These days, laptops serve a variety of purposes, and some of them can largely depend on the size of the laptop itself. While normal screen sizes for today’s laptops tend to be around 15 inches, 17-inch laptops remain highly popular for certain consumers.
Several years ago, having a 17-inch screen usually meant having an incredibly expensive laptop that was equipped with very powerful hardware, and also overly heavy. Fortunately, the best 17-inch laptops out currently are much lighter and less expensive than years past.
While a few inches added to a screen size may not seem like a big deal, the truth is that the extra inches can allow a much better display on the screen, showing more text while also accommodating a better aspect ratio that is more in line for viewing movies and playing video games.
Plenty of computer users can see the benefits of having a bigger screen that goes beyond entertainment as well. In fact, pretty much everyone can experience some advantages of a bigger laptop. But is a 17-inch laptop the best for you? We’ll help you figure that out, along with naming our top picks for the best 17-inch laptops currently out.
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Using a laptop that’s larger than normal may seem counterproductive to the current trend of ultra-thin, lightweight laptops that can be easily transported wherever you are, without feeling like you are carrying a mini-computer around. In this sense, it very much is.
However, the vast majority of these smaller laptops are not designed to handle the load that larger desktop PCs can handle. Yes, they are small, cool-looking, and light, but they are often only good for basic tasks like web browsing, word processing, and basic media use like videos and music.
A 17-inch laptop represents a more serious approach, essentially cramming as much PC performance and characteristics into a smaller package.
So, these three applications are the most likely scenarios when one may opt for a 17-inch laptop instead of the basic 15-inch, or even smaller.
If your profession involves video or imaging, a bigger screen is a must, along with the better graphics and resolution that always accompanies a screen of this size.
Photographers spend a lot of time editing, and optimal screens are needed when editing the finest details, and getting an accurate view of true colors. Imagine trying to edit professional photos on a 13-inch screen when out on an assignment or shoot -- it’s not every ideal at all.
As many media professionals tend to work away from the office quite a bit, it helps to have a reliable laptop that can at least come close to replicating their actual work station in terms of visual. The same can be said for anyone that works with video as well. The larger screen size is just enough to give a better overall view of what they are working on.
It’s also worth mentioning that certain laptop users may use the extra space on the screen to keep multiple windows open from one viewpoint, the same as you would when using multiple monitors, only in a much smaller, yet still functional setting.
This is probably the most obvious use of a bigger screen, as many of the current 17-inch laptops available are built and engineered for gaming.
AAA-level games and most PC games require a computer with a strong GPU that can process graphics at a fast frame rate, while still ensuring fluid movement and vibrant colors. In the past, laptops weren’t quite capable of sustaining this, but now they most certainly are.
Yes, a strong graphic processor is needed to game on a laptop, but a larger screen is always nice too. A 17-inch laptop screen has just enough extra surface space to provide a much improved gameplay experience, making the laptop seem more like a mobile PC than a laptop.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a quality gaming computer that’s not 17 inches at this point. It’s kind of become the standard, more or less, and it makes perfect sense as to why.
For those who don’t do the whole gaming thing, and don’t work with video and images, a 17-inch laptop may seem like a bit of overkill. This is not the case at all. More and more people are opting to use laptops over desktop PCs, for the very reason of saving space.
Desktop PCs require a desk, an external monitor, keyboard, and perhaps more depending on who you are. If you’re trying to save space, or don’t want to devote a part of your home to being a sort of makeshift office, a 17-inch laptop provides the perfect solution.
You still get much of the same power and capability of a PC, and you don’t have to sacrifice screen size. No, a 17-inch laptop is not the same as using a huge 25-inch external monitor, but it’s better than the alternative or 15 inches and smaller.
Because of this, consumers are replacing big desktop PC setups with a smaller, more mobile computer that can still do all the things their PC did, and with a screen size that is suitable for movie-watching, gaming, streaming television, and whatever else you want to do with it.
As I mentioned earlier, 17-inch laptops usually include much better hardware, as well as some other extra features that make them much more capable laptops in a lot of ways. Here is a rundown of these components.
As you may know, processors (CPUs) are responsible for executing and interpreting all the commands on a computer, sort of like a command center. The better the processor, the more commands it can process, and the faster and more efficient the computer is.
CPUs are also characterized by how many cores they have. Each core essentially doubles the processor’s capacity, so if you see a processor described as “quad-core,” it is four times more efficient than a single core. Most 17-inch laptops have at LEAST a dual-core processor.
For years, the biggest critique with laptops was their low amount of RAM, which resulted in a slow computer that can’t handle more than a few basic tasks at a time without lagging. 17-inch laptops tend to have a solid amount of RAM, with some offering a massive amount.
