When it comes to buying a new laptop, one of the most important factors to consider is the screen. There are different size standards used by screen manufacturers right now. What is the best screen size for perfect balance in quality and portability? Let’s find out what screen size is considered as “suitable for all” in this blog.
The most common laptop screen size for modern laptops is the 15.6 inches variety. Other sizes from 10 inches to 17.3 inches are also available for people with different viewing needs. Other factors like screen resolution and panel type should be considered in buying your new device.
Screen size is an essential consideration in choosing the best laptop for your needs. After all, this is where you’re going to do all of your work or watch all your videos. There are several size standards that fit specific uses, which we will be discussing below.
Why Is Laptop Screen Size Important?
Most consumers tend to focus on the internal parts of laptops when shopping for upgrades or replacements. After all, a faster laptop component is a better user experience. However, the laptop screen size is essential as well. This component is where we do the actual work: type documents, view media files, surf the internet, etc.
According to Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, a bigger screen increases productivity. It impacts the visual data that a person can learn and use with minimal effort. Larger screens are also more ergonomic, decreasing the impact of sitting for an extended period. If you use the proper laptop screen size, your back, neck, and shoulders will thank you.
But there is a caveat in using laptops with larger screens: these devices are bulky and heavy. The user will most likely need to handle the product with two hands, which might not be ideal for travel.
Most ultraportables weigh from two to five pounds, while laptops with bigger screens tend to be in the weight category of eight pounds and up. The price will also increase with the additional screen real estate.
To get the best out of your hard-earned money, you should get the screen option that fits your needs. Smaller laptops tend to be preferable when you’re a frequent traveler. Wide screens should fit people who like to keep their products on the roof. If you want to have the best of both worlds, you might want to settle down in the mid-range laptop offerings in the market.
The Most Common Laptop Size
When it comes to mid-range laptops, the most common size is the 15.6-inch variant. It is often found on mid-range products and is often the perfect size for casual consumers. This size balances out the need for a larger screen and portability. The performance on mid-range laptops is not stellar, but it gets the job done.
Laptops in the 15.6 inches category are prevalent in work, school, and casual users. Most manufacturers also tend to give their flagship and cheaper options with a 15.6-inches variant for those who need more screen real-estate, regardless of the budget. Due to manufacturing improvements, there are ultraportable options that use 15-inches screens.
Standard Laptop Screen Sizes
There is really no universal or standard in deciding what laptop screen sizes are in the market. Manufacturers are free to create products that they see fit with specific screen sizes. However, the following dimensions have been consistently used with either standard aspect and widescreen ratios and have been proven a popular choice for consumers.
- 10 – 12 inches – this screen size is often used on cheaper netbooks and Chromebooks and is usually a popular option for students. The most portable machines typically belong to this group and can be carried with one hand effortlessly. Although very light and portable, manufacturers rarely offer this option because it is less productive.
- 13.3 – 14 inches – the OEMs usually start their flagship offerings at 13.3 inches. Most websites and documents can fit on the screen without any problem. Manufacturers rarely use the 14-inch variant, but when it does, it is offered on mid-range products as an alternative for flagship 13.3 inches laptops.
- 15 – 15.6 inches – if you want portability and power, this laptop screen size usually has it. However, there is a lesser option for ports and moderate battery life. It can be slightly heavier than other laptop sizes mentioned above, depending on the added components added.
- 17.3 inches – most manufacturers use this size as the maximum option for their OEM builds. The trio is usually 13.3 inches, 15.6 inches, and 17.3 inches. It is significantly heavier than other builds and might not be good for light packs. Also, these devices are bulky and rarely go less than 1-inch thick. However, the workspace it offers is the best, considering that it is still portable.
- Above 17.3 inches – when laptops are in their early state, manufacturers are way crazier in making their products. Some early laptop models are rocking out screens larger than 17.3 inches. The largest laptop that ever existed is the Acer Predator 21 X, which comes with a 21-inch panel and weighs 19 pounds. Expect these laptops to be heavy, power-hungry, and might break your bank.
