Dell’s iconic XPS laptop computer design, with its strong silver shell and carbon fiber keyboard deck, first set the bar for premium shopper clamshell Home windows laptops again in 2015. And the road has been at or close to the entrance of its subject ever since, typically occupying a number of spots on our Finest Ultrabooks record. Whereas I nonetheless miss the presence of USB-A ports on this newest iteration of the big-screen XPS 17 (mannequin 9720), it is nonetheless one highly effective, typically pleasing machine, which Dell has up to date to assist the most recent elements from Intel and Nvidia.
Our assessment configuration packs an Intel Core i7-12700H (with six efficiency cores and eight effectivity cores), plus Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics, 32GB of RAM and a speedy and roomy 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD. With these elements, that is an costly system at $3,049, though the beginning value with a Core i5 and built-in graphics is a extra palatable $1,849. The 3840 x 2400 contact display on the configurations we examined provides $300 to the asking value. But it surely’s a brilliant, colourful display that is nice for performing some graphics work on the go or kicking again to binge your favourite exhibits in your downtime. And the battery life is lengthy sufficient that you need to be capable to do a little bit of each earlier than having to succeed in in your charger.
Dell XPS 17 (9720) Specs
|CPU||Intel Core i7-12700H|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6, 1,282 MHz Enhance Clock, 60W TGP|
|SSD||1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD|
|Show||17-inch, 3840 x 2400, Touchscreen|
|Networking||802.11ax Killer Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1|
|Ports||4x Thunderbolt 4, 1x SD Card Reader, 1x 3.5 mm combo headphone/microphone jac|
|Working System||Home windows 10 House|
|Dimension||14.74 x 9.76 x 0.77 inches|
|Worth (as Configured)||$3,049|
Design of the Dell XPS 17 (9720)
On the one hand, the XPS 17 seems and seems like a cross between a basic sports activities automotive and a tank with its iconic, inflexible silver aluminum shell and carbon fiber inside deck. However the visible design is just not solely the identical because the mannequin we checked out final 12 months, but in addition fairly just like XPS laptops going all the way in which again to 2015. In order typically good because it seems and feels, the XPS 17 not feels contemporary or thrilling.
Additionally, the port choice feels unnecessarily restricted in its lack of USB-A ports. The left edge homes a lock slot and two Thunderbolt 4 ports, whereas on the correct lives a headphone jack, a full-size SD card slot, and two extra Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports. In truth, these are the identical ports as those on the smaller Dell XPS 15.
A small dongle is included, which supplies you entry to a USB-A and HDMI port for the sake of sacrificing one of many Thunderbolt 4 ports. Granted, 4 speedy and versatile Thunderbolt ports (which additionally can be utilized to cost the laptop computer) is greater than you get with most laptops. However with all of the unused area on the perimeters of the laptop computer, there’s clearly room for a pair of USB-As. At the very least one can be good so you do not have to hold a dongle with you more often than not. I’ve to suppose most creatives nonetheless have USB-A-based equipment that they’d wish to plug instantly into their laptop computer.
At 14.74 x 9.76 x 0.77 inches and 5.34 kilos, the most recent XPS 17 is similar dimension and weight because the 2021 mannequin. That is nonetheless smaller and lighter than the most recent Razer Blade 17 (15.55 x 10.24 x 0.78 inches and 6.06 kilos), however that laptop computer additionally has a a lot higher-end RTX 3080 Ti graphics card. Gigabyte’s Aero 16 manages to be a bit lighter at 5.07 kilos, and narrower at 14.02 inches broad. But it surely’s barely thicker at 0.88 inches, although once more you get higher-end graphics within the type of the RTX 3070 Ti. However you lose an inch of display actual property with that laptop computer. Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Professional is barely taller and wider (14.91 x 9.77 inches), however thinner at 0.66 inches, and noticeably lighter at 4.8 kilos. Once more, the XPS 17 remains to be pretty slim and lightweight for a big-screen laptop computer with devoted graphics, however this design is not the stand-out class chief that it as soon as was.
