In 2016, do we really need 17-inch laptops?

I've never been one for big laptops. My current steed, the fabulous Dell Inspiron 15 7559 (opens in new tab) at 15.6-inches, is actually larger than I'd care to carry around. But it serves a purpose of being able to play games without being too massive. I can't imagine hauling around anything bigger when I leave the house.

But there are still plenty of 17-inches laptops out there, like the ASUS G752 (opens in new tab) and Lenovo's Ideapad Y900. There are those for gaming and those for more pedestrian computing. But they have one thing in common. They are enormous.

ASUS G752 and XPS 13

But are 17-inch notebooks still really necessary? Is the extra screen real estate worth the size, the weight, the back ache? Having to buy a new bag?!

I'm saying no. Not if you're actually using it as a laptop. The ASUS G752 is a prime example of a machine that is powerful enough to be all the PC you ever need for work and play. But you're not going to sit with it on your lap, or even a tray table on a train or plane.

Of course, this is all personal opinion, but with a 15.6- and a 17-inch notebook sat side by side, other than being a little better for games, I'm not really feeling much of a difference in day-to-day work. If you set Windows 10 to scale at 100% you have so much space to work with on a 15-incher as it is. I'm not sure you really gain much from having the extra couple inches.

I also appreciate it's not just about screen size. With the larger chassis comes more room to stuff in more hardware. More cooling for higher powered graphics processors for gamers. More room for drives, and RAM slots and so on. But there are a number of powerful, smaller options available.

For gamers there are a number of choices from Dell and Alienware, MSI, Razer and others. The XPS 15 (opens in new tab) has a 960M GPU, a quad-core i7 processor and the form of an ultrabook. The Razer Blade is the closest thing you can get to an actual gaming ultrabook with its sleek form and powerful internals.

Razer Blade Stealth

Razer Blade Stealth and Core

With external solutions, too, such as the Razer Core or Dell's Alienware Graphics Amplifier, you can have the best of both worlds. A smaller laptop to take on the road with you and a box that gives you the gaming horsepower when you're at home. USB monitors, too, like the ASUS MB168B (opens in new tab) are an alternative for those times you absolutely need more screen.

I get that for some people, 17-inch laptops are a must have. They're obviously selling because they keep getting made. I just question their purpose in today's landscape. With laptops becoming ever more portable, why on earth would you haul around a 10lb lump everytime you're mobile?

Of course, if you feel strongly one way or the other, be sure to get the discussion going in the comments below!

