Most people who set out to buy a 17-inch laptop aren’t doing it because they want something sleek and lightweight. Conventional wisdom says that a 17-inch laptop is going to be a bruiser. If you want something thin and sleek, you’re going to be stuck with a 12- or 13-inch device.
Well, conventional wisdom doesn’t quite hold up anymore in 2021. As humorous as it sounds, the thin and light 17-inch laptop is a thing now, with at least two high-quality entries in the category.
The LG Gram 17
and the Dell XPS 17
are both slim 17-inch laptops that come in under five pounds (well under, in the case of the Gram). Yet they’re both powerful enough for basic computing and light creative or gaming uses, with huge, gorgeous screens as well.
Who Should Buy a Lightweight 17-inch Laptop?
These machines aren’t strictly gaming laptops, though, if you upgrade to discrete graphics, they’ll do decently well. Nor are they exactly what pro creators are going to flock to. So who are they for, exactly?
Probably the best answer to this question is normal folks. Plenty of folks have struggled to get schoolwork or work-work done on a tiny laptop screen. Trying to watch movies or do some light gaming on your small laptop screen can be equally frustrating. Many older PC users find the tiny fonts that come with smaller screens difficult to read, as well.
If you want the biggest laptop screen available, but you don’t need a ton of added power and bulk, a lightweight 17-inch laptop is for you. If you’re leaning toward a large laptop but are concerned about portability, again, one of these two machines may well be the solution you’ve been looking for.
There are business uses, too. Photographers could make great use of this laptop class, provided they spec it up enough and stick to a higher-end screen like on the XPS 17. If you do presentations on the go, a screen this big can be its own projector in a pinch—especially if you choose a 2-in-1 model that can display in kiosk mode.
Dell XPS 17
Dell’s recent XPS machines have been nothing short of fantastic, with the XPS 15 winning just about everyone’s “best 15-inch laptop” award. The XPS 17 9700
, fresh for 2021, is equally impressive.
The most visible feature on the XPS 17 is the InfinityEdge display, which is nearly bezel-free on all four sides. As a result, this machine hardly looks like a 17 inch computer with the lid closed. This display is fantastic, by the way, better than 4K with impressive color gamut and calibration tools included. The XPS 17 is a true pleasure to look at.
The body is very thin, allowing room for USB-C ports and nothing more. Thankfully, Dell includes a dongle in the box that gives you an HDMI and USB-A connection. The keyboard has a great clicky feel that allows for natural, quick typing.
There are multiple configurations available in the US. Base prices start at $1,399 and max out at $2,849 for a touchscreen model with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics card. And of course, you can spec up any of these configurations to meet your needs.
The best graphics card available is fine, but not excellent. If you’re looking to do pro 3D work or high-end gaming, you might need to look elsewhere. But for basic creative tasks, productivity, entertainment and more, it’s an excellent large system.
Similarly, the XPS 17 is stuck with 10th-gen Intel processors, which is a drawback compared to the Gram 17.
LG Gram 17
The LG Gram 17
is impressive in its own ways as a 17-inch laptop that doesn’t even weigh three pounds. Truthfully, that’s nuts. And despite the light weight, the machine seems to be quite durable, passing MIL-STD 810G testing.
It’s not as sexy or as bezel-free as the XPS 17, but the QHD screen is still very impressive. And speaking of impressive, how does 19.5 hours of battery life in a video rundown test sound?
The 11th-gen Intel processors provide a nice boost here, and the machine is thicker, allowing for both USB-C and USB-A ports, plus a full-sized HDMI port.
The integrated iris Xe graphics are good as far as integrated graphics go, but it’s a shame you can’t get a dedicated graphics card in this otherwise impressive machine.
In the Market? Don’t Forget Your Extended Warranty
If you’re in the market for a new 17-inch laptop, don’t forget your most important accessory: an extended warranty
. Your new laptop can do a lot, but the tough reality is that a thin and light laptop isn’t always going to be the sturdiest device. Accidents happen, and you don’t want to be on the hook for a full replacement of a machine that costs this much.
Some manufacturers will sell you a first-party extended warranty, but these tend to be pretty expensive and can be hard to use. Similarly, the big box retailers will gladly sell you an extended warranty at the register. See, they know you don’t have time to compare prices and they use that to their advantage.
Upsie, on the other hand, has transparent pricing based on the purchase price of your device. If you need to make a claim — even for accidental damage — the process is simple and straightforward. You can even request to use your preferred local repair shop! Lastly, they give you up to 60-days after laptop purchase to get a warranty, so you’re never rushed into a decision. If you’re about to pick up a new laptop, don’t forget this crucial step. Get your Upsie extended warranty today
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