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Dell XPS 17 Review: Who should buy this 3.6 lakh rupee laptop?

And what should you know before you buy one.

Edited By: Manik Berry

Published: Nov 03, 2023, 12:20 PM IST

13. Featured image
13. Featured image

Story Highlights

  • The laptop is crafted out of a single block of CNC aluminum with carbon fiber accents.
  • XPS 17 looks discreet but is packing an Intel i7 chip with RTX 4070 graphics.
  • You can buy this laptop at a starting price of Rs. 3,22,000

The full form of Dell XPS eXtreme Performance System, and was first used in the 1990s. Since then, the company has maintained the lineup with top-of-the-line specifications and build. We recently received the latest Dell XPS 17 (9730) for review, and it looked like an everyday office machine out of the box.

While the premium build is apparent, I certainly did not expect it to pack the specifications that it had. There’s only an Intel Core i9 sticker on the machine, and unless you read the box for specs or boot the laptop and check, you can’t tell that this is packing an NVIDIA 4060 GPU. That said, let’s get the specifications out of the way first, and get started with the review.

Dell XPS 17 specifications

Specifications Dell XPS 17 (9730)
Processor(s) 13th Generation Intel Core i7-13700H

13th Generation Intel Core i9-13900H

Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU
8GB GDDR6 (60W) NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU
8GB GDDR6 (60W)
Display 17-inch 4K UHD+ (3840×2400) touchscreen500nits peak brightness
Memory 32GB (2x16GB) DDR5
Storage 1TB PCIe 4 SSD (Up to 8TB supported)
Keyboard Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard; 1.3mm
Webcam 720p IR camera with Windows Hello
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.3
I/O 4x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C)
1x Full size SD card reader
1x 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack
Wedge-shaped lock slot
1x USB-C to USB-A v3.0 & HDMI v2.0
Audio 2x 2.5W Woofers
2x 1.5W Speakers
8-Watt audio output
Battery 97Whr battery
Power Adapter 130W AC adapter (USB-C)
Dimensions (inches) 14.74 x 9.76 x 0.77
Colours Platinum Silver exterior, Black interior

Design and build

So, like I said in the beginning, this is a really discrete, low-key machine, but it is built really well. The chassis is made out of CNC aluminum alloy, with carbon fiber accents at the palm rest area and around the rest of the keyboard. At its thickest point, the XPS 17 is only as thick as a stack of ten Rs 5 coins, so this is fairly slim for the performance package it offers.

There are four thunderbolt ports, two on each side, and all of them can charge it. The right side also has a full-size SD card slot, and a 3.5mm combination headphone jack. However, Dell ships a USB-C to USB-A and HDMI 2.0 adapter in the box, so your USB-A peripherals should also connect to it.

While the overall design looks and feels really premium, the XPS 17 weighs around 2.5KG, and is not a very backpack-friendly laptop. That said, if you do have to carry it places, it isn’t unmanageable, but something with a 17-inch screen, RTX 4070, and the cooling system to manage these specs is bound to be on the heavier side.

Dell XPS 17 review: Display and speakers

3. Dell XPS 17 display

The touchscreen 17-inch panel on the XPS is responsive, and intuituve. It is also convenient for designers and users who want to use a touch input for better precision without getting an external mouse.

This laptop is boasting a 4K UHD+ touchscreen panel with Dolby Vision. It also has anti-reflective and anti-smudge coatings to accommodate touch inputs without messing up the screen. The bezels are also razor slim and at first look, it almost looks like there are no bezels at all. In terms of the experience, it is a fairly bright and responsive screen, and the touchscreen inputs work precisely too.

However, many users may fear shattering the screen in case they drop the laptop, and putting a screen guard is also not recommended in many clamshells. But Dell was thinking a step ahead, as the entire 17-inch screen comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 6. This means it has good scratch and impact resistance, which is important for something this size.

5. Dell XPS 17 carbon fiber and speaker closeup

The XPS has 2 woofers and 2 tweaters, which combined with the 17-inch chassis, give it ample sound output to rival a Bluetooth speaker

Many slim laptops compromise in the speaker department, but the XPS has an 8-watt audio output. You get 2x 2.5-watt woofers and 2x 1.5-watt tweeters to get a rich, bassy audio. The 17-inch form factor gives it the room to not only fit the speakers, but also give them the space to perform. However, you may feel slight vibrations on the palm rest and trackpad area at full volume, but it never got unpleasant in our experience.

