Laptops with 4K display knock Full High Definition screens out of the resolution ball-park.
They bring images into sharper clarity. And enable you to see more content at one time.
But, ever since they rolled out in 2014 (with a pricier sticker-tag than their better-established cousins) their value has been up for debate.
Along with a nicer screen, a 4K laptop comes with a powerful graphics processor, CPU and other top-notch features you may not necessarily need.
Which begs the question, are laptops with 4K display really worth it?
Laptops with 4K Display
- Laptops with 4K Display
- 4K Screen Resolution-Comparison
- The Run Down
- Laptops with 4K Display: What is 4K Resolution
- Why the Ideal User Wants a 4K Display Laptop
- Laptops With 4K Display: 1080p vs 4K
- Laptops with 4K Display vs 4K Desktop
- Laptops with 4K Display: 4K Gaming
- So… Are Laptops With 4K Display Worth It?
- Other Considerations for Laptops With 4K Display
- When Does a 4K Display Laptop Make Sense
- The Research Method
- 9 Laptops With 4K Display-Review
- 1. Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-US71 15.6-inch
- 2. Dell Inspiron i7559-5012GRY 15.6-inch
- 3. MSI GS73VR Stealth Pro 17.3-inch
- 4. MSI GT72S Dominator Pro 17.3-inch
- 5. Razer Blade Stealth 12.5-inch
- 6. Razer Blade Pro 17.3-inch
- 7. Dell Inspiron 7548-7130SLV 15.6-inch
- 8. HP Pavilion 17 Gamer 17.3-inch
- 9. Toshiba Satellite Radius 2-in-1 15.6-inch
If you already know what you’re looking for in laptops with 4K display. Here are the top picks:
4K Screen Resolution-Comparison
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-US71 15.6-inch
|2.6GHz Quad Core, i7-6700HQ||NVIDIA GTX 960M 2G VRAM||16GB DDR4||512 GP SSD 1400MB/s, No Optical Drive||Check|
Dell Inspiron i7559-5012GRY 15.6-inch
|2.6GHz Quad Core, i7-6700HQ||NVDIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5 VRAM||16GB DDR3L SDRAM||128GB + 1TB HDD SSD, No Optical Drive||Check|
MSI GS73VR Stealth Pro 17.3-inch
|Intel 2.6GHz Quad Core, i7-6700HQ||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6G GDDR5 VRAM||16GB DDR4 2400MHz DDR4-SDRAM||512GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD (5400RPM), No Optical Drive||Check|
|MSI GT72S Dominator Pro 17.3-inch||Intel 2.7GHz Quad Core i7-6820 Processor||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 8GB GDDR5 VRAM||16GB DDR4 2133MHz||256GB SSD (PCIE Gen 3x4) NVMe + 1TB SATA 7200RPM HDD, Blue Ray Burner||Check|
Razer Blade Stealth 12.5-inch
|7th Gen 2.7GHz Intel Quad Core i7-7500U||Intel HD Graphics 620||16GB LPDR3 1866MHz||512GB Ultra-Fast PCIe SSD, No Optical Drive||Check|
Razer Blade Pro 17.3-inch
|7th Gen 2.9GHz Intel Quad Core i7-7820HK||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GDDR5x VRAM||32GB DDR4 2667MHz||Up to 2TB PCIe SSD; No Optical Drive||Check|
Dell Inspiron 7548-7130SLV 15.6-inch
|5th Gen Intel Core i7-5500U||AMD Radeon R7 M270 4GB DDR3 VRAM||12GB DDR3L-SDRAM||1TB HDD; No Optical Drive||Check|
|Intel 2.8GHz Quad Core i7-7700HQ||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB GDDR5 VRAM||32GB DDR4-SDRAM 2133MHz||1TB 600p NVMe SSD (up to 1800MB/s read, 560MB/s write) + 2TB 5400RPM HDD; SuperMulti 8x DVD +/- R/RW Dual Layer||Check|
Toshiba Satellite Radius 2-in-1 15.6-inch
|Intel Dual-Core 2.5GHz i7-6500U||Intel HD Graphics 520||12GB DDR3L-SDRAM 1600MHz||1TB 5400RPM SATA HDD; No Optical Drive||Check|
The Run Down
To ensure you get the best visual experience. We’ve put together a list of 9 of the best laptops with 4K display currently available, with suggestions of additional hardware to enhance your enjoyment.
