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Dell XPS 17 9700 vs Dell XPS 15 9500: Which Laptop Is Better

After several years of absence, the XPS 17 is back in the Dell catalog. There was no revolution in the program, with a design common to the rest of the range but an additional 2 inches synonymous with a more comfortable display and more space inside the chassis. The Dell XPS 17 can thus receive Octo Core processors and a GeForce RTX 2060, enough to seduce photographers, videographers, YouTubers, and other content creators looking for a compelling, sober, and stylish laptop.

Today comes the latest addition to the XPS range, namely the Dell XPS 15. The best compromise between performance and mobility. Some let’s check out Dell XPS 17 9700 vs Dell XPS 15 9500.

Pros and Cons

Dell XPS 17 9700Dell XPS 15 9500
Excellent 16:10 screenSuperb minimal-bezel UHD+ display
Long battery lifeUltra-High Performance
Excellent keyboard, trackpadGreat sound quality
SD card readerGTX 1650 Ti is a little weak
No webcam shutterFans get quite noisy 

General Info

Dell XPS 17 9700Dell XPS 15 9500
$CHECK PRICECHECK PRICE
BrandDellDell
ModelXPS 17 9700XPS 15 9500
Weight2.51 kg2 kg 
OSWindows 10 64-bitWindows 10 64-bit
DisplayIPS LCDIPS LCD
Dimensions17 inches15.6 inches
TypeLaptopLaptop

Dell XPS 17 9700

The XPS 17, regulars of the XPS range will not be disoriented. We find the aluminum frame, gray on the outside, and the “soft touch” design inside with carbon patterns. Very pleasant to the touch but quite sensitive to fingerprints and wear. In terms of design, nothing to report, impeccable finish, and feeling of density in the grip inspire confidence.

Good point, the XPS 17 is quite scalable. The RAM being in SO-DIMM format, it is possible to see it evolve if necessary. Ditto for the SSD; a second NVMe slot is free. Convenient to add storage in minutes (at a low cost as a bonus).

Dell XPS 15 9500

Like the other models in the XPS range, the XPS 15 has an aluminum gray exterior. Discreet, it can blend into any environment. Inside, unsurprisingly, we find the soft-touch coating with its carbon finish. Some will appreciate it; others would prefer a more sober finish and less sensitive to fingerprints.

Beyond these aesthetic considerations, the chassis meets expectations on a premium ultrabook. The rigidity is there, the impeccable finish.

Access to components does not pose a major difficulty. Still, the very firm “clips” require you to be equipped with small accessories like those offered in the iFixit kit to leverage without risking damage to the chassis. Good point; two SSD m2 slots are present. Practical for upgrading storage space without touching the main SSD. The RAM modules are also upgradable if necessary.

Display

Dell XPS 17 9700Dell XPS 15 9500
Display TypeIPS LCDIPS LCD
Display Size17 inches15.6 inches
Display Resolution1920 x 1200 pixels1920 x 1200 pixels
Display Features4K UHD HD IPS 120Hz 100%
RGB Pantone FreeSync
Full HD LED IPS 360Hz 100% sRGB
Dimension 360 x 268 x 20.9 mm395 x 282 x 23.4-27.5 mm

Dell XPS 17 9700

In 2020, Dell chose to adopt the 16:10 aspect ratio on its XPS series laptops instead of the traditional 16: 9. An interesting choice for all uses, except videos and films where a black band will be visible. But with a contrast ratio of 1700: 1, that’s no problem, even in dim light.

Therefore, more height to display the content with a choice of two panels available, one in Full HD + (1920×1200), the other in UHD + (3840×2400). In practice, our preference goes towards the latter. Thus, you can enjoy a perfect display with 200% scaling (and therefore a useful area of ​​1920×1200 px), or opt for a smaller scaling and thus enjoy more space. And with its 17-inch diagonal, a 2560×1600 px equivalent is usable.

Colorimetry is also one of these 4K panels (Sharp LQ170R1 – SHP14D6), with total coverage of sRGB, RGB, and DCI P3 spaces. By default, the white point is a little higher than the desired ideal (6850K) with a gamma of 2.3. After characterization, everything is back to normal with an average DeltaE of 0.3. The maximum brightness climbs to 504 cd / m2, which makes it possible to support the HDR400. Dell also offers many settings accessible through the PremierColor utility.