Generally, you’ll find most 17-inch laptops to have at least 8GB of RAM, and most higher end models with at least 16GB. This ensures a much more smooth operation, avoiding any lagging or pausing when opening multiple programs or browser windows.
This is an obvious one. Why have a 17-inch screen if you don’t have the proper graphics processor to handle it? Laptops with bigger screens almost always have a very strong GPU setup, most often a high-end NVIDIA graphics processor that can help do the screen size justice.
Some laptops even have two graphic processors, allowing them to support 4K and 5K video, along with VR support.
17-inch laptops are often used for gaming, as well as media work. Games, raw images, and video files take up a ton of space, so you need a hard drive that can accommodate. While some 17-inch laptops don’t fall in line with this thinking, it’s common to see them have at least 1TB of storage, and sometimes an additional backup drive as well.
Most of us are used to seeing hard disc drives (HDD) in computers, but they are thankfully becoming more obsolete in favor of solid state drives (SSD.)
SSDs have no moving parts, and are basically bigger versions of flash drives. They don’t have to get up and moving like a hard disc drive does, which means much faster operation, loading, and booting. Laptops with SSDs can usually “wake up” from a sleep mode in about two seconds flat.
It’s not uncommon to see a 17-inch laptop that has an SSD as its main drive, with an additional HDD under a different directory for storing games, audio & video files, and other files and data not needed for essential operations.
The overall resolution of a 17-inch screen is going to be at least 1920 x 1080 pixels, sometimes more. This gives the images and video more clarity and detail. Screens of this size are almost always HD, and also have a matte finish to the screen that helps avoid glare and reflections on the screen from other light sources nearby.
Another big aspect of 17-inch laptops is the inclusion of media features that help provide a better overall experience. Subwoofers, high-quality speakers, and cameras are just a few of the more luxurious components you’ll almost always encounter with a laptop this size.
These laptops are usually compatible with a wide range of other media as well, largely in part to HDMI, USB 3.0, ThunderBolt3, and Type-C ports. Gamers will often hook up their laptop to other monitors and computers using these ports.
The following five laptops are our favorites of the 17-inch variety. Although they differ in many areas, these laptops are great examples of value, speed, processing power, and of course added media features.
Alienware has established themselves as a dominant gaming laptop manufacturer, and the AW17R3-1675SLV is a great example as to why. The AW17R3-1675SLV combines fast processing with high-end graphics, and boasts one the best screens on the market.
Everything starts with the 6th generation Intel core processor, which perfectly compliments the massive NVIDIA graphics card, resulting in crystal-clear visuals with a rapid frame rate, whether it’s while gaming, or when watching video.
The 8GB of RAM is on the lower end for 17-inch laptops, but it’s still enough to run AAA-level games with an open browser and not experience any lagging whatsoever. A 1TB HDD provides a high level of storage, making the AW17R3-1675SLV suitable as your main computer or desktop replacement.
The AW17R3-1675SLV also makes use of updated connectability that not only includes ultra-fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi, but USB 3.0, Thunderbolt3, and Type-C support as well. An intricate internal cooling system combines with copper materials to constantly monitor and control heat levels for the best user experience possible.
The AW17R3-1675SLV is also fairly light and thin for a 17-inch laptop, making it much easier to bring with you on the go. The typical Alienware aesthetic is present with the AW17R3-1675SLV, which includes a stealthy appearence with carbon-fiber accents.
The AW17R3-1675SLV is obviously built for gaming, but there is no reason why it can’t be used as a main computer, even if you’ve never played a computer game in your life. The price point makes it an even better deal.
MSI’s Dominator Pro is another example of a gaming laptop that can easily function as an elite laptop for everyday and professional use. It utilizes some massive hardware inclusions, and tops it all off with modern styling and some added features that improve its versatility and overall operation.
A 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor is at the center of the Dominator Pro’s system, and tops that off with 16GB of RAM, making capable of supporting numerous large processes at one time.
As is the case with most VR-ready laptops, the Dominator Pro is equipped with a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, giving it discrete graphics and a display quality that is on par with high-end desktop setups. This all seen on a 1920 x 1080 full HD screen.
Another big advantage is the dual-drive system. A 128GB M.2 SATA serves as the main drive for all system processes, while a 1TB HDD drive functions as the Dominator Pro’s main storage drive. This gives you ultra-fast operation when doing tasks and running programs, while also expanding your overall storage space.
The Dominator Pro comes with support for USB 3.0, Type-C, and Thunderbolt3, along with MSI’s SteelSeries 3 engine that lets you better customize lighting and background colors on your keypad, as well as creating personalized macros.
