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The Complete Guide to 17-Inch Laptop Dimensions

Laptop displays have been steadily growing in size over the years. And today, 17-inch models occupy an interesting middle ground – more portable than desktops, but larger than ultrabooks.

If you‘re considering a plus-sized portable PC, understanding the dimensions is key. This guide will cover all the nitty gritty details about the size, shape and portability of 17-inch laptops. I‘ll also offer my expert advice on whether laptops this big make sense for different uses and users.

Let‘s dive in!

An Overview of 17-Inch Laptop Size

The first thing to know is that when manufacturers say "17-inch laptop," that‘s referring to the diagonal screen measurement. The actual display dimensions vary:

17.3-inch – By far the most common. The display is typically 15.08 inches wide and 8.46 inches tall.

17-inch – Less common. The display measures about 14.8 inches wide and 8.35 inches tall.

As for the laptop‘s external size, that really depends on the overall design, weight, casing materials, and other factors. But in general:

17.3-inch Laptop Dimensions

  • Length: 15.5 to 16 inches
  • Width: 10 to 11 inches
  • Height: 0.7 to 1.2+ inches

17-inch Laptop Dimensions

  • Length: 14.7 to 15 inches
  • Width: 9.75 to 10.2 inches
  • Height: 0.7 to 0.8 inches

To give you a better idea, here‘s a sampling of specific 17-inch models and their dimensions:

Laptop            Length x Width x Height   Screen Size 
Dell XPS 17        15.0 x 10.4 x 0.8 inches   17.0 inches
LG Gram 17        14.9 x 10.2 x 0.7 inches   17.0 inches  
Asus Vivobook 17X 15.7 x 10.0 x 0.8 inches   17.3 inches
HP Envy 17        15.7 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches   17.3 inches

As you can see, there’s some variation even among laptops with the same size screen. But all fall into the general size range for 17-inch models.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Large Size

The main appeal of a 17-inch laptop is the big, spacious display. It allows you to see more content at once without having to scroll or zoom as much. Whether you‘re analyzing data, editing images, watching movies or playing games, the large screen really amplifies the visual experience versus smaller 13 and 15-inch models.

However, that big display comes with downsides too:

Portability – A 17-inch laptop with a big screen and full keyboard isn’t as easy to throw in your bag and carry around. Most models weigh over 5 pounds. While transportable, it‘s not something you‘ll want to hand-carry very far.

Desktop Replacement – Given their large footprint, most people use big-screen laptops in place of a desktop. You usually don’t buy them in addition to a desktop PC.

So in summary – 17-inch laptops allow you to escape the confines of a desktop without sacrificing too much screen real estate. But they lack the ultimate portability of sub 3-pound ultrabooks.

Which Users Can Benefit Most from 17-Inch Laptops

If you can live with the portability tradeoff, who can benefit most from a 17-inch laptop?

Business Users – The spacious screen allows ample room for spreadsheets, documents, email and web browsing side-by-side. Road warriors who want serious productivity without lugging their desktop PC around are prime candidates.

Content Creators – Photographers, video editors, 3D animators and other creators will appreciate the high-res color-accurate displays found on premium models. There‘s plenty of visual room for editing timelines, toolbars and full-screen previews.

Programmers – Developers working in integrated development environments (IDEs) like PyCharm and Visual Studio will cherish the extra pixels to stack code, documentation, command prompts, etc. No more scrolling and toggling between windows!

Gamers – Modern 17-inch gaming rigs have very fast refresh rates and expansive screens to immerse you in the action. And there‘s enough space to stream Twitch or web browse while waiting for matches to start.

Students – College students enjoying big-screen laptops for researching, content creation, coding and entertainment from the comfort of their dorm room. Lugging them to class every day would be tedious, but they’re nice for semi-portable computing around campus.

Recommended Carrying Cases for 17-Inch Models

A laptop this big needs an appropriately sized bag for safe transport:

Backpacks – Look for laptop backpacks designed specifically for 17-inch models. These have thickly padded sleeves to prevent damage. Some even have wheels so you can roll them instead of carry. Popular options come from Mobile Edge, Everki, Samsonite, Targus and more.

Messenger Bags – Several companies like Timbuk2, Solo and Levenger offer specialized laptop messenger bags for the 17-inch crowd. These distribute weight across your shoulder and chest for more comfortable carrying over long treks.

Briefcases – If you prefer a sleek briefcase look, check out models from Belkin, Tumi, Solo and others that accommodate 17-inch laptops. Many include dedicated storage areas for accessories too.

I suggest visiting an electronics store in person so you can test bags with your actual laptop inside. Make sure there‘s adequate padding and a snug fit.

Common Aspect Ratios for 17-Inch Displays

One more important detail about 17-inch screens – the aspect ratio, or ratio of width to height.

16:9 – The vast majority of 17.3-inch laptop pick this widescreen ratio that matches the dimensions of HD movies and television. It maximizes horizontal space which is great for gaming and video.

16:10 – Less common but found on some 17-inch laptops. Offers more vertical space, lending to better productivity and advanced multitasking. But black bars may appear when viewing widescreen entertainment content.

There are also squarer ratios like 3:2 and 4:3. But for 17-inch models, 16:9 and 16:10 are the two players battling it out right now. Check Tech Radar‘s monitor aspect ratio guide if you want to geek out more on the nuances.

The Bottom Line

I hope this guide gave you a clearer picture – both literally and figuratively – of the size situation with 17-inch laptops. They occupy a middle ground between smaller ultraportables and the power of desktop computers.

If desktop-caliber performance in a portable package appeals to you, look to 17-inch laptops. But also be realistic about how much you‘ll travel with something this big. For maximum mobility, 13 and 14-inch models are easier travel companions.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions! I‘m happy to offer my expertise about large laptop dimensions or anything else PC-related.