Laptop Sizes

The size of screen you choose for your laptop will often dictate the overall size and weight of the machine. This may sound obvious but it pays to think how you are most likely to use your laptop. After all, opting for a 17-inch laptop when you plan to carry it around with you, will soon be a burden. Like wise, paying extra for an ultraportable that will never leave our desk is a false economy.

Screen sizes are changing all the time but the most common is the 15.4-inch widescreen panel, as it’s a great compromise between portability and usability. Such machines usually weigh around 3kg. There are a variety of panel sizes starting at 7 inches to 12.1 inches for netbooks and around 10.6 inches up to 20.1 inches for fully-fledged laptops.

Screen dimensions

16:9 aspect ratio

Better known as True Widescreen, these panels are squat but wider, so you can get view more information on them. Perfect for work, but – more importantly – ideal for watching movies.

16:10 aspect ratio

This widescreen ratio used to be the most common, but it’s increasingly being replaced by True Widescreen 16:9 panels. Still very popular in some budget models.

4:3 aspect ratio

This is a square display and can be found on cheaper, standard TFT machines, although many are now switching to widescreen.

Increasingly, we’re starting to see the introduction of 16:9 aspect ratio screens that offer the same screen resolution as a normal widescreen TV, so you won’t get that annoying black strip above and below the image shown. At the moment there are three sizes available – 13.1-inch, 16-inch and 18.4-inch. While pitched at the HD audience, you’ll need to check the resolution the panel supports before you buy, as not all of them support Full HD (1080p).