Dell XPS 17-9700 : Windows At It’s Finest | Tech Reviews
With a 10th Gen Intel i7 CPU, 16gb ram, an NVIDIA GeForce 1650Ti and top-notch build quality, the Dell XPS 17 is quite possibly the best content creator Windows notebook in years. But even the best device has weaknesses and a decent price.
So far the Microsoft Surface devices have been my favorite Windows notebooks, but after some time with the Dell XPS 17 I really have to reconsider that. With the XPS series, Dell is taking a slightly different approach than Microsoft’s laptops – more business and a little less lifestyle. That’s just better in many situations.
Technical details Dell XPS 17-9700
|Display||43 cm (17″) anti-reflective IPS display with LED backlight in 16:10 format|
|Resolution||1920 x 1200 pixels, 500 nits maximum brightness|
|Processor||Intel® Core™ i7-10750H Processor, 6x 2,60 GHz, Turbo bis 5GHz, 12MB Cache|
|Graphics||Nvidia (4 GB GDDR6 VRAM)|
|RAM||16 GB DDR4 2933 MHz (max. 64GB)|
|Hard Disk||1 TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD|
WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
|Ports||4x Thunderbolt 3 ports
card reader 1x 3.5mm jack
|Battery||6-cell battery, 97 Wh (integrated)|
|Input Devices||backlit keyboard
|Sound||Stereo speakers(MaxxAudio Pro)|
|Camera||720p infrared webcam with Windows Hello support|
|Security||Fingerprint reader in Power-Button|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Dimensions||248,05 x 374,45 x 19,5 mm|
|Price||2533.48 €* (2663.23 USD) *at the time of research|
Simple packaging – everything included
The Dell XPS 17 comes in a plain black box that contains the notebook, some paper, the 130W power adapter and a small dongle.
Fortunately, Dell uses little plastic in the packaging, but the Dell XPS 17 cannot avoid a few foils. Maybe in the next run
Design 9, Workmanship 10, Materials 9
The entire case of the Dell XPS 17 is made of aluminum and therefore feels very high-quality. In addition, there is a high torsional rigidity and perfectly finished edges. However, with 2.5kg it is clearly noticeable in the bag. For comparison – the 16-inch model of the Dell XPS 17 weighs 2kg, i.e. 20% less. There are plus points for the Dell’s paintwork, since fingerprints cannot be seen on the bright silver.
It can be opened with one hand, but it requires a bit of force because the display lid and palm rest are easily held together by magnets. Once the upper and lower parts are separated and the display opened, the very narrow display edges are immediately noticeable. They were already very impressive on the XPS 13, but the larger display makes them look even narrower on the XPS 17. Dell still has a camera with an infrared sensor in the upper display frame. The camera quality itself is rather mediocre, but biometric password entry via Windows Hello is possible thanks to the infrared sensor.
The entire wrist rest is made of carbon fiber. Compared to an aluminum surface, this material choice feels less cold and saves some weight. A full keyboard without a number pad, a gigantic trackpad and large speaker grills on both sides of the keyboard also make it clear which non-Windows laptop the Dell XPS 17 is modeled after.
The similarities continue with the connections. There are two Thunderbolt 3 ports on each side. However, the Dell XPS 17 offers something all photographers will love – a full SD card reader.
In general, a 17-inch laptop is less suitable for mobile use than a 15 or even a 13-inch device. But when it comes to having as much performance and screen as possible, which can then also be taken between the office/uni, at home and a meeting, the Dell XPS 17 is a very good choice. But if the 17 inches are absolutely too big for you, the Dell XPS 15 is an equally powerful version in a smaller case and with a weight of only 1.85 kg.
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Keyboard & touchpad are in the first league
Dell uses classic scissor switches for the XPS 17’s keyboard. Experienced typists can fly over the keyboard with a key travel of about one millimeter and type long texts at lightning speed. The pressure points are precise and the backlighting is absolutely even.
The large dimensions of the touchpad – with its 9x15cm – is located in the middle below the keyboard of the Dell XPS 17. The surface feels good under the fingers and allows gliding over the Windows graphical interface. On top of that, thanks to the Precision trackpad, gestures are recognized and executed quickly and accurately.
You can work productively with the Dell XPS 17 even without an external mouse and keyboard. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a conference room or a small table on your own balcony.
Thunderbolt for everyone
As already mentioned at the beginning, the Dell XPS 17 uses a total of four Thunderbolt 3 ports – two on each side. Even if many accessories still rely on USB-A, I think Dell’s decision was the right one. Thunderbolt is more versatile and allows higher transfer speeds.
Dell includes a small dongle in the XPS 17 package for owners of older monitors and USB-A sticks. It allows one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports to be used for HDMI and a USB-A port.
On the right side there is an SD card reader and a 3.5mm jack connection in addition to the two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The SD card reader achieved a real 72MB/s with a SanDisk Extreme Pro. The bottleneck here was the card and not the reader of the Dell XPS 17.
Thunderbolt 3 is the future, but you can’t do without a docking station yet. Nevertheless, the Dell XPS 17 is geared more towards the future here than sticking to VGA or FireWire.
The display is bright and color accurate
The 17 inch display of the Dell XPS 17 is definitely an eye-catcher. The size and the great colors alone make working on it very pleasant. In addition, there is the anti-glare surface, which greatly reduces reflections.
