Dell Inspiron 15 7559 review: a solid gaming laptop for just $799

Dell's Inspiron 15 7559 is bigger, heavier, and has a cheaper build quality than the flagship XPS 15, but its features and lower price make it a smart choice for those looking for a budget gaming laptop.

The base model that starts at $799 already has respectable specifications, including the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB video card, but it's easy and inexpensive to add an SSD drive, double the RAM, and still stay well below $1000. Upgraders will be happy to know that the entire back panel comes off with a single screw.

Should you buy it? If you're a gamer on a budget, the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 offers a lot of value for the money. You won't be disappointed. Read on for the review with video.

Hardware

Starting at $799.99, the base model of the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 includes:

  • 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display
  • 6th Generation Intel Core i5-6300HQ Quad Core 2.3 GHz (6M Cache, up to 3.2 GHz)
  • 8GB Single Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (8GBx1)
  • 1TB 5400 rpm Hybrid Hard Drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5
  • 74 WHr, 6-Cell Battery (Integrated)
  • 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0, Dual Band 2.4 & 5 GHz

There are other configurations available at higher prices. You can get the top of the line model for $1299 with these upgrades:

  • 15.6-inch UHD (3840 x 2160) Truelife LED- Backlit Touch Display
  • 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ Processor 2.7 GHz (6M Cache, up to 3.50 GHz)
  • 16GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (8GBx2)
  • 128GB SSD + 1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive

Dell Inspiron 15 7559

Our review unit is the base model in black with red accents. You can also get it in Hibiscus red or gray. Our first impression of the Inspiron 15 7559 is that it's large and heavy. It weighs 5.67 pounds and an inch thick. However, that's still thin by gaming notebook standards.

The laptop's exterior has a combination of a soft rubber material that feels nice to touch, with harder plastic panels surrounding the keyboard, display, and the bottom. One thing we're worried about is the flexing below the display. Our model doesn't have a touchscreen, so we rarely touch that part, but that's something to keep an eye on.

The left side of the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 includes:

  • Power port
  • Fan exhaust
  • Two USB 3.0 ports
  • Headset/microphone combo port

Dell Inspiron 15 7559

The right side includes:

  • Kensington lock slot
  • Ethernet Jack port
  • Full-size HDMI
  • USB 3.0 port
  • SD card slot

Dell Inspiron 15 7559

We don't have any major complaints about the 15.6-inch 1080p IPS display on the Inspiron 15 7559. We'd like higher resolution, and a touch screen, but that costs extra and also affects battery life. We're not bothered by reflections thanks to the matte display, and it is bright enough at the maximum setting. The viewing angle is fine too. However, we notice light leaking from the bottom of the display. It's most noticeable when the screen is showing a dark background.

Above the display is a wide-angle HD (720p) webcam with dual microphones. They're great for video calls.

The keyboard feels fine to type on. The key travel feels shallow but adequate for writing documents. There's a backlight button with settings for high, low, and off. Towards the right is a numeric keypad. We didn't think we would need it, but it's nice to have for entering pin numbers, calculations, and it's another set of keys you can customize your gaming controls. There's enough room to fit them in, so why not?

Dell Inspiron 15 7559

The trackpad on the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 is large, and we found no issues at moving the pointer or scrolling through documents and web pages. Right-handed users might find the trackpad's position towards the left a bit uncomfortable. We're also not a fan of the texture on the trackpad. We wish it felt smoother. It might not bother most gamers since they'll be using a mouse or a controller.

Above the keyboard are dual front-facing speakers. They're loud and sound fine. There's also the subwoofer at the bottom panel. We have no complaints about it either. The bass isn't enough to make our desk shake, but a laptop with a built-in subwoofer offers richer audio than a laptop without one.

Software

The Dell Inspiron 15 7559 comes with Windows 10 Home. It also comes pre-installed with Dell software such as Dell Help & Support, Dell Shop, and Dell Audio. There's also an offer for 20 GB of Dropbox space free for 1 year and a free 30-day trial for McAfee LiveSafe. You can expect to see everything else that Windows 10 has to offer like Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Office, Windows Store, and more. Unfortunately, Windows Hello isn't supported trough an iris or fingerprint scanner.

Dell Inspiron 15 7559

When it comes to performing tasks such as checking emails, browsing the web, listening to Pandora, or watching Youtube, the Inspiron 15 7559 expectedly ran smoothly. The main problem was the loading times we encountered when opening more serious apps. For example, Adobe Photoshop CC takes about 50 seconds to load on our review unit. The main blame goes to the slow 5400 rpm hard drive. For comparison, the Lenovo Yoga 700 we recently reviewed with the same processor and RAM, but faster SSD drive, can open Photoshop in about 10 seconds. This performance issue can be fixed by adding an SSD drive and moving the system files there. Adding RAM will also boost performance. Both of those options, though, cost money.

