Razer Blade 17 (2022) vs Dell XPS 17 (2021): How much power do you need?
Razer took some at CES 2022 to announce refreshed of its most popular Blade laptops, including the Blade 17. This was already a powerful gaming laptop, but now it comes with the latest Intel processors and upgraded NVIDIA graphics, putting it on the bleeding edge of performance. If you’re looking for a powerful 17-inch laptop, though, the Dell XPS 17 is also a great option, so how does the Razer Blade 17 stack up?
The Dell XPS 17 is one of Dell’s best laptops, but it has to be mentioned that it hasn’t been updated with the latest hardware from Intel or NVIDIA, so it’s already at a disadvantage in that regard. But there are other differences beyond that, and in some ways, the XPS 17 is better, and in others, the Blade 17 is. Many of these differences are likely to hold up even if the Dell XPS 17 gets a refresh soon, so it’s worth keeping them in mind when making a decision.
|Razer Blade 17 (2022)||Dell XPS 17 (9710)|
|Price||Starting at $2,699.99||Starting at $1,599.99|
Right off the bat, some differences become apparent with this comparison, particularly when it comes to the internal specs due to the Blade 17 being refreshed more recently. Let’s dive deeper into those differences.
Performance: The Razer Blade 17 is a powerhouse
As we already mentioned, the Razer Blade 17 has newer hardware than the Dell XPS 17, which helps it be more powerful. Starting with the CPU, the Blade 17 comes with 12th-generation Intel Alder Lake processors, with your choice of a Core i7-12800H or a Core i9-12900HK. These are both top-of-the-line processors, and they come with Intel’s new hybrid architecture that mixes high-performance and efficient cores, resulting in gains in both areas. We don’t yet have the raw numbers to compare performance of one laptop against the other, but Intel claims the Core i9-12900HK is significantly faster than its predecessor — the Core i9-11980HK that’s inside the XPS 17.
That’s a big difference, and that trend continues when we look at the graphics card inside these laptops. The Dell XPS 17 maxes out with a GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, which is the minimum configuration for the Razer Blade 17. Even if the Blade 17 hadn’t been refreshed recently, it would still have a lot more graphics power, and that makes sense considering it’s a gaming laptop. Razer hasn’t disclosed the power rating of the GPUs inside the new Blade 17, but looking at the last-gen Blade 15, even the RTX 3060 has a power rating of 80W (versus the 70W of the XPS 17). If you got a Blade 17 (2021) with an RTX 3080, it would have 130W of power. If the same applies here, you get a whole lot more power from the Blade 17, which now comes with an even faster RTX 3080 Ti graphics card.
This boils down to the fact that the Razer Blade 17 is meant to be a gaming powerhouse, and the Dell XPS 17 is a productivity laptop. Both are very powerful in their own categories, but they’re fundamentally different. Even if there’s a new Dell XPS 17 sometime soon, the relative graphics power shouldn’t change that significantly.
Aside from this, the Razer Blade 17 has some other advantages thanks to its new processors. It supports the new DDR5 RAM with significantly faster speeds, so it’s going to have that much lower latency compared to the XPS 17. Plus, it comes with a PCIe 4.0 SSD for storage, also offering increased speeds compared to the PCIe 3 SSDs inside the Dell XPS 17. This, along with the CPU, is something where the Dell XPS 17 will very likely catch up once it’s refreshed.
One area where the Dell XPS 17 is likely to be better is battery life. It has a much larger 97Whr battery (versus 82Whr on the Razer Blade 17), for starters. But because of the less power-hungry GPU, it should also chew through its battery a bit more slowly than Razer’s laptop, so you can expect it to last that much longer.
Display and sound: Two fantastic options for different people
Similar to performance, the display on these two laptops makes it apparent that one is more geared towards gaming and the other is meant for productivity. The Razer Blade 17 has a 17.3-inch display with the typical 16:9 aspect ratio, and it comes in a few different flavors. There’s a Full HD panel with a 360Hz refresh, Quad HD panels at either 165Hz or 240Hz, and top-of-the-line 4K panel with a 144Hz refresh rate. All of these are great gaming displays for different types of users, but they’re also great for content creators, particularly the 4K model with 100% coverage of Adobe RGB.
