Best 17-inch Laptops 2019

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Whether you're streaming TV shows or working with multiple spreadsheets, 17-inch laptops are the ultimate productivity machines. And while they've historically been criticized for being large and clunky, the recent trend toward thin bezels has reduced the overall footprint of these laptops. In 2019, 17-inch laptops are the same size and weight as some 15-inch laptops, which makes them travel companions that you can slip into a backpack and use on a plane or bus.

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Yes, we still recommend 13- and 15-inch laptops for more frequent fliers, but if you want to maximize your work rate or simply want a theater-like experience, then go with the biggest display you can find. Without further ado, here are the best 17-inch laptops for every need.

News and Updates (February 2019)

  • We are currently reviewing the Asus TUF Gaming FX705, a 17-inch mid-level gaming laptop. 
  • We’ve just published our Alienware Area-51m review, which is the "ultimate gaming rig."
  • We reviewed the LG Gram 17, the world's lightest 17-inch laptop. Read our full review to find out why it's the current best overall 17-inch laptop.

How We Test Laptops

When we bring a laptop into our lab, our goal is to see how it would work if you brought it into your home or office. While we use a number of industry-standard benchmarks, such as Geekbench and 3DMark, we focus heavily on real-world tests that we have developed in-house.

To test endurance, the Laptop Mag Battery Test surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until the system runs out of juice. To judge pure processing power, we use a giant spreadsheet macro that matches 65,000 names with their addresses, a video transcoder that converts a 4K video to 1080p and the Geekbench 4 synthetic test. We measure graphics prowess with both 3DMark Ice Storm / Fire Strike and a series of actual game titles.

We use a colorimeter to measure screen brightness and color gamut while other instruments help us determine a laptop's key travel and ambient heat.  See this page on How We Test Laptops for more details on our benchmarking procedures.

Specs: 1080p / Core i5 / 8GB Are Best Bets

You can spend a lot of time delving into specs, but here are the key components to think about when buying a 17-inch laptop If you just want really good mainstream performance, go for a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 1080p screen.

  • Screen Resolution: Unfortunately, 66 percent of consumer laptops and 51 percent of business systems have low-res screens. If possible, get a display with a 1920 x 1080 (aka 1080p, or full HD) or higher resolution.
  • CPU: An Intel Core i5 provides good mainstream performance. Some budget systems will come with Core i3, Celeron or Pentium CPUs, which are good  for basic tasks, but not heavy multitasking. Get a Core i7 or a quad-core processor (serial number ends in HQ or HK) for gaming or high-end productivity tasks such as video editing and 3D modeling.
  • RAM: 8GB is ideal for most users, but power users will want 12 or 16GB. 4GB is acceptable for budget systems. Secondary laptops and Chromebooks may have less.
    Storage: Unless you're a gamer or a power user, 256GB of internal storage is probably enough. If possible, get an SSD (solid-state drive) rather than a hard drive, because it's going to make your computer a lot faster.
  • Graphics Chip: Gamers and creative professionals need to do some research and figure out which discrete GPU from Nvidia or AMD is good enough to run their favorite software. Everyone else will be happy with the built-in Intel HD Graphics that come with the CPU.

If you want to learn more about buying a laptop, check out our full Laptop Buying Guide. Gamers should read our Gaming Laptop Buying Guide and list of Best Gaming Laptops.

Credit: Laptop Mag