The UHD + panel is tactile and therefore has a shiny surface. The anti-reflective treatment, associated with the strong luminosity, eliminates parasitic reflections in most situations. As for the interest of touch on a model that cannot convert into a tablet is limited. Nevertheless, we quickly get a taste, especially to validate a dialog box or navigate between photos, for example.

Despite the skinny bezels, Dell has kept the usual camera location. With a definition of 720P, the images delivered are comparable to those of other laptops on the market. At a time of the generalization of teleworking and the proliferation of video conferencing, it is time for manufacturers to offer better quality webcams with less noisy and more detailed images. On the other hand, we welcome the support of Windows Hello, a real plus daily. A fingerprint reader is also integrated into the power button for those who prefer this authentication mode.

Dell XPS 15 9500

Like the touchpad, the screen is the other distinguishing feature from the competition. Computer off, it is first the opportunity to admire its borderless frame with amounts reduced to the strict minimum: Less than 4 mm on the sides, barely more on the upper upright (5 mm), and a dozen millimeters at most at the bottom of the screen. And again, with the hinges and the frame, visually, we are rather on 5 mm. In short, it’s beautiful, and the “wow” effect is confirmed as soon as you see the Windows desktop.

The UHD panel (Sharp SHP14D0 – LQ156R1) allows you to enjoy a beautiful display thanks to its 9 million pixels. The contrast ratio is excellent (1581: 1) and might suggest an OLED panel. But no, it’s LCD. The maximum brightness is 455 cd / m2 and, combined with the effective anti-reflective coating, allows you to consider working outdoors without fear. Image professionals (or demanding amateurs) will appreciate the full coverage of sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 spaces. The Dell Premium Color utility offers many possibilities of pre-settings, in particular, to adapt the display according to its needs and uses by switching with one click from one profile to another.

In addition to the aesthetics with the absence of unsightly black borders, the 16:10 aspect ratio of the screen offers a little more height. The useful area will depend on the scaling factor chosen but considering that most users opt for 200%, this allows to display 120 pixels more in height (i.e., 1920×1200 px)—a little more appreciable both for browsing the Internet and for retouching photos in Photoshop.

Finally, if the “classic” hinges do not allow this XPS 15 to be transformed into a tablet, the touch screen is a little extra to which you quickly get used to everyday life. To click on a dialog box, launch a program or even scroll through your photos in Capture One (or Lightroom), it quickly becomes more intuitive to interact via the screen than sliding your finger on the touchpad, as efficient as it is.

Specification

Dell XPS 17 9700Dell XPS 15 9500
ProcessorIntel Core i7-10875H Comet Lake
(2.3 GHz, 8 cores)
Intel Core i7-10750H Comet Lake
(2.6 GHz, 6 cores)
GraphicsNVIDIA Turing GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q 6 GB GDDR6 dedicated, Intel UHD 630 and OptimusNVIDIA Turing GeForce GTX 1650 Ti 4 GB Dedicated GDDR6, Intel UHD 630 and Optimus
RAM16 GB DDR4 2933MHz, 2 slots32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4 2933MHz, 2 slots
Storage1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD, 2 M.2 ports1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD, second slot available

Performance

Dell XPS 17 9700Dell XPS 15 9500
Base frequency2.5 GHz2.5 GHz
Turbo frequency4.5 GHz4.5 GHz
Cores44
Threads88
L3 Cache8 MB8 MB
GPU base clock1350 MHz1350 MHz
GPU boost clock1485 MHz1485 MHz

Dell XPS 17 9700

Dell offers various configurations on its XPS 17 with a choice of a Quad-Core processor (Core i5-10300H), a Hexa Core (Core i7-10750H), or an Octo (Core i7-10875H) or even a Core i9-10885H. However, we do not recommend the latter, the cost being disproportionate to a performance gap that does not exist in practice. The Core i5 does not seem very interesting to us either, but may be of interest to those who have basic use of their laptop and are only tempted by the Dell XPS 17 by its looks (but we would then tend to advise you to opt for a MacBook Pro 16 in this case, very close but half the price!). In short, you will understand, for us, the Core i7-based configurations are the most interesting.

