Weight kills mobility. As such, one of the biggest deciding factors when buying a laptop is screen size. While the size alone isn’t a fundamental aspect of the quality of a laptop, it has a huge impact on a lot of other features as well as your overall experience. For instance, the smaller the screen the more portable the laptop. But on average, the smaller the device the less on-board power and functionality. For this reason, laptop screen sizes will be our focus today. We’ll briefly walk you through the different size ranges so you can pick the ideal laptop screen size for you. Let’s dive in!
If you’re main confusion is between choosing a small screen display and a large one, this section is for you! Here’s a quick round up of the main advantages and disadvantages of each option:
- Offers sharper images and media display.
- Adds to an extremely portable laptop for outdoor and indoor use.
- With most weighing less than a pound or two, they’re excellent for traveling and commuting.
- Provides you with a higher resolution display without needing more powerful specs.
- For the most part, they can perform almost all tasks that large-screen laptops can.
- In some cases, they can be extremely affordable, making them ideal if you’re on a budget.
- Mini laptop screens might lack some hardware features, such as a hard disk drives.
- Reading smaller text might cause you to squint or reach closer to make it out.
- In order to fulfill the limited space. The key layout small screen laptops usually come with takes getting used to.
- A wider viewing experience.
- A larger screen usually means a more comfortable keyboard.
- Easier on the eye and recommended for readers with vision issues.
- Laptops with larger screens usually have enough room for a built-in number pad.
- Makes touchscreens easier to navigate (more about this later).
- Larger screens make you more productive, according to a study by the University of Utah.
- Typically, the larger the screen, the heavier the laptop will be.
- Large screen size laptops are usually more expensive in the same model than a smaller one.
- A large screen size will need more powerful graphics hardware to display higher resolutions.
- Although not necessarily the case, the screen thickness will likely increase.
A laptop screen size is usually measured in inches, and it exactly describes the physical measurement of a screen when you measure it diagonally from the top left corner to the bottom right corner, without including the plastic edges (bezel’s) surrounding the screen.
Since there are tons of manufacturers and laptop models, there isn’t a universal standard to what a laptop screen size should be, whether this refers to the physical size of the screen (including the bezel) or the size of the display monitor itself.
In other words, no manufacturer is restricted to any screen size or design, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, this means that the market can hold varying screen size to suite every user’s needs.
Despite the lack of official standardization, throughout the years, manufacturers found that some screen sizes are more practical and favored by users than others.
For that reason, laptop screen sizes are becoming more and more consistent, with the vast majority of laptop screen sizes on the market ranging between 11 to 17+ inches.
Since these laptop sizes are measured diagonally without being standardized, any two screens having the same size doesn’t necessarily mean they have the same vertical and horizontal measurements.
Now that you have a better idea about laptop screen sizes and how they’re measured, let’s break each one of these sizes down with a brief overview.
- 11 to 12 Inches: They’re the smallest and lightest on the market, which is why they’re called “mini laptops”. They usually weigh about 3 pounds, max.
- 13 to 14 Inches: The most popular “small screen” laptop on the market, offering a great balance between screen size and functionality (these are often ultrabooks).
- 15 to 16 Inches: Dubbed as “large screen laptops”. They’re usually large enough to offer a full keyboard layout and weigh up to 6 pounds.
- 17 to 20 Inches: they’re the largest of all laptops, weighing up to 10 pounds! A lot of manufacturers discontinued these models, so they’re quite rare these days.
Whether you’re buying a new laptop or curious about the true size of your current laptop screen, knowing your laptop screen size is always important. For example, here are some intriguing situations where you might need to know your laptop’s display size:
- To assess your current experience when shopping for a new laptop.
- If you’re stating your laptop specs for resale purposes.
- Some technical services might ask you about your laptop size, which corresponds to the screen size.
So, here are 3 useful methods to find out your laptop screen size:
The first method isn’t only good for finding out the size of your laptop screen, but it also provides other valuable information about your laptop specifications in general.
As a rule of thumb, all laptops will state the size of the laptop screen somewhere in the product manual as well as the online technical support page.
The most important thing to know here is the model number or product number of your device, which is usually found on a label attached to the underside of the laptop.
Type this number in the search panel of the technical support page of your laptop’s brand. This will allow you access to your laptop’s hardware specification or model information.
The biggest advantage of this method is that it’s fairly easy and gives you an extensive look at all the hardware specifications of your laptop.
If you can’t spot the screen size in your laptop’s user manual. Or you don’t have online access, your operating system might have this information covered in places like the Windows 10 “Display” panel.
To reach it, simply click on the search panel in your taskbar (the one that says, “Type here to search”), and write “Advanced display info”.
Click on the result, and a window will pop up with information about your display, such as your screen size, video card information, and color format.
While this method is extremely fast and gives you various important pieces of information, it doesn’t work for all laptop models.
If none of the previous two methods work for you, you’re left with the final but most accurate solution – physically measure it yourself.
The only downside here is that you’ll need measuring tape or other standard measuring devices for the job.
However, it’ll give you the most accurate reading, as well as the option to find out the actual measurements of your screen’s vertical and horizontal sides.
To do it, simply start measuring the screen from the top left corner without including the plastic edges (the bezels) all the way to the bottom right corner. If your measuring tape doesn’t measure inches, convert centimeters to inches by multiplying your reading by 0.393.
