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Laptop Screen Size
6

Laptop Screen Size

Laptop Screen Size

(OP)
The engineering department at my company is finally starting to get laptop. I was wondering what people thoughts are on screen size. The laptops will mostly be used in the office with docking stations and two 24 in monitors. The primary reason to get laptops is to allow some flexibility in work locations, like working from home. The engineering staff does not travel much so weight is not a high priority. We run 2D CAD, RISA, other genral programs. My initial thought was 17 in screens, but my IT department thinks I am nuts and thinks we should get 15 in. My previous experience with "engineering" laptops was using 17 in screens. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

I think we're in the realm of personal preference. My older eyes tolerate a larger screen better, but I can live with a 15-in. While you might not be travelling, I can certainly tell you that just lugging a behemoth 17-in laptop back and forth gets old. With 15-in laptops, I can carry two of them back and forth on weekends, my personal and my work.

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RE: Laptop Screen Size

15 inch is my preference, you can get some good carry bag for a 15 inch and also when you want an extender battery it will note get too large.

http://www.nceng.com.au/
"Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning."

RE: Laptop Screen Size

Most 17 inch laptops are like hauling around a brick, not because of their size (although that's an issue when trying to find a decent PC bag) but because they tend to weight a 'ton'. I always had a 15 inch and while a few people where I used to work insisted on getting 17 inchers, most all of them later admitted that it was a mistake. This would be particularly true if you indeed spend most of your time working at a desk with dual large-screens tied to a docking station.

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Laptop Screen Size

If most of your work will be using the docking station and external monitors, I also highly suggest the (MUCH) lighter 15" laptop. The extra weight involved with those larger screen systems is just so out of proportion to the benefit of the larger screen. Suffer screen-wise for a few days while you're on the road, but save your back the trouble.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Laptop Screen Size

SAVE YOUR BACK, as time goes on a little weight makes a big difference.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

The bigger the laptop, the harder it is to find decent long lasting equipment to carry it around in. There's also not that much to stop getting a second docking station at home, if for no other reason than the associated laptop keyboard and tracking device isn't much more fun than being restricted to tiny screens after being used to 2x24" monitors.

I used to carry around a 4kg laptop in a backpack, screen size was one of the larger options at the time. My new backpack won't fit the older laptop, and to be honest I'd not be interested in carrying around the heavier gear now either. Your preference may vary, but I hate using laptop keyboards and I cannot imagine attempting to do drafting work on a touchpad.

The only caveat with the smaller laptop is to make sure that it still has decent graphics capability to run the big screens with design software, not all of them do.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

The biggest thing I found using a laptop for work was that the majority of work will be done with a projector, large monitor, or other screens in combination with the laptop's built-in screen. Whenever you'll be forced to use the laptop's screen alone it will be a pain regardless of size. Thus, the difference between 15 inches and 17 inches will not make a substantial difference and having to lug a large laptop around isn't that fun; 15" seems to be the sweet spot.

Professional and Structural Engineer (ME, NH)
American Concrete Industries
www.americanconcrete.com

RE: Laptop Screen Size

We have latitude E7440 (14" screen, i7, 16gb ram, SSD). They are pretty nice and would probably work well for your setup (if it's just 2D cad and RISA). Their biggest lack is graphics card but that shouldn't be an issue for what you've described. I travel with mine everyday back and forth from work and I think it's a good size. 75% of my time is in the office in the docking station, 15% of my time is in my home in a similar docking station, 10% of my time is using the laptop without a docking station.

I agree with others I'd go with portability over 17" size. If you are used to a dual monitor setup it doesn't matter how big the laptop screen is you still won't like it very much. I'd be more focused on the performance specs of the laptop meeting your requirements so it works when plugged into the docking station.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

My laptop is a 17" and the posters above are correct, the screen sucks if you are trying do anything other than send e-mails or type documents. Once you are used to running 2 or 3 screens, a laptop screen is really hard to get used to. Forget about doing anything in CAD except the most minor tweaks.

The 17" hasn't bothered my back much I have an O'gio Urban pack. This thing is awesome for travelling engineering nerds. Tons of pockets and thickly padded around the laptop itself.



RE: Laptop Screen Size

3
I've got a backpack similar to the one RocketRed posted. Mine is a DaKine Terminal. It fits a 17" laptop but it's tight, not quite as many pockets as his shows but enough to fit anything I ever need.