Keyboard and trackpad

2. Keyboard

The keyboard has 1.3mm key travel, and the trackpad is also large and responsive. There’s more than enough space to rest your palms and type fast.

The discreet theme continues here as the keyboard is a regular, chicklet-style, backlit unit. It is a clicky and superbly tactile keyboard, and there’s plenty of room to rest and move your palms, which translates to faster typing speeds. You also get a fingerprint sensor that doubles up as the power button on the top right corner for faster login. I believe there should be a model with a dedicated numpad for this form factor.

Onto the trackpad, this too is a large and tactile unit. I think a slightly smaller trackpad would’ve been better for my usage. It is so because you may accidentally tap the trackpad while typing. Also, the trackpad should’ve had more functionality like the ASUS NumberPad. That said, the keyboard and trackpad offer good feedback as they are, but these are small things that could be better.

Security and performance

4. Webcam

The XPS misses out on a 1080p webcam, but this 720p camera comes with infrared projector, which makes gives this laptop Windows Hello facial recognition.

Let’s talk about security first. The Dell XPS 17 gives you multiple secure ways to login. You can use Windows Hello Facial recognition, the fingerprint sensor on the keyboard, or a pin/password. There’s also a wedge-shaped lock on the left side of the laptop, so you can lock it in place if you’re in a public space.

Coming to performance, this is an area where the XPS 17 comes into its own element. I used this laptop as my primary machine for almost two weeks. In this time, I played Farcry 6, GTA V, and Valorant on the XPS 17. While usage is one thing, the laptop shows its performance even in benchmarks like Cinebench.

The specifications alone make sure that the laptop breaks no sweat in handling heavy tasks. I even tried running the Cinebench multi-core test in the background with around 20 tabs open on Chrome, and the XPS 17 handled it really work. You can feel the heat coming out the laptop under heavy workflows, but it didn’t get hot to the touch. So, in short, the XPS can handle heavy workloads, keep itself cool, and look like discreet in the process.

Dell XPS 17 Battery

You’ll get roughly two to three hours of gaming at maximum settings, depending on which title you play. In terms of office work I used it with around 10-15 Chrome tabs open, working on Canva, with Farcry 6 minimized and ready to play. Under these conditions, the Dell XPS 17 lasted around six hours. Then I closed Farcry and went on with the same workflow the next day and got close to 8 hours of battery.

After a full day of work, you can plug it into the 130-watt USB-C adapter. In my testing, the charger could power the machine from 15 percent to 85 percent in one hour 50 minutes. Charging speeds slow down when you reach the 80 percent mark, but it charges to 100 percent in around two hours 30 minutes.

Dell XPS 17 review: Verdict

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It has great build quality, really good display and speakers, and powerful performance, but it is still a confusing machine. The Dell XPS 17 starts at Rs 3,11,000, with the top-spec model coming in at Rs 3,64,289. That said, there are plenty of other powerful options from ASUS, HP, and MSI that undercut this price by a massive margin.

For instance, you can get the MSI Creator Z17 HX at Rs 2,50,000, or the HP OMEN Transcend 16 at Rs 2,00,000. Moreover, if you give up on the screen real-estate, there are options like the ASUS ROG Flow Z13 in the mix. But one thing that works in Dell’s favour is the all-rounder nature of the laptop.

The three laptops I mentioned above do undercut the XPS, but they also lack one or the other capabilities of the XPS. So, in my opinion, Dell isn’t trying to price it right, but to check all the boxes. You can do anything from office work to gaming and video editing on the Dell XPS 17, and the maxed out specifications make sure it remains future-proof for a long time.

With that said, my verdict for this machine is that Dell is targeting creators, video editors, and professionals who want a powerful portable machine, without compromising on the screen real-estate, graphics, or any other aspect. The exuberant price also means that even casual gamers could go looking for something else. However, Dell has created the XPS 17 for either the professional or the enthusiast, and this is a great option for both users.

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Author Name | Manik Berry


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