Best Laptop Screen Size 13inch vs 15inch vs 17inch. We’re going to help you find the laptop screen size that’s right for you! Before we start I want to note straight away that screen size is going to be a very personal thing. While I can provide my advice and experience here, it won’t be perfectly applicable to every single person in the same way, so take everything here with a grain of salt. If you have the option of trying out a particular screen size before buying, then I highly recommend that you take advantage of that if possible.
In this post we’ll primarily focus on 13 inch, 15 inch and 17 inch laptops, mostly because these seem to be the most common sizes, and I happen to have these three sizes and have used them all extensively, so I can speak from my experience. The size of the laptop will mostly depend on the size of the screen. Let’s begin by discussing the pros and cons of smaller and larger screens.
Laptops with a smaller screen size have a smaller size footprint overall, which generally makes them lighter and more portable. In order to maintain a small size, it’s common for less powerful hardware to be used, and also smaller battery sizes are likely due to the lack of space, however the lower specs may mean increased battery life overall. Laptops with larger screens on the other hand take up more space, are usually heavier and may have higher spec’d hardware, however this has the drawback of requiring a lot of battery power which requires a larger battery which introduces even more weight.
Trying to find a laptop that is in the sweet spot in terms of price, size, weight, specs, and battery life for instance can be quite a challenge. The fact is screen size is only part of the overall puzzle, but in my opinion it’s one of the most important as it defines the overall size and to some degree the total weight of the laptop. Resolution is also an important factor, though is not always directly related to screen size.
While a larger resolution will allow you to display more on the screen at once, it can make things appear smaller and be more difficult to see, especially on smaller screens. My 13” laptop has a resolution of 2560×1600, and to be honest at times it can be quite difficult to easily see what I’m doing without getting in really close. One of my friends has a 4K 15” screen and they constantly complain about it as scaling in Windows is still not very good. I’ve got a 1080p panel on my 15” laptop and personally I think it’s a good sweet spot, I don’t have any issues with seeing anything.
Personally I prefer using my 13” MacBook Pro when travelling, it’s lightweight but is still quite powerful and has a long lasting battery. I barely even notice the weight in my bag. I don’t think I’d want to go any smaller than this, as it would start getting more difficult to use the keyboard and even see the screen. If you plan on travelling with your laptop and also have a more powerful stationary desktop, a 13” laptop is definitely a good idea.
While I can’t do any hardcore gaming on this laptop, the dual core Intel i5 CPU is powerful enough for me to run up a few virtual machines and do some work without any problems. I’m currently using a 15” laptop at work, I rarely need to transport it very far and the larger screen makes it a lot easier to comfortably work with all day, though it’s still small and light enough to be moved without too much issue if required.
The hardware specs are also a step above my 13” laptop, simply due to the extra space for hardware, cooling, and battery. I’ve found 15” laptops to be a good middle ground, they can be powerful enough to act as complete desktop replacements yet still have some level of portability. For example I recently reviewed the 15” Metabox P650RS-G laptop which had an Intel quad core 6700HQ and Nvidia 1070, it was easily capable of running current games at top settings and only weighed 2.65kg.
So if there are 15” laptops that can perform this well while still being at an acceptable weight and size, do you really need to look at 17 inch models? At the moment I personally have no real use for a 17” or larger laptop. I made the mistake of buying a 17” Dell laptop in 2008 for uni, I had to lug that heavy brick around for over 3 years and it was absolutely terrible.
Sure it was fairly powerful at the time and could run games well, but I had a desktop at home for this and the battery didn’t last long due to the high spec hardware, so realistically it was a bad choice for me. Transporting it was a nightmare due to the size and weight. I can’t see myself getting one of these ever again, I’d never want to move it so I may as well just stick with a desktop instead.
You should only consider looking at this size or larger if you’re prepared to carry it around with you, and if you actually need the larger screen size and high end specs wherever you go, otherwise a 15” laptop can still be spec’d very well and is quite a bit smaller. So to conclude, the size of a laptop screen is generally directly related to the laptop’s overall size and weight.
There’s always going to be a trade off between factors such as size, weight, specs, and battery life for instance. You’ll have to decide which things matter to you the most, you may be happy to carry a heavier laptop if you want to use a huge screen. Personally I’m not, and I’m happier with a smaller 13 inch laptop that I can easily take with me and yet is still powerful enough to do what I need, and that’s what it comes down to, finding a laptop that meets your needs at the best size for you. Of course screen size isn’t the only important factor when it comes to the display, the type of panel technology in use such as IPS or TN may also play a factor depending on what you want to do, however that’s a story for another time.
So what screen size do you guys prefer in a laptop and why? I’d be interested to hear, be sure to leave a comment letting me know, and leave a share if you found the information useful. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to bookmark for future posts like this one!