Overall, the Dominator Pro is one of the best 17-inch laptops you can buy when keeping the price under $1,700. A laptop with this mix of speed and graphic quality doesn’t come around often for this cheap
The Apache Pro is a slightly pared-down version of the Dominator Pro, offering a similar level of power and speed, for a cheaper price. The Apache Pro performs nearly as admirably as its bigger cousin, and includes all of the aspects that help make MSI one of the elite laptop manufacturers in the world.
An Intel Core 6th generation i7 processor acts as the backbone to the Apache Pro, along with 12GB of RAM that can be depended on to provide a consistently smooth operation, regardless of what tasks you are occupying the laptop’s memory with.
In terms of graphics, the Apache Pro is only a slight step down from the Dominator Pro, as it comes with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 instead of the 1070. Not much difference there, as most will find the 1920 x 1080 FHD Anti-Glare IPS Wide-View screen to be among the clearest and brightest they’ve seen.
On the storage end, the Apache Pro splits things up, with a 128b M.2 SATA as the main drive, and a 1TB HDD as the main storage option. This keeps things running fast, without sacrificing space for those that have a ton of files they want to keep on hand.
Additional features and support aspects consist of USB 3.0 and Type-C ports, customizable keyboard settings with SteelSeries 33, and high-end heat management thanks to MSI’s Cooler Boost 4.
The MSI Apache Pro is a great option for those who want a large screen, expanded memory, and fast processing speeds without going over the $1,500 mark.
The ASUS ROG GX700VO is the most advanced laptop on this list, as it comes loaded with a potent combination of expanded memory, storage, and graphic processing, as well as an external liquid cooling system. This laptop defines optimal performance in every aspect.
Like other high-end laptops, the ROG GX700VO uses an Intel 6th generation Core i7 processor, which provides fine tuning to the system’s whopping 64GB of total RAM. You’ll never have to worry about lagging or pauses with this laptop, no matter what you have running at the time.
The ROG GX700VO’s graphics are powered by a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, and while this isn’t as powerful as the 1060 or 1070, when combined with the 64GB of RAM, it’s more than enough to ensure stunning visuals and detail, all of which is displayed via 1920 x 1080 IPS G-Sync full HD.
One of the most impressive parts of the ROG GX700VO is its hard drive. The ROG GX700VO’s 512 GB SSD is double the size of other laptops in its class, and you still get 1TB of storage on a 720 RPM HDD. This keeps everything running smoothly, and allows you to place all of your important programs and software on the spacious SSD.
The external cooling system is one of this laptop’s biggest advantages. The system hooks up to the back of the ROG GX700VO, and delivers liquid-based cooling directly to the processor, keeping the system at an extremely low temperature, which in turn keeps the system running at its peak performance.
Other notable features include 3 total USB 3.0 ports, Type-C and Thunderbolt3 compatibility, HDMI and mini-port connections, and a card reader.
The ROG GX700VO is certainly one of the most capable gaming laptops with a 17-inch screen, but its giant RAM amount and cooling system are what really places it on another tier, and all for under $3,000.
Acer has a reputation for making very affordable laptops with features and specs that rival computers twice their price. The Predator 17 is Acer’s foray into the gaming laptop world, and they deliver, as usual.
Acer follows the lead of nearly every other high-end laptop, basing the Predator 17’s system around a 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor. This particular model comes with 16GB of RAM, but if you need more, you can easily upgrade, or choose a model with 32GB instead for a higher price.
Perhaps what stands out the most on the Predator 17 is the graphics. Acer included the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, which is usually found on gaming laptops with a much higher price. This just adds to the value of the predator.
A bright, detailed 1920 x 1080 Widescreen IPS screen makes use of the huge graphics processing abilities, delivering an impressive visual experience during any use. The laptop is also VR-ready.
The Predator 17 utilizes a split-drive system, with a 256GB SSD serving as the main drive, while a 1TB HDD provides all the backup you could want to store all of your important files and data.
As a nod to its gaming intentions, the Predator 17 has red keyboard light accents, and a very nice sound system that offers rich high and low end sound when you’re not using headphones. 802.11ac and USB 3.0 support are just icing on the cake for this laptop.
The value found with the Predator 17 is hard to beat. Good luck finding a 17-inch laptop with this much memory, speed, and visual quality for such a low price. It’s almost equivalent to the price of a similarly-engineered desktop, which is really all you can ask for.
Each of these laptops is engineered in slightly different ways, but all of them have the right combination of graphic quality, operating speed, and modern features to compliment a full-size, 17-inch screen. Whether you need a large screen laptop for casual use, work use, or gaming use, you’ll find any one of these more than up to the task.
Do you have experience using any of these laptops? Have any suggestions of your own that we left off this list? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!