Dell XPS 17 9700 Core i7 Laptop Review: Pretty Much A MacBook Pro 17

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We commend the XPS 17 for pushing limits further than most other manufacturers out there. Nobody else has an ultra-thin 17.0-inch 16:10 laptop with an 8-core Core i7 CPU (soon to be Core i9) running at 99 C on full load alongside a GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU all powered by a USB-C adapter. It even manages to integrate a vapor chamber cooler — a feature mostly found on select gaming laptops. The risks and hardware involved are pretty insane relative to alternatives that usually play it safer.

From our time with the system, we think it could benefit from taking a step back and focusing on some of the basics again. Strengthen the hinges, make the clickpad keys firmer, integrate a webcam shutter, and improve the charging rate —  all aspects that many laptops costing half the price have already nailed down.

Users intending to run the XPS 17 at high loads for extended periods should be aware of a few drawbacks. Firstly, the battery may not recharge since the USB-C adapter is limited to 130 W. There’s a reason why most other GeForce RTX-powered laptops don’t run on USB-C adapters and that’s because proprietary barrel chargers are able to push much more power to the demanding system. Secondly, sustained gaming performance may not be steady as we are able to record recurring frame rate drops. When coupled with the noticeable ghosting, users shouldn’t look at this as a gaming machine despite the Killer wireless and GeForce RTX graphics. 

The XPS 17 is at its best for “bursty” operations like browsing or video editing where the system isn’t at high utilization for hours at a time. The display, design, and performance-per-volume are what make the system more attractive than most other 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch solutions.

A one-of-a-kind 17-inch powerhouse laptop with no direct equal. The impressive hardware and appealing visual design will draw eyes, but some basic aspects need some more attention.

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