to recommend it for those looking to save some money. It’s one of the best gaming laptops as well as one of the best gaming laptops under $1,500 around, and for a more detailed look of what it gets right, read on.
Spotlight: Black Friday Dell G16 deal
Dell G16 price and configurations
The Dell G16 model I reviewed retails for $1,499 and boasts an Intel Core i7-12700H processor, Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. Regardless of the configuration, the laptop has a 16-inch, QHD+ 2560 x 1600 display with a 165Hz refresh rate.
You can also make the laptop a little less expensive by purchasing the Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU version, which lowers the price to $1,339. Otherwise, every other configuration will make it more costly, with the most expensive variation coming in at $2,089, featuring an Intel Core i9-12900H CPU, Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti GPU, 1TB of SSD storage and 32GB of RAM.
At the moment, the laptop is $1,349 on Dell’s website for the RTX 3060 version, but with 1TB of SSD space rather than 512GB. This version with more storage space on it is somehow cheaper than the $1,500 model we’ve reviewed. At that price, this laptop is a steal.
Dell G16 design
The Dell G16’s exterior isn’t particularly exciting, but there are elements to its carbon black aluminum sleekness that I appreciate. First and foremost, the vents above the keyboard look slick and futuristic, featuring a series of rectangular openings layered over each other diagonally. The indents at the left skew downwards to the right, while the indents on the right skew downwards to the left, and it is surprisingly effective at giving it a slightly sci-fi look. This same design can be seen if you turn the laptop over, placed across a portion of the top.
The Dell G16 also feels sturdy to hold and move around with, especially at the hinge that connects the bottom to the screen, as it’s thick and strongly supported. While this results in the display being elevated more than some might like, it does look pretty cool.
The laptop’s lid is simple, featuring a reflective Dell logo at the center with subtle indented lines at both sides that can be traced to the end of the back hinges. Lifting the lid reveals an orange “G” that signifies this line of Dell laptops. It’s embedded within the bottom left of the deck, placed right above the sticker that lists its features.
With a weight of 6 pounds and dimensions of 14.1 x 10.7 x 1.1 inches, the Dell G16 is the heaviest and largest of competitors. The MSI Crosshair 15 R6E (14.1 x 10.2 x 1.1 inches, 5.4 pounds), Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (14 x 10.4 x 1.1 inches, 5.4 pounds), Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2022 (13.9 x 9.6 x 0.8 inches, 4.4 pounds) are all smaller and lighter.
Dell G16 ports
The Dell G16 has an admirable collection of ports. On the left, there’s an audio jack and a RJ45 port.
While on the right, you’ll find two USB-A 3.2 ports.
However, most of the Dell G16’s ports rest at the laptop’s backside, where you’ll find the power input, an HDMI 2.1 port, a Thunderbolt 4 port and another USB-A 3.2 port.
If you’re in need of even more ports, however, check out our list of the best docking stations.
Dell G16 display
The Dell G16’s 16-inch, QHD+ (2560 x 1600) display is appealing thanks to its solid brightness and 165Hz refresh rate, but its color depth is lacking, making certain scenes look overbearing and artificial.
I tested the display with John Wick: Chapter 4 trailer, and quickly noticed how overwhelmingly vibrant every scene appeared. The dark nights contrasting against the neon lights seemed anything but natural, and when cutting to an interior full of chandeliers and candles, this casual hotel atmosphere didn't seem cozy, instead coming across as headache-inducing. I wasn’t sure if this was just a result of my display or the film itself, so I pulled the video up on my MSI MPG Artymis 343CQR monitor. Comparing the two visuals made it clear that people’s skin tones on the Dell looked too oversaturated as the villain's visage took on the orange neon of the lighting in the scene.
Launching Doom Eternal didn’t change my opinion here. There’s a noticeable flatness to the color. In moments where blacks should feel full and all-encompassing, they instead seem muted and a little held back. It’s almost like a filter has been placed over the screen to give it this unnatural quality, and although it’s far from awful, it could be significantly better.
Our performance tests confirmed my suspicions, as the Dell G16 didn’t do great in our color tests, reproducing only 75.3% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. While this is higher than the mainstream laptop average of 68.2%, it’s noticeably worse than competitors like the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2022 (83.6%), Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (82%) and MSI Crosshair 15 R6E (116.6%)
The Dell G16 did a little better in our brightness tests, managing an average of 335 nits. This is just barely lower than the category average of 338 nits, but it is significantly worse than the Zephyrus M16 (450 nits) and Legion 5 Pro (472 nits). However, it did do slightly better than the MSI Crosshair 15 R6E (300 nits).
