Gaming laptops, as a segment, grew almost 67% year-on year in India during the calendar year 2020-21 driven by strong demand across tier-2 and 3 towns, as per data released by GfK. More and more people are buying gaming laptops now, more than ever, and brands like Dell are happy to oblige with new innovations, some of which don’t particularly cost a bomb, either. Hot on the heels of launching the premium Alienware x14 and m15 R7, Dell is out with two more laptops, this time under its budget-focused G-series portfolio. These are the G15 5520 and G15 5521 special edition (SE). The idea, clearly, is to offer a little something for everybody.
The G15 and G15 SE price in India starts at Rs 85,990. These laptops boast of 12th Gen Intel Core processors and Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards all put together inside a nice and premium-grade magnesium alloy chassis. The interesting bit, though, is that they draw a lot of inspiration from Alienware, bringing some of its marquee features to a more affordable price point. In a way, the G15 and G15 SE are Alienware laptops designed for the masses. Anand Subramanya, Director, Product Marketing, Consumer and Small Business, Dell Technologies India takes us through the new laptops, their features, innovations, and more, in this exclusive interview with Financial Express’s Saurabh Singh. Excerpts.
— What drives Dell as a brand? What makes it different?
Our belief is that technology drives human progress. The last two years have really given a push to the whole importance of PC as a preferred device that provides the most comprehensive experience to the customer whether it is learning, entertainment, or gaming. This has really helped us grow phenomenally well. Last year in Q4, we grew 64% year-on-year. That is the kind of transformation that we have seen in the market where customers are looking to improve their productivity using the PC as a device and we’ve been at the forefront of it.
We’ve been in the gaming space, leading the innovation, and shaping the industry with Alienware as a brand for more than 25 years. Our philosophy is that the customer must have as much control of their gaming environment as possible, and those are the tenants that we are bringing into our G-series products also.
— What is the idea behind the G-series gaming laptops?
Gaming has grown significantly in the last two years especially during the pandemic time. What’s changed and what we have observed personally also is that it’s not just grown in tier-1 cities, but it is [now] being embraced in tier-2 and tier-3 towns as well. Due to this, there’s a lot of change in terms of demographic of the customer. If you are someone moving from mobile gaming to PC gaming and looking for a larger screen, better controls, and performance, the G-series portfolio is for you.
— What are some of the unique features of the new G15 5520 and G15 5521 special edition (SE)?
With the G15 and G15 SE, we have tried to prioritise three main things. One is performance. We have the latest 12th Generation processors from Intel and up to RTX 3070Ti graphics. We have put a lot of effort into the design and cooling system. The thermal management is inspired by the Alienware design wherein we are optimising the cooling with dual air intake, ultra-thin fan blade, copper pipes and four strategically placed vents.
Another interesting thing about these laptops is Game Shift technology. Pressing the Fn and F9 keys triggers a dynamic performance mode within the system where the processor works harder to give you better performance and the fans work at a different speed to keep the thermals in control. We have also brought the Command Centre from our Alienware machines into the G-series with these laptops. This allows you to tailor the hardware for every game that you are playing.
In the G15 SE, we are giving a three-side narrow bezel and up to QHD and 240Hz display where you will have almost 99% colour gamut.
— So, would it be right to call them Alienware for the masses?
Yes, of course.
— How do you design a budget product like this, the features to add and those to skip?
When we are designing a product, we are designing it, basis the feedback of customers. There are various forums where we listen to them. We conduct focus groups. So, it’s not as much as saying we have a platter and we’re choosing what to add or what not to, but we’re developing things that our customers would require. If you need a power boost today, you have to go to BIOS, you need to have a lot of technological understanding to do over-clocking. In some products it’s not even possible, but in a mainstream laptop, providing a one-click support to a customer really helps them to get a feel of how their PC can perform.
— Could you talk a little bit about the thermals inside the new G-series laptops?
In Alienware, we have something called Cryo-Tech cooling, which is proprietary to us. There we are using independently controlled fans for cooling and to dissipate the heat. We also have our own CPU vapor chamber, where we are using specific elements which help to improve the thermal resistance by almost 20-25%. These are some of the cutting-edge technologies we’ve put inside our recently launched Alienware X14. Now, when we get into the G-series design, we are using our learnings from the Alienware product design and then saying how do we incorporate that thermal management into a mainstream product. Learnings from Alienware are helping us design the G-series as well.
— Take us through some of your technical support initiatives.
From our point of view, our service and support infrastructure has been one of the best in the sense that we offer a wide range of services to our customer. When we look at our products, they are all coming with next business day kind of service. We provide on-site service. In some of our premium products, we also have what is called our premium support so a customer can have 24/7 assistance of hardware as well as software support with minimal queue time.
— Are customers looking for upgradability in gaming laptops? Is that something that you’re looking at?
Upgradability as a factor comes in, as you evolve into the chain. If you have been using a mobile phone for your gaming experience and as more and more games are becoming cloud centric and online, the hardware which is coming today is future-ready in the sense that it can satisfy the need of the customer for the next 3-4 years. In the long term, as the customer evolves into playing more hardware intensive games, then they have the option to move from G-series to Alienware. Within the G-series also we have a choice of graphics cards which can meet their requirement. In the laptop as a form factor, upgradability within the system doesn’t really happen. Is that a trend? Do people want to upgrade their laptop components or change or do something? The answer for that is, not really.