Dell XPS 17 (9720) review: Just about all the suitable improvements

Dell XPS 17 (9720)

MSRP $3,039.00

“The Dell XPS 17 9720 is fast, thin and lightweight, and lasts surprisingly long on a charge. Toss in a superior IPS display and you’ve a highly portable creative workstation.”


  • Outstanding construct quality
  • Streamlined beauty
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Excellent productivity and artistic performance
  • Solid midrange gaming performance
  • Superior IPS display
  • Great keyboard and touchpad


  • Expensive
  • Limited collection of ports
  • Some thermal throttling

Dell’s XPS 17 holds spots on our lists of best laptops and best 17-inch laptops, and it’s not a surprise. It’s an incredibly well-built laptop with an expansive display that’s shiny and colourful, and it provides solid performance for a 17-inch machine that’s about as small as it will possibly be. The XPS 17 (9270) upgrades to Intel’s Twelfth-gen CPUs and DDR5 RAM, and the webcam and infrared camera are split apart for higher video quality. Otherwise, every little thing that was great in regards to the XPS 17 9710 stays in place.

I reviewed a midrange configuration of the XPS 17 (9720), with the Intel Twelfth-gen Core i7-12700H CPU, a UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400) IPS display, and the Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU. When you’re in search of a big laptop that’s still reasonably sized with solid performance, then the XPS 17 (9720) delivers.


Dell XPS 17 9720 rear lid view showing logo.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The XPS 17 (9720)’s design is unchanged from the previous version, the XPS 17 (9710). It retains the identical incredibly solid chassis, with CNC-machined aluminum within the lid and bottom chassis and black carbon-fiber lining the keyboard deck.

It’s as comfortable as all the time, with the carbon fiber providing some warmth in comparison with bare metal. Few laptops can rival the XPS 17 in its construct quality, but some that do include Dell’s XPS 15 and Apple’s MacBook Pro lineup. The hinge advantages from the identical dual-clutch design as the remaining of the XPS lineup, and it will possibly be opened with one hand while the display stays firmly in place.

The aesthetic has also been perfected over several generations, and the XPS 17 looks identical to the XPS 15 and the XPS 13, only larger. It enjoys the identical streamlined chassis with sleek and complicated angles. The 2-tone effect afforded by the silver aluminum and black carbon fiber is striking, and the double-anodized chrome on the perimeters protects from scratches and appears great. The Razor Blade 17 can also be a sublime machine, nevertheless it’s a more minimalistic design. I just like the XPS 17’s aesthetic quite a bit and struggle to think about a better-looking 17-inch laptop.

The XPS 17 has among the smallest display bezels available on a laptop.

Like the remaining of the XPS line, the XPS 17 has among the smallest display bezels available on a laptop today, with a formidable 93.7% screen-to-body ratio. That makes for a narrower and shallower chassis than most 17-inch laptops, but not necessarily a thinner one. The MSI Creator Z17, for instance, is wider and deeper than the XPS 17 with the identical size 17-inch 16:10 display, and it’s thinner at 0.75 inches in comparison with 0.77 inches while being heavier at 6.79 kilos versus 5.34 kilos.

The Razer Blade 17 has a 17.3-inch 16:9 display and is again wider and deeper than the XPS 17, while it’s barely thicker at 0.78 inches and heavier at 5.5 kilos. Even the LG Gram 17, which is incredibly thin at 0.70 inches and lightweight at 2.98 kilos, continues to be barely wider and deeper than the XPS 17 without offering a high-speed CPU or GPU. There aren’t many mainstream 17-inch laptops to match with, as most laptops at this size are either gaming laptops or portable workstations and are inclined to be larger, thicker, and heavier.

Dell XPS 17 9720 left view showing ports.

dell xps 17 9720 review right view

Connectivity is sort of limited in comparison with other 17-inch laptops. You get 4 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a full-size SD card reader. The MSI Creator Z17 is thinner, and yet it packs in HDMI and USB-A ports. Dell does throw in a USB-C to HDMI and USB-A adapter, but the dearth of legacy ports on the laptop itself is disappointing.

Nevertheless, wireless connectivity is fully up so far with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.


Dell XPS 17 9720 front view showing display and keyboard.

While the design of the XPS 17 (9720) is identical because the previous generation, the engine driving the laptop has been brought up so far with Intel’s Twelfth-gen CPUs, DDR5 RAM, and PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives (SSDs). My review unit featured the Core i7-12700H, a 14-core (six performance and eight efficient), 20-thread 45-watt chip that’s been a powerful performer in laptops we’ve reviewed. You possibly can configure the XPS 17 with as much as the faster-clocked Core i9-12900HK, although, as we’ll see, there will not be much value in doing so given the XPS 17’s thin chassis.