Productiveness and Gaming Efficiency of the Dell XPS 17 (9720)
We examined Dell’s XPS 17 9720 with a twelfth Gen Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, 32GB DDR5-4800MHz RAM, 1TB of PCIe 4.0 SSD storage and an RTX 3060. Though not strictly a gaming rig, the RTX 3060 (the top-end graphics choice right here) actually provides it sufficient graphical muscle to play fashionable video games, which we’ll contact on later.
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Throughout our Geekbench check, the 2022 XPS 17 beat its competitors on the mult-core portion, with a rating of 13,714, leaving the 2021 mannequin (and its 8,928 multi-core rating) within the mud, whereas delivering a reasonable defeat to the 16-inch M1 Max-powered MacBook Professional, which scored 12,683 on the identical check. Apple’s Arm-based laptop computer, although, held the lead on the Single-core check, with its 1,781 eclipsing the XPS 17 9720’s 1,670 rating on the identical check.
In our Handbrake check, the XPS 17 9720 was much less spectacular, taking 6 minutes and 40 seconds to transcode our 4K video to 1080p. That was higher than final 12 months’s XPS 17 (7:21), however Gigabyte’s Core i7-12700H-powered Aero 16 did higher, taking 5:43 on the identical check. And the16-inch MacBook Professional was considerably quicker right here, taking simply 4:48 to transcode our check video.
Issues seemed higher for the 2022 XPS 17 on our file switch check, delivering our 25GB of information at a speedy common of 1,765.52 MBps, greater than doubling the velocity of final 12 months’s mannequin and greater than 700 MBps quicker than the Gigabyte laptop computer. However the MacBook Professional was as soon as once more quicker right here, finishing the identical check at a median velocity of 1,917.69 MBps. Nonetheless, the XPS 17 is kind of quick in terms of storage.
Our stress check consists of working Cinebench R23 for twenty runs back-to-back. The XPS 17 completed its first run with a rating of 15,713, took a reasonably steep drop for its second run to 12,492, then stayed very regular for the remainder of its runs, not various rather more than 100 factors. Throughout the stress check, the CPUs high-performance P cores ran at a median of two.7 GHz and its efficiency-focused E cores ran at 2.22 GHz. Total, the CPU ran at a median of 71.14 levels Celsius (160.05 levels Fahrenheit).
Whereas it is not a gaming laptop computer, our configuration of the XPS 17 (9720) packs gaming-class RTX 3060 graphics. That is not a high-end RTX 3080 or 3080 Ti, however the 3060 ought to be loads of graphics card muscle for enjoying fashionable video games at round 1080p (though not the system’s native 3840 x 2400 decision). So I fired up the lately launched Evil Useless: The Sport and grabbed my boomstick to see what the XPS 17 may do on the gaming entrance. Whereas that sport ran easily, it seems that there is no simple approach to document efficiency (FRAPS wouldn’t run), so I fired up Borderlands 3 and its built-in benchmark. At 1,900 x1,200 decision, the XPS 17 and its RTX 3060 ran the sport at a buttery clean 95 frames per second (fps) on medium settings. Stepping as much as the very best (Badass) preset, efficiency was nonetheless at a playable stage, averaging 55.6 fps. Neither of those video games are tremendous demanding at this level, but it surely’s clear that in the event you go for an XPS 17 with an RTX 3060, taking part in fashionable AAA video games is an choice, as long as you drop the decision all the way down to one thing near 1080p.
Show on the Dell XPS 17 (9720)
The show on the Dell XPS 17 does not sport any fancy tech like OLED or quantum dots, but it surely nonetheless seems fairly good. Dell charges it for 500 nits of brightness and 100% of Adobe’s RGB colour gamut, and as we’ll quickly see in testing, it both will get near or bests these claims.
Once I used the laptop computer to atone for Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds, the yellow, blue and purple of the characters’ uniforms seemed daring, and the void of area was satisfyingly black whereas nonetheless delivering element at the hours of darkness away mission scenes. I additionally used the display to type by means of 1000’s of photographs from a latest journey to Scotland, and whereas I choose a bigger display for long-term picture modifying, most content material creators ought to really feel glad with this show, particularly if you see the outcomes of our show testing beneath.
