You’d be forgiven for mistaking the Dell XPS 17 for just the slightly larger XPS 15. Both have large displays packed into the tiniest chassis possible, and both boast some ambitious performance claims. However, there is more going on between the two than meets the eye.

How big is the difference between the XPS 15 9520 and the XPS 17 9720? Here’s everything you need to know about these two great laptops and which ones you should buy.


Dell XPS 15 9520 Dell XPS 17 9720
Dimensions 13.56 inches x 9.06 inches x 0.73 inches 14.74 inches x 9.76 inches x 0.77 inches
Weight 4.22 pounds (non-touch)
4.62 pounds (touch)
4.87 pounds without touch
5.34 pounds per touch
Processor Intel Core i5-12500H
Intel Core i7-12700H
Intel Core i9-12900HK
Intel Core i5-12500H
Intel Core i7-12700H
Intel Core i9-12900HK
Graphics Intel UHD graphics
Intel Iris Xe graphics
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
Intel UHD graphics
Intel Iris Xe graphics
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
Display 15.6-inch Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS
15.6-inch 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED
15.6-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS
17.0-inch Full HD+ IPS
17.0-inch UHD+ IPS
Storage 512 GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
512 GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
A touch Not necessarily Not necessarily
Ports 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Full size SD card reader
4 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 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 with Windows 11 Hello infrared camera 720p with Windows 11 Hello infrared camera
OS Windows 11 Windows 11
Battery 86 watt hours 97 watt hours
Price $1420+ $1812+
Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

There are no significant design features that distinguish the Dell XPS 17 from its smaller sibling. The XPS 15 was redesigned in 2020 and launched alongside the XPS 17, which was the first of its kind. Since then, both laptops have undergone minor revisions, but the overall design has remained the same. The XPS 17 uses an identical keyboard and large touchpad, and also borrows the same black carbon fiber and silver aluminum materials for the palm rests, lid and chassis. The only major difference is the availability of an alternate color scheme for the XPS 15, Frost aluminum in the chassis and a white fiberglass palm rest.

However, size is where these two laptops differ. There’s a 1.4-inch diagonal difference in screen size between the two, making the XPS 17 both the larger and heavier variant.

The XPS 15 weighs 4.62 pounds, which is about three-quarters of a pound lighter than the XPS 17. You can feel the difference when you slip it into your backpack or even place it on your lap. This also applies to the sizes of these devices. The XPS 15 is 5% thinner at 0.73 inches thick. The overall footprint of the XPS 17 is also 17% larger.

If you go for the non-touchscreen models, both XPS laptops are lighter (starting at 4.22 or 4.87 pounds, respectively), although the percentage difference is the same.


Dell XPS 15 9520 right view showing ports.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

There are two important differences between the XPS 15 and the XPS 17. First, the XPS 15 only offers three USB-C ports, while the XPS 17 has four. What’s more, all four of the XPS 17’s four USB-C ports also support Thunderbolt 4 as opposed to just two on the XPS 15.

Thunderbolt 4 means higher data transfer speeds, an output 4K display at 60Hz, charging and the ability to power external graphics cards. Both devices include a headphone jack and a full-size SD card slot.


Dell XPS 15 9520 front view showing display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The choice of display between the XPS 15 and XPS 17 is another point of distinction. Both use a 16:10 aspect ratio and share two resolution options for IPS displays: Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) and UHD+ (3840 x 2400). The lower resolution is used in all base models, while the higher resolution panel is optional. However, the XPS 15 also offers a 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED panel.

We tested the XPS 15 with an OLED display, and it offered extremely wide and accurate colors, decent brightness, and OLED’s typical inky black contrast. The XPS 17’s IPS UHD+ display is also excellent, with even wider colors (though slightly less accurate), significantly more brightness and a very high contrast ratio for an IPS panel.

Both displays are excellent for creatives who require wide and accurate colors. The XPS 15’s OLED display offers incredibly deep blacks and better High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, so it’s the better all-around display.

I didn’t test the lower resolution models, but Dell tends to use lower quality screens on their base models.