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine

162 Comments
  • Yes, we do. Running CAD and engineering software on anything smaller is like trying to paint the Mona Lisa on rice. RIP MixRadio :(
  • Yes.  There are people who do real work on these things and aren't just playing games and updating social status boards.  Now, off to twitter.
  • I got a 14" work laptop, but also have a dock on my desk with a widescreen. That way I'm not carrying a back breaking weight but still can see when I need to do detailed work.
  • Yes, that's why us business people drag wheelie bags around the airport. Big screen helps with productivity when travelling a lot. I hadn't had a monitor for years, only laptop screen.
  • My work gives us all 14 or 15" laptops. Everybody in the office. And everybody got a docking station. My desk is equipped with three 1080p screens being powered by an HP Folio 9470m. It's downright painful to work with just the laptop screen which is 1366x768. My 15.6 personal laptop is much easier @ 1920x1080. I would be more than willing to carry a 10lb 17" brick around if the screen was more than 1080, but they really aren't common like that. I've even run across a few 17" screens at 1366x768, and I just shake my head and wonder if there are that many visually impaired people that need large screens with low resolutions. :-/
  • Haha. For Microsoft people "being productive" just means using Office.
  • Haha. For Microsoft people "being productive" just means using Office.
  • Apparently you can't troll just once, you need to do it twice.
  • Blame it on the WC app quality. And come on, the article was a joke already.
  • Exactly why still use old trusty 18.4 Toshiba. Is old, big, but always gets job done.
  • same here.  I don't understand my classmates that do CAD on 13" laptops.  Can't see a thing.
  • Now that my eyesight isn't what it used to be, bigger has become better. Many people in the world are aging. Many people in the world feel the effects of eyestrain long before a couple extra pounds to carry around. Back breaking? Seriously?
  • good one....personally have no use for 17'' laptop
  • LOL...
  • I love my 17 inch laptop for playing games but I can understand why they wouldn't be for everyone. It is pretty massive and not particularly wieldy.
  • Yes. I'm visually impaired so a big screen helps me out a lot. Even for simple tasks like word processing.
  • They should be even bigger
  • Dumb article. Some people like them. When that is no longer the case no one will make them anymore.
  • A bit of a clickbait article, IMHO. But kinda the nature of editorials.
  • By definition, this cannot take criticism as clickbait. Not even a bit.
  • I always find 17" screen computers as stupidity
  • Pretty ironic statement; considering your choice of verbiage
  • I want something in the same form factor of a Surface Pro 4 but with more RAM and an nVidia Quadro or GTX GPU and I'd be totally satisfied. I like my Surface Pro 4, but there are some things I just cannot do with it sadly.
  • The more important, more relavant question is, which would you rather have while sitting on your porcelain throne...15" or 17"? Hey its not like anyone carries a newspaper in there anymore, or am I wrong?
  • At work, a surprising number of people print stories from whatever news sites for reading on the throne.
  • That's...weird. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Indeed
  • My tablet is for pooping. I no longer own a laptop, but that would be for more productivity based things, or gaming. Now that's my desktop. I can't go back down to 1 screen (no matter how big/small) for working.
  • the porcelain throne needs something worthy of a throne. something like this http://www.adaptektechnologies.com/products/view_product/1/56/182
  • Absolutely disgusting.
  • You can actually do things other than play games on PC? Who would have guessed!
  • There are always going to be reasons to get this size. CAD, games but also software development as well as other needs for a bigger screen. Sometimes you need to just move the computer from one place to another, and real portability is not needed. What is needed, though, is a smaller Surface. I need a Surface that I can lay in bed at night and do some light reading. A 10" Surface is just too big.  
  • Exactly why I bought my 8" thin and light tablet.
  • Been in the market for one. What do you use /recommend?
  • Hands down the Lenovo Miix 3 8 ! It's about 150 dollars and it's an iPad mini clone running Win 10. With a mini HDMI out, just plug it into a regular TFT thro an HDMI to VGA converter, and there you have your desktop ready.
  • My 8" tablet is an Asus VivoTab 8 M81C, bought at the Microsoft Store a couple Christmases ago. It runs full Win10 quite well, even with an Atom inside. If/when it finally dies, I'll definitely pick up another 8" tablet with full (non-mobile/RT) Windows. I do recommend skipping any with only 16GB storage. 32GB is a bit tight, but good enough with the addition of a memory card. (Another memory card won't sufficiently fix the inevitable frustrations of a tablet with only only 16GB.)
  • My Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is still rocking. Great travel companion. My personal 2n1 is SP2. It is much nicer to read for long term on Note 8, but SP2 holds it own. I use more apps on Note 8, but SP2 can get same data from websites, but I prefer UWP apps when available.
  • Yes. For those who need/prefer them.   You don't so you can just pass on them.
  • I think a better article would be 'In 2016, Do we need less than a 17 inch laptop, when their is Surface and other 2 in 1s?'
  • or "Laptops are dead" :P
  • Agreed, I got my first tablet when the original iPad came out. Haven't needed a laptop since, especially since owning a Surface Pro.
  • An SP basically IS a laptop though, regardless of how it's marketed. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It's all about preference with this stuff. The market will answer the question for OEMs. My brother-in-law said he would like a 17" display for his next laptop, but has since backed off that a bit. Me, I use a desktop on a 42" TV and don't need a laptop/hybrid. As such, something highly portable as an occasional device might be better. If the laptop is you're only computer, and you like to set it on a table to read, 17" might be good.
  • You use a 42 inch thing as your monitor ? I hope you have an eye doctor on stand by !
  • There is a market for it, however small, but strong, and viable market for it. Just like iphones.....thy might only have 7-9% of the market, BUT, at their profit margin, it's very profitable. If it works, it works.
  • when I am traveling for work and have to do a lot of financials and 10 key work, having the 17" screen with the 10 key pad is a must, especially when on the plane ride....just no room to do that with a bluetooth 10 key pad. and like others have stated, doing CAD or Engineering type work the larger screen is a must as well.
  • I have a hp envy 17, I purely bought it for video editing on the go, it is a heavy beast of a machine but the screen size really does help, I wouldn't edit on anything smaller. I reckon even a 20inch laptop would be great for some but it would really need to be practically bezzleless and as light as possible.
