T Nation

Is a 17-inch laptop a contradiction of terms?


If you need/want a screen that big shouldn't you really just say fuck it and get a desktop computer instead? I got a 17-inch because the screen seemed attractive when was just sitting there in the store, but now I'm thinking I shot myself in the foot. This bitch is a collossal pain in the ass to carry around. It's really more like a portable desktop than a laptop. I'm thinking better to get a 15 inch laptop or smaller and run it to an external display at home. What do you guys think?


It's not the size. It's the portability.
What type of work do you do that requires 17" anyway?

As an artist who does 2-page spread work for magazines, a 17" screen is acceptable. But if you're just keeping a journal, checking the internet, FB, email, etc, I can see how a much smaller unit would benefit you.


I'm typing on a 17" laptop right now. It's a little bit of a bitch if I have to carry it to class with me, but it's really nice should I need to use any of its media features. FWIW, it has a Blu-Ray player and stuff so it can be used as a pseudo-television.


Like always with computers, it depends in on the individual.

Some people don't want a whole area in their home reserved for a desktop yet want a bigger screen for watching movies. They might not have a desk area for a desktop PC or external display.

Other people might watch a lot of movies or do graphic/video work so a bigger screen is a better fit.

While others with bad eyesight might have trouble with small icons and fonts and can fit more of them on a bigger screen.


IMO 17" is good for the person who likes to use their laptop on the couch, but carrying it to class, for business, ect they are just too big and inconvient.


Depends what kind of "business".

I develop GIS (mapping) software and databases. My 15" laptop is my life because I travel to customer sites. At 'the office', I can have 3 19" screens open and between the graphics, the db tables, and the code, I could still use some more screen real estate.

I think 15"-17" or so is a great compromise size if you are traveling a lot. I'd love a 17" laptop.

The only time I would go with workstations now is if I need heavier computing power for large + many databases and testing. You get more bang for the buck with a standard workstation v. laptop.


Personal preferences aside, it's pretty safe to think of 17" as a desktop replacement and 15.4 as the happy medium


I received a 14" laptop for use as part of my grad program. The battery will last at least 4 hours doing moderate work. I can use it an an airplane without being cramped, and just about anywhere else. It has enough hardware to process any data set I may be working on, and is faster than my home desktop which I just built maybe 6 months ago albeit on a budget.

When I'm in the lab or at home, I just plug in another monitor, and I'm good to go for doing real work.

14" to 17" to 19" doesn't buy you a whole lot in monitor size, especially if you are using some kind of desktop management software that will split it into multiple desktops. Another monitor is best.

At home I have 27" connected to my desktop, and split it into multiple windows, but I still like the dual monitor setup better.

I think if you are going to have a laptop that gets moved around a lot, this is about the perfect size, and I love it.

I wouldn't mind having a bigger one if I had to transport it less frequently, I move mine up to 4 times a day.


I just got the Asus 1215N netbook which is 12.1 inches and i love it. Its fast enough to game on and small enough that I can put it in my school bag and forget about. It lasts about 5.5-6 hours on a charge when you're not using the graphics card.