After many years of being off stage, the XPS 17 is back! Perhaps in order to counter the 16-inch MacBook Pro, or just because they are confident enough that they can produce a thin and light 17-inch notebook. And we kid you not – they might just have done it.

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start by introducing the machine to you. As things stand from quite some time now – the XPS series is trying to be the ultimate productivity notebook. No matter if you are a video editor, a photographer, web designer, developer – you name it, it can do it. Or at least, this was the general picture.

Sadly, the design that was “groundbreaking” when it came to the market, was kept for more than three years, which meant that last year, Dell was lacking behind some of its opponents. Also, as a thin and light powerhouse, it was poised with cooling issues. And this is why, the new 17-inch model comes with a vapor chamber, which cools the hardware going up to the Core i9-10885H and the RTX 2060 Max-Q.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-xps-17-9700/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell XPS 17 9700 – Specs


OS


Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home


Battery


97Wh, 6-cell, 56Wh, 3-cell


Dimensions


374.4 x 247 x 19.5 mm (14.74″ x 9.72″ x 0.77″)


Body material


Aluminum, Carbon

Ports and connectivity

  • 4x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort
  • Card reader SD
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Audio jack 3.5 mm combo

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone Dual-Array Microphone
  • Speakers 2x 2W, Stereo Subwoofer + 2x 1.5W, Stereo Tweeter
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Of course, like the XPS 15 9500, we see a premium packaging. Inside, you’ll find a 90W (130W for the dedicated GPU models) USB Type-C power brick, and a neat USB Type-C to USB Type-A/HDMI dongle.

Design and construction

As something that has no actual predecessor, it is easy just to take the safe road and implement something old and proven. However, Dell has given all of their efforts in designing the XPS 17 9700, as a bigger copy of the XPS 15 9500 (or vice versa). It has extremely narrow bezels all around and uses premium materials like aluminum and carbon fiber. Its thickest point measures at 19.5mm, while the weight starts from 2.11 kg for the base model and maxes out at 2.51 kg for the most powerful configuration. One thing that is definitely great here is the build quality. While there is some visible flex when you twist the base, it is nothing too much, considering the footprint and the thin profile of the device.

This can also be said about the lid, which makes good use of the CNC machined aluminum. Our model, in particular, was not able to get its lid opened when we used only one hand. What is impressive, however, is how the manufacturer was able to put an HD camera, as well as an IR face recognition system inside of the top bezel.

Next, let’s go to the base, which as we said earlier, is made of carbon fiber. The keyboard is basically the same unit as on the XPS 15 9500, and it has clicky feedback, a backlight, and decently-sized keycaps. And while we found the key travel to be a little short, we doubt most people would found that to be a problem. In addition to that, there is a fingerprint reader inside the power button, and it works pretty swiftly and accurately. And if you’re wondering what did Dell does with the huge space flanking the keyboard, well, they reserved it for the speakers – more on that later.

Below the deck, you’ll find a huge touchpad by the Windows laptop standards. It has good tracking and offers a comfortable gliding experience. However, our model had a slight gap before it registers a click. We really hope that this is an issue with our unit, and honestly, if the laptop was not starting at roughly $1500, we wouldn’t deem it as a problem, whatsoever.

Then, at the bottom plate, we found the ventilation grill, as well as another set of speaker cutouts. And like the XPS 15 9500, the hot air tries to escape from beneath the display, but most of it happens to get caught in the bottom two edges of the screen.

Ports

Here, we have something interesting. Although it is disappointing that Dell is going the Apple way by excluding the USB Type-A ports, here we see four Thunderbolt 3 ports, all of which can be used for charging, data transfer and DisplayPort signal output. Additionally, there is an SD card reader and an audio jack. But wait… there’s more. Inside the package, Dell provides a USB Type-C dongle that offers a USB Type-A port and an HDMI connector.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

Getting inside this notebook is rather easy. Just unscrew 8 Torx-head screws and pry the bottom panel with a sharp plastic tool, preferably starting from around the battery life indicator.