A muscular configuration, able to suit both photographers and other content creators seduced by the excellent screen and 3D software users needing power but put off by the more or less extravagant look of a gaming laptop PC.

The GeForce RTX 2060 will allow gamers to relax on recent titles even if, once again, the XPS 17 does not seem to be the best equipped for this use because of its cooling system. Note that Dell also offers a GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, sufficient for most creative people. Unfortunately, with the set of Dell configurations, it will not always be possible to select it depending on the panel and/or processor chosen.

Dell XPS 15 9500

On the XPS 15, Dell offers different processors. A Quad-Core (Core i5-10300H), a Hexa Core (Core i7-10750H), or even a Core i9-10885H on certain configurations sold at FNAC / Darty. Unless there is an exciting promotion, we do not recommend the latter. However, the cost is disproportionate to a performance gap that does not exist in practice. The Core i5 does not seem very interesting to us either, being without a dedicated graphics card unless you are absolutely looking for a 16:10 screen. But if it is for use related to the photo or the video, a dedicated graphics card seems essential to us for a durable purchase considering the increasing importance of the GPU with the last updates of the Adobe Suite (Lightroom included).

In summary, the Dell XPS 15 equipped with the Core i7-10750H coupled with the GeForce GTX 1650 Ti is, in our opinion, the most interesting configuration. That’s good; it’s the one we tested; associated as a bonus with a 1 TB SSD and 32 GB of RAM (but these elements are easily upgradable, everyone is free to modulate them as needed).

In practice, the Dell XPS is positioned in the low average of laptops equipped with the Core i7-10750H. The fault is a cooling system below the competition (see the next part for more details), especially in the face of gaming laptops better armed on this point. The latter also sometimes take advantage of their more powerful graphics card, especially in photo and video, where software increasingly relies on the GPU to deport certain tasks and speed up renderings/exports.

Therefore, if every second counts, it is better to opt for another computer or even the XPS 17 with its Octo Core processor to stay in the range. On the other hand, if performance is one criterion, the XPS 15 remains in the race.

The graphics card, a GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, may be suitable for “casual gamers” by running most games at the moment, around 40/45 FPS on average.

Multimedia

Dell XPS 17 9700Dell XPS 15 9500
Web-camAbove the displayAbove the display
Microphone Jack3.5 mm3.5 mm
NetworkWi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2)Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2)
BluetoothBluetooth 5.1Bluetooth 5.0
Backlit KeyboardYesYes
Connectivity4 USB 3.2 Type-C (Gen2) Thunderbolt 3, SD / SDHC1 USB 3.1 Type-C Gen1 + 2 USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen2) Thunderbolt 3, SD / SDHC

Battery

Dell XPS 17 9700Dell XPS 15 9500
Battery TypeLi-ion 6 cells Li-ion 6 cells
Battery Life12 hours
Power86Whr90Whr

Dell XPS 17 9700

A 2.6 kg laptop with the bonus of a 17-inch screen (4K what’s more) is not, on paper at least, the best equipped for mobile use.

Despite everything, with an average battery life of 10 hours (active WiFi, brightness at 140 cd / m2), the Dell XPS 17 is doing well and can meet the needs of nomads for whom the comfort of a large screen takes precedence over the weight. By opting for the Full HD panel, it should be possible to save another 1h30 / 2h on autonomy.

By activating the airplane mode and brightness at the lowest (30 cd / m2), the Dell XPS 17 can hold more than 24 hours on battery. Conversely, continuously requested, the autonomy hardly exceeds 1h15.

Dell XPS 15 9500

Despite its UHD screen, which consumes more energy, the Dell XPS 15 enjoys a rather comfortable autonomy, around 9:30 in web use (brightness at 140 cd / m2, WiFi active). And if autonomy is an important point for you, by choosing the Full HD + panel, you can easily save an additional 2 hours.

The 130W power supply unit measures 143x66x22mm for a weight of 270g. It offers a cable length of 2.7m. Like the other models in the XPS range, the Dell Power Manager utility provides access to many settings to extend battery life by setting a maximum charge threshold. Convenient when the computer is used on mains most of the time. Other setting options, in particular, according to the days of the week, are available if necessary.

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