Dell XPS 17 vs Razer Blade 17″

The 17-inch laptop is a special kind of machine. It offers the largest mainstream display you can buy without going the exotic route, and the large chassis tends to promote better performance thanks to improved thermal designs. Two of the best 17-inch machines are the Dell XPS 17 and the Razer Blade 17, both of which have been updated with Intel’s 12th-generation CPUs.

In some ways these are similar laptops, while in others they are very different. The XPS 17 is aimed at a mainstream creator audience that wants a big screen to work on and enough performance to tackle demanding creative tasks. The Blade 17 is a gaming laptop and can be configured accordingly. Both are excellent options, but which one is right for you?

Specifications:

Dell XPS 17 9720 Razer Blade 17
Dimensions 14.74″ x 9.76″ x 0.77″ 15.55 inches by 10.24 inches by 0.78 inches
Weight 5.34 pounds 6.06 pounds
Processor Intel Core i5-12500H
Intel Core i7-12700H
Intel Core i9-12900HK
Intel Core i7-12800H
Intel Core i9-12900H
Graphics Intel UHD graphics
Intel Iris Xe graphics
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
RAM 8GB
16GB
32GB
64GB
16GB DDR5
32GB DDR5
Display 17.o-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS
17.0″ UHD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS
17.3-inch 16:9 IPS Full HD (1920 x 11080) 360 Hz
17.3-inch 16:9 IPS QHD (2560 x 1440) 165 Hz
17.3-inch 16:9 IPS QHD 240Hz
17.3-inch 16:9 IPS UHD (3840 x 2160) 144Hz
Storage 512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
Touch Optional no
Ports 4 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm audio jack
Full Size SD Card Reader
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1x USB-C 3.2. Gen 2
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm audio jack
Full Size SD Card Reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
webcam 720p, Windows 11 Hello infrared camera 1080p, Windows 11 Hello infrared camera
Operating system Windows 11 Windows 11
Battery 97 watt-hours 82 watt-hours
Price $1,812 $2,700+
Rating 4 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars out of 5

Design

Dell XPS 17 9720 oblique front view with display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The XPS 17 enjoys the now iconic XPS design, with a silver aluminum lid and bottom chassis and black carbon fiber lining the keyboard deck. The aesthetic is sleek and modern, with small screen bezels giving the impression that the screen is floating in mid-air. It’s one of the best looking laptops on the market right now without being flashy. It’s also incredibly well built, with no flexing, bending or twisting in the lid, keyboard or chassis, and the hinge is smooth while holding the screen firmly in place. Dell paid attention to the small details when designing the XPS 17, and it shows.

The Blade 17 is also an incredibly rugged laptop, made of all-aluminium and just as rigid as the XPS 17. It also has a streamlined design with an all-black body that looks like a dark version of a MacBook Pro. Aside from the green Razer logo on the lid, the Blade 17 doesn’t look much like a gaming laptop and can be used in professional environments. It doesn’t have the same small bezels as the XPS 17, so it’s not quite as modern in that regard.

The XPS 17’s keyboard is all business, with plenty of key spacing and large keycaps. The shifting mechanism is light but snappy and provides precise bottoming action with great response. It is an excellent keyboard for extended typing sessions. The Blade 17’s keyboard is also nicely sized and has comfortable switches and per-key RGB lighting to match the gaming ethos. Neither laptop has a strong advantage here.

The touchpads are a different story. The version of the XPS 17 is large and works perfectly, with excellent palm rejection despite the large size and smooth tracking. The Blade 17 version is also large, but we found the palm rejection to be poor, with frustrating instances of accidental clicks and cursor movements. The touchpad of the XPS 17 is much better.

The XPS 17 has just four USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a full-size SD card reader. The Blade 17 includes two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, and two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support. There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack and a full size SD card reader. Both laptops have up-to-date wireless connectivity with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

Performance

The ports on the right side of the Razer Blade 17.

We tested the XPS 17 with a 45-watt, 14-core (six Performance and eight Efficient), 20-thread Intel Core i7-12700H CPU. The Blade 17 we tested used the Core i7-12800H, a slightly faster version of the same chip with a maximum turbo frequency of 4.8GHz versus 4.7GHz. The XPS 17 can be upgraded to the overclockable Core i9-12900HK, while the Blade 17 goes to the non-overclockable Core i9-12900H.

According to our benchmarks, these two machines were equally matched in CPU-intensive tasks. The XPS 17 was faster in Geekbench 5 multi-core but slower in single-core, while it was reversed in Cinebench R23. The laptops completed our handbrake test, which encodes a 420MB video as H.265 within a second of each other. Both laptops have a thin chassis and showed some thermal throttling, which probably explains the similarity in their performance on these benchmarks, despite the different CPUs.

