Dell XPS 17 9710 (2021) review: A highly configurable premium 17-inch laptop Review

Victoria D. Doty

Dell’s highly regarded XPS notebook array extends from the XPS 13 through 15-inch and seventeen-inch versions, with alternatives which includes UHD+ (3840 x 2400) screens and integrated or discrete graphics. Even at the entry degree, nevertheless, the significant-screen XPS 17 is an costly notebook, beginning at £1,649 (inc. VAT) or $one,599.99. Go for broke and you can break the £4,000 barrier in the United kingdom in the meantime, the extremely major-close model in the US, with 8TB of storage, prices a princely $5,399.99. 

The Dell XPS seventeen 9710 (2021) is a monster of a notebook, the two in dimensions and specification. It will weigh down any bag or rucksack to the tune of at least two.21kg (four.87lb), and that rises to two.42kg (5.34lb) if the touch-display screen possibility is selected. The electricity brick is chunky much too, and as our battery test indicates, that may perhaps will need to be factored into the carrying weight. On the desk this notebook occupies a room measuring 374.45mm broad by 248.05mm deep, and it is really a generous 19.5mm superior (14.74in. x nine.76in. x .77in.). 

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Dell’s seventeen-inch XPS seventeen 9710 operates Windows 11 or ten on 11th-era Intel Core (i5, i7, i9) processors with up to 64GB of RAM and up to 8TB of SSD storage. Graphics can be integrated Intel UHD Graphics or Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 (4GB) / 3060 (6GB). Display screen resolution is either FHD+ (1920 x 1200, non-touch) or UHD+ (3840 x 2400, touch).


Illustrations or photos: Dell

The weight and dimensions are not down to surplus chassis. With Dell’s InfinityEdge display ensuing in a claimed ninety three.seven% display screen-to-entire body ratio (we calculated it at 90.three%), the firm has labored hard to continue to keep the XPS seventeen 9710 as trim as attainable. It just is huge, but the aluminium chassis does mean the lid and base are the two extremely reliable. As ever with aluminium there is certainly the potential for scratches, and these will be noticeable on the silver lid, so a protecting sleeve could possibly be a superior idea the two for storage and transportation.

As the display screen-to-entire body ratio indicates, the display sits in exceptionally slim bezels all around. Stretching the peak of the display screen to give a 16:ten facet ratio implies that information personnel get to see a very little little bit more of their documents, whilst video is letterboxed with significant black major and bottom borders. There is room in the upper bezel for the 720p webcam and infrared camera for Windows Howdy facial recognition. These who desire authentication by way of fingerprint recognition will uncover a reader hidden in the electricity button. 

The display on my evaluation device was stunning, with faultless touch-responsiveness. Visible element is superb, thanks to the UHD+ (three,840 x two,four hundred) resolution, and colour rendering is fantastic thanks to DolbyVision assistance and broad colour gamut protection (a hundred% of Adobe RGB, ninety four% of DCI-P3). The screen’s five hundred nits optimum brightness is enough, and viewing angles are extremely superior on the two the vertical and horizontal planes. An ambient gentle sensor controls brightness, whilst I was pleased with it turned down a notch or two — some thing that also can help preserve battery life. 

A superior display must be complemented by superior speakers, and in this article we have the 1st outing of Waves Nx 3D audio, a quad speaker mixture with two two.5W woofers and two one.5W tweeters providing peak 8W output, which Dell says is “tuned by multi-Grammy Award successful producer, Jack Joseph Puig”. Okay, but how do they audio? There are critically significant grilles on either facet of the keyboard, and these force audio up and out. The audio high-quality is great, with a richness of tone that is rare on a notebook, providing lots of bass and properly articulated treble.

Major ZDNET Evaluations

These broad speaker grilles mean that the keyboard lacks a different amount pad. That is not an issue for me — in reality it meant I did not have to negotiate the finding out curve of about-achieving for the Enter essential. In general I desire obtaining the superior-high-quality speakers pushing audio out about a different amount pad. Other folks – especially all those whose workloads contain a large amount of details entry – may perhaps disagree, of study course.

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The significant keyboard is flanked by broad speaker grilles, leaving no room for a different amount pad (frequently existing on seventeen-inch laptops). 


Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The keyboard is significant and very well-proportioned, with greater Fn keys than on lesser laptops. This also applies to the arrow keys, building every thing a little more obtainable. There is a definite spring-again to the essential motion, with typing ensuing in very little more than a mild ‘thunk’ audio. This should not be annoying to co-personnel in a quiet room. I uncovered the one.3mm essential travel snug, and had no trouble with touch-typing at my normal pace. 

The glass touchpad is huge. I couldn’t uncover official measurements, but in accordance to my ruler it is really 150mm broad, 90mm tall and 174mm throughout the diagonal. I have been identified to criticise cramped touchpads in this article the significant dimensions took a very little finding used to, but fortunately palm rejection was successful. 

There are many configuration alternatives at Dell’s United kingdom internet site. The entry degree specification prices £1,649 (inc. VAT) and arrives with an 11th era Intel Core i5-11400H processor, integrated Intel UHD graphics, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a seventeen-inch FHD+ (one,920 x one,200) non-touch display screen. My £2,624 (inc. VAT) evaluation device ups the ante substantially, with a Core i7-11800H processor, discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics with 4GB of devoted video memory, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a UHD+ (three,840 x two,four hundred) touch display screen. In the US, this configuration prices $two,799.99.  

The major close specification in the United kingdom prices £4,039 (inc. VAT), for which you get a Core i9-119800HK processor, GeForce RTX 3060 graphics with 6GB of video memory, 64GB of RAM, a 4TB SSD and a UHD+ touch display screen. As famous earlier, you can get 8TB of storage in the US (2x 4TB), which pushes the major-close selling price tag up to $5,399.99. 

Windows 11 is now shipping in all models, but my evaluation device was delivered right before Windows 11 was released, and it ran Windows ten. 

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Proper facet (major): 2x USB-C/Thunderbolt four, SD card reader, three.5mm audio in/out combo jack. Still left facet (above): lock slot, 2x USB-C/Thunderbolt four.


Illustrations or photos: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Unusually, the XPS seventeen 9710 has 4 Thunderbolt four ports, two on the remaining facet and two on the appropriate. The appropriate facet also has a three.5mm headset jack and an SD card slot. Assistance for flash memory is welcome, but it is really a disgrace there are no other ports or connectors. Dell offers an adapter that, when plugged in to a single of the Thunderbolt ports offers the two USB-A and HDMI. This adapter may perhaps not always travel with the notebook, and feels like a compromise. There have to be lots of room within the chassis to accommodate these ports, and when buyers are paying at least £1,649/$one,599.99, setting up them in is definitely not much too a great deal to question.  

The XPS seventeen 9710 has a hefty six-cell 97Whr battery, which should to be equipped to cope with the calls for of the processor and the significant display screen. However, battery life from my evaluation device (Core i7 CPU, GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, UHD+ display screen) was disappointing. With a comprehensive demand I labored for three hours, composing into internet applications, streaming media and internet browsing. The battery fell to 46% in the course of that time, suggesting battery life of just 5.5 hours on a linear extrapolation.

Luckily charging is reasonably speedy. On a single situation with the battery at 33% I commenced a demand session. After 15 minutes the battery had risen to 46%, after 30 minutes it was at 58% and after forty five minutes it had charged to 70%.

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Graphic: Dell

Conclusions

The Dell XPS seventeen 9710 (2021) is significant and weighty at two.42kg (5.34lb) — unavoidable, you could possibly consider, provided its seventeen-inch display, until you take into consideration the LG Gram seventeen, which weighs in at just one.35kg (two.98lb). The UHD+ touch display screen is superb, with fantastic viewing angles and a extremely usable 16:ten facet ratio. The keyboard is responsive and snug to use, and the speakers are superb.

It truly is superior to see an SD card slot in this article, but it would have been useful if Dell could have uncovered room for USB-A and HDMI ports on the chassis rather than providing an quickly-mislaid adapter for these connections. Battery life was bad on my evaluation sample, and whilst dialling the display resolution down to FHD+ may perhaps strengthen this, and will minimize the selling price tag, carrying out so will diminish a essential characteristic of this powerful huge-display screen notebook.

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