October 10, 2020

Ultra HD or 4k resolution is all the buzz right now, thanks to newly emerging streaming services and game consoles. Gaming at 4k is cheaper than ever before since you can actually get a low-end 4k 60Hz monitor for under 300 dollars these days. Plus, with the new graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA it is actually possible to power a game at 4k without being forced to lower every visual setting.

But what about 4k laptops? Surely it doesn’t make sense to have such a high resolution on a tiny display, right? Well, the thing is 4k laptops have become very affordable these days and you also have relatively powerful hardware inside that is capable of delivering a smooth gaming experience. But perhaps you aren’t interested in gaming. Maybe you just want a 4k laptop for watching movies and editing photos. Well, worry not- we did all the research for you and came up a list of the best 4k laptops.

Our top pick is the Gigabyte Aero 17 because of its excellent display, powerful processor, and good build quality. Read on to learn more about the Aero 17 and other laptops we chose

Here is our list of 7 best 4k Laptop:

If money is not a concern, this might just be the single best 4k laptop you can purchase. It has Intel’s flagship 10th generation Comet Lake processor with 8 cores, hyperthreading, and an insane 5.3GHz boost clock.

 Plus, the cooling system in this beast can actually keep the CPU boosting aggressively under light to moderately multithreaded workloads such as gaming.

For sustained all-core stress like a Blender render or music production, the heat will ramp up. But you should still get excellent performance without any throttling.

And for all the gamers/ content creators out there, this laptop packs the single most powerful graphics processor NVIDIA makes for laptops- the 2080 Super.

 It is the Max-Q version, so don’t expect performance comparable to a desktop 2080 (or even a desktop 2070). Still, that’s very impressive graphics power in such a small form factor.

The display is of course 4k, but this is no ordinary IPS panel. It is DisplayHDR 400 certified and boasts 100% Adobe RGB coverage with a Delta E < 1 which makes it perfect for color accurate work and consumption of HDR content like games or movies.

Pros

  • Intel Core i9- 10980HK octacore with hyperthreading
  • 2080 Super Max-Q graphics with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM
  • 32GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM
  • DisplayHDR 400
  • Delta E < 1
  • 100% Adobe RGB coverage
  • 17 inch panel
  • Full sized backlit RGB keyboard
  • Fingerprint reader
  • 512GB NVMe SSD with a second M.2 slot for expansion of storage
  • 802.11ax Wi-Fi
  • UHS-II SD card reader

Cons

  • Heavy at 5.5lbs
  • Massive 230W power brick
  • Unimpressive webcam

It looks like a business/ enterprise machine, and that’s how it is configured. The island style keyboard with lots of travel and tactility makes for a great typing experience.

The pointing stick helps keep your hands on the keyboard at all times without having to retreat towards the trackpad. The trackpad itself isn’t bad, although it doesn’t compare to what you’ll find on a Dell XPS or MacBook (and it is also rather small).

The webcam is mediocre, and styling is very business oriented with no unnecessary colors or angles, some might find it boring. But if you’re a executive who needs the best of the best, this is it.

 A color accurate 4k OLED display means it is perfect for doing print work in Illustrator and drawings in Photoshop. The display even supports HDR500 so you can edit HDR videos on this laptop.

Don’t try 4k gaming on this laptop, it isn’t designed for that (and the GTX 1650 means you can’t run most AAA games at 4k on it).

 Battery life is pretty good, despite a power hungry Intel 9th gen 14nm Coffee Lake chip, mostly due to the great power management software and highly efficient GTX 1650 graphics.

Pros

  • 9th generation Intel hexacore chip with hyperthreading and 4.5GHz boost clock
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 dedicated graphics with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM for Adobe Creative suite and CAD work
  • Vibrant 4k OLED display with excellent colors and Dolby Vision HDR500 support
  • 180° lay flat hinge for sharing content with colleagues and creating drawings
  • Carbon fiber lid
  • Backlit spill resistant keyboard
  • TPM 2.0 chip for security
  • Fingerprint reader
  • IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition logon
  • Lots of ports

Cons

  • Webcam is just 720p
  • Fingerprint reader should have been on the power button like most modern ultrabooks
  • Built-in audio is kind of bad considering the price of this laptop

Now, this is running Chrome OS and is extremely thin which means the cooling solution isn’t too advanced or capable. However, the display is what really sells this 2-in-1. It is 4k, AMOLED, and a touchscreen.