  • Exactly right! For things like video editing, electronic music production and performance, and CGI work, you HAVE to have that extra real estate and the increased resolution that accompanies it! It's a MUST for us creative professionals! YMMV!
  • Right there with you, hence the name. I've had nothing but Envys. Sw dev, and editing media. Yes. And I agree on the 20" comment.
  • Nobody needs a portable computer, except for relaxing on the bed while using it. The rest is all bunkum !
  • So you never have computing needs outside your house or office? No business trips?
  • I think there is a user base for them. Five years ago I would have told you I couldn't use anything smaller than a 17. Three years ago I was complaining that my 15.4 was just a little too small. Here I am, on my Surface Book, thinking how crazy both of those statements are because it's perfect. I think design and layout have a lot to do with it. You could have two devices that are the same size but don't give the same level of comfort and usability.
  • the bigger the better ^_^
  • Are we still talking about screen sizes ?
  • To me 14.1 is  enough...better a 13.1, but there are people than need mobility and big screens...maybe designers, musicians...dunno...but the important thing is to have the option to
  • Yeah gaming or doing any kind of picture/video editing on a small screen is a pain. Like someone pointed out above painting Mona Lisa on a rice corn. My laptop is 17" my desktop 27". Got a Surface Pro2 10.1" and it feels so small. Dont really use it for anything serious besides typing.
  • Yes we do. Currently on 15.6" and would absolutely love to be on a 17" device
  • I'm the opposite. Any more and I would hate it.
  • I also have a Surface Pro but that is tiny to edit on, great for many other things though.
  • We need dual screen 17inch laptops where the lcds flip out and make dual monitors. I would love it for couch working.
  • Check out slide'n'joy http://slidenjoy.com/en/
  • A friend of mine is a big guy so to deal with fat finger syndrome he gets a bigger laptop
  • For me, a 13" - 14" laptop is the perfect size! it gives you enough space to see what you are doing, but also allows for protability. The DELL XPS 13 is a perfect example of this.
  • I got a 17" HP Envy last year to serve as our family's shared workstation / media storage / gaming PC. I chose a laptop instead of a desktop so it can also come with us on trips. It's worked out pretty well. It's not my daily device (a Surface 3 that I take with me everywhere), but the 17 incher allows us to have a single family computer for home & travel.
  • Yep, and when you live in a small home, a 17" laptop can still be stored out of sight as opposed to a desktop while hardly compromising on the screen size.
  • I stepped away from gaming laptops. And the core, while cool, is a great example: Cost. Yes, you can slap a new graphics card in, buy then you start bottlenecking with the processor, and you have a sub-par battery in 2 years. If you pay 1,300 for the Razer, 500 for the core, and 699 for a 1080 (725-1024 for a actual card, anyone?), you are paying $2,449 for a laptop with a mobile processor, a non mechanical keyboard etc etc. YES, you do get mobility, but then you drop the $1199 advantage of the Core. With a PC you have upgradability and modularity, and can tweak the PC to barely be above a whisper with hybrid parts and sound shielding. I loved my m14x for 5 years, but having it that long has shown me it upsides and downsides. (It was too heavy & expensive to carry around, so I ended up with a Surface and laptop combo)
  • Omg I love 17 inch screens I h8h8h8h8 small screens. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I find it's not so much the SIZE of the screen, but the resolution. 1366x768 is vastly different on a 12-14", 15.6" and 17" screens... 1920x1080 is a pretty sweet resolution on 15.6, but I would love to see a 17" with higher than that.
  • No. 13.3" is fine.
  • Everyone in my acquaintance prior to 15.6 screen size. 15.6 is maximum recommended and most of users like to buy this screen size laptop.
  • Indians are mostly foolish when it comes to tech. Nobody in India needs a laptop. I repeat NO ONE. And even auto drivers own one these days. It's a crazy country as far as tech goes, and not in a good way !
  • who said laptops should be carried ? mine just sits on the sofa with me and i use to watch vids, tv, and all other stuff other than playing games....
  • Yes we do. It's only a shame that 19 inch laptops are so expensive.
  • Dart Article, 15 inch is too large for some, too small for others.
  • Love my 17" laptop its all down to preference, choice is king
  • Always had a 17" mbpro and i still love the machine. But the hardware is out of date and they dont make it anymore.
    Now i got a msi 17" with 1tb ssd for os and software with local files. A second hd 2tb for backup my server from one place to the other. (bandwith is to small on one site to do it over internet and the second server is cold storage.)
    Gaming and engineering stuff is the reason to use a 17", together with me old eyes. Just did get ride of me ipad air and replaced it with a w10 samsung tabpro s for watching netflix and reading.
    So for me size matters
  • I just bought a new 17" Acer Predator a few months ago. It may be a big, heavy beast but I can do my work comfortably in locations where I may not be able to connect an external monitor. The size also allows enough room for lots of RAM and dual disks - so I can run virtual machines, demanding applications, and have access to years worth of my data files. There is a big access panel, so I can easily swap out hard drives and RAM if I want or need to. I make a living using this thing, so I don't want compromises that slow me down. A lot of devices these days are small, light, and not easily serviced or upgraded by the owner - and tend to be more expensive. I'm sure those devices are great for a lot of people, but not everyone.
  • I used to have an Asus 17" gaming laptop, but sold it last year and got the Lenovo Yoga 900. The Yoga 900 is a much better laptop for my needs, but those are my needs. Someone will keep finding use of 17" laptops, or they won't exist.
  • This article is based on the outdated premise that laptops are used primarily "On the go" or on someone's lap. Most use cases has laptops sitting on desks, and occasionally carried to another desk/table in a remote location. Lapability is an overrated concept.
  • Only sensible comment ! The word laptop is a misnomer. I always use the name portable computer. And 99 pc computer buyers in the world DONOT need a portable computer, except if one wants to relax on a bed while computing, like in case of a tablet. Even there these so called laptops are useless. With the advent of touchscreen inputs, they became redundant totally
  • Exactly how my dad uses his 2012 Dell 17" laptop. Always used on a table and plugged in and it's still doing the job nicely. The addition of a numberpad is an added bonus. As for screen resolution his eyesight isn't what it used to be so 1600x900 is perfectly fine for him.
  • if you find 17 inch big then i guess 28 inch can be compare to cinema screens
