“The Dell XPS 17 is a remarkably small 17-inch laptop computer with unbelievable efficiency.”

  • Almost excellent display
  • Unbelievable efficiency
  • 4 Thunderbolt Three ports
  • Keyboard and touchpad are glorious
  • Surprisingly small
  • Disappointing battery life
  • Costly

If you happen to informed me you have been shopping for a 17-inch laptop computer in 2020, I’d name you loopy. There are solely a handful of 17-inch laptops obtainable, and with how good 15-inch laptops are, they’re hardly price your time.

That’s, except you’re speaking in regards to the new Dell XPS 17. In contrast to most 17-inchers, the XPS 17 is greater than only a massive display. It provides efficiency. Severe efficiency. The type even the XPS 15 can’t supply.

I count on lots out of a laptop computer that prices almost $3,000, however with the Nvidia RTX 2060 beneath the hood and an expansive 17-inch display, this may be the final word content material creation workstation.

Design

17-inch laptops are huge. It’s one of many causes they’ve gone out of favor. However the engineers and designers at Dell all the time undergo painstaking efforts to make sure its laptops are as small as doable, and people ideas apply right here, too.

The scale of the chassis is simply marginally bigger than the MacBook Professional 16-inch, each in width and depth. You received’t discover a lot of a distinction sliding it into your backpack, regardless of having a full inch extra of display. I used to be stunned to see the XPS 17 matches into the pocket of my backpack, which is simply fitted for as much as 15-inch laptops. That’s spectacular.

As all the time, the laptop computer’s show bezels are the important thing. With thinner borders round either side of the display (together with the underside chin), the XPS 17 is ready to scale back its general footprint. The show feels all-encompassing. It’s not as noticeable a distinction as upgrading from the XPS 13 to the XPS 15, however each inch counts. You’ll respect the additional display whether or not you’re gaming, modifying movies, and even simply scrolling a webpage.

If you happen to don’t usually use a mouse, you’ll respect the spacious and responsive touchpad.

Thickness is the one dimension the place the MacBook Professional 16-inch continues to be smaller. It measures at 0.64 inches and weighs 4.Three kilos. The XPS 17 is a bit larger at 0.77 inches and weighs 4.65 kilos. That goes as much as 5.53 kilos for the contact display possibility. It’s not mild, although the brand new Razer Blade Professional 17 continues to be nearly a half-pound heavier.

Nonetheless, if you happen to’ve already seen the brand new XPS 15, none of that can shock you. Numerous the identical design parts have been lifted into the bigger type issue, together with the keyboard, touchpad, 16:10 show facet ratio, and the carbon fiber weave within the palm rests.

The keyboard and touchpad are highlights. If you happen to’re like me and don’t usually use a mouse, you’ll respect the spacious and responsive touchpad, specifically. The clicking is quiet and the monitoring is near-perfect. The free mechanism present in my overview unit of the XPS 15 has been resolved within the XPS 17.

Ports and connectivity

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To emphasise the “professional” nature of the Dell XPS 17, it has added connectivity. It options 4 Thunderbolt Three ports, two on either side. Which means you might have entry to show output, super-fast switch speeds, charging, and extra.

That is two extra Thunderbolt Three ports than the Dell XPS 15, and even one-ups the MacBook Professional 16-inch by together with a full-size SD card slot. Photographers and videographers needs to be delighted.

If you happen to’re coming from an older XPS, MacBook, and even Razer Blade, it’s possible you’ll miss legacy ports. If you happen to want HDMI or USB-A connections, you’ll need to depend on dongles or a Thunderbolt Three hub.

The XPS 17 additionally has Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, the most recent in wi-fi connectivity, which ought to present sturdy community efficiency and a dependable Bluetooth connection.

Efficiency

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The Dell XPS 15 is already a supremely highly effective laptop computer. After I heard the XPS 17 would take issues up a notch, I used to be curious how that might be achieved. In spite of everything, the 2 laptops have the identical processor choices. The bottom mannequin contains the Intel Core i5-10300H and ranges as much as the eight-core Intel Core i9-10980HK.

The Core i5 mannequin solely has 4 cores and built-in graphics, so that you shouldn’t count on something particular there by way of efficiency. It begins at $1,372, greater than a base XPS 15, and also you’re paying for the bigger display. Laptops just like the LG Gram 17 or HP Envy 17 take this strategy – and stay comparatively area of interest merchandise.

