Dell XPS 17 3D Assess:
Dell’s sometimes-hard array of in-house consumer brands has been thankfully whittled down to three, and there’s a clear enough delineation between them to make choosing a Dell mainframe (or at least a early point) a austere equation. The mainstream Inspiron brand hits the lowest end of the price spectrum, with plastic bodies and a surprisingly wide range of constituent options; the premium-priced Alienware brand is for Mountain-Dew-chugging gamers, with aesthetic palates that lag behind their budgets. In the median is the XPS line, which takes some of the same higher-end components available from the other two lines, adds new and different options, and wraps the full logic up in an appealing metal-clad shell.
The chic-looking Dell XPS 17 3D is a moderately recent alteration on the brand, taking the contemporary 2011 17-inch XPS, with its following-gen Intel Core i-series processors, and adding stereoscopic 3D help via Nvidia’s 3D Thought platform (which is really the standard for PC-based 3D). You can also send the indicate to a 3DTV via HDMI and watch video or play PC games in 3D–a the makings draw for fans of PC-only games such as StarCraft II.
Our Dell XPS 17 3D rang up at $2,054, but the early price for a 3D translation is $1,199 (non-3D XPS 17 models can be configured down to $899). While Dell XPS 17 3D is in fact very hard to configure a mainframe to cost more than $2,000 these days, our high-priced assess unit included an Intel Core i7-2630QM PC, 8GB of RAM, a full-HD 1080p cover, Nvidia’s GeForce GT 555M GPU, a Blu-ray novelist, and 1TB of hard-drive space.
That’s doubtless more pad than anyone needs, but a more reasonable build will get you up and in succession for under $1,500, and still be a killer building a bet/CD/3D rig that won’t make your apartment construction look like a dorm room.
With a brushed-metal point and a three-tone black/gray/silver color machinate, the 17-inch translation of the Dell XPS is near like peas in a pod to the smaller 15-inch XPS, which we last reviewed in March 2011. It’s buttoned-down for a CD apparatus, but wouldn’t look out of place in an chic den or living room.
This is, even if, a perfectly different point than the very recent XPS 15z, a slimmer re-imagining of the XPS line, which has a thinner body, slot-loading optical drive, and large lecturer grills on any side of the upright. The 15z is a much cleaner, nicer look overall, and we may someday see those point cues make their way to the Dell XPS 17 3D, but for now, this is still a thick, stout mainframe, but not an repellent one.
Dell’s standard onscreen dock–a quick-launch collection of apps and menus–has gotten a major fix this year. Instead of being pinned to the top (or optionally, the underside) of the cover, it now sits about one-quarter of the way up, with large, art-filled tiles for the different categories, counting music, games, and video. It’s called the Dell Stage, and you can change the size or content of the tiles, or turn the full thing off. As far as docklike software packages go, this is one of the nicer-looking ones we’ve seen.
As a 3D-well-matched mainframe, the Dell XPS 17 3D can be used to view stereoscopic content, counting photos, videos, and games, using a pair of included Nvidia 3D Thought glasses (our assess unit didn’t in fact contain them, but we had an extra pair lying nearly; bonus pairs run about $100). The nice part about PC-based 3D is that very near any PC game can be played in 3D mode, since the 3D Thought logic austerely presents the 3D data generated by the game itself; disparate console games, you don’t need a individually coded stereoscopic 3D translation.
The Dell XPS 17 3D also works with Nvidia’s 3DTV Play software, which lets you join the HDMI productivity from the mainframe into an HDMI input on a 3DTV and view 3D content on the better cover. We had to go and find the Nvidia software on our own–it oddly wasn’t preinstalled, and you should note that Nvidia charges $39 for that software, which also has a 14-day free trial.
Once we got the 3DTV Play software up and in succession, we were able to play PC games via the Dell XPS 17 3D on a huge-cover Samsung 3DTV. But, this comes with two vital caveats. Pledge on 3DTV Play game content is top bolt from the blue to 720p, and there was a small quantity of lag in the indicate. We found Portico, our test 3D game, still playable, but closer-paced games may endure with this kind of lag.
The sight on the Dell XPS 17 3D has a full HD 1,920×1080-pixel pledge, which is what we’d guess from a high-end desktop substitution. Cover descriptions were sharp and clear, and off-axis viewing was above mean, but the very glossy cover also elected up a lot of glare. The built-in JBL-branded speakers are loud and practically deep, but you’ll still want to hook up some receiver or open-air speakers, depending on what you’re before a live audience and how many public are watching.
This is one of the few laptops we’ve seen that bothers to contain a Blu-ray burning drive. Most are austerely Blu-ray players that also burn DVDs. More-run of the mill BD/DVD-R drives are also available, and trading down to a austere DVD-only drive will knock $175 off the price.
While our Dell XPS 17 3D crossed the $2,000 mark, with its high-powered quad-core CPU and 1TB of hard-drive space, you can get it down to as modest as $1,199. That config includes a dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU, and half the hard-drive space and RAM (4GB and 500GB, correspondingly).
As you might guess, the 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM powering our XPS 17 3D was an impressive architect. It was evenly matched with Acer’s 18-inch Aspire 8950G, which had the same CPU, and both were much closer than high-end desktop replacements with last year’s Intel Core i-series CPUs (such as the HP Envy 17 3D, not yet available with a 2011 Intel quad-core CPU, even if it’s expected any time now).
For building a bet, the Nvidia GeForce GT555M is at the high end of Nvidia’s mainstream GPUs (but is behind the GTX series, counting the new GTX 580M). We ran our ancient Unreal Game III butt at 1,440×900 pixels and got 113.1 frames per following. On a more challenging test, we ran Street Fighter IV at 1,920×1,080-pixel pledge and got 33.5 frames per following.
Dell XPS 17 3D excellent:
The Dell XPS 17 3D is a sharp-looking desktop substitution that can handle 3D content, as well as productivity 3D movies and games to a well-matched 3DTV. Vastly configurable, the more-high-priced options are commanding to be sure.
Dell XPS 17 3D terrible:
Some wonky stereoscopic 3D issues make this less plug-and-play than a 3DTV, and the 17-inch translation of the XPS has not gotten the same slim makeover the 15-inch translation has.
Dell XPS 17 3D underside line:
Dell XPS 17 3D is for those who want a commanding media and building a bet 17-inch mainframe, but in a more aesthetically chic wrap than existing by Dell’s Alienware brand. The stereoscopic 3D is gimmicky, but a fastidious breed of PC gamer will like it.