  • Ultimately, the size you need can vary for the task. As others have said, CAD, video, software development all but demand a larger screen. Yes, I can run Visual Studio on my Surface Pro, and even on my 8" Atom-powered tablet. Anything beyond light work is a pain, and really requires a full-size (21+") monitor to be productive. Really, it's the same with editing in Word ot Excel on my 950XL. Light editing is fine, but I dig out my Bluetooth keyboard and connect to my Display Dock for more serious work. (If I need features available in the desktop version of Office, then it's either my Surface Pro or 8" tablet, perhaps with a larger display connected.)
  • As in case with many important things in life, size preference is highly subjective
  • I'm a developer, and I have a 17" laptop that use nearly every day.  Since I ride a commuter train for an hour each way to and from work, I use my laptop on the train often to do some additional work.  And I love using it at home too while I'm sitting on the couch.
  • You need to use your computer on a one hour commute ? You must be crazily inefficient !
  • Or he likes to play with code that is anything but work-related.
  • He said an hour each way. That is 2 hours per day. How is using that time productivly inefficient?
  • Unless you are really bored on the one hour commute, nobody needs a computer while on the move. The world has really gone to a horrible place as far as portable computers go. What would suffice is a small tab, if ever !
  • Sure. They are schlepable.  Do not want to miss my HP Envy 17.
    I also have a powerful destop with three screens and a Lenovo tablet.
    Plus a Lumia 950.​  It's a many-screens world these days.   
  • Yes they are. So you say you get that they are a must have for some people and yet you question their purpose. If they are a must have for some people then clearly they must have many different purposes. I use a tablet for basic stupid online activities, for anything and everything else, I want a big screen.
    You also question why anyone would carry around a 10 pound laptop when they are being mobile. Well maybe your version of mobile is different than mine. I want to be able to take my laptop anywhere in my home and not be tied to a desk. If I'm truly being mobile and leaving the house, that is what my tablet and phone are for.
    In addition, chances are most 17 inch laptops are more powerful and suffer from less throttling and performance limitations then your 11-13 inch laptops. It amazes me that companies have convinced people like yourself to be twice as much for half the performance. It's the Apple way. Whether it's 17 inch and 8 pounds or 13 and 3 pounds and only 10mm thick, still doesn't fit in your pocket. I even have an 18 inch laptop with SLI GPU's and every single part in that machine is upgradeable. Something else Ultrabooks can't claim.
    Don't get me wrong, some of them are beautiful and I myself am considering the new HP Spectre for some home use and travel. But I will buy that knowing that that 1300 dollar machine is less capable than my 700 dollar laptop. You are paying more money for less of a product and these companies are laughing all the way to the bank. But man I hate articles like this. Pointless, baseless and solely focused on only your use and opinion
  • ... The point of an editorial
  • Id love a 21inch laptop
  • Huh, yes we need them - cannot imagine working in Visual Studio on anything smaller...
  • On my 15.6" laptop with a 1366x768 display is a real pain in the ass to use VS efficiently... I have to use my 19" TV with full HD display to not feel limited.
  • This is a pretty ridiculous article. YOU don't need a 17" laptop. I absolutely do. It's like asking "do we really need pants? Because I prefer shorts." I do remote film work and have to export 4K video all the time. I will be stuck in a con hotel room and absolutely need the power and real estate. This is such a silly non issue I have no idea how it even got cleared as a viable article.
  • It's an editorial. The author has the freedom in this type of piece, which is the point. That's like,"I'll choose to put on the pants you've created like this to fit in the category of pants because you want to make pants" and then complain about pants have space for extremities.
    That's just how pants are.
  • Do you really want to get into the #NoPants argument? :P
  • As a software professional, I travel with my 17" and also my USB 3.0 ASUS portable monitor.  Dual screens for productive development is a must.  I also carry tiny screens which are useless toys for checking email and surfing internet.
  • Bigger laptops are basically AIOs which are moved more often (to different parts of the house, to summerhouse, to LAN-parties, to long business trips, etc.). They aren't meant to be taken with you to lectures or client meetings.
  • can't bring a desktop to class, so it's the next best thing.  CAD has to be done somehow
  • My daily PC is a 15.6 in Asus. It is about perfect for me. Though it is a little big to carry and I feel like I am pulling out a monster at the Starbucks compared to the Mac Books and Surfaces. I like the separate number keypad and my eyes aren't the greatest any more. Ha! I can see how CAD or graphic designers would appreciate an even bigger screen.
  • I'd buy a 19" laptop if I could.
  • My main beef with gaming laptops is that they all look like they where design by Micheal Bays art director for Transformers, they might look cool from a sci-fi perspective but Gaming laptops beside Razors to me lack a maturity in their design. Its like they're going for a very adolescent minded audience. I guess if you want power and maturity you go for workstation class laptops.
  • Yes, with pen support please.  Surface Pro 5 XL?
  • Well, I kind of agree with Richard. At 17 inches, the laptop loses it's laptop feel and feel more of desktop. I mean I have a 15.6 inch Y500 gaming laptop and its painful to carry to class, its big and heavy. I know I need this laptop that's why I bought it and I use it pretty heavily as well but I do miss the mobility, lightweight and sleek feel of these new yoga and surface like machines. I don't remember the last time I actually put it on my lap and used it or took it out on flight.  For me the next step and a sweet spot is to have a powerful laptop like XPS or Yoga or Surface book and have extra screen and mechanical keyboard. I hope, that's where I will have peace.
  • Really, Richard, what was the last 17" laptop you encountered that was 10 pounds?  A quick check on Amazon shows most of them are around 6 pounds, tops.  There are a few that go higher than that, when they have insane specs, but that kind of weight shouldn't be an issue for most. I have gone through two 17" Macs (a Powerbook, and then a Macbook Pro) and love that resolution and space for graphic work.  I've also used a 17" Windows laptop for design and graphic work, and still agree that the more area you have to work in, the better.  Perhaps for most people's use (blogging, social networks, media consumption) smaller is better, but for real creation work, you need all the space you can get. Maybe that's why 27" monitors are so popular compared to 17" ones. ;)
  • People please learn what an editorial is. This isn't a news article!
