[In-Depth Comparison] Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 vs Dell XPS 17 9710 – which one is the better pro-grade product

We are starting 2022 with a banger comparison between two heavy hitters in the Creator and productivity space.

On one hand, the Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2, which is a treat for Creators, brings features and a pleasant amount of performance to the table thanks to Zen 3 and RTX Ampere. It is also part of the ThinkBook family, which Lenovo is paying a lot of attention to, in order to do it justice and establish it well.

Next to it sits the Dell XPS 17 9710, which is a very interesting device with an amazingly thin body, while offering so much power in the form of a Core i9-11900H. It also brings RTX Ampere graphics, but with such a slim chassis, cooling and airflow will be essential, in order for the whole package to work properly.

Today we are giving you an in-depth comparison between the Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 and the Dell XPS 17 9710.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Dell XPS 17 9710: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 configurations:

Dell XPS 17 9710 configurations:

Contents


Design and construction

Starting off with the ThinkBook, it has an aluminum chassis with an anodized finish, which has a unique texture that is smooth but still offers grip. The laptop is sleek and the sharp edges and rounded corners, while the rear end houses some heat vents, which is a feature on Legion devices. In terms of durability, both the lid and the chassis are strong and resilient, showing next to no flex. The device does have some character with its design, offering a two-tone shaped lid with the ThinkBook brand.

Moving over to the XPS 17, we have a combination of materials, with aluminum being used for the lid and the bottom panel. The rest is made out of carbon fiber, and you can actually see the weave pattern, which is liked by many. The sides are also brushed, giving you a glossier look, which contrasts the anodized lid and bottom panel. In terms of portability, the ThinkBook is way lighter, weighing 1.99 kg, while the XPS 17 weighs 2.53 kg. However, the Dell laptop is way thinner, with the thickest point measuring at 13.15 mm, while the ThinkBook is 19.9 mm thick at its thickest point.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Keyboard and touchpad

Going down further, the Lenovo laptop has a spill-resistant fully-fledged keyboard that has a NumPad segment, large keycaps, and a backlight. Furthermore, the key travel is great and the feedback is clicky. Ultimately, the unit is great, especially when you factor in that there is no deck flex even if you’re typing style is harsher and more aggressive. The touchpad has a glass surface that is ever so smooth and accurate.

As for the Dell device, due to its thinner profile, we can’t expect long key travel, but the unit still surprises us with the amount that it manages to extract, along with the clicky feedback. It lacks a NumPad but gives us huge speaker grills on the left and right sides. All in all, this is a comfortable unit for prolonged typing sessions. The touchpad is simply enormous, with dimensions of 15 x 8.9 cm and superb accuracy is responsiveness.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Ports

The ThinkBook has two USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) ports, two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2), a 3.5 mm audio jack, and an SD card reader.

The XPS 17 goes full MacBook style with four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and an SD card reader.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2

Dell XPS 17 9710


Spec sheet


Disassembly, upgrade options

Both laptops are held together by 8 Torx-head screws. The Lenovo device has half of its memory soldered while having a single SODIMM slot, along with two M.2 PCIe x4 slots.

The Dell laptop has one more SODIMM slot, increasing the number to two, while also featuring two M.2 PCIe x4 slots, one of which can fit Gen 4 SSDs.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Display quality

The Lenovo laptop has a single display option, coming with a 16-inch QHD+ IPS display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, a pixel density of 189 PPI, a pitch of 0.13 x 0.13 mm, and a Retina distance of 46cm or 18 inches.

The XPS 17 is more customizable with two 17-inch, 16:10 panels. The base model has an FHD+ resolution. Moving onto the panel that we tested, that unit had a 4K UHD+ resolution, a pixel density of 266 PPI, a pitch of 0.095 x 0.095 mm, and a Retina distance of 33cm or 13 inches.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Both displays have comfortable viewing angles. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

In terms of brightness uniformity, the ThinkBook performs better, despite offering lower max brightness of 370 nits in the middle of the screen and 359 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 6%. It also has a higher contrast ratio of 1740:1.

