Large laptops offer themselves as a full-fledged alternative to the PC. This purchase advice shows notebooks from 16 to 17.3 inches from bargains to business to gaming.
After looking at powerful but small laptops (guide) and convertible PCs (guide), we now turn to really big notebooks. These devices have what it takes to replace a desktop PC. A large laptop offers a significantly larger screen area and keyboard. This ensures greater comfort when working and consuming media, especially when no additional monitor or keyboard is available. Disadvantages arise for the transport.
If you don't have to take your laptop with you often, but you don't have space at home to set up a screen with a keyboard, you will find a larger laptop a good alternative to the desktop system. In this guide from the world of laptops, we show how much you should spend on a notebook from 16 to 17.3 inches and what you can expect from these devices.
How big is a 17.3 inch notebook?
The screen diagonal of 17.3 inches has a length of almost 44 cm. With a format of 16:9 or 16:10, these notebooks are 40 to 42 cm wide. Depending on the model, the installation depth is between 25.5 and 27.5 cm. The laptop has almost the dimensions of DIN A3. The thickness of the case is usually 2-2.5 cm. The weight ranges from just over 2 kg to 2.6 kg. This makes it much more difficult to transport in a bag compared to a smaller computer.
In comparison, a 15.6-inch laptop in 16:9 format measures around 36 x 25 cm and usually weighs less than 1.8 kg. A size of 14 inches is only slightly larger than a sheet of DIN A4 at 32 x 21 cm. An example of this is the Acer Swift 3 (test report) with a weight of 1.2 kg. So 17.3-inch laptops are significantly larger and heavier. In return, users get almost 20 percent more screen space than a 15.6-inch notebook. Compared to 14 inches, there is even an advantage of 35 percent. Furthermore, the keyboard is larger and usually offers larger keys – many models even have a numeric keypad. A feature that owners of a compact laptop have to do without.
16-inch laptops represent a compromise between size and weight. This format has become more and more popular in recent times and could replace the tried-and-tested 15.6-inch size in the long term. A clear example of this is the Honor Magicbook 16. It is significantly smaller and lighter at 36.8 x 23.6 x 1.8 cm and weighs 1.8 kg. Unlike the largest laptops, there are also 16-inch devices with a 3:2 screen format. These offer more display area, are less wide, but are a bit deeper. Another example is the Huawei Matebook 16 (test report).
Hardware: What does a 17-inch laptop need?
As far as the hardware equipment is concerned, the range of large laptops is very pronounced. With particularly cheap models from 350 euros, buyers have to accept compromises in terms of equipment. Often only AMD Athlon Silver, Intel Celeron N4120 or Intel Pentium Gold are used as CPUs. These are slower than an AMD Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i3 and Core i5. Anyone who primarily wants to surf the web or work with simpler Office applications will be fine with it. However, users will have to bring a little patience with them, because longer loading times are to be expected with the Windows operating system. Our guide The cheapest Windows laptops in the world shows how it feels in operation: Is it worth buying?
CPUs with an Intel Core i3 and Core i5 as well as AMD Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 can be found for less than 500 euros. With a bit of luck, you will find a laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 from the 5000 series or an Intel Core i5-1035G1 and Core i5- 1135G7. These offer better performance than the cheap computers with Athlon or Celeron CPUs and are therefore clearly our recommendation. How well the chips from AMD are doing is explained in the guidebook Inexpensive laptops from 500 euros: Which AMD Ryzen is the best choice? Another advantage of the large notebooks: There are more connections here than in compact models. HDMI, two USB-A slots and at least one USB-C port or more are standard. The good old headphone jack is also included.
Inexpensive models often only offer an HD resolution with a maximum of 1600 x 900 pixels. With this diagonal, this leads to a pixel density of just over 100 ppi, and pixels are clearly visible. Wherever possible, we therefore recommend using a model with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. With a computer with an Intel Celeron, this can be done for less than 400 euros. With a Ryzen 5, a notebook with a full HD display costs upwards of 450 euros, with an Intel Core i5 at least 500 euros are due. 17.3-inch laptops with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels start at 1000 euros. 4K resolution is only available from 1500 euros.
There are many 17-inch devices with 4 GB of RAM in the price range below 400 euros. We would rather advise against this and grab at least 8 GB. This is also possible from 400 euros in connection with a Ryzen 3 and Full HD resolution. We would not choose less storage space for the SSD than 256 GB, 512 GB would be better. A fingerprint scanner is also practical, which is also available on inexpensive models.
If you want to play games with the large notebook, you should consider an appropriate graphics card. Corresponding gaming laptops in 17.3-inch format are available with Intel Core i5 and Geforce GTX1660 from 850 euros. That's not always enough for current games. A high-end 17.3-inch laptop with AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7 and Nvidia Geforce RTX 3050 or 3060 usually starts at over 1000 euros. More on this in the Gaming Laptops guide.