Dell G16 audio
The Dell G16’s speakers are passable, but they’re not particularly impressive. Its maximum volume is nowhere near as loud as it should be. And before getting to the pinnacle of a song's best moment, I tried to raise the volume so it can come through the speakers with even more power, but this laptop just wasn’t capable. The sound quality in general ranges from vacant to muffled.
I was interested in how it could handle Mick Gordon’s masterful soundtrack against the glorious symphony of explosions and the rupturing of demon guts on Doom Eternal, and it all came across at an acceptable quality. It won’t get it as loud as you want, and certain sounds will blend in with one another, but at the very least, the game’s intense atmosphere was kept intact through these tests well enough to get away with using it in a pinch.
However, music sounded far less compelling. Black Midi’s “The Race Is About To Begin” was underwhelming. I wouldn’t mind its lack of volume too much if the sound quality was fuller and punchier, but every moment comes across as vacant. When the song transitions into its vocal crescendo featuring chaotic drums and guitars layered over another, much of the background is lost against the shouting.
If you want to fall in love with your laptop’s sound quality, you won’t be satisfied with what’s built-in here. We recommend investing in a pair of the best computer speakers or one of the best gaming headsets or best headphones.
Dell G16 keyboard and touchpad
The Dell G16’s keyboard doesn’t span across the entire deck, but it is still sufficiently large. I’m grateful that it doesn’t span the whole surface, as it would have felt a little overwhelming if I had to reach even more to type. Otherwise, it isn’t very unique, besides that the power button rests in the top right corner of the keyboard and the RGB squares line the inner border of the WASD keys.
During the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I managed an average of 96 words per minute with an accuracy of 92%. When trying the same test on my mechanical keyboard, I achieved 114 words per minute and 95% accuracy. I wasn’t too comfortable typing on this keyboard, as it felt a little large. I always got the sense that I needed to overreach to press the backspace button, but I imagine this is something you could get used to with a bit of use.
The Dell G16’s touchpad is a bit frustrating, as it lacks smoothness when trying to perform simple actions. I need to have two fingers on the touchpad at once to perform movements across the screen due to a lack of traction that makes the touchpad always push against me. It requires considerable pressure to click down, and it’s rather slow to try and drag while holding it in that position.
Dell G16 gaming and graphics
The Dell G16 has a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM, which is solid enough to play modern games at decent frame rates. I’m actually pretty impressed by how competently this beast matched up against laptops with more powerful GPUs. For example, in our performance tests, it was only slightly behind the Crosshair 15, even though that laptop has an RTX 3070 GPU.
It’s important to keep in mind that due to the GPU’s 6GB of VRAM, you might not be able to crank the settings up in certain cases, even if you were willing to do so by sacrificing frame rate. With Doom Eternal, I could not set it to Nightmare or Ultra Nightmare, but managed to set the graphics to Ultra. On the upside, I hit an average of 125 frames per second playing the game at 2K resolution with these settings.
On our Borderlands 3 test, the G16 put up a decent fight against its competitors, managing 74 fps at 1080p, which beat the category average (66 fps). It squeaked by the Zephyrus M16 (Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, 73 fps), but it paled in comparison to the Crosshair 15 (Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, 82 fps) and the Legion Pro 5 (Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, 80 fps).
The Dell G16 played Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on Ultra settings and managed an average of 69 fps at 1080p. Unfortunately, this isn’t as good as the category average (74 fps), the Zephyrus M16 (72 fps), or the Crosshair 15 (78 fps), but it is still pretty solid performance for an RTX 3060.
During the Far Cry New Dawn benchmark, the G16 reached 104 fps, sailing past the category average (83 fps), the Zephyrus M16 (94 fps), and the Crosshair 15 (94 fps).
When testing Grand Theft Auto V, the Dell G16 got 94 fps. This is better than our 85 fps category average and the Legion 5 Pro (66 fps), but it underperformed when compared to the MSI Crosshair 15 (113 fps).
The Dell G16 performed admirably running Red Dead Redemption 2, hitting 60 fps at 1080p, which is on a par with the Zephyrus M16 (60 fps). It’s also better than the category average (58 fps), but it’s worse than the Legion 5 Pro (66 fps) and the Crosshair 15 (67 fps).
The Dell G16 didn’t do as well with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, only reaching 76 fps at 1080p. While this is just slightly better than the 73 fps mainstream average, it is a considerable downgrade from the Legion 5 Pro (80 fps), Zephyrus M16 (82 fps), and the Crosshair 15 (92 fps).
