While some of us just find unpleasant to work with smaller screens others actually MUST work with the largest screen available. Since we can’t lug our main computer everywhere we have to settle for the biggest display we can get our hands on which as of today which is mostly 17 inch for laptops.
Finding the best 17 inch laptop out of all choices out there isn’t easy, you can’t just pick the first cheapest 17 inch laptop we see on the store or the most expensive either. Why? There’s still a plethora of specifications to consider for each one of us to get the most out of our money and for our purposes. Add the fact that 17 inch laptops can get extremely heavy, have poor battery lives and come with bad displaying features or can have far too much power, features that you may not even use in your lifetime. Either way, you don’t want to end up paying for something you’re gonna find useless right?
If you stick with this article and give it enough time you will find the best 17 inch laptop for the type of work or activity that you do with a computer and for your budget too. That extra weight and cost has to be worth carrying around so make sure you choose the best one there is for you.
What will you find in this article?
A complete guide on how to find the best 17inch laptop: what features to avoid and which ones to look out for along with a short list of the best 17 inch laptops for every type of user. Since most of you already know what to look or don’t have the time to read a long guide. I am listing the best 17 inch laptops as of 2017 in the following section first.
Top 10 Best 17 inch Laptops
Although the performance & displaying features can vary greatly among 17 inch laptops we can safely divide them in two groups.
Keep in mind what you are actually plan on doing with your laptop because this will also determine the price they have which can range from 500$ to 2000$. And we don’t want you to end up with any unnecessary features.
Whatever type of user category you fall into, you should find a suitable laptop for both your specific software & needs as well as your budget from this list. If something is not clear or if you haven’t found something convincing, you can always refer to the guide which will show you how to look for one and explain everything you may not understand as well. But I can assure you won’t find any better deals than these at least in 2017.
The Best 17 inch Laptop – High Performance
CPU: Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz (6MB Cache) | RAM: 8GB DDR4 Dual-Channel Memory(Upgradeable to 16GB) | Storage: 1TB 5400RPM Hard Drive | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM | Display: 17.3-inch Full HD Screen | Weight: 6.83lb
This is the best 17 inch laptop overall and for your budget too. It’s configured for high performance users due to its dedicated graphics card and quad core processor, although if you are a basic user looking for a future proof laptop you can safely get the Acer it isn’t that epensive (staying close to 1000$) for a high performance 17inch laptop.
On the other hand gamers, 3D designers and multimedia editors should find the dedicated graphics card & quad core processor extremely useful and it’s actually one of the best deals you can get for the price.
Let’s start with the display: it’s full HD (1920X1080) which is the sweet spot for most purposes be it modeling , watching videos or editing multimedia files as the world isn’t ready for far higher resolutions (4k). However if you do work with far higher resolutions you can opt the version with 4k resolution which is also a touchScreen but beware the price will increase significantly and your battery life will be much lower.
Both versions do have an IPS panel for great viewing angles, always a huge bonus for that 17 inch screen that will rarely be moved to adjust your own view. Plus they have great brightness levels +300cd/m2 ( 300 is decent ) & good contrast ratios, not too mention the color accuracy is nearly 100% of the sRGB gamut. Of course all of these specs would increase if you opt for the 4k version.
As far as performance, it’s got nearly everything for every type of power user out there either for professional design or any gaming activity: quad core processor (the latest generation) and one of the most recommended graphics card in the 3D World : NVIDIA GTX 960M. The only department where it can’t compete with the most expensive and high performance laptops is the storage type: HDD but this one has 1 TB for capacity plenty to install and store all of your multimedia editing files, 3D Projects and around 200 full HD Movies. Luckily, if you decide to max it out you can always upgrade the Hard Drive later by buying an external SSD.
Other things to keep in mind are the noise levels, having an HDD for storage will pretty much prevent you from being completely silent but turning the speakers on you will not notice anything. The speakers are in fact quite good: they can get so loud they might make your laptop even vibrate, don’t worry the sound quality is great even then.
If you opt for the 1080p configuration shown here you’ll get a decent amount of battery life however the 4k display will get you around 3 hours max for most activities. I can’t really find any cons with this laptop other than battery life it might be the fact that it’s really expensive if you opt for the 4k display but that may be well worth it for multimedia editors and designers.
Overall this is the best 17 inch laptop for your money, it excels in nearly everything department. Even basic users may find it a good deal if they ever need to run anything intensive on it.
