Dell XPS 9710 quietly fixes the charging complications on last year's XPS 17 9700
The 2020 XPS 17 revived the 17-inch XPS series with new hardware and a sleek 16:10 form factor. It also happened to be the first 17-inch laptop with both Core H-series CPUs and GeForce RTX GPUs powered solely by a USB-C AC adapter. As we found out, however, the battery would still discharge at a steady rate when running high processing loads even when connected to an outlet. Dell would later clarify that this behavior was intentional which had us curious as to how the 2021 XPS 17 would behave when under similar conditions.
After recently testing the XPS 17 9710, we're delighted to see that the latest model no longer exhibits the same charging issues that plagued last year's model. Running Witcher 3 on our XPS 17 9710 RTX 3060 test unit at 100 percent battery for 2 hours would not cause the battery to drain at all while this same test on the XPS 17 9700 RTX 2060 Max-Q would cause the battery to drain by as much as 35 percent.
Battery charging, however, is still affected when under such high loads. We repeated the test above at 80 percent battery charge instead of 100 percent charge to see if gaming and charging can be done simultaneously. Unfortunately, the battery would remain at 80 percent charge indefinitely until the game was shut off. This behavior is not uncommon on dedicated gaming laptops with similar Core-H CPUs and GeForce RTX GPUs.
As a side note, performance also appears to be more steady on the XPS 17 9710 than on the 9700. Frame rates when running Witcher 3 would periodically dip to the single digits on the older model whereas they would be higher and more stable on the newer 9710. If you've been holding out on the XPS 17, then now might be the time to finally consider one especially since Dell has ironed out some of the problems from the last generation version.
Our full review on the 2021 XPS 17 9710 can be found here.