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Dell XPS 17 Review: Pro-Grade Business Laptop
Dell makes all sorts of laptops, ranging from entry-level devices to super high-end Alienware gaming machines. The company also makes thin-and-light, premium, high-end non-gaming high-performance laptops under the XPS series mainly for business users. I have been testing the Dell XPS 17 9710 for the last few weeks, which retails for Rs. 3,29,589.
- 4K touch screen display
- Top-tier CPU and GPU
- Best-in-class battery life
- 720p web camera
- Limited I/O
The Dell XPS 17 is a premium laptop that goes against the likes of the 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro. Here is my take on Dell's biggest and most powerful business laptop -- the XPS 17, powered by the Intel i9-11900H CPU and RTX 3060 Mobile GPU.
Dell XPS 17 Specifications
- CPU: Intel Core i9-11900H
- Display: 17.0-inch IPS LCD (3840 x 2400) 60Hz
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB) Up to 70W TGP
- Memory: 32GB DDR4
- Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD
- Battery: 97WHr
- OS: Windows 11
Dell XPS 17 Design: Solid In Every Way
The Dell XPS 17 is a hefty-feeling laptop, as it is entirely made using metal, weighing 2.42KG. However, it is definitely not as heavy as some of the 17-inch gaming laptops like the Acer Predator Helios 500. Most of its weight comes from the fact that 100 percent of the laptop enclosure is made using aluminum.
On the outside, the laptop mostly has a silver finish, while the inside of the laptop has a black finish, which is made using carbon fiber, which actually makes the laptop looks very classy, which is an important aspect for business users. The carbon fiber also ensures that the palm rest doesn't get cold and offers a comfortable space for your palms.
The large 17-inch display on the XPS 17 is protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 6, just like the latest high-end smartphones. When it comes to the choice of materials, Dell has not left any stones unturned, which will definitely elevate the user experience and also ensure that the product can last longer.
I just have a single complaint about the Dell XPS 17 -- its I/O. Dell XPS is one of the first Windows laptops to embrace all USB Type-C I/O and the same also applies to the XPS 17. The laptop has four USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support on all four ports. Besides, it has an SD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
This I/O is completely acceptable on a 13-inch or even a 15-inch thin-and-light laptop and definitely not on a 17-inch machine. Do note that, the retail package does come with a dongle with a USB Type-C to a USB-A and an HDMI port. However, a dongle is still a dongle, and the laptop should have come with an HDMI port.
Given how Apple has taken a u-turn with the MacBook Pro and re-introduced an HDMI port on the latest model, I expect Dell to do something similar on the next iteration of the XPS 17 to make it a perfect large screen business laptop.
Dell XPS 17 Display: Big And Beautiful
As the name suggests, the Dell XPS 17 has a 17-inch display with a native resolution of 3840 x 2400p with up to 60Hz refresh rate. The display has very narrow bezels. This is also one of the few 17-inch laptops in the world which has touch input support.
This 4K display offers up to 500nits of peak brightness with support for Dolby Vision. In terms of color accuracy, it offers 100% Adobe RGB and 94% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage with a 1600:1 contrast ratio. The display also has an anti-reflective coating, which cuts the reflections by 0.65 percent.
With a screen-to-body ratio of 93.7 percent, the bezels mostly become invisible when you look at the center of the display. Do note that you can also get an XPS 17 with a non-touch display. However, if you are going for a laptop in this class, you should definitely consider the model with touch support.
The touch works as expected, and it is definitely one of the highlights of this laptop. It gives more control over the UI elements, especially on Windows 11 OS. While testing the XPS 17, I watched plenty of movies and web shows on platforms like Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube. Do note that, you need to stream content with at least 1080p resolution to get a good content consumption experience.
What makes the Dell XPS 17 9710 better than the Apple MacBook Pro is the display. The XPS 17 not only has a 4K touch display but it also does not have an ugly notch like the latest MacBook Pro. So, if you emphasize mostly on the display then you will be better off with the XPS 17 rather than the Apple MacBook Pro.
