It can be hard to know what laptop size to get. College students need their laptops to be light and easy to carry around, but you also want the screen large enough to see to do your projects.
Let’s go over the different laptop screen sizes, the pros and cons of each, and what factors you should consider when deciding on a laptop size for college.
Are you carrying around your laptop? You should get a protective case, laptop backpack, or cute laptop bag!
What are the different laptop sizes?
Laptops can be anywhere from 10.1 inches to 17.3 inches. The more common laptop sizes are 13-16 inches.
Check out all the benefits of Prime Student. Click here to sign up for Prime Student.
Best laptop screen size for college students
In general, a 13-inch laptop is the best laptop size for college. It is big enough to work, lightweight to carry around, and less expensive. However, if the student has poor eyesight or uses their laptop a lot for watching shows or gaming, a larger 15-16 inch laptop may be better for them.
The best laptop screen size for college students depends on personal preferences, what they are used to, and how they will use their laptops.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each laptop size.
Is a 13-inch laptop good for college?
A 13-inch laptop is good for college. It gives you enough screen space to see and get your work done at a lower price than larger laptops. It is also lightweight and easier to carry around, which is ideal if students need to take their laptops to class or to the library to study.
Most 13-inch laptops also have a normal full-size keyboard, so the typing experience is good.
I have a 13-inch Macbook Air,and I LOVE it!
If you want a larger screen size, you can always get an external monitor for your workspace.
Note: I would not recommend a laptop smaller than 13 inches because the screen size can be too small, and the keyboard can feel cramped.
Is a 14-inch laptop good for students?
A 14-inch laptop is not the best for students. It is not a much larger screen size than the 13-inch, yet it can often cost significantly more. Unless students find a great deal, they should either go with a smaller 13-inch laptop or a larger 15-16 inch laptop.
Is a 15-inch laptop good for students, or is it too big for college?
A 15-inch laptop can be a good size for college students. The larger screen size can be easier on the eyes, and larger laptops are often more powerful. However, it is heavier, so students should consider if it will be inconvenient for them to carry it around.
The weight and price can vary significantly with 15-inch laptops, so students that want this size should look around to find a lighter and less expensive option. They should also look for one with a longer battery span (since larger laptops can have a short battery life).
Is a 16-inch laptop too big for college?
A 16-inch laptop may be too big for most college students. It is bigger and, therefore, heavier to carry around to classes or the library. Bigger laptops also tend to cost more and have a shorter battery life which can be problematic for students on the go.
In general, a smaller 13-inch laptop is ideal for college students, but if the student has poor eyesight or uses their laptop a lot to watch shows, game, or code, then a 16-inch may be preferred.
I would not recommend getting a laptop larger than a 16-inch. The cost and bulk are not worth the extra screen size.
Factors to consider when picking a laptop size for college
Let’s look at all the factors you should consider to find the right laptop size for you.
Current laptop size
What size laptop do you currently have? Do you like it?
If you are used to a 16-inch laptop and like it, then a 13-inch laptop may seem very small. Alternatively, if you are used to carrying around a 13-inch laptop and like it, then a 16-inch laptop may seem too large and heavy.
There is no “right” laptop screen size. It is based on preference so consider what you already have and like or dislike.
In general, smaller laptops cost less than larger laptops.
However, this is not always the case, and depending on the brand, you can find a reasonably priced 15-16 inch laptop.
What will you mainly use your laptop for
In general, a 13-inch laptop screen size is big enough to do work or schoolwork.
However, if you will be mainly using your laptop for gaming or watching TV or movies, it may be worth investing in a larger laptop size.
You may also want a larger screen size if you are in software development or computer programming.
Larger screen size may be important if you have poor eyesight.
My dad does not have the best eyesight, so when he bought a laptop, a bigger screen size was his most important criteria.
Processing speeds and storage
Smaller laptops may have slower processing speeds, less RAM, or less storage. However, this is not always the case. Plenty of 13-inch laptops have good CPUs and at least additional RAM and storage options.
The important thing is that you look at the CPU, RAM, and storage available on any laptop you consider.
Learn more by checking out:
- Laptop Memory for College: What Is RAM and How Much Do You Need
- Laptop Storage for College—Types of Storage & How Much You Need
If you will carry around the laptop
If you will carry your laptop around a lot to class or the library or cafes to study, then you want a smaller laptop size so that it is more lightweight and easier to carry around.
Also, consider how much walking around you will be doing versus driving or taking a bus. The heavier laptop may sound like not much more weight, but when carrying it around all day, it can feel like a lot.
If you value portability, stick to a laptop under 4-5 pounds.
What else you will need to carry with your laptop
If you are only carrying around your laptop, you will likely not have a problem carrying around a heavier, bulkier laptop. However, consider what else you have to carry around.
If you have to take multiple textbooks and notes, then a smaller laptop becomes more important.
Consider what bag you will use
If you need to carry around your laptop a lot, consider what bag you will use. Laptops larger than 15 inches may not fit easily in your backpack.
Obviously, you can get a larger bag or a laptop bag, so this is not a deal breaker, but it is something to consider.
Will a larger backpack or carrying a backpack and a laptop case be comfortable or difficult to carry?
How big is your workspace
It is worth considering how big your workspace or desk is. A bigger desk is a lot more hassle to buy than a bigger bag.
If you live in a small dorm or apartment, have a small desk, or have a small cubicle, then a smaller laptop becomes more important.
Additionally, consider how it fits in your lap.
I frequently have to use my laptop while lying down, and I like the feel of a 13-inch laptop on my lap better than a 16-inch laptop.
What other devices you have
If you have a desktop or external monitor at home, you probably don’t need a larger screen size for your laptop. You can use the portability benefits of a smaller laptop and the larger screen size benefits when working at home.
Alternatively, if you have an iPad that you can carry to classes, then you probably don’t need a lighter, smaller screen size.
Now you know the best laptop size for college students and how to determine which size is best for you.
Share this post with a friend who needs help deciding on a laptop size.
My favorite products for your laptop
Thank you for reading this article—I hope you found it helpful! Here are some of my favorite products for your laptop that I hope you’ll also find helpful.
External drive: Back up your laptop with an external drive. I have used Seagate drives for many years, and their drives are great quality, and their customer support is very helpful!
Lap desk: Lap desks make it easier to use your laptop anywhere, including your couch or bed.
Cleaning brush for electronics: Use a brush to clean electronics to keep your laptop clean.
Travelings case and/or bag: A protective laptop case is a hard case that keeps your laptop safe when you are carrying it or traveling with it. Another way to carry around your laptop is with a laptop backpack or over-the-shoulder laptop bag. Use one (or even better, both) to protect your laptop when on the go.
To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations for tools and products for students, check out this resource that I made for you!