A Complete Guide To Laptop Sizes: How To Choose

laptop sizes

Are you wondering about laptop sizes and which one you should choose? In this article I will tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right laptop size. Most people opt for a laptop with a screen size of around 15-inches or 16-inches as this will give you plenty of room for productivity whilst not being too big for a laptop.

Why Does Laptop Size Matter?

Laptop size directly influences its portability, screen real estate, keyboard size, and often, its performance capabilities. A larger laptop might offer a more comfortable viewing and typing experience but might be cumbersome to carry around. Conversely, a smaller laptop is more portable but might compromise on screen size and keyboard comfort.

Common Laptop Sizes Explained

Laptops are generally categorized by their display sizes, measured diagonally in inches. Here’s a breakdown of the most common sizes:

  • 11 to 12 inches: These are the lightest and most portable laptops, often weighing between 2.5 to 3.5 pounds. They’re ideal for frequent travelers but might have smaller keyboards and less powerful hardware.
  • 13 to 14 inches: Offering a balance between portability and usability, laptops in this range weigh under 4 pounds and often come with a good balance of performance and battery life.
  • 15 inches: This is the most common size for laptops and is preferred by many for its larger screen and keyboard. They weigh between 4 to 5.5 pounds and are suitable for users who don’t travel frequently.
  • 17 to 18 inches: If your laptop stays on your desk all day, a 17- or 18-inch system could provide you with the kind of processing power you need for high-end tasks such as graphics-intensive gaming or professional video editing.

Most Common Laptop Sizes

diagonal inchwidth inchheight inchArea
11 inch Monitor119.65.451.84 inches²
12 inch Monitor1210.55.961.95 inches²
13 inch Monitor1311.36.472.32 inches²
14 inch Monitor1412.26.984.18 inches²
15 inch Monitor1513.17.496.94 inches²
16 inch Monitor1613.97.8108.42 inches²
17 inch Monitor1714.88.3122.84 inches²
18 inch Monitor1815.78.8138.16 inches²

11-12 inches

This laptop screen size is more like a tablet, if you enjoy the workspace you have on an iPad or small tablet then this size might work for you.

These laptops are very small and often very cheap, you can find certain chromebooks like this. I wouldn’t recommend this screen size for everyone as there is little room to work with in terms of work and entertainment.

Although it’s an upgrade to a phone, this screen size is very small and not so good for productivity. It would be good to watch youtube videos or send emails but not to do research tasks.

13-14 inches

This is the smallest size I would recommend for laptops, as it gives you the best portability but also some breathing room when it comes to work and entertainment.

The last thing you want when trying to work on a laptop is to struggle with switching between Windows if you need to have multiple Windows side by side.

If you can only see one window at a time then this can dramatically slow down your productivity time.

15 inches

This is the standard size for laptops and is quite popular, this would be the one to go for if you just need to do work such as document writing, programming or emailing.

You can still play video games on this screen size and watch youtube videos as it will give you enough room.

You can also now use two windows side by side when working to speed up your productivity time.

17-18 inches

This screen size is perfect for entertainment, video games and productivity all in one. 17-inches is on the bigger end and may end up being a bit of trouble in terms of portability.

However, the pay off is huge as you get much higher resolutions around 2k or 4k screens and the capability to watch movies or play HD video games.

Which Laptop Sizes Are Better?

Large laptops are great, but they come at a high cost and also a heavier weight. Larger laptops usually weigh around 5-9 pounds compared to smaller laptops which only weigh around 2.5-4 pounds on average.

You can check out my full laptop weight chart here.

I prefer larger laptops because you can use them for entertainment as well as high productivity. Although they do take up more space in your backpack and are more expensive, they are certainly worth it.

Benefits Of Smaller Laptops

Smaller laptops are lighter, thinner and easier to carry. They are also cheaper. Smaller laptops are usually in the form of a chromebook which means they are less powerful but run on the Chrome OS.

Small portable laptops can fit in almost any carry bag compared to the larger ones which require a special type of bag. Small displays are easier to use in coffee shops and on airplanes.

They are also much lighter to carry around with you when you travel or commute compared to larger laptops which can weigh up to 9 pounds which can be a workout.

Benefits Of Larger Laptops

Larger laptops are much better for gaming and watching videos or movies. They are also much better for productivity.

Personally I like having three windows open at once on my desktop computer, so I naturally would prefer a larger laptop otherwise I would feel constricted.

These laptops are often more expensive and also more powerful, meaning you can run some great video games and use 3d programs for work.

They also come with more ports and a better aesthetic since you are paying a higher ticket price. Larger laptops may even be sturdier on average because you have to pay more for them.

Considerations Beyond Screen Size

While the screen size is a significant factor, other dimensions like thickness and weight also play a role. Ultrabooks and other slim laptops might have the same screen size as their bulkier counterparts but are easier to carry due to their slim profiles.

Performance and Size

Larger laptops often have room for more powerful components and better cooling systems. However, advancements in technology have made it possible for even smaller laptops, like ultrabooks, to pack a punch when it comes to performance.

The Evolution of Laptop Sizes

Historically, the first portable computers were anything but ‘lap-friendly.’ They were bulky, heavy, and had tiny screens. Over the decades, as technology advanced, laptops became smaller, lighter, and more powerful. The 1990s and early 2000s saw the dominance of the 15-inch laptops, which were considered the standard. However, the last decade has seen a surge in variety, from ultra-portable 11-inch netbooks to massive 18-inch gaming powerhouses.

The Role of Bezels in Laptop Sizes

One of the significant advancements in recent years is the reduction of bezels – the borders around the screen. By minimizing bezels, manufacturers can fit larger screens in smaller chassis. This means that a modern 14-inch laptop might have the same physical dimensions as a 13-inch laptop from a few years ago, giving users more screen real estate without compromising on size.

Hybrid Laptops and Size Flexibility

The rise of 2-in-1 laptops, which can be used as both a tablet and a laptop, has added another dimension to the size discussion. These devices often come with detachable keyboards or can be folded in various ways, allowing for a more flexible approach to size and usability. For instance, a 13-inch 2-in-1 can quickly transform into a tablet for casual browsing and then back to a laptop for more intensive tasks.

Customization and Niche Sizes

While the sizes mentioned above are standard, there’s a growing market for niche sizes. Some manufacturers are experimenting with unconventional sizes like 13.5 inches or 16 inches, aiming to cater to specific user needs. These sizes often target professionals in fields like graphic design or video editing, where a slightly larger screen can make a significant difference.

The Future of Laptop Sizes

As technology continues to evolve, so will the sizes and form factors of laptops. With the advent of foldable screens and advancements in miniaturization, we might soon see even more variety in laptop sizes. The key will always be to find the perfect balance between portability, performance, and user comfort.

Conclusion

Choosing the right laptop size depends on your specific needs and preferences. If portability is a priority, you might lean towards smaller sizes. However, if you need a workhorse for tasks that require a larger display and more power, bigger might be better. Always consider how you intend to use your laptop and weigh the pros and cons of each size before making a decision.

In the ever-evolving world of technology, understanding laptop sizes can make your buying journey smoother and ensure you get the best bang for your buck.

With over 12 years of experience with laptops, Grayson Uppington has delved deep into the tech world, always learning and sharing. His top pick is the Lenovo Legion Slim 5, blending performance with style. Formerly a pro gamer in CS:GO, those tournaments sharpened his skills and heightened his appreciation for laptop potential.