January 18, 2022

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Test: Dell XPS 17 - TEST: Among the toughest computers

Test: Dell XPS 17 – TEST: Among the toughest computers

After several years of a downward spiral, PC sales received a long-awaited recovery as the coronavirus spread across the globe and forced workers on all continents to work in home offices.

Suddenly it becomes clear that the computers you already own may not be good enough to work day in and day out from home. Which resulted in many people choosing to upgrade to something new and better.

In other words, PC manufacturers have given up a good year, and among the companies that have seen a real recovery is Dell.

Dell XPS 17

At the same time as the sales numbers got a real boost, there was also a comeback from Dell last year. Several years later, the company chose to wake the XPS 17 from sleep mode, which has proven to be an excellent workhorse in both work and home offices. And yes also for games and entertainment.

Our test model was equipped with a powerful Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics card, paired with an Intel i7-11800H processor, 1TB of storage and a full 32GB of memory.

In other words, you can enjoy your time on many fronts with Dell’s flagship XPS.

XPS 17: The overall package is very good.  Photo: Martin Kenningrode Storbo

XPS 17: The overall package is very good. Photo: Martin Kenningrode Storbo
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The price of this configuration – which includes a 4K touch-sensitive screen – costs just under 36,000 kroner in the Dell online store at the time of writing.

You can save 2,000 kroner by downgrading the memory to 16 GB, or a thousand dollars by switching to a 512 GB disk.

Unlike laptops from some other manufacturers, you can certainly upgrade both memory and storage yourself, so it might be worth configuring your XPS 17 with a bit less storage/memory and then buying more elsewhere.

Regarding configurations:

  • Processor: i5-11400H 6-core to i9-11980HP with 8 cores
  • Graphics Cards: Intel UHD Graphics, GeForce RTX 3050 4 GB, RTX 3060 6 GB
  • Memory: 8–64 GB
  • Storage: 512 GB – 4 TB
  • Screen: 1920 x 1200 without touch and 3840 x 2400 with touch

In the table below you can also see a comparison of the more expensive model and our test model.

Dell XPS 17 تكوين Configuration

Model

Dell XPS 17 (entry)

Dell XPS 17 (test)

Monitor 1920 x 1200, 500 nit 3840 x 2400, 500 NET
Healer Intel Core i5-11400H, 6-core, 4.5 GHz Intel Core i7-11800H, Octa Core, 4.6GHz
GPU Intel UHD Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB
storage 512 GB 1 TB
memory 8 GB DDR4 32 GB DDR4
user interface 4x Thunderbolt, 1x audio connector, 1x SD card slot 4x Thunderbolt, 1x audio connector, 1x SD card slot
battery 97 watts 97 watts
an award 23,495 kroner 35,995 kroner

Prices are from Dell.no

As the table shows, the PC has 4 Thunderbolt 4 connectors and a physical SD card reader, as well as a built-in audio and microphone connector.

design and screen

In terms of design, a lot has happened since Dell’s previous XPS 17, it’s near 10 years after all, but it’s of course similar to the XPS 13 and 15 younger siblings with a silver gray body and black carbon fiber around the keyboard and trackpad.

An odd design option, which we’ve also seen on other XPSs, is the lack of a small hole in the base to make it easier to lift the screen with one finger. Instead, the base and screen work more or less in one, which means you have to either lift with two fingers on each side of the screen or take a little thumb in the middle.

It may seem like a global first problem, but it could have been better solved as on most other laptops.

The Dell XPS features one of the thinnest display frames on the market.  Photo: Martin Kenningrode Storbo

The Dell XPS features one of the thinnest display frames on the market. Photo: Martin Kenningrode Storbo
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The bezel surrounding the display is still among the thinnest on the market, which Dell calls the InfinityEdge because it almost goes to the edge.

Speaking of thin bezels: despite being reasonably thin, Dell actually has room for a good camera above the screen And Infrared sensors for secure face login with Windows Hello. In addition, the computer also has a fingerprint sensor.

