The best 17-inch laptop around

If you’re in the market for a 17-inch laptop with some power behind it, look no further than the Dell XPS 17, mainly because looking any further would be a waste of your time. This laptop is the best that there is. Of course, if you’re not looking for power – which is totally fine – there are other laptops that are more suited for you, but if you plan on doing creative work on a big screen, this is the best.

Let’s start with the screen, because it’s best in class, hands down. Whether it’s sRGB, Adobe RGB, NTSC, or P3, our testing either came out to 100% or really close to it. These are the best results I’ve seen from any display, and that’s just how good Dell XPS always is. It’s nice and bright at over 500 nits too.

Performance is fantastic too, packing Intel’s new 12th-gen processors, DDR5 memory, and RTX 3060 graphics. It’s an absolutely delightful laptop.

    Dell XPS 17 9720

    The Dell XPS 17 (2022) comes with Intel’s 12th-gen processors, up to a UHD+ display, DDR5 memory, and more, and it’s the best 17-inch laptop there is.

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Dell XPS 17 (2022) pricing and availability

  • The Dell XPS 17 (2022) is available now and starts at $1,749

The new Dell XPS 15 and XPS 17 were among the first XPS laptops to be announced this year, so now, they’re available for purchase. The Dell XPS 17 starts at $1,749, but that only comes with a Core i5-12500H, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, an FHD+ display, and integrated graphics.

I don’t think that’s the one you’ll actually want though. With a machine like this, you probably want dedicated graphics, which can come in the form of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 or 3060, and you’ll probably want the UHD+ display option. After all, FHD+ doesn’t look great on a screen this big, and there’s no QHD+ option. The unit that Dell sent for review includes a Core i7-12700H, an RTX 3060, a UHD+ display, 32GB DDR5 memory, and a 1TB SSD, so most of the options are checked off, and it comes in at $2,988.

It comes in any color you want, as long as it’s Platinum Silver with a black carbon fiber palm rest. It’s the classic Dell XPS design, and since the XPS 17 is the most niche of all of the company’s flagship laptops, we haven’t seen additional colors added like we have with the XPS 13 2-in-1, XPS 13, and XPS 15.

Dell XPS 17 (2022) specs

Processor 12th Generation Intel Core i7-12700H (24MB Cache, up to 4.7 GHz, 14 cores)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 (60W)
Body 374.45×248.05×19.5mm (14.74×9.76×0.77in), 2.42kg (5.34lbs)
Display 17-inch 4K UHD+ (3840×2400) InfinityEdge touch display; DisplayHDR 400, 500-nit, 100% Adobe RGB minimum + 94% DCI-P3 typical, 1600:1 contrast ratio, up to 0.65% anti-reflective, antismudge
Memory 32GB (2x16GB) DDR5 Dual Channel at 4800MHz
Storage 1TB PCIe 4 x4 SSD
Audio Studio quality tuning with Waves MaxxAudio Pro and Waves Nx 3D audio
Quad-speaker design with 2.5W x2 woofers and 1.5W x2 tweeters = 8W total peak output
3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack featuring Waves Nx 3D audio with head tracking
Dual microphone array optimized with Waves MaxxVoice supporting VoIP –
Microsoft Cortana capable
Battery 97Whr battery (built-in)*
*Battery is built-in to the laptop and is not replaceable by the customer
130W AC adapter, (USB Type-C)
Ports 4x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) with DisplayPort and Power Delivery
1 Full size SD card reader v6.0
1 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack
Wedge-shaped lock slot
1 USB-C to USB-A v3.0 & HDMI v2.0 adapter ships standard
Input Touch Display (optional)
2 Digital Array Microphones
Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard; 1.3mm travel
Glass surface Precision Touchpad
Windows Hello fingerprint reader in power button & HD (720p) Windows Hello camera in upper bezel
Ambient Light Sensor for display backlight control
Connectivity Killer Wi-Fi 6 1675 (AX211) 2×2 +
Bluetooth 5.2 Wireless Card
Construction CNC machined aluminum in platinum silver with carbon fiber composite palm rest in black
Edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on touch panel
OS Windows 10 Home
Price $2,988

Design: It’s the classic Dell XPS look

  • The Dell XPS 17 is made of CNC machined aluminum, and it comes in Platinum Silver
  • It has four Thunderbolt 4 ports, and no USB Type-A

When the Dell XPS 17 9700 was introduced, it was the first 17-inch XPS laptop in a decade. The XPS 17 9720 is the third iteration of that product, and the design hasn’t changed. It comes in the classic XPS design, with a Platinum Silver exterior and a black carbon fiber palm rest. Unlike other models, that’s the only color it comes in.