Dell G16 performance
The Dell G16 is packing an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage, giving it more than enough power to handle all sorts of tasks at once. If you want to watch a movie while working with dozens of Google Chrome tabs, using YouTube, Twitch, Google Docs, and Sheets with music playing in the background, this laptop can handle it with ease.
On the Geekbench 5.4 overall performance test, the Dell G16’s multi-core score of 12,043 absolutely demolished the category average of 7,396. It’s also a considerable improvement over the Legion 5 Pro (Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, 7,342), the Zephyrus M16’s (Intel Core i9-12900H CPU, 11,225), and the MSI Crosshair 15 R6E (i7-12700H CPU, 10,578).
The Dell G16 converted a 4K video to 1080p resolution using the HandBrake app in 6 minutes and 23 seconds. This is a phenomenal time and easily outshines the mainstream average of 8:22, while also soaring ahead of the Legion 5 Pro (7:06), Zephyrus M16 (7:05), and MSI Crosshair 15 R6E (6:44).
While the G16 has been knocking it out of the park in performance until now, it didn’t do as well in our file transfer test — duplicating 25GB of multimedia files in 36 seconds for a 745.4 megabytes per second (MBps) transfer rate. While this is a slight improvement over the Crosshair 15 (1TB PCIe SSD, 728.2MBps), it’s worse than the 784MBps average, the Zephyrus M16 (1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0, 1,871MBps), and the Legion 5 Pro (512GB PCIe SSD, 832.7MBps).
Dell G16 battery life
The Dell G16’s battery life is its Achilles heel. Although its performance is impressive, it won't survive very long on a single charge. On the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits, the Dell G16 lasted only 4 hours.
This is a little lower than the mainstream average of 4:30 minutes, so if you want a laptop that you can take on the go, this probably isn’t your best bet. Its competitors blew it out of the water, with the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (6:34), the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (6:16), and the MSI Crosshair 15 (7:03) absolutely demolishing it.
Dell G16 heat
The Dell G16 stays at a manageable temperature when you aren’t gaming, but as soon as you jump into demanding software, it’ll get hot and toasty. In our non-gaming tests, which involved playing a 1080p video for 15 minutes, its hottest only got to 92 degrees Fahrenheit (at the underside, near the vents). Otherwise, the touchpad was 78 degrees, the underside 87 degrees, and the center of the keyboard was 81.
When gaming, this powerhouse far exceeds our 95-degree comfort threshold, coming in at 119 degrees at its hottest, once again on the underside, near the vents. Otherwise, the touchpad comes at 84 degrees, while the center of the keyboard and underside hit 96 degrees and 113, respectively.
The Dell G16 also sounds like an airplane preparing for liftoff while gaming, so unless that soundscape soothes you, it’s worth keeping in mind.
Dell G16 webcam
The Dell G16’s webcam isn’t unsurprising, as most 720p laptop cameras produce equally grainy and unappealing images. It’s certainly usable if you’re in a pinch, but if you intend to look crisp during meetings, want to stream on Twitch, or are in frequent video calls with friends and don’t want to look like a mess, we highly recommend taking a look at our best webcams page.
Dell G16 software and warranty
The Dell G16 comes preinstalled with Windows 11 and has the standard assortment of apps you’d expect, but it also comes with an array of Dell-exclusive software to help you optimize your experience.
Dell software that comes preinstalled on the laptop include SupportAssist, which helps your laptop stay safe and up to date by combating malware, scanning for issues and informing you of necessary updates. My Dell is a one-stop-all application, which can analyze system health, connect accessories or devices, and personalize your windows system. It features many of the same uses that your base Windows system does; it just attempts to put it all in one place.
Alienware Command Center allows you to control various features available on your laptop, and in this case, you can use it to modify the keyboard’s RGB backlight in-depth. You can also gain information on your GPU to see how much memory it’s using and how hot it is.
The Dell G16 surprised me in how well it handled productivity tasks, making it a great pick for someone who needs to run demanding software at an affordable price. It’s also pretty darn good at playing video games, which shouldn’t be surprising since it’s a gaming laptop, but I didn’t expect its performance to get so close to some of its competitors when they’re backed by stronger graphics cards.
It’s not without flaws though, as a lackluster display, hot underside, mediocre speakers, and subpar battery life hold it back. If you’re looking for a display with deeper colors and longer lasting battery life, check out the MSI Crosshair 15. Otherwise, the Dell G16 is a great affordable gaming laptop.
Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.