Best 17 inch Laptop – Basic Users
Basic users who just want a fast performance laptop with almost every non-professional application will find this the best for their purposes that is: web browsing, watching movies, basic video & photo editing, etc.
It doesn’t have the full HD resolution that other professionals may need but it isn’t the lowest resolution laptops offer either (1600×900 vs 1024×728). The display is not glossy but has been coated with a material to protect your eyes from reflections should you be in a highly reflective area. That’s where it ends, it is in fact a TN display which is of low quality so don’t expect great brightness levels, color accuracy and contrast ration but for basic computing tasks that don’t need intensive editing this is fine especially for the price, just check it out.
Performance is where it’s at: great performance for basic applications. This one even includes a dedicated graphics card which is something unexpected for a 17inch laptop and at that price. This will allow you to even a small boost in your applications that do realy on graphics (not image quality but speed) and play around with a few 3D applications without having to worry about intensive lag. The Processor is i5 core but can be chosen to be i7, both are dual core, so the upgrade to i7 might not make a difference at all regarding performance (only your pocket). RAM is upgradeable up to 16GB and you get plenty of storage for just about anything you decide to do with it (1000 GB). As a bonus, it has a great track , keyboard and guess what? Probably the best battery life out of this list: 6 hours which isn’t bad at all for a 17inch laptop.
If you do manage to find a better deal than this one, do let me know!
Best Cheap 17 inch Laptop – Basic Users
CPU: Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3GHz 3MB Cache processor (Turbo boost up to 2.80GHz) | RAM: 8GB DDR3L1600MHz SDRAM (2x memory slots, expandable to 16GB),| Storage: 1TB SATA Hard Drive| GPU: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | Display: 17.3-inch HD+ Widescreen LED-Backlit with 1600 x 900 resolution| Weight: 6.6lb
If for some reason, you can’t afford the above laptop. This is the lowest you can go for without being interrupted by a slow performance with your basic applications and despite being below 500$ it has a lot going on.
For performance, the core i5 processor (6th generation) is fast enough for all of your applications regardless of what they are. For RAM you only get 8GB, this is enough for heavy multitasking between many basic applications and if you decide to dwelve into the heavy apps for photo or video editing, you can always upgrade it to 16GB.
The storage, as expected, is a regular HDD however with plenty of capacity for all of your files: 1TB. The only drawback for basic users is the fact that it can generate noise (all HDD storage devices do) which again you’ll notice when the entire system is quiet. This can be fixed , however, by installing a separate SSD later, this will further increase your performance by launching everything up faster and increase the overall performance of your applications especially those requiring heavy file sizes (multimedia editing).
On the other hand the display is not great. The brightness is very low which will definitely not allow you to see anything in bright settings let alone outdoors, the contrast ratios aren’t great either. The resolution is not full HD but this is expected from TN displays and laptops around this price range. Though it isn’t the best display in the world, for basic users who have nothing but general computing tasks in mind and simple photo editing, it isn’t bad at all and you may not even notice a difference.
Another drawback, is the keyboard, some of the keys are positioned differently which may take time to get used to it just like when you buy a new external keyboard. The TouchPad seems too sensitive but nothing an external mouse can’t fix. The speakers are situated below as a result sound quality overall is distorted and pretty low compared to other laptops with better positioned speakers and components.
On the good side, it actually has a pretty good battery life which is expected from all the energy being saved from its low quality sound&display: +6 hours.
Overall if you aren’t nitty picky about displays or sound quality, this is the best 17inch laptop under 500 you can get for everyday tasks.
Best 17 Inch Budget Laptop – High Performance & TouchScreen
CPU: Intel Core i7-6500U 3.1GHz | RAM: 12GB DDR4| Storage: 1TB HDD | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 940MX | Display: 17.3″ 2-in-1 Full HD Touchscreen
Yes, there are actually 17.3 inch laptops with touchscreen and tablet mode features. That’s not all it actually has a pretty good performance for power users that may need to run heavy 3D Applications and games on their laptops.
Although the processor is quite fast and one of the latest generations with the highest clock speed it’s not a quad core processor but this isn’t an issue unless you are a power user running the latest games or software apps that do take advantage of a 4 cores ( very very few do ).