Top down view of Dell XPS 17

The lid comes stamped with a shiny Dell logo, and the sides are silver. While most 17-inch laptops have loads of ports, Dell has went the same way that Apple has, going all-in on USB Type-C. It has four Thunderbolt 4 ports, two on each side. You can use those for 40Gbps data transfer, connecting 8K monitors, and more. As far as USB ports go, that’s the best you can get.

View of ports on Dell XPS 17

On the right side, there’s also a 3.5mm audio jack and a full-size SD card reader. Indeed, photographers, videographers, and other creative types will rejoice in having a full-size SD card slot, as so many laptops these days omit it.

View of ports on Dell XPS 17

This model weighs in at 5.34 pounds, which obviously isn’t the lightest thing around, but it’s light for what it is. It’s a powerful laptop with a 17-inch screen and a 97WHr battery. Moreover, the chassis is small enough to fit in a regular-sized bag, thanks to the tiny bezels around the screen. Dell always likes to use phrases like 17-inch laptop in a 15-inch chassis, which isn’t strictly accurate considering that laptops in general have gotten so small. But if we were talking about 15-inch laptops from five or 10 years ago, it would be more apt. In other words, if you’re replacing your seven-year-old 15-inch laptop with an XPS 17, the chassis might be the same size.

There are things to consider when buying a large laptop, because they’re for different use cases. This one is aimed at creators that could use dedicated graphics, so the use case should include photo and/or video editing, or something along those lines. If your use case is the same as it would be for an ultrabook but you just want a bigger screen, there are thinner and lighter options for you, which also get better battery life. In fact, the 16-inch laptop market has really lit up in the last year or so with lower-powered options.

Display: The bezels are so small that it fits in a regular bag

  • The 17-inch screen has 3,840×2,400 resolution, and it’s one of the best screens around
  • The webcam is still 720p

The screen is big and beautiful, packing a 3,840×2,400 resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. It measures 17 inches diagonally, so if a big screen is what you’re after, that’s what you’ll get here. It’s also a really good screen.

Close up of Dell XPS 17 display

According to my testing, it supports 100% sRGB, 99% NTSC, 100% Adobe RGB, and 98% P3. Frankly, you can’t beat that.

Dell XPS 17 display test

The Dell XPS 17 display is the best there is on a laptop.

Unlike the XPS 15, the Dell XPS 17 isn’t offered with an OLED option. The reason is because 17-inch OLED panels just don’t exist right now. But still, it doesn’t make much of a difference. With most laptops, an OLED option is a big upgrade. But with Dell XPS, the screen is already so good, as you can see from the tests.

Dell XPS 17 display test

Brightness maxed out at 542.8 nits, which exceeds the 500 nits promised by Dell. And indeed, 500 nits is bright to begin with. Dell XPS displays are always best in class, and I think it’s on-brand for this laptop to under-promise and over-deliver.

Close up of Dell XPS 17 webcam

As you’d expect, the webcam is still in the top bezel. Unfortunately, it’s still 720p. Dell prioritizes narrow bezels above all else with its XPS lineup, and it’s not shy about it. It comes with an IR camera as well, so it supports facial recognition if the fingerprint sensor isn’t for you.

Keyboard: It has a massive touchpad

  • Both the keyboard and touchpad are spacious, and it’s flanked by the speaker

Since this is such a big laptop, you can bet that the keyboard deck is nice and spacious. It has the same Chiclet-style keyboard that you’d find on the XPS 15, and it does take a bit of getting used to, partially because there really is that much space. For some reason, I keep hitting the Caps Lock key when I type, maybe because my muscle memory just wants to go further to the edge of the keyboard.

Top down view of Dell XPS 17 keyboard

Overall, the backlit keyboard is good. It’s accurate, which is something that’s always worth noting on a Windows laptop, but I feel like the resistance is a bit off. The force curve feels like it’s pushing back a bit when I type. Still, like I said, it’s good, and I’m not going further than that.

Dell refuses to scan your fingerprint before the laptop boots up.

There’s a fingerprint sensor in the power button, which is the top-right button on the keyboard. Personally, I think that Dell’s fingerprint sensors are a bit useless, as it’s one of the only OEMs that won’t scan your fingerprint when you press it to power on the PC. With a Dell PC, you have to wait for the PC to boot up and then touch the button again. The reason that it doesn’t scan your fingerprint when you first press it is because Dell considers it to be a security issue, as you might walk away from your PC in the time it takes to boot up, being too dumb to know that it will automatically log you in as it has the dozens of times you’ve powered on your PC before that.