Dell XPS 17 Trackpad And Keyboard
The trackpad on the XPS 17 is bigger than the iPhone 12 Pro. It is one of the biggest trackpads on a Windows laptop, which is similar in size to the Apple MacBook Pro. The trackpad supports various gestures. However, the gestures on the Windows 11 are still not as intuitive as the macOS trackpad gestures.
Coming to the keyboard, the keys offer good travel and offer two levels of brightness, where, at the higher brightness level, the keys get good visibility. I also liked the fact that you can just change volume and brightness from the function keys directly (no need to hold the function button). Overall, it's a good keyboard to type on.
Dell XPS 17 Web Camera And Sound
The Dell XPS 17 has a 720p web camera, and the company boasts about how it has packed this camera sensor on a thin bezel. However, a 720p web camera on a laptop with a 4K display is something that is not acceptable. I feel that the Dell XPS 17 should have had at least a 1080p web camera.
The XPS 17 has a premium sound system, which is not only loud but also offers a lot of clarity even at the higher volume level. The laptop has a quad-speaker setup with Waves Nx 3D audio support. The speakers are located on either side of the keyboard, which helps to throw the sound directly at the user, which further elevates the audio quality on the XPS 17.
Dell XPS 17 Performance: On Par With High-End Machines
The Dell XPS 17 is powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11900H, a high-end laptop CPU that is mostly seen on gaming laptops. This octa-core CPU with up to 4.9GHz boost clock speed offers stellar single-threaded and multi-threaded performance.
Coming to the graphics, the Dell XPS 17 comes with the NVIDIA RTX 3060 laptop GPU with 6GB GDDR6 video memory. Unlike most laptops with RTX 3060 laptop GPU, which comes with GeForce game-ready drivers, the Dell XPS 17 ships with NVIDIA Studio driver, which optimizes the graphics card to offer improved performance on 3D rendering, and improved performance on creative apps from developers like Adobe or Autodesk.
Dell XPS 17 CPU Performance
On Geekbench 5, the Dell XPS scored 1538 points on single-core and 7272 points on multi-core CPU tests. Similarly, on Cinebench R23, the Dell XPS scored 1483 points on single-core and 11087 on multi-core CPU rendering tests. Lastly, on the CPU-Z single and multi-thread CPU test, the laptop scored 555.3 points and 4444.2 points.
Dell XPS 17 PCMark 10 Performance
We also ran PCMark 10, the laptop scored 6100 points with 8906 points on essentials, 8114 on productivity, and 8528 points on digital content creation. These numbers clearly indicate that the Dell XPS 17 is capable of handling modern content creation tasks like 3D rendering and video rendering.
Dell XPS 17 Gaming Performance
The RTX 3060 laptop is a capable mid-range GPU. Although you might not be able to run games like Far Cry 6 at 4K resolution, at 1080p with high graphics settings, we got an average FPS of 57. Hence, you can easily smooth gaming performance. Although the XPS 17 is not a gaming laptop, you can surely game on the same between the board presentations.
Dell XPS 17 Battery Life: Best In Class
The Dell XPS 17 can easily deliver five to five and a half hours of battery life on a single charge, which is great, considering the fact that the laptop has a 500nits brightness with 4K resolution. The laptop has a 97Whr battery life and it even comes with a 130W power adapter via the USB Type-C port. However, if you tend to run more computing-intensive tasks, then your mileage may vary when it comes to battery life.
Verdict: Great MacBook Pro Alternative
If you are considering buying a laptop like the MacBook Pro but want something that natively runs Windows or even Linux, then you can consider the Dell XPS 17 without a second thought. The XPS 17 is on par with the 16-inch MacBook Pro in terms of performance. On top of that, the laptop also offers features like a touch screen display, Windows Hello Face Unlock, and a high-performance graphics card.
Without a doubt, the Dell XPS 17 is one of the best premium Windows laptops that have everything that one might expect from a high-end laptop. Just like the other variants of XPS, the XPS 17 does not compromise on styling, practicality, or even performance.