You also get a 10th generation Core i5 so the laptop feels fairly snappy and can do most tasks like video and photo editing quite easily.

It has a built-in pen which is stored in a silo, the pen has 4096 pressure sensitivity levels and tilt detection so you can make some really complex sketches quite naturally with it. Just like drawing on a paper with a pencil.

The built-in Google Assistant lets you check the calendar, call your friends, share documents, send emails, control smart devices in the home, and much more.

A 256GB SSD ensures you never run out of local storage, and most of your work will be stored in the cloud so you don’t need a ton of SSD capacity.

This is running Chrome OS after all, which is a primarily internet based OS that relies on cloud services. A fingerprint sensor keeps prying hands away from any sensitive information within your laptop.

Pros

  • Highly color accurate 4k AMOLED panel with ambient EQ which tweaks brightness and color temperature based on day/ night cycles to reduce eye fatigue
  • 100% DCI-P3 support so you can edit photo and video to industry standards
  • Just 9.9mm thick and under 2.3lbs
  • Bright, colorful styling is sure to turn heads
  • 360° hinge lets you draw, share media, and watch movies with maximum flexibility
  • All-day battery life
  • Built in pen with 4096 pressure levels and tilt detection

Cons

  • Keyboard isn’t the best
  • Webcam could be done better
  • Chrome OS on this device is prone to crashing, although it should be fixed with software updates

A small 13.4 inch screen doesn’t detract from the fact that this is one of the best Windows laptops out there, period.

 It can be used by anyone from a housewife to a professional CG artist and the range of tasks you can do is limited only by your imagination.

The XPS 13 is a complete package. Mobility, battery life, build quality, display resolution, color accuracy, processor speed- it has everything you want from a premium laptop.

 And let’s not forget the godly trackpad, which is excellent beyond words, seriously- we have yet to find a better trackpad on a Windows machine. The one on the new Razer Blade comes close, but not quite there yet. 


Carbon fiber palm rest, CNC aluminum body, and an excellent cooling system make the XPS 13 feel and run cool at all times.

Pros

  • 10th generation Intel Ice Lake 10nm processor with 4 cores and 8 threads
  • Ideal balance of single and multi threaded performance without sacrificing power efficiency
  • All-day battery life
  • Perfect keyboard and trackpad
  • Carbon fiber palm rest
  • Unibody aluminum chassis
  • Thin bezel 4k IPS panel with a resolution of 3840 x 2400 (this is actually UHD+ with more pixels than a regular 4k display, thanks to its 16:10 format)
  • Great color accuracy and viewing angles, 500 nits of brightness
  • Iris Plus graphics
  • 32GB RAM
  • Absolutely massive and incredibly fast 2TB NVMe SSD drive takes care of all your storage needs

Cons

  • Webcam is still not that good
  • No AMD Ryzen 4000 series configuration available
  • Could use a couple more ports

Razer Blade laptops are what happens when you make a MacBook that runs Windows with actually powerful hardware and lots of RGB lights.

The chassis is built from a solid block of aluminum-magnesium alloy, machined to perfection, resulting in extreme rigidity without compromising on thickness or weight.

The trackpad is probably the 2nd best on any Windows laptop ever, only behind the Dell XPS.

And the display is a near-perfect OLED 4k panel with touch functionality (so you can draw and take notes on this thing).

What more can you ask for? This is a gaming laptop, a media consumption laptop, and a content creation laptop- all rolled up into one sleek, beautiful (and very expensive) machine.

Lets not forget the muscle either- at the heart of this Blade lies an Intel 10th generation 8 core i7-10875H processor and NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU.

There is only one possible configuration that is more powerful, and that’s an i9-10980HK + RTX 2080 Super Max-P.

