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In searching for a case for my laptop, I see product specs that state their case will hold a 16" laptop. This is a diagonal measurement, but I really want to know the width and depth. If laptops these days are built using a proportionate length and depth standard then there should be a math equation to use the diagonal length to determine the exact width and depth. If not then how do you determine the width and depth of a laptop if all they give you is the diagonal measurement?

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Yer drastically over thinking this my friend. There MIGHT be such a measure but you figure the case to the screen size and a few inches at most deep. How complicated does it really need to be? – OG Chuck Low Dec 16 '11 at 16:28
@OGChuckLow has it right. Laptop screens are all diagonally measured, generally all 16:9 (with a few 16:10 holdouts), and by necessity drive most of the width/depth determination. Once the bezel and trackpad are taken into account, all laptops of a given screen size are very similar in footprint. It's a Big Deal when a thin-bezeled laptop allows for a 15" laptop to have the same footprint as a normal 14" laptop. Height (or "thinness") is where all the competition is at in laptop sizes right now. – afrazier Dec 16 '11 at 16:49
If the laptop has an oversized battery that extends beyond the body (or if you might ever get one), then get a bigger case. – sawdust Dec 16 '11 at 19:58
That IS a good point Sawdust :) I know for a fact the Dell extended batteries add about a full inch or more front or back. Excellent note. – OG Chuck Low Dec 16 '11 at 20:09
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Unless the case is hard case, you should be fine. Usually the material that cases is made out of stretchable material or has Velcro straps to secure even larger (thicker) laptops.

Do laptops have a standard width/depth proportion?

There is no specific proportion that all laptop manufactures follow. If your laptop is more than 3” thick, consider buying a laptop sleeve or a non-hard case that is an inch or two larger than the laptop size you have.

...How do you determine the width and depth of a laptop if all they give you is the diagonal measurement?

In general, I'm sure that any store you purchase a laptop case from will let you return it if it doesn't fit your specific needs.

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