Luckily the graphics card is quite good and sufficient for most games and 3D Applications for both design & editing, only a few steps below the recommended 960GTX. RAM is above 8GB, configured at 12GB but easily upgradeable to 16GB. Likewise the 1TB HDD is sufficient for multimedia editors, their libraries and plethora of 3D projects for designers and editors. It is also upgradeable to an SSD to give you even better or match the performance of high end laptops at far higher prices. Both of these upgrades( if you think you need them later on), will allow you to run the most intensive applications just like an expensive high performance laptop. I would say this is a good option to start with if you want to test how much power your type of work (or game) requires while not overspending on unnecessary features.
As far as display goes, you won’t have to do anything with it (you can’t really) it’s actually pretty good. Not only does it have a full HD resolution but also an IPS Panel Display giving you great viewing angles and increase it’s color accuracy. Speaking of color accuracy it sits at 86% of the sRGB, which is far from 100% but unless you need the utmost detail for your applications you should do fine with an 86% (the MacBook Pro has 86%).
On the other hand, it’s brightness levels are great and above average : 314cd/m2 and its contrast ratio far from excellent according to third party testers. Sinec this is a tablet which you may take outside or anywhere really, you will not face problems with the screen unless the sun directly points to yours.
The high performance and the great display doesn’t come without drawbacks and as expected its battery life is poor: 3 hours for basic applications but 5 hours for streaming or watching videos around the web.
However, overall this is a great deal for those in need of high performance laptops provided they don’t need the beefiest and latest features for performance & displays, the few games or 3D applications that may require it.
Best 17 inch laptop – Best Performance & Best Display
CPU: Intel Core i7-7820HK Quad-Core Processor| RAM: 32 GB| Storage: 1TB SSD Hard Drive| GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (6GB) – VR ready | Display: 3840 x 2160 UHD g-sync touch Display
Lastly but not least (actually this one should’ve been on the top), the latest and highest performance laptop out there for pretty much any user in 2017. The reason it’s at the bottom it’s the price, I doubt any of you would be able to afford it but nonetheless here’s what you get (and rightly so) if you do.
For performance you get a quad core processor running at a base speed of 2.9 GHz but can go up to 3.9 GHz since this is the “unlocked version” of the HQ series which translates to the highest clock speeds from its generation. That along with the 32GB RAM, will make multitasking between heavy and intensive applications a breeze.
Add the fact this is one of the few laptops out there with an SSD having 1TB for storage to allow you with the highest transfer speeds and boot up/launching times among them thanks to one of the latest SSD technologies : PCIe SSD.
The graphics card is the latest NVIDIA offers for mainstream laptops with editing & gaming applications, no software or game in 3D would or should give you any issues with it. However, if you are a professional 3D Designer you may want to spent your money on other choices if you want an even greater performance just for those applications (NVidia quadro/fire pro series). This is only an issue however if you exclusively deal with 3D Modeling projects far too complex and without any games or multimedia editing software where they provide little to no benefit.
On the other hand the display has just about everything you would expect from its price and design: 4k resolution, IPS panel, great color coverage (194%) , great brightness levels as well (+300cd/me2). However not as color accurate as other high performance laptops at its price range.
Audio quality is superb, the best out of this list. The dual-firing speaker system positioned on the top and on the sides will deliver great quality audio all across your work area or room.
The RazerBlade Pro has also a few innovative implementations with its keyboard and trackpad. The Trackpad is situated on the right side of the keyboard and not below it, where the numerical keypad should be. Its scrollwheel can be programmed by using the software that the Razer comes with, the function depending on your preferences. The Keyboard also has more bells and whistles: its backlit feature is not what you would expect from a laptop, each key can actually radiate different colors that span 16 million choices.
Lastly, like every 17 inch laptop, its performance and displaying features take a toll on its battery life lasting only 3 hours of basic computing tasks.
Overall this is the best 17 inch laptop for both gamers and all multimedia editors, both the performance, the graphics and the displaying features will not disappoint you. You are definitely getting what you are paying for.
How To Buy The Best 17 inch Laptop
Picking the best 17 inch laptop depends entirely on what you plan to do with and what extra features you are looking out for.
Who might need a 17inch laptop?
In reality all of us would benefit from the biggest screen but here the type of users who might find it essential:
- Graphic Designers
- Multimedia Editors: video, photo, audio
- CAD designers and professionals working with models in 3D
- Programmers looking for more productivity (large screen area allows multiple windows & more lines of code visible)
- Movie Watchers
- Anyone who doesn’t want to scroll down when looking up documentation, instructions (recipes & manuals) while working.
But generally those seeking the best 17 inch laptops are those looking for a better viewing experience either for their work, entertainment or productivity or one with highest performance as well. So we’ll go through those aspects first:
This is the most important feature all of us are after, we need to pick up the highest quality display for our money, how do we do this?