We’ve also put together an informative guide to help you make the best decision about whether to step up to 4K.
Throughout this guide. You’ll see a detailed rundown of the most important specs, benefits and perks for laptops with 4K display.
If you want actionable tips that’ll help you:
- learn more about 4K resolution
- distinguish between UHD and FHD
- find out when a 4K laptop makes sense
We’d love to help you answer these questions in this guide.
Not quite what you’re looking for? No worries. Throughout the guide, you’ll find links to articles that feature different laptops with similar price points. And the best options for your budget: like this one below.
(Keep an eye out for our helpful PRO TIPS along the way.)
Laptops with 4K Display: What is 4K Resolution
Before we get started. There is a difference between 4K and UHD.
Both terms refer to two high definition resolution standards. 3840 x 2160-pixels-per-inch is considered Ultra-High Definition. While 4096 x 2160-ppi is true 4K, which is four times the pixel resolution of 1920 x 1080-pixels, or Full High Definition (FHD).
But since diving any further derails our focus into a pedantic explanation about naming conventions. We’ll stick with conflating these 2 terms since it’s how the market is most familiar with them.
All you really need to know is that 4K is a marketing term that has been officially established for consumer products as Ultra-High Definition (UHD). And when combined with faster screen refresh rates. 4K can deliver the smoothness and depth of 3D.
Why the Ideal User Wants a 4K Display Laptop
As mentioned, laptops with 4K screens can support the extra pixels as long as they have a more beefed up processors, graphics cards, RAM and storage.
You’ll find these super-sharp displays on premium notebooks. 2-in-1s. Gaming systems. And workstations.
Also, touchscreen is often supported by 4K. Which you’ll find on many laptops with 4K display.
Users in this space desire a 4K display laptop for:
- video/photo editing
- and-of course-consuming 4K content
Laptops With 4K Display: 1080p vs 4K
Higher res means more room for software interface. But, making the decision to go 4K. Or stick with 1080p is like deciding between larger and smaller phones. There’s no single answer that works for every user.
On paper, 4K/UHD over 1080p seems pretty obvious. But, considering the diminishing returns of 4K laptops when you start to think about things, like the battery power and price, it’s important to take a scrutinizing look at what your getting.
- Since most major applications can now scale without images looking garbage. You’ll enjoy a more enhanced view of what you’re looking at with 4K.
- 1080p looks great. But that’s only up to about 80-inches. 4K delivers even better-looking, less pixelated images by packing more pixels-per-square-inch.
- Images from a monitor with a 4K native resolution will have a more natural representation. Thanks to the higher pixel count.
- But, 4K only works if you’re working with 4K content. It won’t improve the quality of a lower 1080p image source.
Laptops with 4K Display vs 4K Desktop
A 4K laptop will work right of the box to handle visually intense work.
4K desktops can become frustrating to work with depending on the type of user you are. Imagine cobbling together the necessary hardware needed for it to work on your own. Only to discover some parts don’t fit well with the demands of UHD.
Laptops with 4K Display: 4K Gaming
Games can look incredible at UHD. Nvidia’s new pascal GPU makes a compelling argument for gaming on 4K laptops. And, there are more and more games that fully support 4K.
The Downside of 4K Gaming
As exciting as this is. In general, 4K is almost not worth it for gaming.
Especially when you factor in the hassle of getting the system to render the extra (barely visible) pixels on the screen smoothly. For your laptop to achieve 4K clarity and detail, frame rates may begin to suffer.