As for the XPS 17, it has a peak brightness of 467 nits in the middle of the screen and a maximum deviation of 13%. From the image below, you can see that the bottom left corner is out of line when compared to the rest of the display area. The contrast ratio sits at 1670:1.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Color coverage

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows the color coverage of both the Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 and the Dell XPS 17 9710.

The ThinkBook covers 91% of the sRGB color gamut, while the XPS 17 covers 100% of the sRGB and the AdobeRGB gamuts, while also covering 98% of the DCI-P3 gamut.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Color accuracy

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can check the results from the test of both laptops, with both the factory settings (left) and with our “Design and Gaming” profile applied (right).

For the Lenovo display, the base settings were with the enabled sRGB profile from x-Rite Color Assistant. As for the Dell laptop, its standard settings come with an enabled sRGB profile in Dell PremierColor.

The Lenovo laptop has a lower dE value of 1.4 after applying our Design and Gaming profile.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2

Dell XPS 17 9710


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” methods from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

Both laptops are pretty close when it comes to their response time, but still, the Lenovo ThinkBook comes on top with a Fall + Rise time of 23.5 ms.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Health Impact / PWM (Blue light)

PWM – Screen flickering

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Both laptops use no PWM across all brightness levels, meaning that the displays are comfortable to use, without presenting any excessive eye strain in this aspect.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 16″ WQXGA IPS MNG007DA1-4 (LEN8A97): Buy our profiles

Dell XPS 17 9710 17.0″ 4K IPS Sharp 5KKRM-LQ170R1 (SHP1517): Buy our profiles

Sound

In terms of speaker positioning, the ThinkBook has its cutouts on the bottom panel, while the XPS has two giant front-firing speaker grills, which house two tweeters and two woofers. In terms of quality, both setups provide high-quality audio with no deviations across the entire frequency spectrum.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Battery

The ThinkBook has a 71Wh battery unit, while the XPS 17 has a 97Wh battery unit. You might think that the results are right in the capacity, but you have to keep in mind that the XPS 17 has to power up twice as many pixels. The ThinkBook offers 1 hour and 17 minutes more battery life in Web browsing, while the XPS 17 has a 1 hour and 10-minute lead during video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.


Performance

In terms of hardware, the Lenovo product offers three Zen 3 processors with either the Ryzen 5 5600H, Ryzen 7 5800H, or Ryzen 9 5900HX. On the Dell side, we have four Tiger Lake H-series chips with the Core i5-11400H, Core i7-11800H, Core i9-11900H, and Core i9-11980HK.

For graphics, the ThinkBook has a GeForce RTX 3060 with 6GB of GDDR6 memory and 75W TGP. The XPS 17 comes with the same GPU with a lower 60W TGP, while also offering an RTX 3060 (70W) with 6GB of GDDR6 memory.

CPU benchmarks

Here we tested the Ryzen 5 5600H and the Core i9-11900H. To no surprise, the Core i9 performs better in both 3D and 2D Rendering, with leads of 26% and 1.89 seconds, respectively.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)


GPU benchmarks

Here we tested the GeForce RTX 3060 (75W) and the RTX 3060 (70W). The extra 5W contributes to a 12% increased performance in 3DMark Fire Strike and a 6% increase in Unigine Superposition.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming tests

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Borderlands 3 Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 – RTX 3060 (75W) 98 fps 79 fps (+3%) 64 fps (+5%)
Dell XPS 17 9710 – RTX 3060 (70W) 104 fps (+6%) 77 fps 61 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 – RTX 3060 (75W) 100 fps (+10%) 85 fps (+6%) 55 fps (+4%)
Dell XPS 17 9710 – RTX 3060 (70W) 91 fps 80 fps 53 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 – RTX 3060 (75W) 108 fps (+5%) 103 fps (+5%) 69 fps (+8%)
Dell XPS 17 9710 – RTX 3060 (70W) 103 fps 98 fps 64 fps

Temperatures and comfort

The ThinkBook has four heat pipes with one shared between the CPU and GPU, with each of them getting one separate heat pipe. The last one is on top of the VRMs and the graphics memory.

