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The sweet spot: 14-inch laptops combine power and portability
A 14-inch laptop is the sweet spot between smaller ultraportable models and larger systems that, while portable, are valued more as replacements for typical desktop or tower PCs. To paraphrase Goldilocks of fairy tale fame, an 11-inch or 13-inch model is too small, a 15-inch or 17-inch one is too big, but a 14-inch laptop is just right.
So, what about a mid-sized laptop makes it such a strong choice? Simply put, it's because a 14-inch laptop occupies a special place on the sliding scale of price, portability, usability and performance. Whether you're comparing a 14-incher against a smaller laptop or a bigger one, consider these facts:
- Price -- All else being equal, smaller displays cost less than bigger ones, so a 14-inch FHD laptop typically costs less than a larger model with similar specs. If you go much smaller, then other facets of laptop manufacturing can start pushing costs in the other direction.
- Portability -- The bigger the laptop, the less likely it fits with today's streamlined backpacks or shrinking airline trays. In addition, while smaller models might use less power, a 14-inch laptop can be equipped with comparatively bigger, longer-lasting batteries.
- Usability -- The smallest laptops often sacrifice features such as full-size keyboards, internal storage drives, variety of ports, and so on. In contrast, a 14-inch form factor, while heavier, has room for more of the usability features today's buyers value most.
- Performance -- From processors to graphics cards to RAM modules to storage drives, mid-size laptops can come equipped with every top-quality component imaginable. There's virtually no laptop feature or capability you can't find in a 14-inch model from Lenovo.
Make no mistake. Fourteen-inch laptops are not the PC market's most popular portable systems. Experts say that honor goes to 15-inch models, which dominate corporate laptop fleets worldwide. Fourteen-inch models are rarely used by top-flight PC gamers, who generally prefer bigger screens, fancy cooling systems and other features that can't always fit in a smaller frame. For individual business, home office and family buyers who are legitimately weighing the relative advantages of 13-, 14- and 15-inch systems, today's 14-inch laptops often come out on top.
14-inch laptop shopping tips
Here are some tips for buyers who believe they want a 14-inch laptop but aren't sure about what they might be giving up compared to smaller or larger systems:
- Get the best display technology you can afford: If you like the small frame size but worry about the viewability of a 14-inch display, then buy a system with high resolution (FHD or higher) and advanced features like AMOLED (where pixel-by-pixel illumination gives brighter colors, deeper blacks, etc.).
- Look for a model with a thin bezel: Top manufacturers like Lenovo build their laptops to minimize the width of the plastic frame around the display. You can often find a 14-inch display in roughly the same frame size as a 13-incher. In other words, a "big feeling" 14-inch laptop.
- Consider an external monitor for work: Monitor prices keep dropping, making it easier than ever to match your new 14-inch laptop with a big, high-resolution 19- to 23-inch external display on your office desk. For those who use their laptop both at work and on the road, it's the best of both worlds.
As you can see, there are lots of reasons to consider a 14-inch laptop. They're portable enough, fast enough, and have big enough screens for almost any business, home office or family activity. If you shop carefully and optimize the most important components, a 14-inch laptop can be the perfect solution for your needs.