You may have to tinker with the settings as gaming on 4K native res just won’t happen. And if you’re using anything smaller than a desk class ‘discrete’ graphics card. You can expect decreased resolution on virtually all 4K games.
Plus, although the GPU, CPU, and RAM in a manufactured 4K laptop are robust. They’re not yet all that equipped to handle the movement that comes with fast-action games in UHD.
But, if you can get a powerful laptop to play the 4K games smoothly at that resolution. And on the highest settings. You’ll be rewarded with a wonderfully immersive viewing experience.
Discrete Graphics Card for 4K Gaming
If you’re a gamer in love with 4K. And truly dedicated to experiencing the awesomeness of 4K gaming. A more practical approach may be to invest in a 4K monitor to really appreciate the graphics improvements.
Or build a desktop.
But, whether you build a desktop or laptop with 4K in mind. You’ll need a beefy graphics card to handle all those extra pixels. A discrete graphics card will take the load off the CPU since it will have its own RAM.
NVIDIA and AMD are the go-to resources for discrete graphics cards. The Titan-X video card is the only card that can give you enough frames per second with that many pixels for any modern 4K game.
So… Are Laptops With 4K Display Worth It?
If you consume a lot of 4k content. Or your work involves 4K, then yes.
Keep in mind, that the experience you’ll have largely depends on the size of the display. And the laptop’s ability to handle it.
4K works best on laptop screen sizes between 13 and 16-inches. As the human eye can’t register much difference beyond these extremes from the distance you will be in front of your laptop.
PRO TIP #1: The best laptops with 4K display are 15-inches. Opt for the ones that deliver a premium build quality. And a comfortable, full size keyboard.
Other Considerations for Laptops With 4K Display
Money and Laptops With 4K Display
More and more laptops are hitting the market with 4K screens, which is helping make them more affordable with each new generation.
But, even though there are more 4K laptops now than there were 3 years ago, they’re still at a premium.
For most users, 1080p will still offer the sweet spot for clarity, power and price.
Lack of 4K Media… at the Moment
There’s not that much 4K content out there yet.
More 4K content is being produced on outlets like YouTube, however. Netflix is working to increase its 4K content. And scaling support has improved across the board.
Blu-Ray players will upscale HD movies to 4K. Though, it’s not true 4K.
Internet Connectivity and Laptops With 4K Display
Uploading and downloading in 4K requires a web connection that’s up to the task.
To stream 4K content from outlets like YouTube requires a steady internet speed of at least 18 to 25 Mbps.
Even the speediest providers only average a 1/5 of that requirement.
Furthermore, if you are able to manage this. You’re still limited, as neither Netflix or Amazon services offer UHD content for computers. Which, once again, means 4K content for now is limited to YouTube.
Pixel Problems and Laptops With 4K Display
Higher pixel density will give you a clearer picture. But, anything more than 220 pixels-per-inch is indistinguishable to the human eye.
The two most common screen sizes for 4K laptops are 13.3 and 15.6 inch. At those sizes, pixel density exceeds 220-ppi by roughly 60 and 110 more ppi. Which no longer adds anything to your viewing experience.
If you have less than perfect vision, you’ll even find yourself sitting further away from the screen.
Add to this the fact that many 4K laptops at this time are still finding it difficult to scale in 4K. So, what you wind up with are objects scaled in their native pixels. Meaning images that once looked great on an HD screen. Suddenly look shrunk down to less than the size it should be on a 4K screen.
PRO TIP # 2: There is more to how clear an image appears than just resolution. Brightness, contrast, color fidelity (reproduction) and viewing angle are all noteworthy considerations. Additionally, no amount of pixel density can compensate for poo color reproduction.
High Res Screens Put a Hurt on Battery Endurance
You can expect about a 2-hour run-time from laptops with 4K display. 1080p laptops will undoubtedly get you way more work time away from an outlet.