If you're looking for numbers, here are the results from the CrystalDiskMark and Geekbench 3 benchmarks:

Dell Inspiron 15 7559 benchmarks

The Dell Inspiron 15 7559 has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB video card, which works well with recent games. We've installed Just Cause 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops III on our review unit and they run fine at 48 to 60 frames per second at medium to high settings.

The dual fans on the Inspiron 15 7559 help keep it cool, but you can hear the whooshing noise even at arm's length when playing games, editing in Photoshop, or even when using the web browser. If you're playing a game, we suggest increasing the volume to drown out the fan noise. After about 20 minutes of gaming, the laptop hits about 95 to 100 degrees. The hot spots are in the middle of the keyboard and the vents at the bottom.

With a 74 WHr 6-Cell Battery, the Inspiron 15 7559 gets about 5.5 hours until we have to plug it in. With gaming, it's about 2.5 hours. Fully charging the Inspiron 15 takes about 2 hours.

Dell Inspiron 15 7559

The laptop comes with a huge charger and cable that's about 9 feet long. It bundles up somewhat, but still takes up a good amount of space in a bag. Then again, we're talking about a 5.7 lb 15-inch laptop here, portability is not the highest concern

Verdict

The Dell Inspiron 15 7559 is a great laptop if you're looking to play demanding games, but don't want to spend a lot of money. If you're not a gamer, it's also a cheaper alternative to consider if you're interested in the Dell XPS 15. The specs are similar, but there are some sacrifices. The Inspiron is bigger and heavier. The XPS 15 also has aluminum and carbon fiber materials as opposed to plastic on the Inspiron 15 7559.

Starting at $799, the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 already includes the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB video card that is capable of playing recent games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Just Cause 3. A Dell XPS 15 with the same RAM and CPU costs about $1200 and only has 2GB for its GeForce GTX 960M video card.

Dell Inspiron 15 7559

The downside on the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 is the slow loading times when opening apps and games, but that can be fixed by upgrading to an SSD drive. You can also add more RAM for more performance. Upgraders can easily add these two components by opening the bottom panel with just one screw.

Overall, we think you'll be happy with the Inspiron 15 7559 if you're looking for a budget gaming laptop.

Already own this machine? Do you agree with our review? Let us know in the comments!

