Is A 13-Inch Laptop Too Small? (What You Need To Know)

Is a 13-inch laptop too small? Over time, the laptop market has evolved. If you’re looking for one, you have more to consider. While there are many things you can factor in, the screen size may be among the biggest.

A 13-inch laptop is appropriate for most users, whether you are a student, professional, music producer, gamer, or artist. However, a 15-inch or 17-inch screen has a higher pixel density than a 13-inch screen. Because of this, images will be sharper and more detailed on larger screens.

So, this article will look at features packed into the 13-inch laptops and guide that might make the best decision for you.

What to expect from a 13-inch laptop?

We will now review the specs that one can expect when purchasing a 13-inch laptop.

1. RAM and storage

13-inch laptops generally have up to 16 gigabytes of RAM and 512 to 1 terabyte of solid-state drive (SSD) storage. However, some models, like the Dell Inspiron 13, also have up to 2 terabytes of SSD storage. Microsoft Surface 4 has 32GB RAM with 1TB of storage.

You should consider how important storage is to you and compare the storage capacity of your desired model with that of what you currently have. The amount of RAM and storage capacity that meets your needs will vary based on how you use your laptop. 

If you do a lot of multitasking or run many memory-intensive programs like video editing, editing photos, or streaming video, then 8 -16GB RAM and 1TB storage are enough.  

2. CPU and GPU

Most laptops with screens measuring 13 inches have an Intel Core i7 processor and either integrated graphics from Intel or a GPU from NVIDIA, such as the NVIDIA GeForce MX450.

However, some of these computers also have processors from AMD, like Ryzen 5 or 7 or an i5 CPU. Laptops with Intel Core i5 processors include the Microsoft Surface 4, Dell Inspiron 13, and Dell XPS 13.

These laptops generally offer sufficient performance for everyday tasks like browsing and streaming content over the internet.

3. Display

Most 13-inch laptops have a full high definition or a quad high definition screen with 2560 x 1600 resolution. They also have 300nits of brightness for use in low-light environments.

4. Sound

Most 13-inch laptops sound okay for basic tasks and should have adequate volume if you plan to watch videos or listen to music. 

If you want higher quality audio, look for a laptop that uses Dolby Audio Premium or Waves Maxx Audio. Speakers should be free of distortion, making them good for listening to music or movie audio.

5. Construction and portability

For people who want the portability of a laptop, we recommend a 13-inch screen. Most 13-inch laptops weigh 3 pounds and are no more than 0.7 inches wide. 

They’re also very light and easy to transport. We recommend going for an all-metal build and investing in protective features to keep your laptop safe. 

Many top-rated 13-inch laptops, like Apple’s line of products, will feature all-metal construction, which is often more durable than other materials.

6. Battery duration

Depending on available hardware and battery capacity, it should be easy to find 13-inch laptops with more than 8 hours of battery backup. 

You can expect about 18 hours of use on a single charge for most 13-inch laptops on the market, but depending on available features, you can find some models that provide considerably more battery life than that.

Is a 13-inch laptop too small?

Now let’s look at different purposes if 13-inch laptops are enough.

For programming

The 13-inch laptops can be perfect for programming as long as you don’t need to work with multiple windows simultaneously. The problem with a 13-inch screen is that it is not big enough to show two windows side by side, making it more difficult when you need to compare code in two separate windows.

You will also have trouble with wide code files. The 13-inch screen is too narrow to show more than 60 characters per line comfortably, so you will spend a lot of time scrolling horizontally.

Since 13 inches is a fairly standard size for laptops, most programmers are comfortable, but some prefer a larger screen. 

The size of the screen you need also depends on the project you’re working on. For example, if you’re developing a large program with many lines of code, you’ll need a larger screen to view all of that code, while a smaller screen is more suited to programs with fewer lines of code.

But if you don’t have a problem with this screen size, try finding a model with good storage, battery, and RAM.

For work

For many, a 13-inch laptop is a sweet spot. It’s big enough to have a good-size screen, but it’s small enough to carry with you in a bag or use comfortably on your lap. But if you’re thinking about buying one, or if your current laptop is a 13-inch, you might be asking yourself if it’s too small for work.

The 13-inch screen size is ideal for you, depending on your workload. For instance, if you’re an engineer who needs to run 3D programs and has multiple windows open at once, a 13-inch laptop will be too small. But if you’re an author who needs Microsoft Word, a 13-inch notebook will do just fine.

If you write code or do other development work, I’d recommend at least a 15-inch laptop with a decent display resolution. Both Windows and macOS Sierra are optimized for high-resolution screens in laptops and desktops alike. So they look best when they’re set to the display’s native resolution, which is usually very high. 

For the school

A 13-inch laptop is ideal for any student, whether you’re in high school, elementary school, or middle school. It’s easy to use and carry around campus, but it’s also big enough to accommodate your assignments.