Graphic-intensive tasks, photos, video manipulation, and word processing are often better than on bigger screens. But portable options are available for people who need to run specialized software or needs constant communication while on the movie. Just remember that your purchase should be based on your workflow and lifestyle. If possible, check the laptops personally so you can see what kind of workspace you’ll get.
Screen Size VS Resolution
Now that we know what screen sizes are available in the market let’s talk about screen resolution. A screen resolution is often one of the most overlooked factors in choosing a screen. However, if you’re into media consumption or manipulation, you might want to have a better resolution for a good reason.
What Is A Resolution?
Resolution refers to how many pixels can fit on the screen. It is often written via its horizontal and vertical pixel ratio. For example, a screen resolution of 1366 x 768 (also called High Definition or HD) can load 1366 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
How Does It Affect Objects On The Screen?
Picture and video quality do rely on the pixel count. If a screen can show more pixels, the images show sharper and overall better. If you use two different-size screens at the same resolution, you can see that the larger one has a crappier quality. This is due to the pixels being kind of “stretched” to fit the machine’s dimension.
Another thing affected by screen resolution is the number of objects you can show simultaneously. A higher resolution lets you display more items on the screen without using a new device with a larger physical dimension. Try to lower your screen’s resolution right now. You will notice how smaller resolutions tend to display fewer objects, even on a large screen.
Web browsing and word processing are the tasks that often benefit in a higher resolution. This increases productivity because you can see more items at one time. You might want to consider color accuracy for media manipulation, which is affected by the screen’s panel.
What Is More Important?
Screen size and resolution benefit each other directly. If you have a larger screen, you will need a larger resolution to utilize the available space. Both factors are important and should be given huge consideration. Modern screens can support multiple screen resolutions. This is great if you want to have different viewing options for compatibility purposes.
For multimedia activities (watching a movie, viewing pictures) and gaming, having a bigger resolution is a no-brainer. A bigger resolution makes your experience better and seamless. However, do take note that a better resolution means more power consumption and more expensive.
Things To Consider In Choosing Your Laptop Screen Size:
There are many things that need to be considered in choosing what laptop to get when making a shopping purchase. Not all laptops have all the things you need, and since it’s a pre-packaged product, compromises are to be expected. Here are some screen factors that might affect your purchasing decisions.
Students and professionals are often affected by this category. If you’re always commuting and attending numerous events that need a laptop, a portable model with a great battery is a no-brainer decision. Luckily for you, most manufacturers are gearing towards thin and light laptops with decent computing muscles in-board.
For busy bees that travel a lot, you might also want to consider light reflections. A screen with anti-glare will help you see the objects on the screen even when you’re working outside. On the other hand, if you’re working in a well-lit office space, a standard matte screen without anti-glare or other glare protection should be enough.
What’s great about laptops is the versatility when it comes to displays. You can extend your workplace display by adding more external monitors. Getting versatile video input options lets you work with other external monitors, old or new. Modern laptops usually have HDMI, but some manufacturers still offer VGA support to connect with older screens.
The panel technology used in a product affects its viewing angles significantly. As of now, the best option for great viewing angles is the In-Plane Switching or IPS panel. You can get a good view of the screen at any viewing angle, making it good for multi-screen setups. But TN panels can save you money while giving a decent performance.
Refresh rates are usually associated with gaming laptops due to its importance in gaming performance. A higher refresh rate gives a better flow of moving things, which makes gaming more immersive. This feature is also a good match for video and photo editors. Do take note that higher refresh rate models are more expensive.
Most laptop users don’t need touch screens. But those who do (due to work or other means) will often require the cream of the crop technology available. However, touch screen laptops tend to be more expensive and might only be better on smaller screens. It’s a matter of personal preference.
Other features might make or break your laptop experience. For example, do you need a longer battery life or color accuracy? Do you have another external display, or are you using your laptop as your main monitor? If you’re unsure, assess the performance of your current laptop screen. This step might help you decide what features can benefit you the most.