It also adds another task that you have to do. When a fingerprint sensor scans your fingerprint when you first press it, you’re seamlessly logged in. The same goes for an IR sensor and facial recognition. Neither one of those things require that you do anything once your PC boots. With this fingerprint sensor, it does.

Close up of touchpad on Dell XPS 17

It’s also got a giant touchpad. This is something that we’ve seen from Apple – along with the all USB Type-C design – and it’s a welcome change. Windows laptops just aren’t making use of the available real estate for big touchpads, and it’s really nice to see Dell offering one that’s large and spacious.

Close up of Dell XPS 17 speakers

You’ll find that the keyboard is flanked by speakers, and the XPS 17 includes two 2.5W woofers and two 1.5W tweeters. And indeed, like all XPS laptops, there’s some powerful audio here. Dell used to talk a lot about Dell Cinema and the combination of its HDR displays and Waves MaxxAudio Pro speakers for an incredible media streaming experience. It focuses more on creators now than consumption, but that all-around immersive experience hasn’t gone anywhere.

Performance: It now comes with Intel 12th-gen processors

  • The Intel 12th-gen processors and DDR5 memory are the key upgrades over its predecessor
  • Performance is fantastic, being a creator PC

The Dell XPS 17 9720 is a spec bump, so this section is the main thing that’s different from its predecessor, the XPS 17 9710. It now comes with Intel’s 12th-gen processors, and thanks to that, it supports DDR5 memory, which is 4,800MHz in this model. Even the GPU options remain the same, and this unit came with an RTX 3060. Indeed, Dell sent a comparable model this year so that it’s easy to compare.

Angled view of Dell XPS 17

Performance on this machine is fantastic, and I love it. When it comes from things like editing RAW photos in Adobe Lightroom Classic to editing videos in Premiere Pro, there’s nothing else that I can ask for here. Using the Dell XPS 17 9720 is an absolute delight from every angle, whether you’re watching a movie or making one.

The Dell XPS 17 is an absolute delight, whether you’re watching a movie or making one.

The CPU in the unit that Dell sent me is a Core i7-12700H, which has Intel’s new hybrid architecture. It actually has a total of 14 cores, with six performance cores, or P-cores, and eight efficiency cores, or E-cores. Only the P-cores are hyperthreaded, so there are a total of 20 threads.

The point of the new architecture is better power efficiency. It’s something that we originally saw on Arm processors, and Intel is emulating the idea by using a scheduler to direct tasks that require a lot of power to the P-cores, and other tasks to the E-cores.

Dell XPS 17
Core i7-12700H, RTX 3060
Dell XPS 17 9710
Core i7-11800H, RTX 3060
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro
Core i7-12700H, RTX 3070 Ti
PCMark 10 6,789 6,389 7,076
3DMark: Time Spy 6,250 7,158 10,391
Geekbench 1,753 / 12,992 1,561 / 8,775 1,787 / 9,209
Cinebench 1,767 / 11,714 1,515 / 11,652 1,714 / 9,549
VRMark (Orange / Cyan / Blue) 8,689 / 2,752 / 1,902 9,194 / 2,752 / 2,152 13,593 / 9,480 / 3,176
CrossMark (Overall / Productivity / Creativity / Response Time) 1,871 / 1,702 / 2,157 / 1,624 1,817 / 1,738 / 1,943 / 1,702

Unfortunately, the 97WHr battery isn’t translating to great battery life, thanks to the powerful internals. In regular usage, I found that I got about two hours and 40 minutes of battery life, and that was with the power slider set to balanced and the screen at about 40% brightness. To be clear, companies tend to overstate battery life, because stated battery life is usually based on a benchmark like MobileMark or streaming local video. I just work on the minimum power settings and mark down how long it takes to drain the battery, because that’s more realistic.

Should you buy the Dell XPS 17 (2022)?

Dell’s XPS lineup does tend to offer something for everyone, but the Dell XPS 17 9720 is definitely not for everyone.

You should buy the Dell XPS 17 (2022) if:

  • You want a big screen that’s insanely high quality
  • You want power in a 17-inch laptop, with 45W processors and dedicated graphics
  • You focus on creative work like photo and video editing

You should NOT buy the Dell XPS 17 (2022) if:

  • You use your PC for productivity and not creative work
  • You’re looking for primarily gaming
  • You need a high-quality webcam

I absolutely love the Dell XPS 17 (2022). When it comes to pretty much anything, it’s fantastic. However, if your work is mostly through the browser or Microsoft Office, you should look toward an XPS 13. It’s smaller, but it will get much better battery life and will have internals that are more optimized for your work flow. In fact, you can also look at 16- or 17-inch laptops like the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 if you still want the big screen, but you don’t want the drawbacks that come with lots of power.

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