Sometimes there’s just no substitute for more screen real estate. Compact laptops are easy to carry, but movies, photos and even web browsing and spreadsheets can benefit enormously from being let loose on a big screen. If you want the next best thing to a desktop experience, you need a laptop with a screen size of at least 17 inches. We bought and tested 10 large-screen laptops to see how they compared for performance, ease of use, battery life and features.
Just because a laptop has a big screen doesn’t mean you have to pay through the nose either. Our test machines started at less than $1200, with six of the 10 laptops tested coming in at under $1600. In fact, our second-ranked laptop overall came in at well under half-the cost of the top ranked model. If you’re after sheer performance however, you can expect to pay for what you get. Our two top models for performance, the Apple MacBook Pro and the Dell Alienware M17X, were among the most expensive models tested. It pays to compare performance figures however, not just price – our second-most expensive model on test unexpectedly ended up equal lowest in the performance rankings.
The inclusion of a dedicated graphics card can also boost video performance noticeably. The two ASUS models, for example, are very similar in specification except that K72F has onboard graphics and the K72JK has a dedicated video card with 1GB of memory. The K72JK scored a little higher across the board for performance, but very significantly so in graphics-intensive tasks such as gaming.
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Models on test:
- Apple MacBook Pro 17-inch
- ASUS K72JK [D]
- ASUS K72F
- Dell Alienware M17X Core i7
- Dell Inspiron N7010
- HP Probook 4720s WP426PA
- MSI Classic CR720
- MSI Gaming GT740
- Sony VAIO VPCEC15FGBI
- Toshiba Satellite P500-027003
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