  • Everyone knows what an editorial is. Doesn't mean people aren't allowed to disagree with the opinion.
  • Yes, people are allowed to share their opinion. My comment was to the people who say this is clickbait or amongst the like. I'm pretty sure there are a few who don't know. You disagree with me?
  • 17 inch laptops are great. If there was an 18 or 20 inch laptop to buy, I would seriously consider it. With a 17 inch laptop, it's a mobile workstation. It's one computer for everything and the best thing about it is that you can take it anywhere. It has the power of a desktop with the mobility of a laptop. I like the bigger screen. The bigger, the better, Weight is not an issue, if you carry the computer on a rolling case. Think about it, which is more easy to carry a computer a rolling case where you either push or pull or a carry-bag where you have the weight of the machine applies stress to your bones and muscles?Honestly, people who should be carrying their computer on their shoulder will have health problems later. If it were up to me, I would kill the 17 inch and create the 18 inch!
  • The author of this article is just a blogger. What would he know about computing in the real world to knows the practical use of a larger screened laptop?
  • I'm realizing that most people who feel that a 15" display is plenty are those who primariy just have to write for a living. For those who need to create graphics, research and edit documets simutaniously, work with large datasets in spreadsheets or perform any function that is not liniar in delivery typically prefer larger displays.  With that, as it was stated, larger displays mean larger chassis capable of running more robust and powerful equipment which is also usually needed by the people using larger displays.  And let us not forget that with great power comes the ability to play great games!
  • Always...i dont recall not having anything but a 17" for years..m
  • We use a 17inch laptop to give us the option to more comfortably play games in multiple places in the house. The bigger keyboard also helps.
  • I see a need for certain people to have a 17" but most people don't. I try to convince people everyday at work to drop to a 15" and get more power for the same price or the same amount for cheaper. 90% of customers I get just use Word, QuickBooks and web browsing but idk it's stuck in their heads that bigger is better I guess.
  • Maybe Richard is just a little insecure about the size of his "laptop" and has to say the extra few inches doesn't matter! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The word here is want, not need. And I want a 19 inch laptop.
  • I love my 17 inch laptop but I dont carry it around all day (I have my SP3, for the Ultra portability). It's more a portable desktop replacement. It's even hooked to a 27inch monitor most of the time :) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Exactly, "Desktop replacement" is the word
  • "In 2016, do we really need 17-inch laptops?"
    Who's "we"?
  • I have at least 5 architect friends who do CAD all day who junked portable computers ages ago and work entirely on desktops. And only 150 dollar 2gb/ 32gb machines. Rest is all crap..
  • Because not everybody needs to move their pc around as often, there are cases where you have a pc for the office on week days and at friday you bring it home, being big is just a plus in that scenario
  • I was used to carry a Dell Inspiron 1720... Now with my Surface Pro 3, I have much larger screens waiting for me everywhere I go be it at work, at home (thanks to its docking station) and on the go (thanks to a MS Wireless (Miracast) adaptator or an mDP-to-VGA/DVI/HDMI adaptator I always keep in my lugages). ​So my SP3's 12" screen is more than enough these days. And, both at home and at the office, it has replaced all my PCs but one I keep for testing purpose. But if I have to work for an extended period of time, my aging eyes do require me to use larger screens.
  • Yes I do! I'm a DJ and use three 17inch laptops for DJ'ing, controling my lighting and laser(s). I need big screens to do my job well without reaching my head close in front of the screen(s) everytime.
  • If there was a 17 inch laptop with infinite display like the new XPS, It will be the size of a 15 inch laptop, so, you get a huge boost on screen, while having a decent size to carry around. Ill definetively buy that for work, I preffer more space, less strain on my eyes trying to see the small print.
  • This would fall under 'buy what you like'. Someone might argue desktops are dead, but I consider a desktop to be essential. I am certain someone out there finds value in a 17 inch laptop. More power to them.
  • I have purchased two 17" laptops in the last year, one for work and one for play.  The extra screen real estate is totally worth the extra weight to me and probably always will be, especially for work.  As long as there are people who do technical work anywhere other than their office, there will be people who want the bigger screen. I also purchased a Surface 3 a few months back.  I'm glad I don't have to lug around a heavy 17 incher if I'm just going to browse the web or chat with my wife.  Different devices for different scenarios.
  • Give me a 18 inch Surface pro like device (if they could fit a dedicated mobile graphic card in there with liquid cooling, all the better), with a well-specked 6/7 inch Windows phone/phablet (with a stylus) and I'm more than good..
  • I don't mean to be rude, and I'm being completely honest here, in the nicest possible way, however I'll break the article question down for you.
    At what point is a laptop not a laptop anymore?
    Ok, I'll be honest here. For the past ten years, these devices haven't technically been called laptops. They've been called notebooks. The reason for this is quite obvious, but only to those who realise it - it's never a good idea to use a laptop on your lap. Back in the days when "laptops" were a new thing, they lacked the underside ventilation, enabling people to indeed use them on their laps. Since then, manufacturers have been trying to move away from this term, because of a high turn over of machines being sent back in for repair due to overheating (and complaints for burnt legs and nether regions). Recently, however, the term "laptop" has been becoming more and more widespread, and now the "in thing". Even though, technically, it isn't something that is sat atop your lap. In dictionary terms, I'll spell it out. laptop /ˈlaptɒp/ ~n. a computer that is portable and suitable for use while travelling. ​So that is a simple answer: If it isn't suitable for travelling in a portable manner, it is not a "laptop".
    I've never been one for big laptops. My current steed, the fabulous Dell Inspiron 15 7559 at 15.6-inches, is actually larger than I'd care to carry around. But it serves a purpose of being able to play games without being too massive. I can't imagine hauling around anything bigger when I leave the house.