The processor efficiency is nothing you’ll be able to’t discover in smaller laptops, just like the Dell XPS 15.

The processor utilized in my overview unit, nevertheless, was the Intel Core i7-10875H, an eight-core piece of silicon. Paired with 32GB of RAM, the XPS 17 pushed some spectacular ends in Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R20. It’s 8% sooner in multi-core Cinebench R20 than the MacBook Professional 16-inch with it’s Intel Core i9-9980HK. It’s additionally 9% forward in Geekbench 5 single-core.

Laptops with the AMD Ryzen 7 3800H or the Intel Core i9-10980HK supply barely sooner processor efficiency. A Core i9 variant of the Dell XPS 17 is coming, nevertheless, to shut the hole. Within the meantime, this beefed up Core i7 may be very highly effective, even for content material creators, builders, designers, and anybody else that runs heavy functions.

Nonetheless, the processor efficiency is nothing you’ll be able to’t discover within the XPS 15. For me, that alone doesn’t justify the bigger footprint and better price ticket of the XPS 17. The graphics {hardware} is one other story.

Graphics efficiency

The Dell XPS 17 includes a model new thermal answer utilizing a mixture of vapor chambers and a re-engineered airflow system. Higher cooling permits using extra power-hungry elements, just like the Nvidia RTX 2060. We’re not speaking a few   That’s a mighty graphics card for a laptop computer this skinny and light-weight.

The XPS 17 beats the XPS 15’s Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti by 35% in 3DMark Time Spy. In the meantime, it’s even neck-and-neck with the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, a gaming laptop computer that makes use of the identical RTX 2060 GPU. In contrast to the XPS 15, which has all the time had restricted gaming efficiency, the XPS 17 is a full-blown gaming laptop computer. It performs Murderer’s Creed Odyssey at 41 FPS (frames per second) at 1080p and Extremely element, and that’s a supremely difficult sport to play. That’s 37% higher than the XPS 15, and it’s only some frames behind the ROG Zephyrus G14.

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In fact, efficiency held up in lighter video games like Fortnite, which was playable at close to 60 FPS, even as much as 1440p at Epic graphics settings. If you wish to plug into an exterior excessive refresh price monitor, you’ll be able to even get pleasure from body charges as excessive as 116 at 1080p decision with Excessive element settings. In fact, it’s not expertise at 4K, however that’s not shocking.

The XPS 17 held comparable body charges in Battlefield V. 4K is off limits, however 1440p gameplay was easy and appears crisp.

The shortage of a better refresh price or G-Sync assist is the one characteristic lacking from the gaming expertise. Limiting the body price and enabling V-Sync might be one of the simplest ways to go in most video games to keep away from display tearing, but it surely doesn’t fairly replicate the expertise of a high-end gaming laptop computer. As a lot as I want all new laptops had 120Hz or 144Hz screens, we’re not there but.

However once more, the XPS 17 isn’t branded as a gaming laptop computer, and people pumped-up graphics have loads of different makes use of. It’ll blow by 3D modeling and AutoCAD, and it’s an especially highly effective possibility for video modifying.

The Apple MacBook Professional 16-inch’s efficiency doesn’t maintain a candle to the Dell XPS 17.

I attempted out some video rendering in Adobe Premiere, which might make full use of the graphics card on some laptops. The XPS 17 was one of many quickest laptops in our check, which exports a two-minute 4K video clip at ProRes 422. The duty accomplished in simply 5 minutes and 47 seconds, beating the XPS 15 by three minutes. You may get extra out of a chunky workstation with an Intel Xeon processor, however the two are hardly price evaluating.

The Apple MacBook Professional 16-inch doesn’t maintain a candle to the XPS 17, even with its current graphics card improve. The one system to barely beat it on this check was the Microsoft Floor Ebook 3 15. That 2-in-1 homes the graphics card in a separate chassis. It’s not a good combat, although it does present simply how highly effective graphics playing cards could be if the software program is optimized for it.

The brand new Razer Blade Professional 17 could surpass it as a video modifying possibility when it launches later this yr. It gives the identical eight-core processor alongside the much more highly effective Nvidia RTX 2080 Tremendous Max-Q graphics card. I received’t know the way it performs for certain till I check it myself, however the specs look promising.

The bottom mannequin of the XPS 17, in fact, makes use of built-in Intel graphics, which means you’ll be able to’t count on it to be a lot of a gaming machine. There’s additionally an possibility for an Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti graphics card if you happen to’d like somewhat additional efficiency at a decrease value. The GTX 1650 Ti possibility may serve you effectively if you happen to’re prepared to play video games at medium element settings.

