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 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 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 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 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