Dell includes its utility to regulate the fan and CPU speeds for quiet, balanced (Optimized), and performance (Ultra Performance) modes. I ran the benchmarks in each balanced and performance modes and reported each within the table below. Where available, I also reported each scores for the comparison machines. The XPS 17’s performance mode wasn’t as impactful as on another laptops, including the XPS 15 that I recently reviewed, with one expectation that I’ll get to shortly.

Overall, performance was solid and a big increase from the XPS 17. Geekbench 5 was essentially the most significant change, with the brand new model scoring a whopping 50% increase. We didn’t record our Handbrake test for the XPS 17 9710, a test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265 and is CPU-intensive. In Cinebench R23, one other CPU-intensive benchmark, the XPS 17 was 25% faster in balanced mode. Within the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark that tests quite a lot of productivity, multimedia, and artistic tasks, the XPS 17 was 15% faster. Performance mode tends to make little difference on this test on any machine.

In comparison with the MSI Creator Z17 and the Razer Blade 17 (with the marginally faster Core i7-12800H), the XPS 17 was competitive across the board. These are all thin laptops, so I threw within the MSI GE76 Raider gaming laptop to offer an idea of what a faster CPU and thicker chassis (hence, higher thermals) can do. That machine was considerably faster within the Cinebench test, but near the XPS 17 in the remaining of those benchmarks.

Next, I used the Pugetbench for Premiere Pro benchmark, which runs in a live version of Adobe Premiere Pro and provides a real-world indication of creative performance while demonstrating the impact of a discrete GPU. We used an older version of Pugetbench to check the XPS 17 (9710) and may’t directly compare results with the XPS 17 (9720).

Dell paid an incredible deal of attention to thermal design, but physics still wins out.

In the most recent version, the XPS 17 9720 scored 771 in balanced mode and 853 in performance mode — making Pugetbench the one benchmark where performance mode was effective. That compares to the MSI Creator Z17 with a faster RTX 3070 Ti at 897 in balanced mode and 957 in performance mode. The Razer Blade 17 with an RTX 3080 Ti scored 969 in performance mode, and the MSI GE76 Raider also with an RTX 3070 Ti scored 1,120. The XPS 17 9270 did well on this benchmark given its lower-end GPU and thin chassis.

Speaking of a skinny chassis, Dell paid an incredible deal of attention to thermal design with the XPS 17 9720, but physics still wins out. There was some throttling in our most CPU-intensive benchmarks, with the CPU periodically hitting 100 degrees Celsius after which dropping down into the 80s. The throttling wasn’t constant, though, and Dell likely got as much performance out of the CPU as was possible given the chassis size. It’s questionable whether the Core i9-12900HK would perform a lot better on condition that it runs hotter and would likely throttle greater than the Core i7.

Just like the XPS 15 9520, the XPS 17 9720 provides a solid balance between performance and size. It’s fast enough for essentially the most demanding productivity tasks and midlevel creative processes while still being a manageable size, even given the huge 17-inch display.

(single / multi)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Dell XPS 17 9720
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,712 / 13,176
Perf: 1,747 / 13,239
Bal: 74
Perf: 71
Bal: 1,778 / 12,696
Perf: 1,779 / 14,086
Dell XPS 17 9710
(Core i7-11800H)
Bal: 1,568 / 8,801
Perf: N/A
N/A Bal: 1,525 / 10,145
Perf: N/A
Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,470 / 9,952
Perf: 1,714 / 11,053
Bal: 100
Perf: 77
Bal: 1,509 / 11,578
Perf: 1,806 / 13,313
Razer Blade 17
(Core i7-12800H)
Bal: 1,808 / 11,843
Perf: N/A
Bal: 73
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,697 / 13,218
Perf: N/A
MSI Creator Z17
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,744 / 11,750
Perf: 1,741 / 13,523
Bal: 88
Perf: 70
Bal: 1,805 / 11,266
Perf: 1,819 / 15,754
MSI GE76 Raider
(Core i9-129000HK)
Bal: 1,855 / 13,428
Perf: N/A
Bal: 72
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,872 / 16,388
Perf: N/A
LG Gram 16 2-in-1
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,682 / 9,035
Perf: 1,686 / 9,479
Bal: 137
Perf: 113
Bal: 1,524 / 6,314
Perf: 1,663 / 8,396

The RTX 3060 is a solid midrange GPU that ought to have the option to play modern titles at 1080p and high graphics and at 1440p with graphics turned down. Interestingly, the XPS 17 9520 was a bit slower than its predecessor within the 3DMark Time Spy test, which was reflected in our gaming benchmarks — apart from Civilization VI, which is heavily CPU-dependent. It seems that Dell is using a 65-watt RTX 3060 in comparison with the last generation’s 70-watts. So that might account for among the difference. Overlal, though, the XPS 17 1720 performed well except within the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla benchmark, where it scored an abysmal 23 frames per second (fps) at 1200p and ultra-high graphics. I ran the benchmarks multiple times with updated graphics drivers and got the identical scores each time.