Ultimately, there are two cooling solutions found on this notebook. The simpler one, which is put on the integrated GPU model only, consists of two heat pipes. However, should you buy a model, equipped with a GTX 1650 Ti or an RTX 2060 Max-Q, Dell is going to provide the notebook with a vapor chamber cooling solution, which should be pretty efficient, as we saw on the Lenovo Legion 7 (15)?

In terms of storage, the laptop features two M.2 PCIe x4 slots, which support RAID 0. As of the memory, there are two RAM SODIMM slots, with a total maximum capacity of 64GB of DDR4 in dual-channel mode.

Lastly, but not of the least importance, there is the battery. Once again, there is a difference between the iGPU models and those equipped with a dedicated graphics card. The former would receive a 56Wh 3-cell unit, while the latter get the beefy 97Wh 6-cell package.

Display quality

Dell XPS 17 9700 is equipped with a Full HD IPS panel, model number Sharp LQ170N1-P35GV (SHP14D7). Its diagonal is 17″ (43 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1200p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:10, the pixel density – 133 ppi, their pitch – 0.19 x 0.19 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 60 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Viewing angles are good. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.

The maximum measured brightness is extremely high – 614 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 558 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 17%, which is inappropriate. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6400K (average) – slightly warmer than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 34% Brightness (White level = 145 cd/m2, Black level = 0.09 cd/m2). We detected a noticeable Nonuniformity of the screen around its upper edges, both in terms of brightness and color.
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is very good – 1650:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Dell XPS 17 9700’s color gamut coverage.

Its display not only covers 100% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976 but also 89% of the DCI-P3, which is a prerequisite for an attractive and punchy image.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Dell XPS 17 9700 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 30 ms.

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Dell XPS 17 9700’s display doesn’t flicker at any brightness level, making it comfortable for long work periods.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusions

Dell XPS 17 9700’s display has an IPS panel with a Full HD+ resolution, comfortable viewing angles, high maximum brightness, and good contrast ratio. It also covers the sRGB gamut fully and even spreads to the DCI-P3 one, covering 89% of it. Thankfully, it lacks PWM at all brightness levels, which makes it comfortable for long working periods. Additionally, it is able to fall within the standard for design, when our Gaming and Web design profile is installed. However, it’s high luminance nonuniformity in the top middle part of the screen makes it inappropriate for professional work.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Dell XPS 17 9700 configurations with 17″ Sharp LQ170N1-P35GV (SHP14D7) (FHD+, 1920 × 1200) IPS.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work - screen profile

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard - screen profile

Health-Guard

THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

All

Sound

Dell XPS 17 9700’s quad-speaker system sounds loud and its quality is good. Additionally, there are no deviations throughout the entire frequency range.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/xps-17-9700-laptop/drivers

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. As a base model, our unit came with the 56Wh battery pack. It was able to deliver 10 hours and 17 minutes of Web browsing and around 8 hours of video playback.

CPU options

The CPU choices here are pretty much the same as the 15-inch XPS – Core i5-10300H, Core i7-10750H, Core i7-10875H, and Core i9-10885H.


GPU options

As of the graphics cards, there is the integrated UHD Graphics 630, as well as the GTX 1650 Ti and the RTX 2060 Max-Q.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

<trDell XPS 17 97003.83 GHz (B+53%) @ 94°C3.59 GHz (B+44%) @ 95°C3.31 GHz (B+32%) @ 89°C

