View Full Version : Buying tip: laptop screen size ?

April 10th, 2007, 01:19 AM
Hi everyone,

This has probably been asked many times, but I could not find any thread on the specific subject in my search. So, as the title says, I would like to have you guys' opinion on what laptop screen size would be ideal for me.

I'm am buying my first laptop to treat myself because I got accepted in the grad school I was aiming for. My current pc is getting really old so, while it will remain in use for home (my wife will still work on that one), the laptop will be my primary working machine. So I'm thinking it need reasonably big screen in order to be nice to work with. Also, I'm probably going to be lugging it around quite a bit in public transit to go to school (maybe 3-4 times a week if not more).

So what do you guys think is a good size/weight/functionality compromise?

Thank you very much for your time and answer, I appreciate!


April 10th, 2007, 01:25 AM
I use to lug a inspiron 5100 to and from school. Had a 15in screen and weighed almost 7 lbs.

If I had to do it again, I would go with a 15.4 widescreen. May even be lighter than what I was used to. (or im stronger now :p )

April 10th, 2007, 01:29 AM
just one thing about laptop screens: get one with a really big resolution and a good matrix.

the best i have seen was dell's.
a friend has a 15.4" display with a resolution of 1680x1050. that's big for that size (i have a 20" WS with this resolution).

the picture quality is amazing and you have a really big space for working with windows on it and the size is standard (ie. the laptop isn't big and is really transportable) while giving great pitcure quality.

April 10th, 2007, 01:35 AM
having a 17" 1920x1200 display is nice for using it as a desktop replacement, as it gives a lot of screen realestate. but, it's a bulky laptop to carry around and use off of a desk.

a hi-res 15.4" screen would probably be ideal for me as far as work goes.

April 10th, 2007, 01:49 AM
Personally, if it was a laptop I was going to pack around a lot I would go for something in the around 15 inch range just for portability, as was already said go for something with a nice high resolution. If it was primarily a desktop replacement machine and I wouldn't be hauling it around too much or too far I would go for a 17 inch... nice for movies and stuff :popcorn: .


April 10th, 2007, 02:04 AM
Im thinking of getting a Laptop as my thinkpad T20 has a burnt out motherboard. I am thinking of getting something with a half descent video card and docking it to a 19 or 22" monitor wich will take care of all my computer needs.

April 10th, 2007, 02:09 AM
I think Acers, Dells and Macbooks are good buys.

April 10th, 2007, 02:19 AM
The best "compromise" would be the 15" range, as others have said. I also agree that getting the highest resolution you can is important! I had two (one died just this weekend... :( ) Dells with 15" 1600x1200 screens, and that's gorgeous. Plenty of room to do things onscreen - provided your eyesight is reasonable! :)

If you plan to get an external monitor for normal use at home, you may want to go for a smaller unit size though. I recently had a chance to use a really small notebook (think it was a Dell C400) for a short while. Only 1024x768 and maybe 12", which is annoying to me on a long-term, multitasking basis, but would drive a larger display fine. The key, though, is that it's so light and small that carrying it and using it in random locations was an absolute dream.

Battery power is the only issue I have with really small notebooks - the mid-sized machines usually also let you shove a second battery in, so you can get really long runtimes. My current work laptop, a D620, has the 9-cell primary battery and the media-bay battery and I can go a full 8 hour day without plugging in. Very nice! So another tradeoff there... At work, being able to go all day is important. If I were still in school, it might not be.

April 10th, 2007, 02:49 AM
Our laptop has a 14 inch screen, and it's great. Lightweight, easy on batteries. If you're asking for monitor choices, go with a 27 inch, but if you're looking for a laptop, I think it's worth the screen size to have a lighter, more efficient model.

April 10th, 2007, 03:08 AM
There's that, larger hard drive, a good size memory, good battery life with an option for a second one and a alternative hard drive to add in maybe at a later date. Since I had gotten my R32 think pad here just last week free. And of course your favourite version of ubuntu to go inside your new laptop as well. :D


April 10th, 2007, 03:39 AM
I have a laptop with a 15.4" Wide Screen... I think that is an awesome size, the wide screen makes it appear much bigger than a regular 15". I happen to have a Dell Inspiron E1505. My previous laptop was also a Dell Inspiron B130 also a 15.4" Wide Screen. May I suggest the "TrueLife" screen... the glossy screen and not the traditional laptop screen.

April 10th, 2007, 04:25 AM
I was looking for a similar compromise to yours, and I also wanted high resolution, so I have (and was looking for before I bought it) a standard aspect 15" 1400x1050 screen. I think 15" is a good trade-off between screen size and laptop size. 1400x1050 is a nice resolution. It's on the limit of being a little too much for a 15" screen, but the real estate is great -- 1280x1024 on the 17" and 19" desktop LCD's is just not enough. One thing I don't like about this screen is that it's glossy -- I recommend a traditional matte LCD. The glossiness greatly reduces viewing angles.

If you are concerned about resolution like I and others in this thread, beware the new wide screens. It seems a lot of the manufacturers have stopped selling high resolution models, except for the 17" screens, and even many of those are low res. 1680x1050 or 1400x1050 are pretty hard to find, even though IMO are optimal resolutions. Most widescreens are 1440x900 or even 1280x800, so even though they seem to correlate to non-widescreen resolutions, you lose pixels. (i.e. compare 1400x1050 to 1440x900)
The Dell Latitude D620 is an example of this. It's a nice laptop, compact, and has a dual core CPU. However, now that they've moved to widescreens you only get 1440x900. It's predecessor, the D610 was about the same size, but you could get 1400x1050, now that resolution isn't available anymore.

April 10th, 2007, 08:19 AM
Depending on what you are wanting to use it for... here are my thoughts.

Desktop replacement
Don't settle for anything less than 15.4" Wide with a resolution of 1680x1050 or larger. I'm using a 17.1" 1920x1200 on the desktop replacement laptop. Couple that with a second monitor (DVI-D connector preferred). Don't use the laptop's keyboard, instead hook up a keyboard and mouse to a USB hub so you only need to disconnect/connect three things at most. You should be able to get by with a 6 cell battery for the one or two hour jaunts. Also, see if you can get a good graphics card on the laptop to make sure you can use it to play games and whatnot.

Portable unit
First and foremost, don't skimp on the battery. If you can get a 9 or 12 cell, get it. It may cost you an extra $200 get something like that, but portable units are the type you never want to plug in during the day and only charge at night when you are sleeping. maximum screen size would be 12.6" with 1280x768 as a good resolution size. Make sure the CD/DVD drive is an external unit so as not to take up extra power when it's not needed. Also, try and get one of the static drives instead of the standard platter types. The static drives will help immensely with power saving. Docking stations are a fantastic commodity with these... it will turn the little unit into a psuedo desktop in seconds.

I've got a Lenovo X60 with a 9cell battery that I don't have to charge for almost 8hours. It's only slightly larger than a standard A4 folder. It's fantastic to use going to and from various places, but I would not want to use it as a primary computer system.

April 12th, 2007, 12:41 AM
Wow, I leave for one day and get all these great answers! What a great community...

Well before reading all the posts I was looking at this: Here (http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2948232&Tab=2&NoMapp=0)

Problem is resolution is only 1280 x 800, but it looks like a really strong machine for a very(!) reasonable prices (CAN $). And batteries might be hard to come by. So I'll look once more into the Dell option to see if they have something interesting.

Thanks again for all the great input. I appreciate it!