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

51 Comments
  • How do you transfer the OS when you swap hard drives?
  • Use physical HDD duplicator or use Acronis disk cloning software
  • Samsung SSD's (not sure about other OEMs) actually has software to clone a HDD onto it.
  • I believe Windows has cloning functionality built in. You just need either an external hd closure or a second hd bay to clone a drive.
  • all ssd's that are worth a damn come with the software, if not, they are a free download from the manufacturer website
  • Very detailed review. Thank you. This is really nice laptop.
  • I'm sure it's i7 not i5 , on English dell site it's 749 for same model
  • It is an i5. But its an i5 HQ  model which mean it has 4 physical cores for processing. The normal i7 U processor have only 2 physical cores and 2 virtual cores. i would take an i5 HQ over an i7 U any day.
  • Well on the Dell website it comes with a I7 6700HQ , which has four cores.
  • the i7 model goes on sale ALOT. I got mine for $775 with tax. So happy with it but since i come from a laptop with ssd i kinda have to get an ssd lol. 128gb is enough for system os and some apps, but if u have the money, go for the 256g.
  • I bought this machine during black friday sales for 750 from amazon with one difference. Instead of the 1TB HDD i got a 256GB SSD. And i have never felt any issues with speed during either gaming or photo editing via photoshop. Bootup is less than 10 secs. Also, the fans as stated in the review are a little noisy but they are really efficient. Even after a couple of hours of gaming, the bottom of the laptop is warm and not hot. Also, i noticed that the fan on the left side kicks in far more than the one on the right side. I believe its because the processor is on the left and GPU on the right. The battery life is excellent with the SSD. I easily get more than 8 hours with the usual web browsing. Lastly (and you will find this on Amazon reviews as well), I absolutely hate the touchpad on this machine. hard to register left clicks and somehow, the whole touch pad feels very shallow when you press it. If you guys have any further questions then i would be happy to answer them.
  • I also got the laptop from Amazon around that time for $759.  It's still available from there with the 256GB SSD for $799.  I'd much rather take that smaller SSD than the slower HD.  I haven't seen any major delays when opening software. 
  • How do I buy this in India?  not visible on dell.co.in
  • Now available in India too... www.dell.com/in
  • It's one solid model for great price. Backlit keyboard would have been great but shouldn't be complaining for that price.
  • Keyboard is indeed backlit
  • the keyboard has backlight
  • You could get the Asus UX305 rather. It has 970M.
  • I couldn't find any UX305 with a 970M.
  • Ah, right. I must've mistaken it with an Alienware. Although the 501 variant is quite a beast.
  • That's the Core M laptop, right? ;)
  • What is the difference between HDD and SSD?
  • An HDD has a spinning disk inside and an SSD only has circuits containing the storage so it's much faster, weighs less, and is more efficient.
  • One is magnetic the other electronic, ssd is much faster cause its electric
  • SSD is far faster and more efficient. It's also much more expensive, but prices are more sane than they were just a few years ago.
  • SSD is similar to flash drives (no moving parts) and much much faster. HDD are mechanical and have moving parts. Think of a record player with a needle and a rotating disk to get a visual. Also SSD is more efficient and generates less heat and can fit in tighter spaces. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I want that coffee cup so badly. Where can I get it?
  • Got it from the corporate store. I think it should be available online too
  • Where to get this in the UK for a decent price? Amazon is £800 plus
  • Direct from Dell its like £749.99, or something in that region.
  • That name... Model numbers over two numbers are so 2004
  • With regards to your concern about the trackpad, it's intentionally moved to the side so it's directly in the center of the keyboard (minus the number pad). Many laptops have their setup like this, as it makes them far more effective to type on as your hands will be at either side of the actual keys (rather than hovering over the number pad).
  • Gaming on a laptop? No thanks.
  • It's nice because you can use it with a regular keyboard, mouse, and monitor at home and when you travel you can still game on it with just a mouse.
  • Alienware 18 SLI works just fine for me. Though now that I bought a house building from scratch might be a hobby I pick back up. Keeping inventory and space come at a premium if you don't have the space. The Alienware packs quite a punch and allows my to go mobile quite easily which is a big requirement for me presently. It's a matter of priority and preference, really.
  • I have the higher version of this laptop with the 4K display, and it is an amazing laptop. The only issue I had with it was the graphics driver Intel needs to fix, as the screen has the flickering problem. Also, Costco had the highest version for $1000, so you might want to keep a lookout (I looked, but I couldn't find it on their website anymore). Costco is where I got mine.
  • I noticed one of the models on the Dell site has a HDD and SDD. I don't see anywhere in the photos where that second SSD goes. Where does the second drive go? I thought I saw somewhere it's a M.2 drive. Do all the mobo's have the M.2 slot and you can add later? I don't want to pay the premium from Dell when for the same price I can get a 500GB SSD instead of 128GB.      
  • I point to it in the video. It's the slot below the fan on the left side
  • Awesome thanks Mark. Didn't have a chance to watch the video the earlier. That's perfect. This Knight be my next laptop when my current one bites the dust. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yes Legellan I had exactly the same question about the whereabouts of the M.2 slot and its size if present.  Googling reveals it is not in the Service manual but word is that it is between the PSU and the fan on the top of the picture.   I blew up the photo from windowscentral and think I see it though this could be wishful thinking.  Even if it is there the question is , is this a PCI connected M2 M.2 slot or not!  answers anybody?
  • Im getting this!!!!! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I hate to be that guy, but once you go touch screen, you can never go back. Most Windows store apps are useless without one. This is good for Steam games and desktop programs. That's great for a lot of people, but versatility is the future.
  • Do the i7 and d-GPU help with 3D CAD? I wanted a cheap laptop with big specs for college. Will this help?
  • There's no optical drive, is there?
  • There is not, unfortunately. Though I ordered from Dell and got an external optical drive for "free" with the rewards points.
  • Is worldwide shipping availabale?
  • I got this laptop about a month ago and I'm really satisfied with it. My only complaints are the charging cable (it's much bigger and shorter than the one for my 2.5-year-old laptop and has a glaring blue light) and the Skylake graphics driver issues (though the new beta driver seems to be doing well). I also got the 4k touch display for free since I ordered the 1920x1080 but it came broken. :P
  • For less money you get a Lenovo Y50-50. Built-In-SSD, i7 4th generation and a 970M.
  • For me, 1080p on a laptop display is fine. Actually, 1080p on any display is fine. Any more and you pay the price in performance and battery life, with very little benefit Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I would take G-Sync over a higher resolution screen.
  • I am most likely getting this laptop around Black Friday and was wondering if anyone could speculate how significant Dell drops prices during Black Friday sales.