In the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark running in a live version of Adobe Premiere Pro, the Blade 17 took advantage of its much faster Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti versus the XPS 17’s RTX 3060. Premiere Pro uses the GPU heavily for rendering and other duties, and it’s no surprise that the Blade 17 was the leader here. I note that the XPS 17’s score has increased to 853 in performance mode, which is excellent considering the disparity.

As you’d expect, the Blade 17 is the better gaming laptop with its RTX 3080 Ti capable of 4K gaming with decent graphics settings. The XPS 17 can handle some titles at 1440p and medium graphics, but it’s best to stick to 1080p and then crank up the graphics.

The bottom line is that the XPS 17 and Blade 17 are equally matched if your workflow mainly involves CPU-intensive tasks. If you’re a gamer or use GPU-dependent apps, the Blade 17 has the advantage.

Dell XPS 17 9720
(Core i7-12700H)
Razer Blade 17
(Core i7-12800H)
Geek Bench 5
(single/multiple)
1,712 / 13,176 1,800 / 11,843
Handbrake
(seconds)
74 73
Cinebench R23
(single/multiple)
1,778 / 12,696 1,697 / 13,218
Pugetbench Premiere Pro 771 969

Display

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

We tested the XPS 17’s UHD+ IPS display, one of the best IPS panels we’ve seen. It was incredibly bright at 543 nits, covering 100% of the AdobeRGB color gamut and boasting phenomenal accuracy of a DeltaE of 0.58 (1.0 or less is considered excellent). It also achieved a contrast ratio of 1,870:1, one of the best scores we’ve seen on an IPS display. Our review Blade 17 has a QHD display equipped with a super-fast 240Hz. That makes it great for gaming, but the overall display stats were well below XPS 17. The colors were fairly wide and very accurate, but the brightness was only average and the contrast is below average for a premium laptop (we like to see minimal 1,000:1).

We haven’t tested the other Blade 17 display options, but based on the panel we tested, the XPS 17 is by far the superior laptop for makers. In fact, the XPS 17 has the best display we’ve tested outside of OLED, QLED and mini-LED, giving it a win in this category.

Dell XPS 17 9720 Razer Blade 17
Brightness
(nits)
543 313
AdobeRGB Gamma 100% 90%
sRGB Gamma 100% 100%
Accuracy
(DeltaE, lower is better)
0.58 0.84
contrast ratio 1870:1 890:1

Portability

The XPS 17 is narrower and shallower than the Blade 17, thanks to its smaller screen and small bezels. It’s almost equally thin at 0.77 inches versus 0.78 inches, and it’s noticeably lighter at 5.34 pounds versus 6.06 pounds. These laptops are big and heavy and will be a chore to lug around, but the XPS 17 has a significant advantage in size and weight.

Another advantage of XPS 17 is in battery life. It fell short of average in our web browser test browsing some popular and complex websites, but its 7.5 hours more than doubled the Blade 17’s performance in this test. In our video test going through a local Full HD avengers trailer, the XPS 17 was more than three times more efficient and lasted 13 hours.

The XPS 17 might not quite get through a full day of productivity work, but it lasts significantly longer on a charge than the Blade 17. Overall, it’s the more portable powerhouse.

Dell XPS 17 9720
(Core i7-12700H)
Razer Blade 17
(Core i7-12800H)
surf 7 hours, 36 minutes 3 hours, 11 minutes
Video 13 hours, 5 minutes 3 hours, 41 minutes

The Dell XPS 17 is the better mainstream laptop

The XPS 17 starts at $1,812 for a Core i5-12500H CPU, 8GB DDR5 RAM, a 512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD, Intel UHD graphics, and a 17-inch Full HD+ display. It comes in at $3,625 when configured with a Core i9-12900HK, 64GB DDR5 RAM, a 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, and a 17-inch UHD+ display.

Blade 17’s entry-level model is $2,700 for a Core i7-12800H, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, and a 17.3-inch QHD 165Hz display. On the high end, you’ll spend $4,300 for a Core i9-12900H, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, an RTX 3080 Ti, and a 17.3 UHD 144Hz display. The XPS 17 is not a cheap laptop, but the Blade 17 is even more expensive.

For most buyers and all but the most discerning makers, the Dell XPS 17 is the better all-round laptop. It performs just as well as the Razer Blade 17 on CPU-intensive tasks and is fast enough to handle typical creative workflows. it also has significantly better battery life. However, if you’re a gamer or a very demanding maker, the more expensive Blade 17 offers more GPU power at the top end.

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