If you’re planning on watching many movies or playing video games, you might consider investing in a larger screen. On the other hand, if you’re mostly just using your computer to write papers and research online, a smaller screen will work fine. You can even run programs like Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint on it.

Some students prefer smaller screens because they allow them to read more easily. Smaller screens are generally less expensive than larger ones.

For the University

Let’s assume you’re looking for a laptop for your university. Asking if one size is too small is the wrong question. Choosing a laptop should be based on how it serves the student.

There are two kinds of students: those who will spend most of their time in classrooms and those who will spend most of their time in labs, workshops, or studios.

For the first group, the question is whether they can write essays, research papers, and projects using the laptop. In most cases, a 13-inch laptop will be suitable.

A larger screen may be desirable, but it is not necessary. The key factors here are carrying it easily and connecting to various devices. A 13-inch screen is more than sufficient for this purpose.

The second group needs a higher-quality laptop with more storage and processing power because they need to work with graphics and media files stored in large sizes and formats (which require processing power).

Here, we’re talking about art, design, and engineering students who have to meet all sorts of software requirements such as CAD, photo editing, 3D animation software (Blender, Maya), and video editing software. Then you may find yourself in need of a larger screen so you can see more detail of the projects and documents you will be working on.

If you are an art student, an engineering student, or any other type who needs higher-quality graphics, you may consider a 15-inch laptop to ensure that your computer can handle what you need it to.

For games

There’s no reason to think that a 13-inch laptop is too small for gaming, as long as the other parts of your system are in good shape. Most 13-inch laptops have a 1366 x 768 resolution, and a few have a 1920 x 1080 resolution. 

The higher resolution is better for gaming because you can see more of the game in detail. However, you don’t need a 4K display panel to play RPGs or strategy games — they’ll run fine on a standard 1080p screen.

You should pay attention to whether the laptop has a dedicated GPU (graphics card). Many thin and light laptops don’t include one because they’re unnecessary for everyday tasks like surfing the web or checking email. If you want to game on your laptop, you need a dedicated GPU and an integrated graphics card.

It’s also essential to check connectivity options and Bluetooth capabilities. Some games require multiple monitors or screen resolution that won’t fit on one screen, so you’ll need plenty of HDMI ports. In addition, some controllers and keyboards rely on Bluetooth connections, so be sure that your laptop can handle them before making a purchase decision.

For music production

If you’re a music producer, you need a laptop that’s big enough to do your job. You probably already have an all-in-one desktop computer in the studio, but when you’re making a track that requires tons of editing and mixing, you’ll need a 13-inch laptop with a lot of power under the hood.

13 inches isn’t too small for music production. It’s the standard size for the industry. You’ll have no problem running music software on a 13-inch laptop, but you may get frustrated with tiny screen space. Size depends on personal preference, though. Some people like to work with smaller screens. Others prefer up to 24 inches or even multiple monitors to handle complex projects.

If you plan on doing more than just creating music and mixing tracks, upgrading to a 14 or 15-inch screen might be worth it to make enough room for multiple monitors.

For photo and video editing

You can’t say if a 13-inch laptop is too small for video editing without first knowing what you want to edit. Let’s look at this in detail.

What do you want to edit? If all you want is to take your iPhone or GoPro footage and throw it onto YouTube or Facebook, then absolutely not. Even a 12 inch Chromebook would be more than powerful enough for this task. 

When it comes to 13-inch laptops, there are some pretty good options. However, you might not be able to enjoy the full potential of these machines, especially if you’re looking for a laptop for video editing. The processor and memory specs would be fine for some light 1080p video editing, but if you are working with 4K footage or more complex projects, you will need at least 15-inch laptops.

If you want a small laptop for video editing, your best bet is to go with a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Apple’s models offer excellent performance in a small body and are reliable workhorses that won’t break down on you after a few months of heavy use. Their small screen means they won’t be as comfortable using larger models, but they’ll still get the job done very well.

FAQs

Is the 13-inch laptop screen too small to watch a movie?

It depends on you. If you prefer a larger screen, you can purchase a projector or upgrade to a higher resolution or wider screen. However, 13-inch laptops are perfectly capable of streaming movies and other content online. They’re also great for keeping you entertained on the go.

How does a 13-inch laptop compare to a 15-inch?

15-inch laptops are larger and more common-sized laptops. However, they are also heavier, larger, and often more expensive than 13-inch laptops. They are better for graphic design and programming, while 13-inch laptops are adequate for most day-to-day activities.

Conclusion

It does make sense to step back once in a while and look at the things you have and if they are still relevant to your needs. If you want to experience a wide angle of work with your computer, a 13-inch laptop is not the best choice. 

You might want to go for a bigger screen with more storage because it will be easier to achieve your goals whenever you are working on your laptop. 

If you like to carry around their laptops, then a smaller screen and compactness is what you should look for.

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