Outside of that one anomaly, the XPS 17 9720 demonstrated itself to be a reliable 1080p gaming machine, and it could dip into 1440p as well. It’s not designed to be a gaming laptop, but it will possibly make do in a pinch.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
(1080p/1200p Ultra High)
Civilization VI
(1080p Ultra)
(1080p/1200p Epic)
Time Spy
Dell XPS 17 9720
(RTX 3060)
23 fps 111 fps 77 fps Bal: 6,757
Perf: 6,958
Dell XPS 17 9710
(RTX 3060)
N/A 104 fps 78 fps Bal: 7,039
Perf: N/A
Dell XPS 15 9520
(RTX 3050 Ti)
50 fps 82 fps 57 fps Bal: 4,470
Perf: 4,520
MSI Creator Z17
(RTX 3070 Ti)
60 fps N/A 85 fps Bal: 8,763
Perf: 9,263
Razer Blade 17
(RTX 3080 Ti)
83 fps 193 fps 104 fps Bal: 12,634
Perf: N/A

Display and audio

Dell XPS 17 9720 front view showing display.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

My review unit was built around a 17-inch, 16:10 UHD+ IPS antireflective and anti-smudge touch display. There’s also a Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200) option, but you’ll want the upper resolution given the larger panel. I discovered the display shiny and colourful with deep blacks, although not the inky blacks of OLED screens.

I used my SpyderX colorimeter to check the display, and it passed with flying colours (no pun intended). It was very shiny at 543 nits (300 nits is our baseline), making it shiny enough to make use of outside. Its colours were wide at 100% of sRGB, 100% of AdobeRGB, and 98% of DCI-P3. They were also accurate at a DeltaE of 0.58 (lower than 1.0 is taken into account excellent). And the contrast was 1,870:1, considered one of the very best scores we’ve seen in a laptop IPS display. It competes strongly with OLED displays in all but contrast, and it was by far the perfect IPS panel in our comparison group and top-of-the-line IPS displays we’ve tested, period.

Creators crave a big, colourful, and accurate display, and the XPS 17 9720 delivers. Coupled with the laptop’s performance, the display makes for a highly portable creative workstation. In fact, it’s also great for productivity work and multimedia streaming.

Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is best)
Dell XPS 17 9720
543 1,870:1 100% 100% 0.58
Dell XPS 15 9520
391 28,130:1 100% 96% 0.42
LG Gram 17
343 930:1 100% 88% 1.30
Razer Blade 17
313 890:1 100% 90% 0.84
MSI Creator Z17
355 840:1 100% 87% 1.35

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Grammy Award-winner Jack Joseph Puig tuned the quad-speaker setup, with Waves Nx technology providing 3D effects. Two speakers bracket the keyboard while two downward-firing speakers are situated along each edge, and the outcomes were excellent. There was a ton of volume, enough to be uncomfortable in my small home office. Mids and highs were clear, and there was more bass than usual. The XPS 17 9720 joins the XPS 15 9520 in offering the perfect audio you’ll find on a Windows laptop. Only Apple’s MacBook Pro is best.

Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam

Dell XPS 17 9720 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The XPS 17 9720’s keyboard is centered within the keyboard deck between large speaker grilles and is identical size because the 15-inch model’s. That makes it seem small, but in actual fact, it provides large keycaps and lots of key spacing. The switches have 1.3mm of travel, which isn’t quite a bit, but each keystroke has a satisfying snap that gives a precise and assured feel. It joins the remaining of the XPS line and HP’s Spectres in having top-of-the-line keyboards on a Windows laptop, with Apple’s Magic Keyboard on its most up-to-date MacBooks being the one one which’s higher.

The touchpad is expansive, with a smooth surface and quiet clicks. Windows 11 multitouch gestures work perfectly due to the Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers, and overall, it’s considered one of the higher Windows touchpads I’ve used. Possibly someday Dell will upgrade to a haptic touchpad, which is well-executed on the MacBook line and keeps Apple within the lead. The display is touch-enabled and works perfectly.