In the case of the Dell device, we have the pinnacle of hardware cooling in the face of a vapor chamber, which covers everything.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 3.68 GHz (B+12%) @ 86°C 3.67 GHz (B+11%) @ 93°C 3.53 GHz (B+7%) @ 100°C
ASUS Vivobook Pro 15 OLED (M3500) 3.52 GHz (B+7%) @ 78°C 3.58 GHz (B+8%) @ 94°C 3.40 GHz (B+3%) @ 90°C
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-45) 3.57 GHz (B+8%) @ 69°C 3.47 GHz (B+5%) @ 69°C 3.56 GHz (B+8%) @ 82°C
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Pro (14) 3.43 GHz (B+4%) @ 78°C 3.35 GHz (B+2%) @ 88°C 3.06 GHz @ 93°C
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″) 3.77 GHz (B+14%) @ 84°C 3.79 GHz (B+15%) @ 89°C 3.76 GHz (B+14%) @ 97°C

Compared to other devices with the same processor, the ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 provides comparable, if not higher clock speeds, while also having the highest temperature of 100°C in the final stage.

Intel Core i9-11900H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell XPS 17 9710 3.39 GHz @ 99°C @ 77W 3.15 GHz @ 99°C @ 66W 3.05 GHz @ 99°C @ 59W

The Dell XPS 17 maintained a temperature of 99°C across all stages of the test, while not offering the justifiable clock speeds. This is the issue with powerful hardware in small packages.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 1535 MHz @ 69°C @ 75W 1517 MHz @ 76°C @ 75W
Dell XPS 17 9710 1396 MHz @ 71°C @ 70W 1403 MHz @ 71°C @ 70W

The extra 5W are doing the work, with a healthy clock speed increase for the ThinkBook, while not getting that much hotter.

Gaming comfort

The Lenovo notebook has a higher outside temperature of 47.1°C, but at least it will keep your fingers warm during long working sessions.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2
Dell XPS 17 9710

Verdict

These devices are more different than they are similar, with different approaches to a lot of stuff. Starting with the design, both laptops are plenty durable, while also looking very sleek and professional. For us, the way lighter ThinkBook doesn’t sacrifice anything, and we prefer a lighter device than a thinner one.

The ThinkBook also offers a better package of input devices, with a NumPad, Spill-resistance, and big keycaps. While the big touchpad on the XPS is tempting, the glass-covered unit on the Lenovo isn’t far behind at all. Both devices offer a similar number of ports, with the XPS relying more on Type-C ports, while the ThinkBook still offers Type-A coverage.

Upgradeability is better on the Dell laptop, with one more SODIMM slot. We really liked the 4K UHD+ panel on the XPS 17, but the color accuracy and poor uniformity rubbed us the wrong way. While the ThinkBook lacks the color coverage of its competitor, it is enough for professional work, while presenting better accuracy and uniformity.

In terms of sound quality, both units performed very well, producing high-quality audio. Performance was good on both devices, with the Ryzen 5 5600H having an exceptional showing, despite not winning. On the Dell side, it is a Core i9-11900H, so we can’t expect anything but the best. Both in the synthetic and real-life gaming benchmarks, the GPU inside the ThinkBook came out ahead, with decent performance and FPS increases from the extra 5W headroom.

Both CPUs get very hot in the latter stages of our stress tests, nearing and reaching 100°C. The XPS 17 does have a lower outside temperature of 40°C, but even the Lenovo doesn’t get that hot, hovering around 47°C.

If it were up to us, we would pick the ThinkBook, as it offers a more daily usable package, while not skipping on powerful hardware, as while we did have a Ryzen 5, you can get a Ryzen 9, which will be as competitive as the Core i9 inside the XPS.



Why choose the Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2?

  • + Way lighter body
  • + More color-accurate display
  • + Better keyboard and touchpad
  • + Less fan noise


Why choose the Dell XPS 17 9710?

  • + Display with higher color coverage
  • + Great speakers
  • + Bigger 97Wh battery
  • + Cooler externals during load

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Dell XPS 17 9710: Full Specs / In-depth Review

All Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 2 configurations:


All Dell XPS 17 9710 configurations:

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