    This is all down to personal preference, and that of the writer of the article. The size of the screen and overall dimensions are very subjective from person to person; whilst one may only prefer devices under 15.6 inches, others may be a little more flexible. The term "suitable" is also a grey area, as this isn't set within dictionary terms, however, I would say that anything which causes excess strain due to weight or size, or of that which would take up more than a single space in front of you (width dimension), would not be suitable. This is a personal opinion, however mostly adaptable to everyone in reference to weight. In either instance, these devices aren't generally getting much bigger than they already are, despite the specifications creeping up to that of desktop machines, so it is fair to assume that weight and dimension would apply to most people in general.
    But there are still plenty of 17-inches laptops out there, like the ASUS G752 and Lenovo's Ideapad Y900. There are those for gaming and those for more pedestrian computing. But they have one thing in common. They are enormous.
    There are several reasons why certain machines are as big as they are - that is mostly due to screen size, component fitting and ventilation. There are entire research and development teams that are in place to design new products before being manufactured, and size is always taken into account. Manufacturers and suppliers are aware that there are different target audiences for their products, and they know that those looking for a gaming machine wouldn't be too fussed about it's overall size; focusing more on function rather than form. Screen size is linked to resolution, too. Whilst the two machines listed are standard 1920x1080 IPS displays, you will find that a lot of newer machines being produced are that of at 4k (3840x2160) resolution. If they were to cram this resolution onto a 15.6 inch display, it would be difficult to read at 100% scale, even those with good eyesight. For the majority of people, a 3k resolution at 15.6 inches would be the maximum, without the need to force the desktop scaling up past 100%. Desktop scaling is important to note here, too. Many people always refer to high resolution displays with the following statement: "At that resolution, your eyes won't tell the difference". This is because those people are basing it at a certain scale. For the reasoning of this post, I am in referral to 100% fixed scale. The reason why people use these screens at 100% scale? Desktop real estate. You can fit more on the screen, allowing for more things open at once. This is in particular note to those using creativity software (for example, photo manipulation / illustration / 3D modelling / CAD applications). "Enormous" is subjective. A gaming machine with the most recent spec isn't going to feel "enormous" in the consumer's eyes when they can play everything they throw at it, or can create 3D imagery with ease. Until hardware components are shrunk down by at least 75%, one can't have their cake and eat it. People will certainly feel more immersed when using a 17 inch screen to a 15 inch screen, and in terms of size, it still doesn't take up over a single space width (see above), so it's not entirely unreasonable. Exaggerating the term "enormous" would assume the device being sixty centimetres long. Until that point, I would use the term "large" instead. Stating something is enormous would imply inferiority towards those with larger screens, despite the fact they may have personal or commercial valid reasons for it in the first place.
    But are 17-inch notebooks still really necessary? Is the extra screen real estate worth the size, the weight, the back ache? Having to buy a new bag?!
    Absolutely. Otherwise, that would isolate those working with specialised software (or even some games) completely. Even using 3DS Max on a 15.6 inch screen at 3k resolution can be painful enough - doable, but painful. With a little extra size it makes things easier and clearer to manipulate, without being big enough to invade others' space when using in a public place. "Extra real estate" is linked to resolution, not the inch size of a panel. In the case of higher resolutions, of course it is worth it. Just think about how technology has progressed since the start of manufacturing of 1920x1080 panels back many years ago - there are now 8k resolution desktop monitors on the way. Technology is starting to accelerate at a fast pace, so why go backwards, when you can go forwards? Weight will not increase too much substantially to what it is now, and as for buying a bag, those investing money in larger screen devices tend to be paying more for those devices - so the cost of a bag would be irrelevant. Some manufacturers even bundle bags for free with their premium devices (MSI being one of those). You can get a good protection bag for very little at a local computer store near you.
    I'm saying no. Not if you're actually using it as a laptop. The ASUS G752 is a prime example of a machine that is powerful enough to be all the PC you ever need for work and play. But you're not going to sit with it on your lap, or even a tray table on a train or plane.
    This is personal opinion, which you are perfectly entitled to, however I have to disagree. These machines are not designed for use on your lap. Take the GTX 880M GPU for example which featured on many (now older) MSI GT series machines. These GPUs can exceed 95 degrees centigrade on full load, and omits temperatures exceeding 60 degrees (on occasion) from the back exhaust. You'd have to be a sadomasochist to want something like that on your lap. You use it on a table or a flat surface. They are notebooks, not laptops, after all. Originally, trays on planes were designed for the reading of books, and placement of food and beverages, back when they came in a long time ago, just after plane seating was only what it was, without the extendable extras, long before notebooks came in to fashion. If the tray is not that of the size of a small table or completely flat in that all four (or more) chassis feet contacts the surface, then it is not suitable for a notebook. Simple as that. You will find that in economy class seating, the trays are barely big enough to house a netbook, let alone a notebook. Despite this, people use the trays as notebook holders anyway. Remember, that by using these trays, you could potentially cause issues - if the device is not completely on a flat surface, there will not be adequate ventilation for the machine to cool, raising its temperature. Also, not to mention the random moments the seatbelt signs coming on, forcing you have to pack the machine away. Lots of faffing, so no point really. If you need to use your machine on a long flight, then book a cabin with adequate tables, usually upper/business or higher.
    Of course, this is all personal opinion, but with a 15.6- and a 17-inch notebook sat side by side, other than being a little better for games, I'm not really feeling much of a difference in day-to-day work. If you set Windows 10 to scale at 100% you have so much space to work with on a 15-incher as it is. I'm not sure you really gain much from having the extra couple inches.