That being said, a 17" monitor is heavy to lug around back and forth and do recommend a 15". Make sure whichever laptop you get has the sidebar of numbers similar to a keyboard, there's nothing more annoying than trying to enter stuff into a spreadsheet and having to use the row at the top of the laptop.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

(OP)
Thank you all for your responses.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

Unless you need the horsepower one can fit into a 17" I would not buy one. I have had three of them for modeling at home, and they are terrible to travel with.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

I had a 17", then went to a 15" and then another 15". The 15"s were great (even if the case on the first one was a bit fragile). I appreciated the reduction in weight. The biggest problem for me was keyboard. The 17" one had a full keyboard with number pad, similar to the one on the docking station. The second 15" not only lacks the number pad but has put the home and end buttons that require shift key strokes. I do a lot of technical documents, and the work I tend to do at home / away from the office is checking and editing documents when I tend to use those keys a lot. I get used to them after a while, but the next time I am in the office, I am back to a normal keyboard. I also struggle when typing by tapping the track pad and the cursor jumping all over the document...

RE: Laptop Screen Size

My coworker is currently suffering the decision to go with the 17".even at home he has external monitor. If he isn't at his desk he is using a projection screen

RE: Laptop Screen Size

For portability and productivity, I'd say stick with 15in. If you're not planning on running any resource heavy 3D modelling software, I can't see the need for it to be any bigger.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

My company is rolling out 14.1" laptops, full 1080p. Stuff is so tiny, My eyes are fine and I still zoom in on everything. I'd say 15" is a good compromise; still portable but not huge, and not so small @ native resolution that you cant read anything.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

Note that screen size alone is not the culprit when it comes to having on-screen "stuff" being so "tiny". Even if there are no future changes in physical screen sizes, as display resolution continues to go up (it will soon be common to see 4K and even 5K displays), text and icons continue to appear smaller and smaller because they are all pixel-based. Now it's fairly easy to increase the size of the fonts used on-screen, but often the size of icons are controlled only by the application and not the OS. And of course as WE get older our ability to even see the on-screen objects is impacted, so you might have to bite-the-bullet and simply switch the display resolution to something LESS than the maximum possible.

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Laptop Screen Size

I have a ultra-high resolution Lenovo right now (terrible quality control on their laptops but they're cheap for the performance). I scaled it back to a normal 1080p resolution as none of the engineering software played nice with it. Nobody has written their programs to scale properly when you go to these high DPI monitors. I'm sure they'll catch up eventually, though.

Professional and Structural Engineer (ME, NH)
American Concrete Industries
www.americanconcrete.com

RE: Laptop Screen Size

Speaking for my former employer, the next version of Siemens PLM's workhorse CAD system, NX 11.0 (which will be released this summer), has been enhanced to work well with these new ultra-highresolution displays.

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Laptop Screen Size

I just got a new laptop with 13" screen - it seems huge compared with my old 11" screen. I like the small size computers for their portability. I used the 11" for cad work with no problems. It is just a matter of getting used to something.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

I used a 17" laptop for years and liked it, since portability wasn't an issue.

Nowadays you'd have to take my dual 24" monitors away from my cold dead hands, though.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

I travel a lot and only like 15" laptops. 17" are too heavy and heat up too much and burn out before its time because of the heat.

Just be aware if you carry your docking station laptop on site in dirty environment somewhere make sure you cover the docking station pin outs on the bottom of the laptop with electrical tape. I had the problem with dust or whatever shorting out the laptop because the docking station on bottom is exposed.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

A 15-15.5" is great, but even 1080 is the low end for resolution.
I must be an IPS screen (no TFT allowed) and 1200 line resolution is good, 1440 would be better.
You can always scale the display to show things the size that you want.
The crispness and clarity of a 1200 line IPS screen makes 15" more than usable.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: Laptop Screen Size

Summation: If you want to get work done on the road, get the 17". If getting work is not as important as carrying convenience, get the 15". CAD on 15" is zoom zoom pan pan pan hell.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

I know an Architect who takes his laptop to his client's homes and plugs into his client's television to show the family his work on their home and edit on the spot.

RE: Laptop Screen Size

Yea, and I've done software demos in front of a thousand people in a hotel ballroom hooked to multiple projected displays, but I would never want to actually work that way everyday smile

Off topic comment: The most interesting venues where I've given demonstrations and presentations were in a fire department in Golden, CO and the "Hall of the Young Pioneers" in Kiev, Ukraine.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Laptop Screen Size

Depends to me mostly on whether the manufacturer offers a 10-key pad in the size(s) you're considering. You may or may not like them, but I can't function without one. If you are in the market, I'd also suggest a Tom Bihn bag; you pay for them, but they are super nice (no relation).

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