With a resolution of 1920x1200px, 131ppi come together. Content is therefore displayed sharply enough. Thanks to the aspect ratio of 16:10, the Dell XPS 17 is ideal for productive work, since less scrolling is necessary than with a 16:9 display and there is more space for tools in programs.
Dell says the Dell XPS 17’s display gets up to 500nits bright. Our measurements have resulted in 445nits. In most cases it is sufficient to work outside. The notebook scores with correct color representation. 100% in the sRGB color space and 78% in the extended AdobeRGB color space are not the only characteristics that make the Dell XPS 17 interesting for graphic designers. The average color deviation is only 0.74 in Delta E. But the other values don’t have to hide either.
Accordingly, the display of the Dell XPS 17 is suitable for gamers, graphic artists and everything in between. For the next generation, only a 90Hz display is missing and it would be perfect.
Windows 10 and a few Dell apps
I was a bit surprised to find that the Dell XPS 17 uses Windows 10 Home. PCs with a Pro license can be better integrated into a company’s infrastructure thanks to various features. On request, there is also a version of the Dell XPS 17 with the business version of Windows 10.
Dell doesn’t hold back when it comes to the rest of the software. In addition to various Microsoft apps, pearls such as “Killer Control Center” for better control of network flows and McAfee were preinstalled on the Dell XPS 17. A fingerprint reader in the power button doesn’t help either.
On top of that there are various Dell apps. While Eike still praised the “Dell Mobile Connect” app for smartphone control in his review of the Dell XPS 13 , the world looks a bit different from the point of view of an iPhone user. Even with all the desired settings, the app is bitchy. Notifications are displayed, but it is not possible to respond to them. Accessing the photos works, but controlling the iOS interface is a nightmare with the Dell XPS 17.
The Dell XPS 17 also sticks to the old procedure after switching it on for the first time. First update everything and then uninstall everything that is not required under “Software”.
Strong performance thanks to Core i7
Intel’s tenth generation of laptop CPUs delivers good results for everyday office work and the SSD doesn’t slow things down here either. Users have to make correspondingly few compromises.
In addition, the performance of the i7 is not throttled when running Cinebench R15 and R20 several times and delivers about the same values in the fifth run as in the first.
Can be longer and almost too strong
The Dell XPS 17 has a 97Wh battery, which is the size allowed for US domestic flights. Other manufacturers are also taking this 100Wh limit more and more as their goal. The large battery also results in a correspondingly long battery life. With normal office use in the WLAN, about 9-10 hours are possible.
So if you don’t use the GPU, you can put the Dell XPS 17 in your bag pre-charged in the morning and use it all day without having to get the power adapter out from behind your desk. Of course, if you want to actively use the dedicated GPU for video editing, for example, you have to ensure the external power supply.
Some early versions of the Dell XPS 17 had the problem that they drained the battery under load despite the power adapter. Luckily, our test unit didn’t have this problem and Dell says they got it under control. We can confirm that as exporting a 2160p video keeps the battery level and even charges minimally.
Cool and quiet
The Dell XPS 17 collects a lot of points here, because the fans behave in an exemplary manner and don’t get annoying even when the hardware is heavily loaded. They become audible, but never on a disturbing level. Especially when compared to some similarly equipped gaming notebooks, this raises the question of why other manufacturers can’t do the same.
In addition, the aluminum case of the Dell XPS 17 only gets slightly warm after more than an hour of stress testing. Long sections with the laptop on the lap (often in an ergonomically catastrophic position) are thus also possible.
Expandable and upgradeable
There are a total of eight Torx screws between the willing do-it-yourselfer and the inner workings of the Dell XPS 17. However, loosening the base plate requires sensitivity and isn’t just done with an old plastic card. It’s easy to do, but it takes a few minutes and some finesse.
After that, the inner workings are revealed and it becomes clear that Dell is accommodating the hobbyists here. Both RAM banks can be found quickly and fitted with new bars just as quickly.
The SSD is also quickly identified under a copper-colored cover. To get to it, an additional screw has to be removed from the battery. In addition, the Dell XPS 17 offers a slot for another NVMe SSD under a second copper cover.
Finally, the battery of the Dell XPS 17 can also be replaced relatively easily. Only a few screws and a cable have to be loosened and the battery can be removed. Glue is not used.
Good but quiet sound
Actually, laptops and good sound don’t go together. A lack of resonance space and cheap speakers are usually not a good combination. The Dell XPS 17, on the other hand, convinces with a good sound. The two large speaker panels on the left and right of the keyboard already indicate that Dell has not opted for a cheap solution here.
Unfortunately, the speakers are not convincing in all areas. While the sound is good, the highs, mids and basses lack richness and the maximum volume could be significantly higher as well. Together with the vibrations on the case from around 60%, the speakers leave a bland aftertaste. Without question, the speakers of the Dell XPS 17 are better than those in 90% of all laptops on the market, but still not enough for a place on the podium.
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The Dell XPS 17 is an exquisite notebook that gets full marks in all important aspects. Both the workmanship and the performance play in the top league for creator laptops.
The display is particularly convincing with its very good colors and thin edges. In addition, there is a very good keyboard with a large trackpad for productive work on the go or in the office.
The deductions in the B rating come from the weight and the good, but quiet speakers. For those who don’t care about these two small flaws, the Dell XPS 17 is one of the best Windows laptops currently available on the market and will feel very much at home in the office, in the next meeting or on the next gaming evening .
In view of the built-in components, the excellent workmanship and the many good details, the current price of around €2500 is even more justified for me than its little brother – the XPS 13.