The other thing is that this 17 inch isn’t much larger than the 15 and 16 inch. Among others, the new MacBook Pro 16:

Goal

XPS 17

MacBook Pro 16

an offer 37.44 cm 35,57 cm
Depth 24,80 cm 24.81 cm
Height 1.95 cm 1.68 cm
Weight from 2 kg from 2.1 kg

The screen resolution is somewhat unusual, 3400 x 2400 pixels. The standard 4K panel is 3840 x 2160 pixels, but because the XPS 17 has a screen format of 16:10 instead of 16:9, which Dell has wanted for a long time, there are more pixels in height.

The 16:10 format is a positive step up from 16:9, which Dell has traditionally used in XPS machines, and offers more headroom. It’s a step in the right direction, but we still think 3:2, like the Surface Laptop and Huawei MateBook X Pro, are optimal for laptops, but it naturally depends on what you like best.

Overall, it’s a pleasure to work on this 17-inch screen, which is sharp and good with realistic colors, but we’d like to see the brightness above 500 nits.

Keyboard and trackpad

As you’ll likely notice from the image below, our test sample has an American keyboard layout, which is something we’re not particularly excited about. When you grow up with what we use in Norway, it’s hard – in fact almost impossible – to get used to something other than the big, fancy enter key and <> to the right of the left shift key.

Fortunately, we received an American test sample, because Dell naturally provides the right keyboard for Norwegian customers. do not worry!

The keyboard has the same reduced travel we’ve seen in newer XPSs and is still among the quietest and most comfortable devices on the market—it’s only been surpassed by the Microsoft Surface Laptop and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, in the book signed below.

The keyboard is very good to type on.  Photo: Martin Kenningrode Storbo

The keyboard is very good to type on. Photo: Martin Kenningrode Storbo
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This is a keyboard that we can type on quickly.

The trackpad is also among the best, if not the best, we’ve come across in the Windows world. It’s so big that XPS users have no particular reason to be jealous of MacBook Pro users, and it supports gestures with both three and four fingers.

performance and battery

Our test model was equipped with an Intel i7-11800H processor with a clock frequency of 2.30 GHz and an increase of up to 4.60 GHz, which is among the most powerful mobile processors on the market. On Geekbench performance tests, it tops the laptops we’ve tested so far, but it certainly can’t keep up with Apple’s latest M1 Pro and M1 Max when it comes to processor performance.

However, graphics performance is made even more evident thanks to Nvidia’s dedicated graphics card, the RTX 3060 6GB.

With an RTX 3060 card, the XPS 17 is of course powerful enough to run

With an RTX 3060 card, the XPS 17 is of course powerful enough to run “Forza Horizon 5”. Photo: Martin Kenningrode Storbo
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In other words, it’s a model that works well for work and study, especially if you edit a lot of photos or videos and rely on good performance and games, because the XPS 17 does not have any problems running most games, but we notice that the computer heats up quickly and produces a lot of fan noise Sometimes only at low load.

Battery life is no more than usual and the 97Whr battery gets no more than 10-12 hours of video streaming from PC. It’s not impressive, we’ve seen the powerful MacBook Pro 16 perform better, but also not bad directly considering the 4K screen and the powerful hardware in general.

conclusion

It’s nice to have the Dell XPS 17 back, and it’s really nice to work on a nice big screen, its only complaint is that it could be much brighter.

The XPS 17 experience is quite unique: crazy performance and a graphics card that allows you to drive in “Forza Horizon 5” after work, but remember to bring the charger.

The keyboard is among the best we’ve used and the trackpad is just as good. And did we mention it’s giant?

The XPS 17 is also well-equipped with four Thunderbolt 4 ports and an SD card reader, which power users love.

On the other hand, the PC is not completely flawless. There is an astonishing amount of fan noise, which also sometimes occurs with a small load, and the screen cover is surprisingly hard to open.

Upgrades through Dell are also very expensive, so remember that you can replace both the memory sticks and the storage disk yourself, so you can save a few krona.

– Unique design
17″ in 15″ format
– Large and good track surface
– strong performance
– Top notch keyboard
Windows Hello Face and Finger Sign In
– SD Card Reader

Annoyed by the fan noise
– Surprisingly cumbersome to unlock the screen
– Expensive with upgrades
Regular battery life

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