Pros

  • Impossibly powerful for a machine that is just 0.7 inches thick and less than 5lbs in weight
  • RTX 2080 Super graphics makes it perfect for gaming, deep learning, CAD, etc.
  • Core i7-10875H octacore 10th generation Intel processor
  • 16GB of RAM
  • 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Chroma RGB keyboard
  • 4K OLED touch display
  • Vacuum sealed liquid filled copper chamber cooling system
  • Windows Hello facial recognition through IR webcam
  • Excellent trackpad and keyboard
  • Top firing stereo speakers sound good

Cons

  • Battery life is… underwhelming if you rev up that 2080 Super graphics card (despite having a massive 80Whr battery)
  • Webcam is only 720p
  • The base can get quite hot while gaming/ rendering

The Prestige line of laptops from MSI is targeted towards streamers, multitaskers, video editors, and CAD professionals.

It is available in many different configurations; this particular versions rocks a 4k 15 inch display which is powered by a NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q graphics card. So you certainly won’t be using it for 4k gaming.

However, what you will use it for is color accurate photo and video editing, since the panel supports 100% Adobe RGB color gamut.

 A 16:10 format would have been even better, but hey- we won’t complain too much.

This is one of the few workstation laptops that doesn’t run out of juice in less than 2 hours, thanks to the relatively low power dGPU.

Pros

  • Intel 10th generation Ice Lake six core processor with hyperthreading
  • 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB NVMe SSD
  • Memory and storage are both user-upgradable
  • Very thin and light for the amount of muscle it packs
  • 4k IPS panel with 100% Adobe RGB color gamut
  • 802.11ax Wi-Fi
  • Plenty of I/O

Cons

  • Palm rest and trackpad are slightly narrow, especially if you’ve got larger hands
  • Comes with bloatware like MSI App Center and Creator Center
  • Hinge area is plastic and feels cheaper than the rest of the chassis

This is a really cool laptop, and it certainly doesn’t look like anything out there on the market. The whole body is white, from the lid to the palm rest and even the underside.

But Acer didn’t just make a unique looking machine, they made a really fast one. It is powered by a 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor and RTX 2060 graphics.

 This makes it perfect for gaming, content creation, streaming, media consumption, video editing, and literally anything else under the sun that you’d do with a laptop.

The chassis is full metal, and it weighs just 2.1kg or 4.62lbs (thanks aluminum alloy). There are plenty of vents around the back, sides, and even underneath to keep this machine cool under stress.

 A warm amber backlight glows softly, enhancing your productivity in low light conditions without being too intrusive or flashy.

However, the main selling point for this laptop is its X-Rite Pantone certified 4k IPS panel. Each one is individually calibrated at the factory by a certified technician for optimal color accuracy right out of the box.

You get full 100% Adobe RGB color gamut and a Delta E less than 2. The RTX 2060 graphics ensures you can render and export up to 6k video files with ease, and view even the most complex 3D models without any lag.

Pros

  • X-Rite Pantone certified 4k display with 100% Adobe RGB color gamut (and it’s matte)
  • 9th generation 6 core i7 processor
  • RTX 2060 graphics with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM
  • Thunderbolt 3 port supports high speed data transfer, charging, and display output
  • 802.11ax Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet
  • Sleek, professional design with per key RGB lit SteelSeries keyboard
  • Aesthetically pleasing design with a subtle amber backlight on the keyboard
  • Aluminum alloy chassis
  • 16GB RAM
  • 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Aeroblade 3D fan optimized to reduce noise levels when you’re working (triple fan cooling system)
  • Excellent battery life
  • Lots of ports
  • 180° lay flat hinge

Cons

  • Speakers don’t have much bass and sound slightly tinny
  • Flipped motherboard design makes it really hard to access the SSD and RAM if you wish to upgrade your laptop by yourself
  • No Windows Hello facial recognition

There are 4k laptops for video editing, photo editing, movies, drawing, gaming, and CAD. Choosing the right configuration according to your intended workload is important for ensuring a satisfactory user experience.

Gaming:

For gaming, you will need the most powerful GPU you can get because 4k is literally 4 times the resolution of 1080p. Hence it requires a lot more graphics muscle as well as VRAM.