    This is partially correct. As stated, if you sit two side by side of the same resolution, then you will notice very little difference. One thing to note, however, is machines of 17 inches or higher tend to have their own numeric pad on the keyboard, making number input easier for some people. "Having so much space to work with" is very subjective. When one has been using a high resolution monitor for some time (maybe someone with a desktop PC and a notebook?), 1920x1080 is actually quite a low resolution. It all depends on what you are used to. If one is looking for a low budget machine and used to the current resolution, then it is correct, it won't make much difference, however, going down large resolution blocks from stationary to mobile can feel like a real bind, and ruins the enjoyment of the notebook, as you realise exactly how much better a higher resolution actually is.
    I also appreciate it's not just about screen size. With the larger chassis comes more room to stuff in more hardware. More cooling for higher powered graphics processors for gamers. More room for drives, and RAM slots and so on. But there are a number of powerful, smaller options available.
    That is correct, and it's great to have additional options available, however these smaller options do come at a cost. Not only financially, but in terms of hardware, too. You can guarantee these "smaller" devices will benchmark worse to their larger notebook cousins. It's never about raw specs, it's about how those internal devices communicate, bus speeds, etc. Smaller devices will need to cut corners, making them more inferior, for a greater cost.
    With external solutions, too, such as the Razer Core or Dell's Alienware Graphics Amplifier, you can have the best of both worlds.
    With Alienware, you tend to be paying for the brand, support and warranty. In terms of bare specs, you can get the same for much cheaper. As for those graphics amplifiers, they cost a small fortune - whereas it would be cheaper to get something more fitting to that particular device. The majority of gaming notebooks do indeed have interchangeable graphics - whereby the GPUs can be physically removed and upgraded (although this may affect warranties, so best check with your hardware manufacturer for their rules). If you truly need to upgrade that often, graphics amplifiers wouldn't be cost effective. For the cost of the notebook and amplifier, you could probably get a better spec for a more inclusive model.
    USB monitors, too, like the ASUS MB168B are an alternative for those times you absolutely need more screen.
    This is where we step into the realms of impracticality. Or you can save the trouble and go for a higher resolution 17 inch display. Your choice: 15.6 inch display with USB monitor, or high resolution 17 inch display that can do the same thing for a little more on the base price. It's obvious what would be better, in terms of space saving. It states at the beginning of the article about 17 inches being too big, then it suggests a USB monitor for those that needs more space. With the greatest respect, that is a little contradictory.
    I get that for some people, 17-inch laptops are a must have. They're obviously selling because they keep getting made. I just question their purpose in today's landscape. With laptops becoming ever more portable, why on earth would you haul around a 10lb lump everytime you're mobile?
    Supply, demand, target audience, technological progress and cost. In the grand scheme of things, two additional inches of screen size is nothing to really shout home about, and in most cases proves beneficial, especially with today's increase in resolution standards. Those twenty inch notebooks that HP made back in 2009, however, are a totally different ball game, however, that's another story...    
  • I have no idea what you wrote but upvote for sheer amount of input
  • What he wrote was spot on. I want to say that the opinion driven (rather than information driven) content on sites like these is turning me off from visiting them lately.  It seems like a soapbox more than a place to recieve technology news. 15.6" is a good middle-ground size, but anything more than 1080p and it's not an option as beyond that point I'll have to upscale the display to avoid massive migraines from eyestrain reading the screen.  The scaling in Windows just isn't good enough to make that comfortable to use.  Even my 8" Tablet with its 1280x800 display, I have to scale that up to 125% otherwise I will have a 36 hour migraine after looking at it for 20 minutes. In order to use a 2K display on a Windows notebook, I'd need 17.3". Even the 2-in-1 and Tablet devices like Surface Pro/Book are off the table for me as they require upscaling the display which sort of defeats the purpose of having a high resolution display.  Without that, I end up with a migraine from eye strain in less than an hour from looking at the screen. I can deal with 768p on a 13" screen.  1080p on a 15.6" screen, and 2k on a 17.3" screen.  At those sizes and resolutions, I just set it to 100% and move on with my life.  Display scaling is not somethign I feel I should have to deal with to make a device usable.  The ergonomics should be a primary factor in design and engineering, not simply bumping specs for sales. Lastly, small screens aren't all that hot for multi-tasking.  If I'm going to spend $800+ on a Notebook to run one app on the screen at a time, because more than that is a pain to use, then why not just get an iPad or something? Everytime I go to Best Buy and look at these tiny high resolution displays, with the bad scaling and super tiny text and icons, I walk away in disappointment...
  • When a comment is longer then the article Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I believe this is the first time I encounter this situation..
  • A 17inch laptop is not the one you should have on a bag all day long. It's for people that use it 80% of the time at home on a desktop and sometime had to use it at the friend house for a LAN, or at the holiday location for example. It doesn't need to be light, to be excessively beautiful, or even to have a good battery.
    Well of course, it's designed for heavy usage that no 14" laptop can handle, for CAD or gaming.
    Bigger room for component allows better cooling performance WITH smallest powerfull components. And if you want to know, I transport my 20Kg desktop tower and its 27" screen for holliday and some LAN weekend. But some time, a lighter 17" could be easier to move. In fact, a 19" or 20" "laptop" could be great for my use. Well I can't explain exactly cause of my poor english, but, for light job -> 14" light notebook with good battery, and for heavy usage -> 17" on a desk. Why using a 15'6 that is too big to be used on the go, and not so good for gaming/CAD/whatever that need power? 960M is ok to play games from 10 years ago. Plus, 17"are cheaper with same or better perf.
  • I use my  17 inch  laptop in my creative work.  I edit video and photos on it and couldn't imagine using something smaller while being equally productive.  At home, I even connect a second monitor. 
  • I think 17 laptops are fine if you don't need to travel with them much. My wife has one and it is her desktop replacement. She has a desktop but she only works on her laptop.  Traveling with one though, I can't say its designed for that.
  • Ditto.   I have a work laptop which I rarely take out of the office.
  • Im looking for smaller with fanless design. 13 inches and less. 
  • I use a acer aspire 8735 with a 18" screen, which I replaced with a new 1080 screen and a Blu-ray player, not too bad for some early games, but is wonderful for playing movies and listening to my playlists on Groove.
