Dell XPS 17 (2021) review

Dell XPS 17 (2021) review

Editor’s Choice

(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Our Verdict

The Dell XPS 17 has excellent multitasking and gaming capabilities, as well as great audio and a comfortable keyboard, but its battery life could be better.


  • Powerful overall and gaming performance
  • Sleek, attractive design
  • Excellent speakers
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Runs cool


  • Display could be more vivid
  • Below-average battery life

The big brother of the XPS 15 and 13 has flexed its muscle at every turn since its reemergence onto the premium laptop market, serving up big heaps of performance, a head-turning 17-inch display, and excellent audio. It’s big, but only where it counts, earning it a spot on our list of the best laptops. When it comes to the Dell XPS 17, bigger is always better. It did so without being any larger or heavier than a typical 15-inch laptop.

However, with a sticker price of $2,949 (for our configuration), it’ll leave all but the most deep-pocketed shoppers clutching their wallets. While all that power and a super high-resolution display are appealing, they do put a strain on the endurance. If you’re looking for ridiculous power in an easy-to-manage form factor, the Dell XPS 17’s flaws are minor annoyances.

Dell XPS 17 pricing and configurations

The Core i9-11900H processor will set you back $2,599, but you’ll only get half the RAM and a non-touch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200-pixels. I quickly discovered that all of the power under the hood of the XPS 17 comes at a high price –– $2,949. My review unit has a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-11800H processor with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD, an integrated Intel UHD Graphics GPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM, and a 17-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 3840 x 2400.

The base model of the laptop costs $1,549 and comes with a 2.2-GHz Intel Core i5-11400H processor, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD, an Intel UHD Graphics GPU, and a 17-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel non-touch panel.

Depending on your processor, the Dell XPS 17 can be configured with up to a 4TB SSD or an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU.

Dell XPS 17 design

The Dell logo gleams triumphantly amidst the matte finish in the middle of the lid. The chamfered sides of the notebook complement the gleam of the emblem. But if it isn’t a clever trick, I don’t know what is. The XPS 17 has remained a one-trick pony. The premium system is once again encased in a platinum silver anodized aluminum lid.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The power button, which also serves as a fingerprint scanner, is located in the top-right corner. A full-size keyboard is nestled between two speakers above the massive touchpad, which takes up a large portion of the palm rest. The familiar black carbon fiber interior is revealed when the lid is opened.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The XPS 17 is the big kid on the block, weighing 5.3 pounds and measuring 14.7 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches. Both the LG Gram 17 (5.1 pounds, 14.9 x 10.2 x 0.7 inches) and the LG Gram 17 (5.1 pounds, 14.9 x 10.2 x 0.7 inches) 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro Slimmer and lighter (4.3 pounds, 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches).

Dell XPS 17 security

The XPS 17 doesn’t have many security features, but it does have a fingerprint reader. fingerprint reader embedded in the power button and the IR, Windows Hello-compliant webcam is more than what its competitors offer. 

Dell XPS 17 ports

Because the XPS 17 only has a quad of RAM, you’ll need a dongle. Thunderbolt 4 ports to connect to, as well as a headset jack and an SD card reader.

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(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

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Thankfully, unlike some other companies I’m aware of (cough, Apple), Dell includes a USB-C-to-USB-A adapter with the laptop.

Dell XPS 17 display

The Dell XPS 17’s design is similar to that of its smaller siblings. displayDell was able to fit a 17-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio into a 14.7-inch body thanks to the thin bezels. With its barely-there bezels, it’s ensconced in Dell’s InfinityEdge design. In layman’s terms, fewer bezels equals more screen real estate.

On the 3840 x 2400-pixel resolution screen, the molding in the cabinetry, as well as the delicate creases in actors Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton’s neon color-blocked windbreakers, were all visible. In the spirit of neon, the girls’ bright pink and orange jackets stole the show, making everything else pale in comparison.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

However, I was surprised to learn that the panel on the XPS 17 only scored 77.6% on the test. DCI-P3 color gamutsizing The Gram 17 was the most vivid, with a score of 109.3%. It falls short of the premium laptop average of 82.9% and the MacBook Pro’s 80.7%.

During the game, the XPS 17 got some serious retaliation. brightnessWith a blinding 464 nits, it easily outshined the competition, easily surpassing the 388-nit average. The MacBook Pro and the Gram 17 both had 429 and 382 nits of brightness, respectively.

The 10-finger capacitive touchscreen responds quickly and smoothly, keeping up with me as I scribbled “Laptop Mag” across the panel in my occasionally legible cursive. Even when working outside, the anti-reflective coating significantly reduced any reflection or glare, despite the display’s gleam.

Dell XPS 17 audio

Even with the Waves MaxxAudioPro software’s equalizer turned off, I heard a slight bass thump when listening to Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby.” The thump increased when I switched to the Hip-Hop Hard preset. Is anyone there? Is the bass going to be good enough to compete with a pair of computer speakers? Knock on the door. It won’t replace your laptop speakers, but it will blow them out of the water. The top-firing quad-speaker system on the Dell XPS 17 is made up of a pair of primary speakers and tweeters.

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The trumpets blared loudly without drowning out the high hats or snares, and the vocals were clear and filled my small living room/dining room space.