Unfortunately, we have to disappoint anyone who expects a longer battery life from a large laptop. We achieved a runtime of 7.5 hours with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ALC6 in the PCmark 10 battery test. Manufacturers only promise a longer runtime for devices over 1000 euros. Some of the inexpensive large-format notebooks are only designed for battery life of less than 6 hours. This also restricts mobility, since you should always have a socket nearby. With compact laptops, we get between 10 and 11.5 hours of battery life in our tests, depending on the model. We explain more about this in the guide Light and yet strong: Compact laptops under 1000 euros.
Big and cheap: 17.3-inch laptops up to 500 euros
If the budget is limited, there are some 17-inch devices for just under 500 euros. The Lenovo Ideapad 3 17ADA05 and the Thomson Neo 17 have the cheapest price at 350 euros. Only Intel Celeron N4020 and AMD Athlon Silver 3050U are used as processors. The resolution is 1600 x 900 pixels.
A better choice would be the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17IIL05 with Full HD and Intel Core i3 for 469 euros or the HP 17-cp0635ng with Ryzen 3 from 479 euros. You shouldn't expect too much from the workmanship here. Plastic is the dominant material for the case.
Powerful 17.3-inch laptops for the home office
If you want more performance for work, better equipment with Full HD resolution and higher quality workmanship, you have to spend more like 600 euros. We took a closer look at the Lenovo Ideapad 3 17ALC6 with AMD Ryzen 5 5500U. With a weight of just over 2.1 kg, the 17.3-inch notebook is still relatively light. The plastic housing contributes to this. At first glance, the paint finish makes it look like it's made of metal. The plastic makes for a light weight, but occasionally creaks.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ALC6
The large keyboard, which even has a numeric keypad, is pleasing and invites you to comfortably type longer texts. The key drop could be a bit crisper, but otherwise the keyboard leaves a decent impression. But there is no lighting. The touchpad could be a bit more precise and tends to react with a delay. On the other hand, the integrated cover in the webcam is very practical.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5500U and the 8 GB of RAM ensure strong performance in office applications. We got 5000 points in the PCmark benchmark, which is a strong value that leaves devices with an Intel Core i5 behind. The 17 incher is less suitable for gaming because the integrated AMD Radeon GPU is too weak for that. With "Time Spy" from 3Dmark we achieve 1200 points. For comparison. A PC with an Intel Core i5 and Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660 gets 6000 points here.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ITL6 with Intel Core i5-1135G7 for 539 euros is also very popular, but the resolution is only 1600×900 pixels. In our opinion, that is not enough. A good and affordable alternative is the HP 17-cp0656ng for 609 euros. A Ryzen 5 5500U is also used as the CPU, and there is also 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD and Full HD. Notebooks with an Intel Core i7-1065G7, such as the Asus VivoBook 17, start at 750 euros.
Compromise: 16-inch business notebooks:
If such a large computer is out of the question, you can consider a 16-inch device. More and more manufacturers are offering business laptops of this size. However, there are still no computers in this format in the affordable range under 500 euros.
We tested the Huawei Matebook 16 (test report) for 880 euros. The laptop uses a 16-inch screen in 3:2 format. This offers more work space than displays in 16:9 or 16:10. The resolution is very decent at 2520 x 1680, and the image quality is convincing all round. The CPU AMD Ryzen 7 5800H ensures a very strong performance. The battery life of almost 11 hours is also very pleasing. The cheapest device of this type is the no longer entirely new Huawei Matebook D16 (test report) with a 16:10 display.
Huawei Matebook 16
Huawei Matebook 16 review
The Dell Inspiron 16 is also interesting. With a Ryzen 5 CPU, the business laptop is available from 750 euros, with Ryzen 7 it costs 900 euros. The convincing Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Pro (test report) is also available as a 16-inch version. The Acer Swift 3 with Intel Core i7-11370H also offers good value for money. With the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5, you can even find a convertible PC (guide) of this size.
Gaming big: 17-inch gaming laptops
Actually, it's pretty obvious to make a gaming laptop as big as possible. With a larger display, there is enough fun even without an additional monitor. In addition, gaming notebooks are rarely known to be lightweight anyway and therefore require space for hardware and the necessary cooling.
The offer ranges from upscale but still affordable gaming laptops from 1000 euros such as the Acer Nitro 5 with Ryzen 5 and Nvidia Geforce RTX 3070 or MSI Katana GF76 with Intel Core i7-11800H and Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080 to high-end machines like Asus ROG Strix G17 for over 3500 euros. We explain in detail what you should look for in a gaming laptop in the guide to gaming laptops: gaming fun at home and on the go from 666 euros.
Anyone who rarely takes their laptop out of the house but is looking for a mobile replacement for a desktop PC is in good hands with a model with a 17.3-inch display. Compared to more compact notebooks, these are bulkier and heavier, but offer a significantly larger screen area. This is useful, for example, if there is not enough space in the home office for an external monitor or keyboard.
Prices start at 350 euros. However, buyers then only get a weak processor model and low resolutions. We therefore recommend a device for at least 450 euros or more. You can already get solid business laptops from 600 euros. There are even gaming laptops (guides) in large format.