Intel Core i5-10300H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell XPS 15 9500 3.43 GHz (B+38%) @ 85°C 3.34 GHz (B+34%) @ 97°C 3.34 GHz (B+34%) @ 99°C
Dell G3 15 3500 3.70 GHz (B+48%) @ 97°C 3.53 GHz (B+41%) @ 97°C 3.32 GHz (B+33%) @ 95°C
Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i (15) 4.00 GHz (B+60%) @ 94°C 3.76 GHz (B+50%) @ 94°C 3.57 GHz (B+43%) @ 94°C
Acer Predator Triton 300 (PT315-52) 3.35 GHz (B+34%) @ 72°C 3.33 GHz (B+33%) @ 79°C 3.31 GHz (B+32%) @ 84°C

Provided the fact that Dell is using pretty much the same cooling as the 15-inch model for the base model, it is good that we see some difference here. Ultimately, it comes from the significantly larger fans. However, we are going to update the review as soon as we lay our hands on a more premium model that comes with the vapor chamber cooling.

Comfort during full load

The fans are spinning quite fast, but the laptop is not too loud under load.

Verdict

You know, when you first see a 17-inch laptop with bezels so thin, you just can’t help but marvel at the engineering miracle you’re seeing. Combine this with the fact that that said display can run at 600 nits of maximum brightness and you can barely notice there are any bezels around it. However, as with the 15-inch model, there is something fundamentally wrong with Dell’s offering. And you have guessed it right – the base version of the device. You just can’t offer a Core i5-10300H model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage (no matter how fast it is) and put it at $1450. And if you want to get the next option, which includes the more powerful Core i7-10750H and the GTX 1650 Ti, you need to spend $600 more (yet you get double the memory and the storage). And things really get out of control if you want the 4K display, which will set you back a total of $2900.

Sure, this laptop is not meant to be cheap, but this is exactly why we see no point in such a restricted base model.

On the bright side, you can upgrade the memory up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM in dual-channel mode, and the storage supports RAID 0 via two M.2 slots. Additionally, you get an SD card reader for all of your photographic endeavors, as well as four Thunderbolt 3 connectors and an audio jack. By the way, you can charge your device from either of the Thunderbolt connectors, and all of them can output a DisplayPort signal. And despite the fact that it has no USB Type-A ports, Dell includes a neet dongle inside the box, which splits one of the USB Type-C connectors to a USB Type-A port and an HDMI connector.

Also, our device was equipped with the smaller 56Wh battery pack. Interestingly, we were still able to get around 10 hours of Web browsing and 8 hours of video playback, which makes the models that come with the 97Wh unit, comfortably full-work-day-on-a-battery devices.

In the configuration we got, Dell XPS 17 9700’s display has an IPS panel with a Full HD+ resolution, comfortable viewing angles, high maximum brightness, and good contrast ratio. It also covers the sRGB gamut fully and even spreads to the DCI-P3 one, covering 89% of it. Thankfully, it lacks PWM at all brightness levels, which makes it comfortable for long working periods. Additionally, it is able to fall within the standard for design, when our Gaming and Web design profile is installed. However, it’s high luminance nonuniformity in the top middle part of the screen makes it inappropriate for professional work.

Interestingly, the poor uniformity is an issue we found on both this device and the XPS 15 9500, and it is a problem that Dell needs to address. However, we don’t really know if the 4K panel suffers from the same issue. And before we get one of the more powerful options we can’t recommend getting the notebook for productivity purposes. Other than that, the laptop is simply great and we really like the design features.

Pros

  • Strong body build of carbon fiber and aluminum
  • Virtually bezel-less screen
  • 100% sRGB coverage (89% DCI-P3) and accurate color representation (Sharp LQ156N1-FKR1K)
  • Thin and light
  • Boasts up to Core i9-10885H processor
  • Easy upgrade and maintenance
  • Great keyboard, touchpad, and speakers
  • Fingerprint reader embedded in the power button and optional IR face recognition system
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 connectors, USB Type-C charging, and an SD card reader
  • Doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness (Sharp LQ156N1-FKR1K)

Cons

  • Useless base model
  • Uneven luminosity in the top middle section (Sharp LQ156N1-FKR1K)

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-xps-17-9700/





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