Dell XPS 17 keyboard

On the 10fastfingers typing test, I easily typed 75 words per minute. The bright, white backlighting, as usual, allowed me to type in the darkness of my bedroom with the lights turned off and the blackout shade drawn. The island-style keyboard on the Dell XPS 17 is large, well-spaced, and a little pillowy, narrowly avoiding mushyville.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The 2021 XPS 17 has the same 3.5 x 6-inch touchpad as its predecessor, which, thankfully, has excellent palm rejection. Windows 10 gestures like pinch-zoom and three-finger tap were quick and responsive even when I wasn’t browsing websites.

Dell XPS 17 performance

The Dell XPS 17 is without a doubt that one, with its Only one can exist. 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-11800H processor, 32GB of RAM and 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD. I had 50 Google Chrome tabs open with some running Twitch and YouTube while others ran Google Docs and Sheetswith a few tabs open to various news sites and Twitterdeck The laptop continued to run normally.

Our synthetic benchmarks, such as Geekbench 5.4, were also smashed by the premium laptop. overall performance It scored 8,929 in the test, outperforming the 4,813 category average and the 4,458 scored by the Gram 17 (Core i7-1165G7 CPU).

The laptop-turned-steamroller kept going in the Handbrake test, transcoding a 4K video to 1080p in just 7 minutes and 21 seconds. The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, was not far behind at 8:00. It beat the 15:55 average and the 23:28 of the Gram 17.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The XPS 17 also had a transfer rate of 843.9 megabytes per second, which beat the Gram 17’s (1TB M.2 2280 SSD) 683.2MBps and the 618.8MBps premium laptop average.

Dell XPS 17 gaming and graphics

With an arsenal of weapons, The Dell XPS 17 was not designed for gaming. Maybe it did, after all. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM, the high-end laptop can also run AAA games at a high framerate. When you’re not gaming or doing anything graphically demanding, the laptop will automatically switch to its low-power mode. Intel UHD Graphicsvia Nvidia’s Optimus technology. 

On the Sid Meyer VI 1080p benchmark, the notebook clocked 101 frames per second, beating the premium laptop average of 29 frames per second and the Gram 17’s (Intel Iris Xe Graphics) 24 frames per second.

The XPS 17 sailed past the 45-fps category average on the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark, clocking 61 frames per second. At 4K, the framerate dropped to 18 fps, which was in line with the average.

The XPS 17 surpassed the 69-fps average in the Grand Theft Auto V test, achieving 74 frames per second at 1080p. The XPS 17 edged out the competition with 35 frames per second in 4K, compared to the average of 30 frames per second.

The XPS 17 surpassed the 55-fps category average when we ran the Far Cry New Dawn benchmark, achieving 59 frames per second. The XPS 17 scored 29 frames per second in 4K, which is disappointingly lower than the 44 frames per second average.

Dell XPS 17 battery life

Power and a display with a super-high resolution do not bode well for any laptop’s performance. battery lifeThat’s significantly less time than the MacBook Pro’s 10:55 and the premium laptop average. However, don’t be surprised if the laptop’s 1920 x 1200-pixel version lasts a lot longer. .. The Dell XPS 17 was no exception, lasting only 7 hours on our battery test, which consisted of continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness.

With a 14:00, the Gram 17 was the last laptop standing, completely eclipsing the XPS 17.

Dell XPS 17 heat

95 degrees Fahrenheit, no more, no less. The touchpad, center of the keyboard, and undercarriage all measured 95 degrees Fahrenheit after 15 minutes of fullscreen HD video playback, which was within our comfort range.

Dell XPS 17 webcam

If you’re looking for sharp detail and color accuracy, look no further than our products. The 720p webcam on the Dell XPS 17 is adequate for video conferencing. best webcams My muted mustard blouse was brighter than usual in my test shots, while only the pink locs out of my blue, purple, and pink locs showed up, with the rest looking like nondescript stringy blobs. a page

Dell XPS 17 software and warranty

The bloatwarePremier Color is available for screen calibration, and Customer Connect is useful for troubleshooting. On the Dell XPS 17, it’s almost non-existent. It’s a welcome omission, as it frees up space for manufacturer-branded software like Dell Power Manager, which manages power profiles, and Digital Delivery, which keeps your software up to date and restores it in the event of a crash or system wipe.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The XPS 17 also has Killer Control Center to prioritize network bandwidth usage and Nvidia GeForce Experience to optimize your gaming, thanks to the Nvidia GPU.

A free 20GB of storage space is also included with the laptop. Microsoft has included some bloatware in the form of Twitter, Fishdom, and Cooking Fever. Dropbox storage for a year. 

Check out how Dell did in our annual special reports: After remote diagnosis, the Dell XPS 17 comes with a one-year hardware warranty that includes onsite and in-home service. Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands.

Bottom line

A simple spec change can sometimes be all that’s required to keep you at the top of the heap. The premium system, with its 11th Gen Intel processor and 30-series Nvidia GPU, has more than enough power to keep even its fiercest competitors at bay. The Dell XPS 17 is an example of this. It also helps that the laptop has a large, bright display, excellent speakers, and a comfortable keyboard.

However, if you’re looking for the pinnacle of premium laptops, the Dell XPS 17 is hard to beat. The LG Gram 17 is the laptop for you if you want an ultra-lightweight system with plenty of battery life. However, for $2,949, I’d prefer a brighter display, and the battery life leaves something to be desired. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the way to go if you’re looking for long battery life and comparable power (though you might want to wait until Apple’s next event).

Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget as well as being a resident gamer and audio junkie. Since 2011, Sherri L. Smith has been writing product reviews for She’s reviewed a lot of laptops, tablets, smartphones, and everything in between in that time.