 Display color accuracy or viewing angles aren’t THAT important for gaming because you’re more concerned with things like input latency and pixel response time.

Look out for features such as Adaptive sync or G-Sync, those are really helpful. We recommend an RTX 2070 Super or 2080 Super graphics card for 4k gaming in laptops.

Video/ photo editing and drawing:

For video and photo editing, you’ll need at least a Core i5/ Ryzen 5 processor and really good color accuracy.

Look for Delta E < 2 and Adobe RGB color gamut coverage. Lower Delta E values imply that the display shows colors as they should be, and Adobe RGB is the industry standard used in movies/ photos.

The same rules apply for drawing, except you’ll also need the display to be touch compatible.

Media consumption:

For movies, you want a 4k display with decent color accuracy (doesn’t need 100% Adobe RGB coverage). However, it really helps to have a panel with wide viewing angles, especially if you’re on a 17 inch laptop.

And depending on how you view your movies (on the bed at home, on a desk, while travelling) you will go with a smaller or larger screen.

CAD:

CAD requires a larger display (15.6” or 17”), so you don’t have to zoom in as much and can get work done quicker.

And you’ll want a powerful GeForce graphics card (or Quadro for specific workloads).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is 4k worth it on a 13.3” laptop screen?

A. Well, you can’t really make out the difference between 4k and lower resolutions on a small 13 inch screen, unless  you put your face right next to the screen and squint really hard. Plus, 4k eats up battery life much faster. However, images do look really sharp and you can always output the desktop to an external display. One thing about 4k displays is that they tend to have higher color accuracy and brightness compared to most 1080p panels, which is why premium 13 inch 2-in-1s and ultrabooks use them.

Q. OLED or IPS?

A. Both can output superb color accuracy if done right. There are bad IPS panels and bad OLED panels. OLED also eats up more battery power, and many of the gaming laptops that use OLED displays come with the vibrancy and brightness cranked way up from the factory. Look for a properly calibrated OLED panel if you’re going to get one. OLED has nearly instantaneous pixel response times and truer blacks compared to IPS. However, IPS is cheaper and more common. Plus, you don’t have to worry about pixel burn-in on IPS.

Q. Can I game on my 4k laptop?

A. The answer depends on what games you’re playing and which graphical settings you’re using. For something like Rocket League, even a RTX 2060 can manage maximum settings at 4k resolution and hold a steady 60 fps. However, move to a recent AAA game such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and you’ll need at least an RTX 2070 Super to hit steady 60fps at high settings on 4k. And your laptop also needs a robust cooling system because 4k hammers both the CPU and GPU at the same time, heating things up really fast. Ultrabooks and thin laptops will struggle with heat dissipation if you game at 4k resolution for extended periods of time.

Conclusion

We chose the Gigabyte Aero 17 as the best 4k laptop. Yes, it is extremely expensive; however you need to consider what you’re truly getting here- the best CPU Intel makes for laptops, the best graphics card NVIDIA makes for laptops, and one of the best 4k displays on any laptop ever.

And yes, the Aero 17’s 4k display supports the DisplayHDR 400 standard, so you can master 4k HDR video on it.

 You can also get the maximum enjoyment out of games like Shadow of The Tomb Raider that support HDR. Excellent colors, perfect viewing angles, and high brightness- this display is a complete package.

You can use the Aero 17 for editing photos, videos, doing CAD, and even gaming. But we also included options for people that are on a more normal budget, such as the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme.

Understand that good 4k laptops are going to be expensive no matter how you look at it. A cheap 4k laptop won’t have good colors, pixel response times, etc. and it will also lack the graphics muscle needed to drive that 4k display for anything meaningful (content creation, gaming, etc.)

You’ll just watch movies and do spreadsheets on it, at which point you might as well get a regular FHD laptop which will probably have better battery life as well.

If you really need a more budget option, check out the Chuwi AeroBook Plus 15 (it is often out of stock due to how cheap it is), however the laptop uses a 6th gen Core i5 processor which is rather weak by modern standards.

If you can’t find it, there are HP Envy and Dell Inspiron laptops with 4k displays under 1 grand.

About the author 

Saurav Rath

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