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Dell's 2021 XPS laptops cram faster hardware into familiar design

Dell's new XPS series packs Intel and NVIDIA's latest CPUs and GPUs.

Published onMay 11, 2021

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  • Dell has announced its 2021 edition XPS series laptops.
  • The XPS 15 and XPS 17 now pack 11th generation Intel CPUs with NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series GPUs.
  • The series starts at $1,249.

After upgrading its XPS 13 model late last year, Dell is bringing fresh Intel and NVIDIA hardware to its larger Dell XPS series laptops. The flagship XPS 15 9510 and XPS 17 9710 build on the previous models’ revisions with faster hardware and more configuration options.

Dell XPS 15

The Dell XPS 15 remains the smaller of the two, packing a 15.6-inch display. Despite its hefty 1.86kg base weight, it’s now melded into what Dell term’s the smallest 15.6-inch form factor available.

Users choose between a 4K or 1080p LCD touch panel or a 3.5K OLED display. All three options arrive in a 16:10 aspect ratio and support Dolby Vision, but only the denser panels pack DisplayHDR tech.

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Visually, not much has changed over the previous model. Dell is still using machined aluminum and carbon fiber for the laptop’s construction. There’s also a Corning Gorilla Glass 6-coated touchpad and a backlit keyboard with 1.3mm of travel.

As for internals, the Dell XPS 15 features three Intel 11th Gen CPU configs with the octa-core i9-11900H headlining. This gives the machine a maximum clock speed of 4.9GHz, a little lower than the previous model’s 5.3GHz i9-10885G option. Still, RAM tops out at 64GB, while up to 4TB of PCIe-based SSD storage is now an option, too. Users can stick with Intel’s integrated GPU or go with NVIDIA’s RTX 3050 series for graphics.

For power, Dell offers a choice between a 56WHr or 86Whr battery. Topups arrive via a 90W or 130W USB-C charger. Three USB-C ports — two packing Thunderbolt 4 capabilities — provide charging and display abilities. There’s also a full-sized SD card reader and a 3.5mm combo jack. Dell also includes a USB-C-to-HDMI adapter for those employing external monitors.

Other niceties include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.1 support, a 720p Windows Hello camera, an ambient light sensor, dual microphones, and quad speakers.

Dell XPS 17

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The XPS 15’s larger sibling trades less portability for more impressive hardware. For those considering the XPS 17 as a desktop replacement, that’s a fair trade.

The machine’s 17-inch display doesn’t get an OLED option but is available in 3,840 x 2,400 or 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. Both panels also support Dolby Vision with a maximum brightness of 500 nits.

A 97Whr battery is included in the large body, but this brings the weight closer to 2.5kg. A 90W or 130W charger can be had with the XPS 17, too.

See also: The best laptops you can buy in 2021

As for internals, the XPS 17 is offered with four CPU configs. Headlining is the octa-core i9-11980HK that offers 24MB of cache and a 5GHz turbo boost. For graphics, Dell also has the NVIDIA RTX 3060 on offer, up to 64GB of RAM, and 4TB of PCIe-based SSD storage.

The XPS 17 gets similar I/O, wireless technologies, and audio equipment as its smaller sibling.

Dell’s offering both XPS machines with Windows 10 Home or Pro. Both gain a year of premium support in the US from the company, too.

Dell XPS series: Price and availability

The Dell XPS 15 9510 starts at $1,249.99 — that’s slightly cheaper than the previous model’s entry price. As for the Dell XPS 17 9710, pricing starts at $1,449.99, but expect to pay much more for the range-topping configs of both machines.

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