According to the latest stats, mobile PCs continue to dominate PC sales, with 54% of the market share. While some users will always prefer the classic desktop with its superior speed and storage, most users today want a PC that takes up less space and can go where they need to go.
If you travel for work a lot, a laptop is vital to stay productive. It’s also important that your laptop takes up as little space as possible and doesn’t cause you any excess baggage charges. So, it’s easy to see how laptop size and weight can play a major role when you’re deciding on a laptop for work.
These are the most common laptop sizes available today, and the factors that affect them.
In general, manufacturers advertise their laptops according to screen size. They measure this dimension diagonally from opposite corners of the screen, excluding the bezel. There are three major options when it comes to categorizing laptops this way:
Small 14-inch Laptops
Offering plenty of power in a small package, these laptops are popular for students on a tight budget. They’re easy to transport in a bag and fit easily into small dorm rooms or apartments.
Medium 16-inch Laptops
These laptops occupy the middle ground when it comes to performance vs portability. They’re great for home office use, online interactions, and working on the go.
Large 17-inch Laptops
If you need a large visual area to work on complex spreadsheets, or you use your laptop for gaming, this is the best type of laptop for you. They’re a lot bigger and heavier than the other types but most of them are still portable enough for business trips.
While screen size impacts the weight of a laptop, it isn’t always directly proportional. For instance, the lightest 17-inch laptop in the world weighs just 2.55 lbs.
Laptop Sizes According to Type
Laptop dimensions offer another way to categorize these machines. You’ll notice these figures listed as width by depth by height, and they refer to the following:
- Width = distance from the left to the right side of the laptop frame
- Depth = the measurement from the front of the laptop to the back panel hinge.
- Height = the thickness of the laptop at the back with the lid closed
Since most laptop heights taper down from back to front, some manufacturers may list two figures when it comes to height.
These are the most common types of laptops according to size:
Notebooks are the most common types of laptops and most of them feature a 15.6″ screen. These portables weigh between and four and nine pounds. Their dimensions are usually 14.2” by 9.6” by 0.77”. These laptops work well for both work and low-end gaming, as well as student life. You’ll find a huge range of different processors, operating systems, and RAM to choose from with these laptops.
Some gaming laptops fall into this category and most business laptops do too. Thanks to tech advancements, you can get smaller, lighter, laptops offering the same capabilities as notebooks. Click here for more information.
Ultraportable laptops, or Ultrabooks, are highly productive little machines that weigh as little as two pounds. To qualify as ultraportable, a laptop must measure less than 0.75 inches thick at its widest part. Most have dimensions in the range of 9 – 13″ by 8-9″ by .2 – 0.75″.
Despite their small size, these laptops offer a long battery life, great security, and thin bezels to maximize their 14-inch screens. The best ones have Wi-Fi 6, in-built chipsets, and Thunderbolt ports for speedy data transfer. They’re one of the most affordable types of laptops and feature durable casings that make them ideal for working on the go.
Desktop Replacement Laptops
Laptops designed to replace desktops aren’t intended for the open road. They’re bulky and heavy with large screens and many performance-enhancing extras, like numerous I/O ports. These bulky machines usually measure 15″ x by 11″ by 1-2″ and weigh over 4 lbs.
The average gaming laptop falls into this category.
Also known as convertibles, or two-in-ones, hybrid laptops do double duty as both a laptop and a tablet. They’re light and compact with keyboards that either detach or fold back behind the screen. Like tablets, hybrid laptops have touch screens, but they also offer the benefits of a keyboard and PC operating system, like most laptops.
Due to their versatility and advanced technology, hybrid laptops are ideal for both business and home use.
Chromebooks rely on the internet to function, so they have few internal components. This makes them among the smallest, lightest, and cheapest laptops around. For instance, the Google Chromebook measures 8.84″ by 11.72″ by 6″ and weighs just 3.3 lbs. It’s a top choice for both college and school students.
Components That Affect Laptop Weight
It makes sense that the interior components of a laptop have a major effect on its size and weight. So, many of the items that influence laptop weight also impact the performance of a laptop. These include:
Hard disk drives are much heavier than the latest solid-state drives. Sometimes the weight difference can amount to as much as 1.1 lbs.
Most laptop users never use more than one or two ports, so laptop manufacturers often sacrifice these in favor of weight. The Thunderbolt 4 single port is the most popular type of port used in laptops today since you can use it for peripherals as well as data transfer.
Thanks to the ability to stream music and movies, and share documents via the Cloud, these drives have become redundant for both work and play. By excluding these drives, manufacturers can make their laptops thinner than ever before and offer more flexible keyboards for hybrid laptops.
The material that makes up a laptop might not impact its performance, but it certainly adds to the weight. Thanks to modern magnesium and carbon fiber frames you can get a lighter laptop with more features than a heavy metal one.
What Is Travel Weight?
Most of these trimmed-down laptops have eliminated some factors like DVD drives to cut down on the weight. This means you’ll need to attach an external player if you need this feature. Most manufacturers advertise the weight of their products with a standard battery installed. This figure usually excludes any peripherals like power cables, adapters, or detachable keyboards.
Some publish the travel weight of the laptop which does include everything that goes with it, including power adapters and possible media bays. Weight plays a major role when it comes to lugging a laptop around airports, business meetings, and hotels, so make sure you account for everything that’s going in your laptop bag when deciding on a travel laptop.
This is one of the major reasons why many business people will forego performance in favor of buying an ultraportable work laptop.
Choosing the Right Size Laptop Bag
A laptop bag helps increase the portability of your laptop and protects it while in transit. It’s important to choose a padded bag that has enough space for all your peripherals but still has a snug fit. You don’t want your laptop sliding around inside the bag as this can cause scratches.
Your laptop must fit in the bag without straining the zipper or protruding near the corners. Padding helps absorb any impacts and protects your laptop if you drop your bag accidentally. Extra padding on the bottom is essential to prevent unnecessary wear when you put your laptop down.
You’re unlikely to get a bag with your laptop, so unless you buy one on the spot, you need to know your laptop’s dimensions when you go shopping. It’s easy to measure your laptop using a standard tape measure. Step one is measuring the width. Close your laptop and run the measuring tape from left to right on the longest side.
To measure the depth, you’ll hold the tape measure against the bottom of the lid on the hinge side and measure the distance to the opposite side. The height is the smallest and easiest part to measure. Place your laptop on a flat, level surface, with the lid closed, and record the distance from the bottom to the top of the lid.
Laptops of the Future
As tech evolves, laptop sizes seem to get smaller as their features increase. Fortunately, these advancements come with a decrease in prices too. Already, there’s a laptop to suit every need and budget, so it’s exciting to think about what innovations the future may hold. Android and i-phones currently feature many aspects that were once the exclusive domain of the laptop.
Are you keen to discover more about the world of tech? Check out our technology pages for the latest news and tips.