Dell’s revamped G-series might be the best looking new budget gaming laptops at CES

Retro sci-fi designs and a fun range of colors make for a great combo.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Normally, Dell’s Alienware division gets most of the attention when it comes to gaming notebooks. But with their revamped designs, the new G15 and G16 prove you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get an awesome-looking system.

Unlike Alienware laptops that appear as if they were beamed down from outer space, Dell’s latest G-series gaming notebooks seem to draw inspiration from gadgets in 80s sci-fi movies. You get simple lines with hard edges and bold two-tone paint jobs with neon/pastel accents. It’s the kind of style that makes me want to put on some synthwave and fire up F-Zero. And while the colors may change on final retail units, I appreciate that Dell is even taking the time to paint small details like the radiator fins inside each laptop’s vents.

Another nice touch is the way Dell arranged ports on the G-series. Connectors for stuff like power and HDMI 2.1 that you probably won’t need to adjust very often are in back, which helps keep clutter to a minimum. And then on the sides you have access to a 3.5mm audio jack, Ethernet and two USB 3.2 Type-A ports, so you can easily plug in peripherals like a headset, mouse or thumb drive. I just wish Dell has swapped the position of the side-mounted Ethernet jack and the lone USB-C port in back for even better usability.

As for specs, both systems are well equipped considering their prices. The G15 will start at $849 for a 13th-gen Intel Core i5-13450HX CPU, 8GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 120Hz FHD non-touch display. You also have a selection of RTX 40-series GPUs from Nvidia with additional options like a slightly faster 165Hz screen and up to 2TB of NVMe storage.

Even though the G-series line are budget gaming laptops, Dell still paid attention to small details like the color-matched accent logos on the side of the system.
Even though the G-series line are budget gaming laptops, Dell still paid attention to small details like the color-matched accent logos on the side of the system.

The larger G16 will start at $1,499 with the same Intel Core i5-13450HX chip, a higher-res 165Hz 2560 x 1600 screen, 8GB of DDR5 RAM, and 256GB of storage. And like its smaller sibling, you can upgrade components like the GPU, memory (up to 32GB) or the display (to a faster 240Hz panel). Both systems can even be configured with larger 86 WHr batteries in case the standard 56 WHr doesn’t cut it.

The two small cons I noticed are that weighing 5.84 and 6.01 pounds respectively, the G15 and G16 are a bit on the heavy side. I’m also slightly disappointed to see Dell go with 720p webcams on both models. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all new laptops should have at least 1080p cameras, regardless of price.

To help cut down on clutter from wires, Dell moved most of the G15 and G16's ports to the back.
To help cut down on clutter from wires, Dell moved most of the G15 and G16's ports to the back.

Unfortunately, the models Dell demoed were non-functional pre-production units, so I didn’t have a chance to check out how smooth games ran or the single-zone RGB backlit keyboard. But for relatively affordable systems, I think Dell has created a really nice balance of style and performance.

Both the G15 and G16 are expected to go on sale sometime in Q1 2023, though there’s no word on pricing yet. Additionally, for people looking for non-Intel based configs, the company says there will be versions of both systems with AMD chips available slightly later in Q2.