The reason why is because more power is required from the discrete graphics card to push the 4K screen. (A laptop with integrated graphics will sip less power. But won’t be able to keep up with the demands of high resolution.)
- Sure, you can use the power saving screen dimming feature. But if you work is outside. It renders the laptop virtually useless.
- And In certain situations, it’s not easy to predict when you’ll be able to plug your laptop into an outlet. (if you travel with your laptop a lot. You know how big a concern battery endurance is.)
PRO TIP #3: Most users will pass on laptops with 4K display because of battery life. But if you’re gaming, or photo editing you’ll be plugged into an outlet, anyway.
When Does a 4K Display Laptop Make Sense
For production work. Engineering work with programs like CAD. and presentations, 4K is where it’s at.
Visual design artists will also be helped enormously by the 250+ pixel-per-inch density of a 15-inch, 4K laptop.
- For the field of photography-where a screen that best captures how the final, printed product will look-UHD will be a boon.
- A 4K display is crucial for professional photo editors who like to examine the fine details of high res images to produce the best product.
PRO TIP 4#: If you’re going to shoot in 4K. You might as well view the content in the same resolution. The bump in resolution will almost guarantee there’s no surprises with the final image.
The Research Method
So maybe laptops with 4K display aren’t that great when it comes to battery life. But boy, oh boy do they deliver on uncompromised visual quality.
These picks are based on best all-round performance. User experience. At least 3.6 out of 5 stars at the time of this review. Instead of our preferred 100 Amazon reviews. We lowered the count to at least 30 reviews at the time this guide was published in order to bring you more value.
We put together 9 excellent options to fit almost anyone’s need, from 12.5-inch, to 17.3-inch examples. To 2-in-1 notebooks, Ultrabooks, and gaming laptop class so that you won’t have to miss out on any more sharp, 4K content.
Now, from among the most progressive brands we bring you amazing laptops from: Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, MSI, Razer and Toshiba.
PRO TIP #5: Keep storage in mind as you shop 4K laptops.
9 Laptops With 4K Display-Review
When you need more power than mainstream laptops offer. This is one of the top laptops with 4K display to get. The stunning 10 x 0.8 x 15.1-inch, all-aluminum, unibody construction houses the hardware to deliver top-notch performance. Photo and video editors will appreciate pin-sharp images on the Ultra-High Definition touchscreen. But color reproduction could be better. And there’s a glossy finish that we don’t particularly like. The keyboard and touchpad, on the other hand, offer a comfortable typing experience. And, the NVIDIA 960M graphics card performs as admirably as expected. You can reasonably expect 8-hours of battery life.
When value for the money is a priority, and you’re looking for laptops with 4K display. Dell delivers the best touchscreen, and the the solid performance you require to handle all your media. And get you playing AAA titles. Inside the 15.1 x 15.1 x 10.4-inch chassis lurks the ‘Skylake’ i7-6700HQ processor. A hybrid storage solution consisting of a 128GB SSD, combined with a 1TB hard disk drive for smoother handling of games, and other programs. But the lack of an optical drive might be off-putting to some gamers. You can expect around 5-hours of battery life.
Woho! Here it is. Right off, the 16.2 x 11.2 x 0.8-inch, brushed-aluminum chassis is thinner than most 17.3-inch gaming spec laptops, (and most of the laptops with 4K display on the list). Perfect for the graphic pro on the go. The problem is the GPU seems unable to keep up with the higher resolution. But the SteelSeries, RGB, LED, backlit keyboard offers a responsive feel. To get that thin profile. You’ll have to settle for a flimsy feeling body. The keyboard deck has noticeable give under pressure. And, with a setup like this you know battery endurance will suffer. Here, you can only expect to get about 3-hours of work done away from an outlet.
