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Here are 5 super simple ways we would improve the Dell XPS 17

Here are 5 super simple ways we would improve the Dell XPS 17
Here are 5 super simple ways we would improve the Dell XPS 17
As nice as it may look, the XPS 17 is missing a few quality-of-life features that many less expensive laptops already integrate. We'd love to see these addressed on the inevitable successor.
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The 17-inch XPS 17 is a special machine with unique features not found on other laptops in its category. Its 16:10 aspect ratio, GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics, humongous clickpad, and vapor chamber cooler are uncommon characteristics.

Though it certainly looks nice on paper and in pictures, we feel that Dell may have overlooked some quality-of-life features that could have improved the user experience. We're not talking about the strange charging behavior, high CPU temperatures, or lack of Ryzen options as these "problems" are much more complicated to address. Instead, we're just talking about simple features that other less expensive laptops already carry that are oddly missing on the high-end XPS 17.

These are the five simple quality-of-life changes we would make to the XPS 17 for a better end-user experience. If there are other changes you'd like to see, let us know in the comments below.

Make the Lid Easier to Grip and Open

The Dell Latitude 7310 has a handy indentation along the front edge of the laptop for users to grip their thumbs and open up the display. The XPS 17, however, is completely smooth here which makes gripping the lid more difficult than it needs to be.

Latitude 7310 has a grip along the front edge to make it easier to open up the lid
Latitude 7310 has a grip along the front edge to make it easier to open up the lid
Front edge of the XPS 17 is completely smooth for that sleek minimalist look, but gripping is annoyingly difficult as a result
Front edge of the XPS 17 is completely smooth for that sleek minimalist look, but gripping is annoyingly difficult as a result

Include a Webcam Shutter

The XPS 17 is one of the sleekest and best-looking 17-inch laptops out there; it would be a shame to blemish it with a piece of Scotch tape. A physical or electronic webcam shutter would help owners feel a lot more secure when using the system.

It's good to see the webcam along the top of the screen instead of the bottom. Now it's time for Dell to take the next step by adding a shutter
It's good to see the webcam along the top of the screen instead of the bottom. Now it's time for Dell to take the next step by adding a shutter

Make the Dell Power Profiles Faster to Launch or Toggle

The Dell Power Manager application is perhaps the most important pre-installed software on the laptop as it directly controls charging behavior and system performance. The different power profiles are located here including Optimized, Cool, Quiet, and Ultra Performance.

Accessing said power profiles can be irritating because Power Manager takes 17 whole seconds to launch (we counted). Users will then have to click on Thermal Management before finally seeing the power profiles available. This aggravatingly long wait time is simply dreadful when all you want to do is set the system to Quiet mode or Ultra Performance mode.

Chrome launches in less than a second, but Dell Power Manager takes over 17 times longer
Chrome launches in less than a second, but Dell Power Manager takes over 17 times longer

Give the F9 Key a Secondary Function

Every key on the first row of the keyboard has a secondary function except for the F9 key. This is a missed opportunity to make the key a bit more useful such as for toggling different power profiles, toggling the webcam, or launching the Dell Power Manager. The HP Envy x360 13, for example, has a camera key that turns the lens opaque.

The F9 key is the only key along the top row with no Fn feature. The fingerprint-loving palm rests and clickpad will leave their mark over time as well
The F9 key is the only key along the top row with no Fn feature. The fingerprint-loving palm rests and clickpad will leave their mark over time as well
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Allow the SSDs to be Removed Without Needing to First Remove the Battery

On the XPS 13 and XPS 15, users can upgrade their SSDs after removing the bottom panel. On the XPS 17, however, the battery must be removed prior to the SSDs. Although it's never a bad idea to simply disconnect the battery ribbon first before tinkering with any components, forcing users to remove the entire battery is an extra step that we don't see on many other laptops.

The screws that secure the battery also secure the copper heat spreaders atop the M.2 SSDs
The screws that secure the battery also secure the copper heat spreaders atop the M.2 SSDs

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Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - Lead Editor U.S. - 4579 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2011
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.
contact me via: @AllenNgoNBC
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 07 > Here are 5 super simple ways we would improve the Dell XPS 17
Allen Ngo, 2020-07-18 (Update: 2020-07-15)