Want to use the Dell XPS 17 to work from home? Here’s what you need
Even as we clear the biggest hurdles that showed up in the past year, working from home is going to become a lot more common for many of us. But finding the right setup to work from home can be challenging. Not only do you need to have a PC that can live up to the task, but also many accessories that can help make your life easier. As far as laptops go, the Dell XPS 17 is an absolute powerhouse, and in many ways, a fantastic laptop to work with from home. If you’ve bought one or considering buying one, we’re here to help you set it up in a way that fits your needs.
A good work-from-home setup can encompass many elements. A second monitor, for instance, can be extremely useful to increase productivity. A high-quality webcam might also be worth it if you’re taking a lot of video calls. We’ll go through some of the things you might need to get the best possible experience.
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The first thing you’ll probably want in order to build your setup is a Thunderbolt dock. The Dell XPS 17 relies mostly on Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) for connectivity, so if you’re planning to use a lot of peripherals, a dock will help. The laptop does include a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter, plus a Type-C to HDMI adapter to connect an external display. But if you need more, Thunderbolt docks can add lots of ports.
We’ve already rounded up the best docks you can get for Dell XPS laptops, but if we had to recommend just one, this Plugable Thunderbolt 3 dock is one of the better options out there. It includes two display outputs, Ethernet, three USB Type-A ports, and two USB Type-C. You’ll be able to connect almost anything you could want in your setup.
Second screen for your Dell XPS 17
Another thing you might want to consider if you’re working from home is a second monitor. As someone who resisted the transition to dual monitors for a long time, I have to say I find it incredibly useful having a second screen. Having the ability to see more of what you’re working on can do wonders for productivity. For example, you can refer to a document on one screen while writing on the other. In fact, you can use split views to see multiple apps at the same time. It can be useful for video calls, too. If you don’t want a call to completely interrupt your flow but you still want to pay attention, you can just throw it on the second screen.
What kind of monitor is best for you will depend on how much space you have, among other factors, and there are lots of great options. However, if you’re all about multi-tasking, an ultra-wide monitor like the Samsung 34 inch S65UA is great. This particular unit is also a Quad HD model, and that higher resolution will let you see even more content. Plus, it has HDR support, and you can connect to the display with just a USB Type-C cable, so you don’t even need an adapter for this one.
A good webcam
Now, things like a monitor and a Thunderbolt dock are accessories you’ll probably want regardless of what laptop you’re using for your home office. But one thing you’re definitely going to want for the Dell XPS 17 is a webcam, at least if you’re taking a lot of video calls. The webcam on Dell XPS laptops is notoriously bad, and you might want to look your best for video meetings.
There’s no shortage of options for webcams out there, but if you want the best quality possible, the Dell UltraSharp 4K webcam is a fantastic option that launched just recently. This camera has a 4K Sony STARVIS sensor that’s optimized for low-light performance, plus it supports HDR, autofocus, and an adjustable field of view. It even supports Windows Hello facial recognition, so you don’t have to depend on your laptops’s built-in webcam. As a bonus feature, it comes with a magnetic privacy cover so you can easily cover it whenever you’re not using the camera. This one may be a little steep in price, so you can always check our list of best webcams if you want a more affordable alternative.
- The Dell UltraSharp offers the best image quality of any webcam you can get today. It supports up to 4K videos and it uses a Sony STARVIS sensor that makes it suitable for very dim environments as well as daytime. Plus, it has features like smart framing, autofocus, and auto white balance.
If you’re worried about looking your best on a video call, you might also want to consider how you sound. Most laptops have built-in microphones, but they can cause some issues with echo if you’re on a call, plus they’re just not as good as having a good headset.
There are plenty of good headsets out there, but if you want to avoid spending a lot for a quality experience, the Xbox Wireless Headset is actually a very solid option. Gaming headsets can be bulky and have somewhat obnoxious designs, but this Xbox model has a subdued and compact look that still offers a lot of features. The microphone has voice isolation so you can be heard clearly without background noise, plus there’s an auto-mute feature that turns off the microphone if you’re not talking. You also get easy volume adjustments by rotating the earcups and support for stereo sound. If you want something even more classy and you have a bigger budget, the Sony WF-1000XM4 are great premium headphones.
- The Xbox Wireless Headset is a capable but still somewhat affordable headset. It has features like auto-mute for your microphone, spatial sound, and rotating dial controls to adjust the balance between game and chat audio. It also works with PCs, Xbox consoles, and phones.
Laptops are designed to be portable, and that’s why they come with trackpads instead of having a traditional mouse. But if you’re setting up your Dell XPS 17 to work from home, a proper mouse is likely to be more comfortable and more efficient. It just tends to be easier to move your cursor around with a mouse compared to a trackpad. Plus, computer mice can have extra buttons that add quick shortcuts to improve your workflow even more.
When it comes to mice, Logitech’s MX Master family is a long-time favorite for many, and the MX Master 3 is the latest and greatest iteration. This mouse features an ergonomic design (for right-hand users, at least), and a solid premium build with two metal scroll wheels — one for your index finger and one on the side for your thumbs. You have three customizable buttons in addition to the usual suite of buttons, a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 70 days, and bonus features like cross-device functionality. This is one of the best mice you can buy right now, and a great choice for working from home.
Finally, one last thing you might want, depending on how much you value your typing experience, is a keyboard. Obviously, the Dell XPS 17 has a keyboard, but if you’re using it to work from home and typing is important, the comfort of a full-size keyboard can be almost mandatory for some people. One thing you can’t really find on a lot of laptops is a mechanical keyboard, which many users prefer for its comfort and actuation.
We already have a round-up of the best mechanical keyboards you can buy, and we chose the Das Keyboard 4 Professional for our best pick for the office. However, if you want to save some money, we’re actually going to recommend another Das model, the Das Keyboard Prime 13. This model has a more minimalist design and loses out on some media control keys, but it’s significantly cheaper. It still uses Cherry MX Brown switches and the keys are backlit (in white) so you can see them easily in dim lighting. Plus, the keyboard itself has two USB ports, so it acts as a USB hub as well.
That should cover all the kinds of accessories you could want to complete your work-from-home setup with the Dell XPS 17. You might be thinking it’s ridiculous to need all of this when the Dell XPS 17 is an expensive laptop, and it’s true, you probably don’t need every single thing on this list. The XPS 17 is in fact a fantastic laptop, one of Dell’s best, and for many, it might be all you need. But if you feel like part of your experience isn’t as good as it could be, this list gives you some great options to make it better.
If you haven’t yet, you can buy the Dell XPS 17 from the link below. Don’t like buying online? Here’s a list of the best laptops you can find at Best Buy if you’d rather see them in person before buying.