There many features from a display that would take pages to discuss, I’ll go over the most important ones for now.
Virtually all users regardless of their profession will do fine with a 1080p resolution In fact, it might not be such a good idea to opt for higher resolutions especially 4k displays since most software for editing multimedia files and 3D Modeling or even games are not optimized to work well with such high resolutions.
However if you strictly deal with such resolutions (higher than 1080p) such as the case of photo and a few video editors, then you have to opt for one if you want to see your work at its fully glory. If this isn’t affordable an external display can always do the trick.
Color Accuracy & IPS Panel
If you are using your laptop as a screen for a presentation or for other users to see, then you have to make sure your laptop comes with IPS Panel. These will give you the best viewing angles so your images will look the same no matter from which direction you look at your screen.
If you do edit multimedia files (video & photos), then you’d want to opt for displays that cover quite a lot of the color gamut meaning they can represent far more colors than the avg display. A good measure is +85% of the sRGB spectrum. If you don’t know what that means, just make sure you see a number +85 from “sRGB” as opposed to “aRGB”, which is another measure but pretty useless for almost everyone needing color accuracy.
Brightness & Contrast Levels
For home users & those seeking to use their laptop as a viewing screen for movies, presentations or editing images, this becomes extremely important.
Make sure your laptop has decent brightness levels & contrast levels too. A machine with low brightness levels would be impossible to use in highly illuminated areas or during the day. While low contrast ratios will distort your darkest and lightest colors and will look about the same. Manufacturers do not go a list these specs on their websites or products so just go ahead and read reliable third party reviewers for more info about them.
If you are programmer, a basic home user or a movie watcher, you can safely ignore the performance section. Why? All 17inch laptops come with enough performance for most of your basic and mid range applications, no matter how cheap they can get (just don’t get one from 10 years ago).
However if you are a power user: gamer, deal with 3D Modeling or CAD Design, video or photo editor, then you may need to get the best performance out of them. Stay with me if you do.
That heavyweight you are carrying has to be at least powerful to be worth all the pain of taking it from plae to place don’t you think?
Power users: for CPU & RAM , these are the specs you want:
– At least i5 core processor onwards. Prefereably a quadcore i7 processor.
– 8GB for RAM onwards (DDR4 RAM is a better option). Preferably 16GB.
– Dedicated Graphics Card is a Must (except for photo editors). FirePro/Quadro are optional for 3D CAD Designers and 3D Modeling.
You’re just not gonna find a 17 inch laptop with a long battery life that easily, if you do it will probably won’t be much more than a few hours. The Display more than the performance they have it’s what essentially burns it out in a few hours. The more extra features: multiple hard drives, stunning displays and top notch CPU & GPU performance, the lower your battery life will be.
Virtually every 17inch laptop will be heavy, the higher their performance and the more weight they will carry. If you do find laptops that are both 17inch and with relatively low weight, keep in mind these are the ones that will run very hot and make a lot of noise since there isn’t much space within them to fit in more components or keep them space when designing. Their lifespan therefore might not be as good as a heavier and bulkier laptop.
Ideally all of us would benefit from an SSD as opposed to an HDD for storage. The difference? You get blazing fast speeds from SSD. Everything will launch up and start up in no time including your operating system. Unfortuantely, they don’t come with high storage capacities unless you spend quite a bit of money.
But this isn’t an issue for most 17inch laptops, this is something where finally that 17inch heavyweight piece of metal has an advantage: it’s easily upgradeable. You can even install several storage devices: an SSD and 2 HDD in some instances. Just check out the type of connection they have.
There are actually a few perks we can get from the size of 17inch laptop that you may want to consider looking out for:
Better Cooling systems
Since there is more space available for components, there are better cooling systems and designs for your laptop not to overheat. Check if the one your buying has actually used the extra space to get one. It will make sure yours will last you more than regular lower size laptops.
Not only do we get full size keyboards from them but they also have the option to have extra keys that will make easy access to our favorite access. It’s a worthy addition to the space that 17inch have to take advantage of and something a few of you don’t want to miss out.
17inch laptops allow for more features and offer high performance among all laptops out there. As an 17inch user, you should take full advantage of what they can offer: better cooling system, decent performance, great keyboard & sound quality. Depending on your budget these may or may not be available on your laptop of choice.
Do you have any questions or suggestions for this list? Please let us all know in the comments below.