Despite being all the rage when it comes to televisions, computers have been a little slower to adapt to 4K. An ultra high definition resolution, 4K offers a higher resolution at 3840 x 2160, allowing you to see favorite media in stunning clarity, providing a sharper, brighter, and clearer picture. 4K has become the gold standard for gaming, but we’re starting to see the technology trickle over into more general use laptops.
Of course, the same considerations you’d want for a standard laptop are still in place for a 4K unit. That’s to say; you’ll want impressive battery life, easy portability, solid construction, smartly-designed features, and more. To help you make the decision process a little easier, we’ve rounded up eight of our favorites on the market right now. So here are our picks for the best 4K laptop.
What To Know Before Buying a 4K Laptop
So you're interested in buying a 4K laptop? Unfortunately, our favorite laptops of 2021, the M1 Macbook Air and MacBook Pro, only offer 2K resolution. Macs also tend to be poor options for gamers since most games are optimized for Windows. Fortunately, you can find plenty of great 4K laptops for sale in 2021. Dell, HP, Lenovo, ASUS and Razer all make excellent laptops in this category. Below, you'll find our guide to the best 4K laptops for sale in 2021, as well as some frequently asked questions.
Right now, our top recommendation for most people would be the new Dell XPS 15 laptop. This computer will set you back about $1,800 or more depending on the specifications. However, we have one major caveat. If you're specifically looking for a 4K gaming laptop, then we would instead recommend the Razer Blade 15. The XPS isn't a bad option for beginners, but serious gamers will appreciate the superior performance of the Razer Blade.
Most people know that 4K resolution is a very good thing, but do you know what it really means? 4K refers to a display screen with at least 4,000 horizontal pixels. For instance, movie theater projectors typically feature a resolution of 4096 × 2160. However, in reality, this term is used a bit loosely. The majority of modern flat-screen TVs have a resolution of 3840 × 2160; however, they are still commonly called 4K TVs.
Typically, only TVs that are at least 50-inches are large enough to be considered true 4K TVs. As you can imagine, it's not easy to fit more than 4,000 pixels into a single row of a small laptop screen, which is why true 4K laptops are so rare.
For gamers and movie lovers, a 4K screen offers superior resolution, color and contrast. If you want to push your gaming computer to the max or appreciate the world's best cinematography, then you'll want a 4K display.
While there are some 8K TVs for sale in 2021, the truth is investing in 8K devices is simply not worth it. That's because most games and movies don't actually support 8K viewing, so you'll never be able to truly appreciate your investment, at least not for many years.
To be honest, while we love true 4K resolution, most people are going to be perfectly fine with 1080p or QHD resolution. However, if you're a serious gamer, cinephile or need to do professional photo or video editing, then a 4K resolution is worth the investment. That being said, you can also invest in 4K monitors or TVs, which will be a better option for people who already have a powerful laptop or desktop computer.
1. Dell XPS 15 4K Laptop
With a stunning 15″ screen, the Dell XPS 15 is our hand-down pick for the best 4K laptop. The screen is powered by a truly stunning OLED 4K screen, which will make your videos and entry-level gaming (thanks to a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660) look fantastic. It’s also pretty light, making it easy to carry from place to place, thanks to its sturdy carbon fiber frame. Additionally, the screen includes Eyesafe technology, making it easier for your eyes to look at the screen. And with a picture this fantastic, you’re going to want to spend a lot of time looking at your computer.
Read More: The Best Laptops of 2021
2. HP Envy 4K Laptop
If you’re willing to settle for a slightly smaller but no less stunning, display HP’s Envy 4K laptop is a fantastic value option. Under $1,000, you’ll still get a striking 4K display built with Gorilla Glass for superior protection against breaking. Thanks to Intel’s i7 processor, you’ll have your computer up and running in a flash with no hiccups when you’re multitasking. Plus, at a weight of under 3 pounds, it’s incredibly easy to transport, making it a fantastic companion for any task you can possibly think of accomplishing.
3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme 4K Laptop
BEST FOR STUDENTS
Priced at a mid-tier level that’s a great long-term investment, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme 4K laptop comes tested to ensure it’s suitable for the rough and tumble lifestyle of an on-the-go student. The military-grade testing provides plenty of security for parents who may be skeptical of making a hefty investment. Additionally, the X1 features a high-fidelity audio experience to match its stunning screen, making it great for students who may plan to use it for watching streaming content. It’s a portable powerhouse that’s sure to impress.
4. HP Spectre X360 4K Laptop
Having a laptop that can pull double duty as a tablet is always a welcome treat. But once you add a staggeringly beautiful 4K screen into the equation, it’s quite the compelling offering. This is the case with the HP Spectre X360 (the 360 comes from the fact you can rotate the screen over, get it?), which easily translates into a tablet and even includes a pen for tablet use. So while it is on the expensive side of things, it’s well worth it for those who want the flexibility of having both a tablet and a laptop in one stylish, convenient package.
This laptop is available in a wide variety of configurations. The most basic setup will only cost you about $900, while a more advanced setup with a larger 15-inch screen, additional memory and 16GB of Ram will cost you nearly $2,000. Both come with a 4K display, but you’ll need to invest in some additional firepower if you really want to take advantage of this laptop’s peak performance.
Read More: Best Laptop Accessories
5. Razer Blade 15 4K Laptop
BEST FOR GAMING
Razer is one of the best names in gaming, so it shouldn’t surprise you too much to know their take on a gaming laptop offers some of the best features on the market. The cheekily-named Razer Blade comes with a striking 240Hz, 4K, 15″ screen to ensure you get the best possible image with the fastest refresh rate possible. In short, that means you’ll have the best graphics possible on the best-looking screen. Additionally, the included NVIDIA 3070 is one of the highest-end graphics cards on the market, which means an awe-inspiring experience in every game.
6. Dell XPS 17 4K Laptop
BEST BIG SCREEN
Are you the person that has to go big or go home? Then the XPS 17 is for you. As evidenced by its name, the 17 denotes the 17″ 4K display that renders beautiful images. The included NVIDIA 2060 graphics card provides great graphics for those who want it to double as an entry gaming laptop. Additionally, the XPS 17 contains a fingerprint touch screen to make using your computer even easier and sound by Dolby to make media watching even better.
7. Microsoft Surface 4 Laptop
Microsoft is doing an excellent job with their entire Surface line, and the newest version, the Surface 4, is arguably the best yet. With a staggering 19 hours of battery life, HD webcam, Dolby Atmos sound, a touchscreen, there are plenty of high-end features to make whatever work you need to get done accomplished in a breeze. But, best of all, you can accomplish it all on a vivid 4K display that’s tailor-made for streaming and gaming.
8. ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro 4K Laptop
BEST FOR DESIGNERS
If you’re a creator that needs a powerhouse workstation to accomplish any and all of your designs, the ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro 4K laptop is your best solution. Built to be lightning-fast (thanks to a Core i7 Intel Processor and NVIDIA RTX500 graphics card), you can have the full power of a desktop with you on the go. Plus, the advanced cooling system means you can easily multitask, meaning you can power up editing software with multiple files or layers without missing a beat. Plus, the Magnesium-alloy chassis makes it, so you don’t have to worry if it slips out of your hands, as it is sturdy enough to handle a drop.