The XPS 17’s display cannot fairly outshine the MacBook Professional when it comes to brightness. Our lightmeter pegged the Dell show at 466 nits, which is on par with the 464 nits of final 12 months’s mannequin and effectively forward of the 366 of the Gigabyte Aero 16. However Apple’s competing 16-incher with a mini LED show was a bit brighter at 501 nits.
Nonetheless, in terms of colour, the Dell lands on prime, delivering 85.1% of the DCI-P3 colour area, sufficient to finest each the earlier XPS 17 and the 16-inch MacBook Professional, each of which edged a bit above 77% of the identical colour area. The Gigabyte Aero 16 bought a bit nearer, delivering 79% of DCI-P3 with its Samsung AMOLED show. However the XPS 17 is the most suitable choice we have examined on this class and display dimension in terms of colour. Its 120% of the smaller sRGB area additionally comes out simply on prime on this check.
Battery Life on the Dell XPS 17 (9720)
You need to be capable to get by means of a piece day with the XPS 17, offered you are not hammering the CPU with duties like video modifying, and you retain the display brightness effectively beneath its max setting. On our battery check, which always streams video, browses the net and runs graphics exams whereas linked to Wi-Fi and with the show set to 150 nits of brightness, Dell’s big-screen XPS lasted 8 hours and 29 minutes
That is 89 minutes higher than the earlier mannequin (7 hours even), and effectively greater than three hours longer than Gigabyte’s Aero 16. However Apple’s Arm-based Macs proceed to be in a category of their very own in terms of productiveness machines. The 16-inch MacBook Professional lasted 15 hours and 31 minutes on the identical battery check.
Keyboard and Touchpad on the Dell XPS 17 (9720)
I’ve no complaints in any way in regards to the XPS 17’s precision touchpad. At 5.9 x 3.5 inches, it feels nearly comically roomy, with an excellent quantity of smoothness and friction for correct enter. And there’s greater than sufficient room right here for Home windows 11’s multitouch gestures. Whereas I nonetheless choose a devoted mouse, I may see myself getting by with out main complaints if I had to make use of the touchpad right here as my main cursor management for primary duties.
The keyboard, however, leans extra towards the OK finish of the spectrum. As you may think on a laptop computer this dimension, the important thing association principally feels spacious, though the half-size up-down arrow keys and squished prime operate row appears pointless given the area out there on the deck. The larger difficulty is journey and really feel, which once more aren’t notably dangerous, however do not stand out in any means as satisfying or in any other case nice. The switches really feel tender and vague and the journey and bottoming out feels sub-par, notably in comparison with some equally configured gaming laptops. Together with Dell’s personal Alienwares.
The ability button, which lives within the upper-right nook subsequent to the Delete key additionally has a fingerprint reader inbuilt. It labored fairly effectively in my testing, although my most popular Home windows Hi there alternative for straightforward OS login is the webcam, which additionally helps Home windows Hi there and effectively for me.
I actually want Dell would deliver the keyboard over from its Alienware x17 R2 gaming laptop computer, which has each a greater structure (together with media and full-size arrow keys) and a mechanical swap choice that is greater than definitely worth the $50 improve when it comes to key really feel alone. With a lot room right here, there’s little motive the keyboard on the XPS 17 should not really feel higher, particularly given the worth of the laptop computer in its higher-end configurations.
Audio on the Dell XPS 17 (9720)
The pair of top-firing audio system that sit at both facet of the XPS 17’s keyboard produce clear, clear sound, even at 100% quantity. I loved the intricacies of the programing in Rys Fulber’s newest solo album Collapsing Empires, in addition to the pulsing bassline and dramatic construct and crescendo of Buck-Tick’s Muma – The Nightmare. However for a 17-inch laptop computer, there simply wasn’t as a lot quantity as I might count on. It is advantageous for listening or watching video if you’re sitting proper in entrance of the laptop computer. However even with the XPS 17 on the espresso desk only a foot to the left and behind me, I discovered the utmost quantity simply sufficient to be typically satisfying. Should you like your media even reasonably loud, I might recommend choosing one of many finest gaming headsets .
