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

Almost excellent display screen

Unbelievable efficiency

4 Thunderbolt three ports

Keyboard and touchpad are wonderful

Surprisingly small

Disappointing battery life

Costly

In the event you instructed 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. Not like most 17-inchers, the XPS 17 is greater than only a massive display screen. It provides efficiency. Critical efficiency. The type even the XPS 15 can’t supply.

I count on rather a lot out of a laptop computer that prices almost $three,000, however with the Nvidia RTX 2060 below the hood and an expansive 17-inch display screen, this could be the final word content material creation workstation.

Design

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

The dimensions of the chassis is simply marginally bigger than the MacBook Professional 16-inch, each in width and depth. You gained’t discover a lot of a distinction sliding it into your backpack, regardless of having a full inch extra of display screen. I used to be stunned to see the XPS 17 suits 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 all sides of the display screen (together with the underside chin), the XPS 17 is ready to cut back its total 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 screen whether or not you’re gaming, enhancing movies, and even simply scrolling a webpage.

In the event you don’t typically 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 zero.64 inches and weighs four.three kilos. The XPS 17 is a bit larger at zero.77 inches and weighs four.65 kilos. That goes as much as 5.53 kilos for the contact display screen choice. It’s not gentle, although the brand new Razer Blade Professional 17 continues to be nearly a half-pound heavier.

Nevertheless, should you’ve already seen the brand new XPS 15, none of that can shock you. Plenty of the identical design components have been lifted into the bigger kind issue, together with the keyboard, touchpad, 16:10 show side ratio, and the carbon fiber weave within the palm rests.

The keyboard and touchpad are highlights. In the event you’re like me and don’t typically use a mouse, you’ll respect the spacious and responsive touchpad, particularly. The press is quiet and the monitoring is near-perfect. The unfastened mechanism present in my evaluate unit of the XPS 15 has been resolved within the XPS 17.

Ports and connectivity

To emphasise the “professional” nature of the Dell XPS 17, it has added connectivity. It options 4 Thunderbolt three ports, two on all sides. Meaning you have got 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 must be delighted.

In the event you’re coming from an older XPS, MacBook, and even Razer Blade, you might miss legacy ports. In the event you want HDMI or USB-A connections, you’ll must depend on dongles or a Thunderbolt three hub.

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

Efficiency

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 could possibly be achieved. In any case, 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 screen. Laptops just like the LG Gram 17 or HP Envy 17 take this method – 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 evaluate 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 eight% quicker 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 quicker 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 could be very highly effective, even for content material creators, builders, designers, and anybody else that runs heavy purposes.

Nevertheless, 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 encompasses a model new thermal resolution utilizing a mixture of vapor chambers and a re-engineered airflow system. Higher cooling permits the usage of extra power-hungry parts, 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 lightweight.

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. Not like 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 just a few frames behind the ROG Zephyrus G14.

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 charge monitor, you’ll be able to even take pleasure in 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 stunning.

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

The shortage of a better refresh charge or G-Sync help is the one function lacking from the gaming expertise. Limiting the body charge and enabling V-Sync might be one of the simplest ways to go in most video games to keep away from display screen 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 a particularly highly effective choice for video enhancing.

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 may 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 latest graphics card improve. The one machine to barely beat it on this check was the Microsoft Floor E book three 15. That 2-in-1 homes the graphics card in a separate chassis. It’s not a good battle, although it does present simply how highly effective graphics playing cards might be if the software program is optimized for it.

The brand new Razer Blade Professional 17 could surpass it as a video enhancing choice when it launches later this 12 months. It affords the identical eight-core processor alongside the much more highly effective Nvidia RTX 2080 Tremendous Max-Q graphics card. I gained’t know the way it performs for positive till I check it myself, however the specs look promising.

The bottom mannequin of the XPS 17, after all, 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 choice for an Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti graphics card should you’d like slightly additional efficiency at a decrease value. The GTX 1650 Ti choice may serve you nicely should you’re keen to play video games at medium element settings.

Show and audio system

Just like the Dell XPS 15, the XPS 17 affords 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 screen, however most individuals will need to go for the three,840 x 2,400 show. It’s almost excellent. It’s essentially the most color-precise display screen I’ve ever examined, and its shade gamut is as much as 96% within the Adobe RGB shade area. Not even the MacBook Professional 16-inch can evaluate, regardless of being generally known as 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 screen, however the XPS 17 is not any slouch there, both. The distinction ratio is 1530:1, making it a gorgeous display screen for gaming and movie-watching, bringing out a broad spectrum of shade depth. At a max of 491 nits, I by no means had an issue with display screen glare, even whereas working outdoors.

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 below 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 equivalent to that on the XPS 15, which affords 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

I didn’t count on the Dell XPS 17 to offer good battery life. Most laptops with 4K screens don’t final lengthy on a single cost, and including an additional two inches of display screen doesn’t assist. I didn’t anticipate it being fairly this dangerous, 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 purposes, 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 a neighborhood 1080p video till the battery dies, the XPS 17 lasted nearly seven hours. But it surely each day utilization, the MacBook Professional 16-inch continues to be going to outlast it.

I additionally examined it on the Basemark three.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, should you go for the decrease decision display screen, it is best to see at the least a pair hours of additional battery.

Our take

If the Dell XPS 17 had been nothing greater than the XPS 15 with a much bigger display screen, I wouldn’t be impressed. However should you’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’d like a modern, skilled laptop computer that may churn by heavy workloads, the Dell XPS 17 is the whole package deal.

Are there are any alternate options?

The MacBook Professional 16-inch is that this laptop computer’s major competitor. It’s costlier, 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 affords 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 quicker 300Hz refresh charge display screen for smoother gaming. The Razer Blade Professional 17 is bigger and heavier, and might solely be configured with a 4K display screen beginning at a whopping $three,800.

Lastly, Dell’s personal XPS 15 must be thought of instead. 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 least 5 years. It’s a well-built and highly effective laptop computer. You’ll be able to’t improve the reminiscence or storage, although. It additionally solely comes with a one-year guarantee, although Dell affords prolonged unintentional injury service or premium hardware help as much as 4 years.

Do you have to purchase it?

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

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