  • Nope. I don't need it. I just want a portable gaming cube PC with very good cooling system. Need that and a UHD monitor. Oh yeah!
  • old Acer with 18.4 inch screen and still loving it.
  • I absolutely love my 18" Alienware laptop, but it is quite a pain to carry. When I need something portable I pick up my 8" tablet.
  • Yep, Alienware 18 for me.  Smaller laptops just can't do what I need them to.  Try rendering complex 3D animations on a 15 inch laptop compared to a 17 or 18 dual GPU SLI notebook.  You would shoot yourself trying. Just because a 17 inch laptop is big to you, doesn't mean the rest of the world can relate to your lack of a need for powerful machines. Also, I love the extra row of programmable keys I get with an 18 inch laptop.
  • Why not a fixed workstation? Laptop are more difficult to service and to be upgraded in the future.
    The purpose of a notebook is to be carried around. The 18" because of its weight and size loss this purpose.
    It isn't a product useful to me, in my opinion of course.
  • My 15.6" laptop is too small for programming. But it's just fine for playing Sonic Heroes. So that's when I plug my monitor to my laptop
  • 17" is almost too small for editing videos and composting in After Effects. I can get by with a 17" but no smaller. I tried a 15' and it was too small.
  • In 2016, no, I don't think we need them. Laptops are meant to be MOBILE. That's the whole reason they exist. If you need to do heavier duty tasks and work, then that should be at home on your desktop. I understand that some people use a 17" as a main machine or only machine, but it really is overkill. I'm on a Dell XPS 13". It's the smallest notebook I've ever had, and I won't look back. Lightweight, so mobile it's not funny, but with enough real estate so that I can process photos in Photoshop when I'm on the road. Heavier stuff is for the main machine at home.
  • I want.. No i need a 18" laptop bezel less display, IN FU**** 16:10 ratio... Why is it only mac.. WHY??? Magnesium chassis or poly carbonate built like a tank, with 1151 socket.
  • I must say this is a very strange article.  I mean do we even need sliced bread when there are so many other options avaliable.
  • If everywhere I went had a 24 inch screen that I could use, I'd happily buy a surface pro. Till then, the 17 inch laptop does the job for graphics, spreadsheets, even browsing. 
  • Do we still need people in 2016 writing opinion pieces based only on what they do in their own lives and not considering what other people want or need to do?  I am saying no, all my personal opinion though :)
  • umm...yess, it s needed as i play games !! 
    so...i can't play games on anything less then 17 inch !! (& i need to be on move, so i can't buy a desktop)
    as far as connecting to tv is concerned....i can play some games on tv (like cod, bf, doom etc)
    not games with nudity.....(gta :P ) & i m from india !! 
    So...... 
  • Some people do.  I have not always felt this way.  For me, small is beautiful (yes, I have a notebook with an 11.6" screen) because I need to get around a lot. But for people who do CAD or serious gaming, and maybe who don't need to be in six places at once with their machines, sure.  I have a friend I used to laugh at when he walked around with a 17" machine under his arm, but I've warmed to the idea. However, I don't think it's incorrect to say that many such machines suffer from poor internals and external design excesses (e.g., lots of screen printing and chrome).  Some solid design work would go a long way toward making large notebook computers more acceptable.
  • Yes, I do. Most of my survey and GIS things works are Windows based and an Ultrabook or small screen smart things will never suffice to that (in near future even). 17 inch laptops are already very less in production but that baseline should be maintained. Because big screen laptops conumers aren't gonna change for a while. THESE people will always need a 17 incher. 
  • Of course we need 17" laptops. The larger, the more you can see and do. Tiny laptops don't cut it for me.
  • 17 inch wide screen for any kind of laptop multitasking is the optimal way to go. Can you get away with less? Sure, but the milage will vary from user to user. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Are you kidding me? YES! Of course we still need 17" laptops (with infinity edge, please, Dell) And We need BIGGER! I Design work of all kinds needs to zoom in, and get detailed. Cant do that on a 13 incher. I want a 24" laptop or tablet that weighs a pound and is half an inch thick or less. This is the future of computing! bigger and lighter. The trend toward miniturizing went out with flip phones! Hell, I want a 32" UHD touch screen tablet that is a couple of mm thick, rolls up so I can shove it in my bag. And I expect to have it. The industry has been working on just that sort of thing.
  • I am still looking for that great 17.3 inch laptop that will fit all my needs   The bigger screen is great for reading wide novelks and magazines and newspapers Great for design work, architecture modelling, photo editing, working with anything that is a creative canvas The screen also comes with the benefit of having a comfortable keyboard with numeric keypad, a must have for data entry   The weight was never a problem for me. My old hp was a 17 inch and it was 3.5kg which is definitely not 10 pounds.
  • I think there is an untapped market for large sized portable external screens, USB or HDMI. I have ASUS' 15" 1920x1080 USB monitor and it is very light. Weight wise I bet my Surface Pro 3 and this monitor weigh less than most mid range 15" laptops, and I get two screens. I bet if there were some decent resolution 17" travel monitors availale they'd sell. You can bring it if you think you'll need it, ot save the weight if you don't. With a 17" laptop it always weighs the same. You can stick the second monitor in checked luggage and only shoulder the 12-13 laptop through the airport. I actually wish there was more choice in HDMI travel monitors. For a lot of stuff I could get away with my phone (Continuum) if only I was assured a big screen to work on. The lapdock concept is nice, but so far (haven't seen HP's) they are as big/bulky as just carrying a Surface, and not much better in screen size/resolution.
  • I did't buy a 17 inch laptop to be mobile- I am typing this on a HP Envy 17 with touchscreen.  I have a 17 inch laptop as a very compact all-in-one.  One I can unlug, fold up and move from my home office, to bedroom to kitchen.  When I'm mobile I have a HP Spectre x2 surface clone but I don't like small screens when I don't have to worry about mobility.  I do lots of work on a lap or bed desk so a docking station and monitor won't work.
  • When I don't work from home I'm at a client, a cafe or a library. While my laptop is 15" I would be happy to wheel around a 17" one, along with accessories and my lunch. In one of those bags pilots use. The market isn't huge, no, but there is one. But I do look forward to Continuum to lighten up my tech once phones are powerful enough and the 'dummy' laptop is at least 15". Posted via the Windows Central App for Android