Webcam on the Dell XPS 17 (9720)
Dell says the webcam on the XPS 17 has been improved this 12 months, with separate sensors for IR (for Home windows Hi there login) and RGB (for normal imaging). That sounds promising, and I did discover the picture typically brilliant, with fairly good colour accuracy within the barely overcast mild of my residence workplace. However the digital camera nonetheless has a 720p sensor, which seems about as blocky and low-res as you’d suppose it could on the system’s 3840 x 2400 show. And the facet of my face closest to the window was a blown-out subject of white throughout testing.
In brief, the digital camera will get you thru work conferences with out main points, and we’re glad to see that Dell remains to be working to enhance issues just a few generations after transferring the digital camera again up above the show the place it belongs. However its placement within the slim strip above the display nonetheless means the digital camera is not nice. If you wish to look your finest throughout workplace conferences or chats with pals, you need to take into account plugging in one of many finest webcams. Simply do not forget that the shortage of USB-A ports means you will have to interrupt out the included dongle to take action, except you may have pretty latest webcam with a replaceable cable or a USB-C port.
Warmth on the XPS Dell 17 (9720)
Throughout our Cinebench R23 stress testing, we additionally checked floor temperatures at varied factors on the laptop computer. On the XPS 17’s keyboard, between the G and H keys, temperatures hit 37.1 levels Celsius (98.8 levels Fahrenheit), whereas the touchpad remained cooler at 31.9 levels Celsius (89.4 Fahrenheit). The underside of the laptop computer, close to the rear middle, topped out at a hotter 38.8 levels Celsius (101.9 levels Fahrenheit). However none of those temperatures are scorching (and even very warm) by efficiency laptop computer requirements
Upgradability on the Dell XPS 17 (9720)
Whereas the corporate’s newly redesigned XPS 13 factors to a dim way forward for laptop computer upgradability, the present design of the XPS 17 nonetheless presents up a good quantity of normal, swappable elements. Entering into the laptop computer entails eradicating eight tiny Torx screws after which utilizing some kind of sturdy spudger or plastic card to run across the edges, disengaging the clips. Then the underside lifts proper off.
Inside you will discover two SODIMM slots and two M.2 storage slots, handily labeled 2280 SSD L (PCIe) and 2280 SSD R (PCIe). Each the RAM slots and the left SSD slot had been occupied in our assessment unit. It ought to be pretty easy to switch any of those elements, though you should partially take away the battery to get the warmth shields off the SSDs, which is a slight added complication.
Dell XPS 17 (9720) Configurations
The beginning value of the current-gen Dell XPS 17 is $1,849 with a Core i5-12500H, built-in Intel UHD graphics, 8GB of DDR5 RAM and a 512GB SSD with a 1920 x 1200 non-touch show. Our assessment mannequin steps as much as a Core i7-12700H, RTX 3060 graphics (the very best out there choice), a 3840 x 2400 touchscreen, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of PCIe 4.0 solid-state storage for $3,049.
In case your pockets can deal with it, the top-end mannequin with a Core i9-12900HK, the identical RTX 3060 and UHD+ show, plus 64GB of RAM, 2TB of storage and Home windows 11 Professional prices $3,794 as of this writing. Taking one step again to 32GB of RAM will prevent $300, placing the worth at $3,494. There’s additionally the selection of an RTX 3050 that knocks $200 off the 3060 choice, however that additionally features a step again all the way down to the Core i7 CPU.
As premium highly effective Home windows laptops go, the XPS 17 remains to be the most effective big-screen choices out there, and with twelfth Gen Intel processors, it is extra highly effective and longer-lasting than ever, whereas nonetheless being much more upgradable than most ultrabooks. That stated, the 720p webcam and so-so keyboard positive may use an improve. And whereas battery life is nice for a Home windows laptop computer, it could possibly’t match the MacBook Professional on that entrance.
A part of me hopes the XPS 17 will get a severe redesign quickly to deal with a number of the areas the place it is beginning to really feel stale or outmatched. But when the brand new XPS 13 is indicative of Dell’s design course, I am in much less of a rush for a refresh. There’s undoubtedly room for enchancment with the XPS 17 9720, however I will take repairability and ports over a barely slimmer shell and soldered-down storage and RAM like Dell’s newest 13-incher.