Windows 11 Hello passwordless login is provided by a fingerprint reader conveniently situated in the facility button and an infrared camera for facial recognition. Each methods worked quickly and reliably.

Just like the XPS 15 9520, the XPS 17 9720 now has separate webcam and infrared cameras. That’s meant to enhance video quality, but Dell kept the resolution at 720p, which is behind the curve. The video quality was OK, but an upgrade to Full HD would have been appreciated.

Battery life

Powering a high-resolution 17-inch display and 45-watt CPU takes a variety of juice, and the XPS 17 9720 has the identical 97 watt-hours of battery packed inside as did the XPS 17 9710. When it comes to power consumption, the Twelfth-gen CPU is the one meaningful difference from the previous generation, so we must always have the option to gauge the brand new processor’s relative efficiency.

In our web browsing test that cycles through a series of popular and complicated web sites, the XPS 17 9720 lasted 7.5 hours, barely lower than average but greater than two hours longer than the XPS 17 9710. The brand new model also lasted nearly three hours longer in our video test that loops a neighborhood Full HD Avengers trailer at 13 hours.

Web browsing Video PCMark 10
Dell XPS 17 9720
(Core i7-12700H)
7 hours, 36 minutes 13 hours, 5 minutes 7 hours, 3 minutes
Dell XPS 17 9710
(Core i7-11800H)
5 hours, 4 minutes 10 hours, 17 minutes N/A
Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
9 hours, 38 minutes 12 hours, 40 minutes 11 hours, 14 minutes
MSI Creator Z17
(Core i7-12700H)
4 hours, 23 minutes 4 hours, 32 minutes N/A
Razer Blade 17
(Core i7-12800H)
3 hours, 11 minutes 3 hours, 41 minutes N/A
LG Gram 16 2-in-1
(Core i7-1260P)
11 hours, 31 minutes 17 hours, 58 minutes 16 hours, 39 minutes

We didn’t test the previous-generation machine using PCMark 10’s Application battery benchmark, however the XPS 17 9720 managed seven hours. That’s again a bit lower than average but still a good rating, indicating that the laptop may not make it through a full day of productivity tasks, but it should come close.

Battery life has improved significantly from the previous generation, and it’s just the slightest bit lower than our laptop average. It’s solid battery life for such a big laptop with fast components, and the Twelfth-gen CPU does indeed appear to be more efficient.

Price and configurations

My review configuration was priced at $3,039 with a Core i7-12700H, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, a 1TB PCIe 4.0 solid-state drive (SSD), a 17-inch UHD+ display, and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060. The entry-level configuration is $1,839 for a Core i5-12500H, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a 17-inch Full HD+ display, and Intel UHD integrated graphics. On the high end, you possibly can spend $3,654 for a Core i9-12900HK, 64GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, the 17-inch UHD+ display, and the RTX 3060. In fact, you possibly can mix and match using Dell’s configurator and design exactly the suitable machine for you at the perfect price point. But regardless, the XPS 17 9720 is an expensive laptop.

Our take

The Dell XPS 17 (9720) maintains every little thing great in regards to the previous model, including packing an enormous display into about as small a chassis as is physically possible. It’s not quite the thinnest 17-inch laptop you possibly can buy, neither is it the fastest. But it surely balances size and speed in a way that no other laptop does.

It’s also incredibly well-built, looks great, and even offers decent battery life. Toss in top-of-the-line IPS displays we’ve tested, and you’ve a highly portable machine for creators, hardcore productivity employees, and multimedia consumers. It’s not low-cost, nevertheless it’s well well worth the price.

Are there any alternatives?

The MSI Creator Z17 is a recent addition to the 17-inch class, and it provides similar performance to the XPS 17 while being only a hair thinner. It doesn’t offer nearly pretty much as good a display, nor as much longevity, nonetheless, and it’s also an expensive machine.

One other alternative is the Razer Blade 17, which is nearly as fast and almost as thin. But it surely, too, doesn’t offer the identical type of battery life, nor pretty much as good a display. It might probably be configured with a faster GPU, nonetheless, meaning it makes for a greater gaming laptop.

Essentially the most competitive alternative is the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which has the performance, battery life, and display quality to maneuver ahead of the XPS 17.

How long will it last?

The XPS 17 is solidly built and may last for years of typical abuse. It’s also well-stocked with up-to-date components, and you possibly can upgrade the RAM yourself and add in a second SSD, further extending the machine’s life span. In fact, I don’t just like the one-year warranty, but that’s, unfortunately, the industry standard.

Must you buy it?

Yes, if you happen to need a big display with excellent performance in a fairly sized chassis, then the XPS 17 is for you.

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