(For example, if the distance is 39.5 cm, then 39.5 x 0.393 = 15.6 inches).
If you find the perks of having a large screen appealing, then you probably should consider a display that is even larger than the ones offered on most laptops. But is that even possible?
Yes, yes it is!
Through modern technology, it’s become extremely easy to display the content of your laptop on a larger screen with expansion ports.
In fact, some people claim that this is the reason why some extra-large screen sizes, such as 18 to 20 inches, have almost completely disappeared from the market.
So, if you want an even larger display for your laptop, your main area of concern should be about connecting it to other monitors and display devices.
To display the content of your laptop on another device, the most common and easiest method is to simply connect it to the other display source using an HDMI or USB port.
These connections will grant you the ability to connect your laptop to any compatible display device, whether it’s your smart TV, your desktop PC, or computer projector as long as both devices offer the necessary means of connection.
The other method for displaying your content is done through wireless connections. This type of connection is sometimes called “Casting”, which uses a Wifi connection or Bluetooth to get the job done.
Keep in mind that the wireless connection option is usually attributed to the most modern devices, as older devices might not have the compatible hardware for the connection to work.
While addressing the size of your new laptop screen, there are some key points of consideration that will put you on the right track to help you make up your mind on the specific laptop you want.
And of course, we’re talking about the screen size of your current laptop, or the laptop you’ve been using which you’re now thinking about flipping for a new one.
One of the greatest markers of satisfaction is your old experience with similar products. That’s why it’s extremely essential that you know the size of your old laptop that way you can evaluate if that’s a size that works for you; you can use the measuring guide above to help you find out the size if you don’t already know.
However, if your main reason for upgrading your laptop is because of the small screen size, a laptop with a larger screen will invariably be a better choice for you.
But, if you want an even larger display, and not necessarily a larger device. You can still opt for a compact and portable laptop since you can always plug it into a larger monitor.
If you mainly use laptops for watching videos and streaming movies on the go, a portable computer with a large screen grants you a huge advantage!
However, if you use the laptop casually or for limited purposes (especially when you’re on the move) a portable laptop with a small screen size will prove more practical for your needs.
Contrary to what some might think, portability in a laptop isn’t always a huge necessity for all users.
Although laptops are mainly designed for mobility, some users rarely take their laptops out of the house or office.
In such cases, the perks of having a less portable laptop with a larger screen will outweigh the drawbacks.
However, if you’re always on the move or regularly take your laptop out of doors and on flights. An ultra-compact laptop that gives you all the functions of a personal computer without being prohibitively heavy is always a huge plus.
One of the features that depend on laptop screen sizes is the display resolution. A higher resolution means the screen has a larger number of pixels in the horizontal and vertical sides. For that reason, smaller laptop screens will usually have a lower optimal resolution.
Here’s a quick guide for the ideal resolution for each laptop screen size
- 13 to 15 inches (standard ratio) laptop screen: 1400 x 1050 pixels
- 13 to 15 inches (widescreen) laptop screen: 1280 x 800 pixels
- 17 inches (widescreen) laptop screen: 1680 x 1050 pixels
So, if there’s a specific resolution you have in mind, you have to make sure that your screen size will be able to support it.
Told you we’d get back to this.
Today, even vacuum cleaners come with a touchscreen! So, if you’re a tech enthusiast who wants to enjoy the latest trends in laptop screens, you might want to consider one with a touchscreen.
In that case, investing in a larger screen that makes it easier to press tiny buttons accurately is usually a wise move.
As previously mentioned, many people use their laptops for work presentations and other ways that require them to port their laptops on larger display devices.
If that’s your jam or main line of work and how you intend to use your laptop. You might not benefit from a laptop with a large screen anyway.
In that case, going for a compact laptop with a small display screen will usually be a more practical decision.
If there are specific applications or programs you need to run in sync with that of other coworkers or in a workspace, you might want to go for a laptop with a screen size like theirs.
This will guarantee that all users have a similar user experience where all of you can quickly adapt to one another’s laptops in the case of troubleshooting or collaborating on a specific project without experiencing any inconvenience due to resolution differences.
One of the biggest mistakes some laptop users fall into is focusing on a single specification to the neglect of all others.
Unless you’re choosing between two laptops that have almost identical specs except for screen size, never make one specification like the screen size be your singluar criteria for choosing a laptop.
That means trying to avoid the temptation of going for catchy phrases, like “extreme portability” or “unmatched viewing experience” before deciding on other hardware features, such as RAM, processor speed, battery life, and other such features.
As a rule of thumb, the larger the screen size in a laptop, the larger the entire device will be, and therefore, the larger the battery capacity – typically.
But, technically speaking, Yes! A larger screen will usually drain more battery than a smaller screen.
However, the impact of the faster draining is usually canceled out or even superseded by the larger battery, making the screen size impact on battery usage inconsistent.
Ideally, the best way to save up on battery drainage is lowering the brightness of the screen and keeping the laptop in a power-saving mode.
There you have it! A complete guide with everything you need to know about laptop screen sizes. As you can see, a laptop’s screen size will have a huge impact on your general experience. The laptop screen size you should consider depends greatly on how you intend to use your laptop and the kind of features that appeal to you most. By assessing the pros and cons of a large or small screen you’ll be able to form a logical conclusion about the ideal size you want. Ideally, your final decision will be made by trying out the laptop yourself to see if you’re fully comfortable with the size you’ve chosen.