Laptop size

I’m trying to decide between a 15.6" or a 17.3" laptop. I’d be taking it to work 3 days a week but I would hardly ever take it anywhere else, not even moving it around the house. Still, 17.3" is kind of big, although looking at the specs they seem to only be about a half pound heavier.

The only size laptop I’ve had is 15.4", and I’m pretty much okay with that size but the 15.6" ones look so short (which they are shorter than 15.4" ones), so that might bug me. I wouldn’t want my screen any shorter than it is. I use it mainly for Internet and a couple games. I don’t care about watching movies or anything, so I’m mad about everything being stupid 16:9 aspect ratio now.

Anyway, it doesn’t seem like people bring 17.3" ones around much at all, so maybe that’s really annoying to do. What size do you guys like?

Feel free to share if you like smaller sizes even though I’m not considering them.

Bigger is better if you don’t expect to carrier it around a lot. Get the 17.3".

Agreed. I’ve ‘replaced’ my 15" PowerBook with a 17" MacBook Pro. The new computer won’t fit into the bag. I can always use my 15" as a ‘travel computer’.

I like the bigger screen of the new computer.

I wouldn’t go over 15-16". I’m a big lad (6’2" and could lose a few pounds) but hate the hassle of 17"ers.

Rather than the weight, the big difference will be the size of bag needed to carry it.

The bag I use isn’t even a laptop bag, it’s just a big canvas shoulder bag that I keep other stuff in too. A 17.3" would fit in it, but it would make it bulkier.

I’m having the hardest time deciding on some other specs too, because I don’t know how much difference they would make for me. Like between AMD A6, A8, or A10 processors, if the most demanding thing I do is Sims 3, does it really matter? Or what about Intel i5 or i7? I looked at the numbers but that doesn’t tell me how much difference I’d notice when I’m really using it. At some point you get diminishing returns and I want to quit going up in specs before I get too far into that. But not too early though, because I want a good laptop that will last a few years.

Also are there a bunch of new laptops in the works that just can’t be released until Windows 8 is? Because if so, I should probably wait until October I guess.

I looked at the various sizes and the pixel resolutions (for a cheap Windows laptop with Core i5). I was hesitating between 15 and 14 inches, since they usually had the same number of pixels (1366 by 768). In the end I chose 14 inches and I still find it kinda big to lug around the house. And it barely fits in my old laptop briefcase.

For the “don’t care for the wide screen” part: neither do I, but I found that by placing the Windows taskbar vertically (left or right edge of the screen) I get more vertical space for the important stuff.

The screen size doesn’t matter nearly as much as the resolution. I have a 15.something that runs the screen at 1920x1080 and it’s great. I can get lots of windows on there. My eyes are good, so I don’t want 1920x1080 on a 17", but if they were bad I might feel different. If you’re looking at machines with the 1366x768 “HD” resolution then go with an 11"… Really, if 17 vs 15 buys you a higher resolution screen, then the bigger one is worth considering. If it doesn’t get you more pixels, then get the smaller one. If you have trouble reading the screen, then get your glasses prescription updated before making a decision.

I rarely have to carry around my 15" laptop, but when I do, it’s a pain. The flip side is, it has every port imaginable and that great screen.

As for processor speed, there’s often a sweet spot. You might find upgrading to the next fastest processor is a+$20 b+$50 c+$70 d+$250. In which case it’s probably worth doing the b or c upgrade, but not the d. Whether the differences are meaningful is also questionable. a might be an i5 2.0, b is an i5 2.2 and c is an i7 2.8, in which case c is a big upgrade over a or b, but b is a small upgrade over a. I don’t know if that is easy to follow. Different processors and such can be very confusing, even to people who spend time thinking about these things. I always tell people to set a budget, and then buy the best they can in that budget. I’m not familiar with the AMD line, but for the Intels, in general the i7 is a much better performer than the i5, but I wouldn’t pay a huge premium for the i7. I don’t know if they still sell the i3, but if so, it should be avoided.

14" and 15.6" seem to normally have the same resolution, but not 15.6" and 17.3".

I totally forgot you could do that! Thanks.

Yes, that makes sense and I’ve noticed some of that too. The price increase does not necessarily correspond at all to how much of an improvement there is. And RAM upgrades on custom laptops seem to always cost several times as much as it would be to just buy it separately somewhere else and spend 5 minutes installing it yourself. But RAM at least IS pretty straightforward. Processors are a mess. And don’t even get me started on video cards.

I really want this laptop, or the 17.3" version, but it might be more than I need. I would get it for sure except that I don’t want to buy from Amazon because of sales tax, and that particular version is an Amazon exclusive :frowning: I love the look of it but that shouldn’t matter that much.

Just buy a smaller laptop, and set up a docking station for it at your office.
In other words, have a large monitor, mouse, and keyboard on your desk at your office that you plug the laptop into when you arrive.

A docking station would be a good idea if I had an office or a desk :slight_smile: Plus it will be my main computer at home too, where I don’t want to put it on a desk either.

I have a 14", but it’s essentially a glorified typewriter for what I use it for. I wrote my thesis on a 10.1" netbook, so the cramped keyboards don’t really bother me.

Are 17" laptops still popular? When I looked around they were getting hard to find. Even Dell doesn’t sell a 17" Inspiron, only the Alienware.

How’d you do that? As far as I’m aware, Apple doesn’t even make the 17" Macbook Pro anymore.

I can’t imagine typing out any long thing on a 10.1"! Even with having really small hands I would hate that. The one thing I do like about the 16:9 aspect ratio that they use now is that it leaves room for a full size keyboard plus number pad on a 15" laptop. I need a real keyboard, the whole thing.

They might be getting less popular because it seems like a lot of people are using external monitors, but I’m finding a lot of 17". I just checked Dell’s website and they do still have 17" Inspirons.

I think you should do a Reverse Spinal Tap and get a 17’ laptop.

Where are you using it? If it’s ever actually going to be used on your lap, then definitely go with the smaller one. I recently ditched my 15" laptop for a 13" one with a higher resolution screen and love the smaller form.

If you want a machine that’s both suitable as a main computer and as a portable computer you’re going to have to compromise one direction. I have a 15" that I love and use it for web browsing as a second computer and to take on trips but I couldn’t imaging gaming or doing serious work on that size screen. If I were in you situation the annoyance of a small screen would seem to be a bigger deal than the annoyance of lugging something bulky and heavy.

Also, if you can’t tolerate a widescreen that’s shorter than what you have now, the choice has been made…

I usually use it with my lap desk now, sitting on my bed, because my laptop stand broke and I haven’t gotten a new one yet. But my current 6.5lb. laptop doesn’t bother me on the lap desk.

17" laptops and keyboards are freaking great. If I were planning to play any kind of computer game on a laptop (yes, even Sims 3), I’d never get anything smaller. That’s wide enough to include a separate numpad in its proper place on a full-size keyboard, not to mention the increased screen size. Unless you have a hernia or are 90 years old, I would get the biggest laptop you can afford.