The 16.9 x 11.6 x 1.9-inch chassis, along with its hefty 8.4-pounds. Means this is not one of the laptops with 4K display that’s going to be practical for commuters. But, with a potent desktop-level GPU. Quad-Core i7 processor. And 256GB SSD paired with a 1TB hard disk drive, you are getting a powerful laptop. It also comes with a Blu-Ray drive. And, the SteelSeries keyboard is backlit and comfortable to use. The 17-inch 4K screen is bright. But you get excessive color bleeding. The laptop’s body is made of a combination of aluminum and plastic that feels cheap. All we’ll say is handle with care. Battery life is the least impressive we’ve ever experienced at less than 2-hours.
Razer Blade’s desire to create gaming laptops for gamers has resulted in one of the most great-looking. Fully equipped laptops with 4K display. In their mission to prove you can get more with less. The 12.6 x 8.1 x 0.5-inch Ultrabook features an aluminum body housing Intel’s 7th generation low-voltage Core i7 processor that’ll cut through multi-tab web browsing with ease. You also get an Anti-ghosting, Razer Chroma backlit keyboard. And 256GB SSD. The Stealth doesn’t subscribe to the enforced minimalism of a single USB-C port, offering full USB ports. The display is bright and clear. Yet overly glossy. You can expect around 3-hours of battery life.
With all the power built into this 11 x 16.7 x 0.9-inch design. It’s one of those laptops with 4K display that’s equally at home used as a gamer, or work station. And, if you can get over the price, you’ll have yourself a wonderful machine. Thin and powerful, commuters can take it with them wherever they go confident that they’ll always having the right tool for the job. You can also work with the reputation of having the world’s first THX certified mobile device. Gamers and graphics pros will appreciate the top-notch performance of the high-end GTX 1080 chip. The ultra-low-profile mechanical keyboard offers anti-ghosting powered by Razer Chroma. But the keys are noticeably loud. And, the trackpad is not as intuitive to use as we’d like.
It’s a premium laptop with a 0.8 x 10.3 x 14.9-inch aluminum chassis. To get the “lifelike picture clarity” of ultra-high-end resolution. The 4K touchscreen is supported by mainstream components. Which keeps it highly affordable compared to other laptops with 3840 x 2160 resolution. But don’t be fooled by the helping of lack-luster configurations. Although the specs don’t even come close to being at the level of a 4K gaming machine. The system delivers massive value to professional and home users. The keyboard is backlit. And RAM is expandable up to 16GB. Which we appreciate. But the GPU is not up to 4K standards.
It’s an excellent workstation with amped up components to handle the new 4K touch display. For 2017, the 16.3 x 11 x 1.2-inch notebook gets Intel’s newest generation processor. And a desktop worthy Pascal GPU. This adds up to better performance. And longer battery life. Media editors can bring their biggest, boldest ideas to life with the turbo charged Qaud Core i7-7700Q CPU. Dimly lit rooms are no match for the backlit keyboard. The crisp and vibrant 3840 x 2160-pixel screen lets you touch up photos easily. Down the line when you find you need more room, you’ll be able to add more RAM and storage. And when you do make upgrades, take care to remove the access cover.
The 14.9 x 936 x 0.8-inch size works better as a notebook than a hybrid-convertible. But the dual-hinge design affords you the versatility of bending the display around 360-degrees. The bright, In-Plane Switching 4K display offers 10-point touch capability which we love. The frameless, LED, backlit keyboard is a pleasure to use. We wish this one had the 512GB solid-state drive for faster bootups. But the 1TB hard disk drive should provide enough storage in the meantime. Even if you’re a demanding user. We also wish it had a quad core processor. But the dual core seems to be sufficient.
Congratulations for making it through this guide! That was a lot of information.
4K is the highest resolution currently available to deliver even more resolution than any run-of-the-mill HD laptop. Activities like watching movies will appear in much crisper detail.
Plus, there are an ever-increasing number of games and other forms of visible media taken the next step to go beyond traditional high def.
But, a sharper resolution won’t automatically translate into being useful. Unless you regularly work with UHD content.
We’d love to continue this conversation about laptops with 4K display in the comment section below. If you want to add something to the article, you can contact us here.