17″ vs 15″ Gaming Laptops: Which One Should You Buy?

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msi ge76 raider

When buying gaming laptops, most people primarily look for high performance. But along with a powerful CPU and GPU, you also want to choose a suitable screen size.

Generally speaking, a 17″ screen is more suited to gaming, and if gaming is the biggest priority for you, just go buy a 17″. A 17-inch screen is also ideal for graphics design, game design and development, and many graphics-related tasks.

But a typical 17-inch gaming laptop is heavier and offers poor mobility. So it may not be the best choice if you’re a professional or a college student. For a good balance of both, we recommend 15-inch gaming notebooks.

A 17″ screen isn’t too big

No matter what you hear, a 17-inch display isn’t too big when it comes to gaming. Serious gamers usually prefer bigger monitors when building their rigs. Most professional gamers prefer a 24″ monitor for desktop builds, as it’s the standard for all e-sports competitions.

For laptops, a 17-inch screen is still the popular choice for gamers – as a bigger screen provides better visibility and clarity. This is a very important factor if you’re playing FPS games, in which reacting to small changes is vital.

Excellent for creators & developers

Nowadays, high-performance gaming rigs are used for many professional applications. And for content creators and designers, a bigger screen can help boost productivity. A larger, 17-inch display can help in multitasking as well as working with professional software like Photoshop or the Premiere Pro. A high-performance gaming laptop with a 17-inch display can easily replace your old workstation.

Having said that, a 15.6-inch screen isn’t that smaller than a 17.3 inch one. Plus, they’re lighter and sleeker than their counterparts. We think that it’s really a personal choice, whether you want portability more over computing experience.

Great for movies

If you also love watching movies, a large 17″ monitor is going to be a good choice. Movies look great on bigger screens, especially if your laptop has a 4k OLED display.

Better keyboard & a lot of ports

Because of the bigger screen, a 17-inch gaming laptop has plenty of room for all the ports you’ll ever need, as well as a spacious, near-desktop-class keyboard with full keypads. On 15.6 inch laptops, manufacturers either have to ditch the Numpad or reduce the size and spacing of the keys.

Better Cooling systems

Along with a comfortable keyboard and more ports, 17-inch gaming laptops usually feature a bigger and better cooling system. This can help keep the laptop cooler when playing games. More efficient cooling also helps boost the performance of CPU and GPU, so 17-inch rigs usually perform better.

17″ laptops are bulky and heavy

Despite all their pros, 17-inch gaming laptops have one major drawback: they’re darn heavy! All gaming laptops are heavy, at least heavier than ultrabooks and business laptops. And the 17″ rigs are known to be even heavier.

A typical 17″ gaming notebook weighs at least 5 pounds. They also take up more space, so you’ll need a much larger backpack to carry it. If you have to regularly carry your laptop, you may want to reconsider before purchasing a 17″ gaming rig.

That’s because when you’re frequently on the road or going back and forth to your office, a lighter, 15.6″ or 14″ gaming laptop may be the better option.

Compared to screen size, overall laptop size increases dramatically in 17″ (Credit: TechJunkie)

15″ gaming laptops are perfect

Many people think that a 15″ screen is too small for gaming, but that’s not simply true. Of course, a bigger display provides a more immersive experience, but a 15.6″ screen with the same resolution looks almost identical.

Plus, a smaller screen means that you don’t have to move your head very often, as the whole screen will be in your field of vision. Some folks love 15-inch gaming laptops because of this. Many even felt that a smaller screen enhanced their reaction speed, about which we can’t say much. I think it’s more of a personal choice, rather than a proven fact.

Highly Portable

In the last few years, we have seen a lot of portable gaming laptops, and guess what? All of them are either 15″ or 14″. And by portable, we mean a high-performance gaming rig that weighs less than 4 pounds and easily fits in conventional laptop backpacks. We have seen at least one 15-inch portable gaming rig from all major companies including Asus, Razer, MSI, Dell, & Lenovo.

Take the Asus G14 for example – it’s an amazingly sleek, 14-inch laptop that weighs just 3.8 pounds. But under the hood, it packs a powerful Nvidia RTX3060 GPU and an AMD R9 CPU.

Or take the Eluktronics max 15. It’s a high-performance laptop designed for both professionals and gamers. the 15″ notebook features a

The Max 15 is a powerful gaming and work laptop (Credit: JarrodsTech)

Perfect for college

For college students, 15″ gaming laptops are ideal because they are easier to fit on a school desktop and fit more readily into a standard backpack. Moreover, a lighter and smaller laptop makes room for other college materials like books, notes, etc.

Use an external Monitor

Even a 17″ display isn’t ideal for competitive gaming. This is why many gamers buy a portable 15″ or 14″ high-performance notebook and connect it to a bigger, external monitor. This is especially helpful for setting up a workstation at home, or in the dorm.

If you want to use an external monitor, you probably want a laptop with the optimus feature. Otherwise, you may see huge FPS drops.

Screen resolution and refresh rate matters

When it comes to gaming, the resolution and refresh rate of the display is actually more important than its size. A higher-resolution screen provides more details, and a high refresh rate enables you to sense the slightest of changes. These specs are especially important for fast-paced FPS titles, where you have to react in a split of a second.

Conclusion

The key takeaway here is that no laptop is too big or too small. It’s all preference. If you are aware of the size and footprint of a 17″ laptop and you’re okay with it then get it! And honestly, I’d go buy a 17-inch gaming laptop because I feel like gaming on a smaller screen could prove difficult.

But if I were a college student or a professional, I wouldn’t want to carry a 5-pound machine every day. I’d rather get a portable 15-inch or 14-inch gaming laptop.

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