Show and audio system

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Just like the Dell XPS 15, the XPS 17 gives two decisions for shows. One is 1,920 x 1,200, which comes within the base mannequin. It’s extra pixels than a regular 1080p display, however most individuals will need to go for the three,840 x 2,400 show. It’s almost excellent. It’s probably the most color-precise display I’ve ever examined, and its coloration gamut is as much as 96% within the Adobe RGB coloration house. Not even the MacBook Professional 16-inch can evaluate, regardless of being often called a pacesetter for picture high quality.

The XPS 17’s 4K show won’t ever have a brightness and distinction ratio fairly as excessive an OLED display, however the XPS 17 isn’t any slouch there, both. The distinction ratio is 1530:1, making it a stupendous display for gaming and movie-watching, bringing out a broad spectrum of coloration depth. At a max of 491 nits, I by no means had an issue with display glare, even whereas working exterior.

The speaker grille is bigger, however the sound itself isn’t.

I had excessive hopes for the remainder of the multimedia expertise on the XPS 17. Just like the XPS 15, the audio system are hidden beneath a collection of laser-cut holes on the keyboard deck. Right here, the speaker grille is bigger, however the sound itself isn’t.

The XPS 17’s audio sounds almost similar to that on the XPS 15, which gives a little bit of bass and decently rounded sound profile. It’s higher than many laptops, even costly choices just like the Razer Blade Professional 17. However do they compete with the MacBook Professional 16-inch, and even the MacBook Air? Sadly not. The bass and richness of audio high quality simply isn’t there.

Battery life

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I didn’t count on the Dell XPS 17 to supply good battery life. Most laptops with 4K screens don’t final lengthy on a single cost, and including an additional two inches of display doesn’t assist. I didn’t anticipate it being fairly this unhealthy, although.

Regardless of having a large 97 watt-hour battery, the XPS 17 solely lasted round 4 and a half hours for my regular day of utilization. My workflow isn’t overly heavy, consisting primarily of internet functions, dozens of tabs, and a few video or audio streaming.

In case your workload is straightforward, endurance improves fairly a bit. For instance, in our video playback check which loops an area 1080p video till the battery dies, the XPS 17 lasted nearly seven hours. However it day by day utilization, the MacBook Professional 16-inch continues to be going to outlast it.

I additionally examined it on the Basemark 3.Zero internet benchmark, which simulates battery life whereas taxing the CPU closely. The XPS 17 solely lasted three hours. That’s a poor rating for a contemporary mainstream laptop computer, and extra consistent with devoted gaming laptops.

In fact, if you happen to go for the decrease decision display, you need to see at the very least a pair hours of additional battery.

Our take

If the Dell XPS 17 had been nothing greater than the XPS 15 with an even bigger display, I wouldn’t be impressed. However if you happen to’re in search of absolute efficiency, there’s a brand new king on the town — and it’s not almost as massive as you may assume.

It’s not low cost, and the battery life is disappointing. However if you need a modern, skilled laptop computer that may churn by heavy workloads, the Dell XPS 17 is the whole bundle.

Are there are any options?

The MacBook Professional 16-inch is that this laptop computer’s fundamental competitor. It’s dearer, although, and doesn’t supply as highly effective of graphics efficiency.

The Razer Blade Professional 17 poses a robust menace to the XPS 17. The up to date mannequin now gives the identical eight-core Intel processor, however it may be configured as much as an Nvidia RTX 2080 Tremendous Max-Q graphics card. It additionally has a a lot sooner 300Hz refresh price display for smoother gaming. The Razer Blade Professional 17 is bigger and heavier, and may solely be configured with a 4K display beginning at a whopping $3,800.

Lastly, Dell’s personal XPS 15 needs to be thought of as a substitute. It’s a bit cheaper, smaller, will get higher battery life, and continues to be fairly highly effective.

How lengthy will it final?

The Dell XPS 17 ought to final you at the very least 5 years. It’s a well-built and highly effective laptop computer. You’ll be able to even improve the reminiscence or storage down the road if it is advisable. It comes with a one-year guarantee, although Dell gives prolonged unintended harm service or premium {hardware} assist as much as 4 years.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. The Dell XPS 17 is a supremely highly effective laptop computer, uniquely match for content material creators.

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