Dell XPS 15 9520
Dell XPS 17 9720
391 543
AdobeRGB gamut 96% 100%
sRGB gamut 100% 100%
(DeltaE, lower is better)
0.42 0.58
Contrast ratio 27,930:1 1,870:1


Dell XPS 17 9720 front view showing display and keyboard.

After all, the XPS 17’s raison d’être is the added performance. It’s more than just a slightly larger version of the XPS 15, thanks in large part to more powerful GPU options. You can configure the XPS 17 with up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, while the XPS 15 is stuck at an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti.

The XPS 17 is 51% faster in 3DMark’s Time Spy benchmark, resulting in significantly higher frame rates in modern 3D games. The XPS 17 can play games like Fortnite at 112fps on Epic settings (at 1200p), 96% faster than the XPS 15.

Note that both laptops use Dell’s thermal control utility, which allows fans and CPU speed to be adjusted for quieter operation or faster performance. In the table below I have reported the results for both balanced and efficient mode. In most tests, the XPS 15 showed significantly higher speeds in performance mode, while the XPS 17 didn’t show as much of a difference.

Although both laptops used the same processor, a 45-watt, 12-core (4 performance and 8 efficiency) Core i7-12700H, the XPS 17 was faster in all of our benchmarks. This is probably due to the larger chassis and more room for air and heat to move out.

The XPS 17’s faster GPU also makes a huge difference in content creation. For example, rendering video in an application like Adobe Premiere Pro can tax the GPU more severely. As you can see in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark, the XPS 17 was 12% faster in performance mode than the XPS 15 was in balanced mode—for some reason, the XPS 15 dropped its score in this benchmark in performance mode. This difference in speed has a significant impact on large video projects.

Both laptops offer processor options that range from the Intel Core i5-12500H to the Core i9-12900HK. Memory and storage options are also the same: both laptops support up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM and can be configured with up to a 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD. Additionally, both machines have two SSD slots for RAID operation for better performance and reliability or storage expansion.

Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
Dell XPS 17 9720
(Core i7-12700H)
Geekbench 5
(single / multiple)
Bal: 1470 / 9952
Perf: 1,714 / 11,053
Bal: 1712 / 13176
Perf: 1,747 / 13,239
Score: 100
Performance: 77
Ball: 74
Performance: 71
Cinebench R23
(single / multiple)
Score: 1,509 / 11,578
Perf: 1,806 / 13,313
Bal: 1778 / 12696
Perf: 1,779 / 14,086
Pugetbench Premiere Pro Score: 760
Score: 729
Ball: 771
Performance: 853
3DMark Time Spy Ball: 4470
Perf: 4,520
Score: 6,767
Perf: 6,958
Ball: 57 fps
Perf: N/A
Ball: 112 fps
Perf: N/A

Battery life

The XPS 17’s larger screen and improved performance come with one trade-off: battery life. Although the XPS 17 has 97 watt-hours of battery capacity compared to the XPS 15’s 86 watt-hours, the smaller device delivered better battery life in most of our tests. Surprisingly, the XPS 15 will probably last a day of typical productivity work on a single charge, but the XPS 17 will need a charger to go the whole way.

This is, of course, for the high-resolution models I tested. The Full HD+ models should last at least an hour or two longer, though I haven’t tested them yet to confirm those numbers. Either way, the smaller screen helps the XPS 15 get more power from its battery.

Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
Dell XPS 17 9720
(Core i7-12700H)
web browsing 9 hours, 38 minutes 7 hours, 36 minutes
Video 12 hours, 40 minutes 13 hours, 5 minutes
PCMark 10 applications 11 hours, 14 minutes 7 hours, 3 minutes


For most people, the XPS 15 9520 will offer more than adequate performance. This is especially true if you will primarily be running CPU-dependent applications.

If you’re not looking for a top-of-the-line XPS 17 with an Nvidia RTX 3060, you’re better off going with the XPS 15. Depending on configuration, the XPS 17 retails for $300 to $400 more than the XPS 15 with comparable hardware.

The XPS 17 is suitable if you need more GPU power. If you can plunk down around $3000 for the RTX 3060-powered model, then you’ll see a significant increase in performance, making the 17-inch ideal for professional video editing or 3D modeling.

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