What size laptop do I need?

Profile picture of author Nick Groeneveld, a senior UX designer and mentor for The Designer's Toolbox

Nick Groeneveld

Senior UX Designer

What size laptop do I need?

Picking a new laptop can be a difficult task. ‘What size laptop do I need’ is something that could be on your mind. And rightly so. Laptop sizes range from 11 up to 17 inches. Here’s what you need to know when looking for a laptop.

What size laptop do I need is a common question when looking for new UX equipment. If you take a step back and consider both tablets and desktops as well, you’ll see that you can get computers in sizes ranging from 9 inches up to 34 inches and sometimes even bigger.

For designers, a bigger size laptop is generally considered to be better. More screen equals more space for your tools and designs. However, in some cases, you might want to go for a smaller-sized laptop.

Let’s take a closer look.

Table of Contents

What size laptop do I need?

For work, the most commonly available sizes are 13 and 15-inch laptops. If you take a look at our recommendations for the best laptops for UX design work, you’ll see that both the Surface Book and the MacBook Pro are available in 13 and 15-inch sizes.

These sizes provide a best-of-both-worlds type of solution for your everyday design work needs. The laptop is big enough for design work and lightweight enough to take with you on the go.

Portability vs Power and space in a laptop screen size

The 13-inch sized laptop goes more towards portability while the 15-inch laptop has more room for your design work.

Please note that Apple is currently moving away from 13 and 15-inch laptops towards 14 and 16-inch machines. They’re doing this by decreasing the bezel size of the screen. By doing so, the laptop stays the same size and weight and therefore doesn’t change the arguments of being portable and lightweight that we talked about.

At this moment, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is available but the 14-inch version is only rumored to be in the works.

Working from home

Working from home is a little bit different. The question of what size laptop you need doesn’t require you to take portability into account. In that case, you can go for a bigger sized laptop because you’ll use it at home. Add a second monitor and you’re set for years.

At the same time, having an extra lightweight laptop at home can be nice if you’re into working (or relaxing) from the couch. We use an 11-inch tablet with a bluetooth keyboard at home, for example. Just make sure you have the option for another monitor if it turns out you do need the extra space.

Further reading

Purchasing a new laptop comes with a lot of questions. What size laptop do I need is just one of these questions. As you could’ve read, we believe that it is best to go for either a 13 or a 15-inch laptop.

Both are very versatile. They’re big enough to have enough space for design work. At the same time, they are both lightweight enough to travel with.

Now that you’ve answered the question of what size laptop you need, it is time to pick one. We have a guide on selecting the best laptop for UX design to help you choose.

Profile picture of author Nick Groeneveld, a senior UX designer and mentor for The Designer's Toolbox

About the author

Hi! I'm Nick Groeneveld, a senior designer from the Netherlands with experience in UX, visual design, and research. I have completed a wide range of projects in finance, tech, and the public sector.

Take a look at Nick's LinkedIn and Medium for more.

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