Meanwhile, the Dell XPS 17 has a 17-inch display with a taller 16:10 aspect ratio, which is a great help for productivity. Taller screens give you more vertical space, which means you can see more text on a page, more rows in Excel, or more UI elements in media apps like Photoshop or Premiere. the base model comes in Full HD+ resolution, but you can upgrade to an Ultra HD+ version that covers 100% of Adobe RGB and 99% of DCI-P3. This is the ideal display for creative professionals, and it might even be better than what Razer offers, though it lacks the high refresh rate. Both will give you a great experience, but the Blade 17 is certainly better for gaming, while the XPS 17 is likely preferable for work.
The Blade 17 is also better if you care about webcam quality. Dell still hasn’t adapted to the new remote/hybrid work era, and it’s still using 720p cameras in its laptops, which aren’t all that great. Razer has moved on to 1080p cameras across the board, which is great for meetings and video calls, but also if you plan to stream your gaming sessions online. Both laptops support Windows Hello facial recognition, but the Dell XPS 17 also has a fingerprint reader if you prefer that.
In regards to sound, both laptops should give you a great experience. The Razer Blade 17 has an 8-speaker stereo setup, which should result in a pretty great experience overall. Previous models only had four speakers, so this is a definite improvement on that front. Meanwhile, the Dell XPS 17 uses a quad-speaker stereo system, but it’s been known for a while that XPS laptops have some of the best speakers on a Windows laptop, so we’d say this is a balanced match-up.
Design and ports: The Dell XPS 17 is more portable and professional
If you’re looking for a device you can use for work, the Dell XPS 17 has some obvious advantages. For one thing, it’s smaller than the Razer Blade 17 in every dimension thanks to its small bezels, and it’s lighter, too, starting at 4.87 lbs compared to the 6.06 lbs of the Blade 17. It’s also got a more professional look with a silver chassis and a black carbon fiber interior, giving it a unique look without being flashy.
Admittedly, the Razer Blade 17 also looks fairly subdued for a gaming laptop. It’s an all-black laptop barring the green Razer logo on the lid, and it looks sleek overall considering its specs. It does have RGB backlighting on the keyboard, but it’s subtle enough that it wouldn’t stand out too much in a work environment. Still, it’s far less portable, so it’s harder to warrant carrying it around.
Where the Blade 17 is definitely better is the port selection. Featuring three USB Type-A ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI, 2.5Gb Ethernet, and more, this is a tremendously well-rounded laptop that can handle all your peripherals without requiring docks or dongles (unless you have multiple external displays, of course). It’s very unlikely you’ll ever run out of ports, and that’s valuable for many.
On the other hand, the Dell XPS 17 is all about Thunderbolt, and it comes with four Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. There’s also a USB Type-C to Type-A and HDMI adapter in the box, so you’re not completely out of options when it comes to peripherals. Still, there’s a much higher chance you’ll need something like a Thunderbolt dock if you want to connect your whole setup, and those docks can be expensive. It’s hard to deny that the Razer Blade 17 is far more convenient, and it still has Thunderbolt support if you prefer setting up that way.
When you look at everything these two laptops offer, it’s clear that the Blade 17 is the better laptop in many ways. It has newer and faster specs overall, high-refresh-rate displays that still have similar levels of color coverage and resolution, a better webcam, a powerful speaker system, and way more ports than the Dell XPS 17. It just has so much more to offer, but that comes at the expense of a much heavier and larger laptop that’s harder to carry around.
And that’s not to say the Dell XPS 17 doesn’t have advantages. The taller display is bound to be great for productivity, and you have the option for touch support if you opt for the Ultra HD+ panel. Plus, it can be configured with higher specs out of the box (if you’re willing to pay up), and it’s just more portable overall. Additionally, it’s only a matter of time until its specs catch up with the Razer Blade 17 (aside from the GPU, that is), so if you prefer this design, it might be worth waiting for a Dell XPS 17 refresh.
Another stark difference between these two laptops is their starting price, but don’t let that fool you. The Dell XPS 17 starts at a much lower price, but if you choose comparable specs, they’re priced similarly. The Dell XPS 17 is a great option if you don’t need all that power, though. You can choose a lower tier and still get a great experience, especially if your main goal is just to get work done and not run intensive games or other tasks.
If you want the new Razer Blade 17, you’ll need to wait a little longer, as pre-orders are set to open on January 25th, with a full launch sometime later. The 2021 Dell XPS 17 (2021) is available below if you prefer it. Or you can check out our list of the best laptops you can buy right now if you want to explore other options.