If you use your laptop for video editing or graphic design, you already know the importance of screen resolution. Gamers and streamers will also undoubtedly agree that a higher resolution makes for a more vivid and immersive visual experience. Display technology is constantly evolving, with new technologies like OLED displays taking over the market.
While 1080p and 1440p displays dominate entry-level laptops, the proliferation of 4K displays is making it even easier to get a high-resolution laptop for a reasonable price. We have great news if you’re wondering if a 4K laptop is attainable. Not only are 4K laptops on the price decline, but they are more powerful than ever and packed with the latest features.
Let’s review some of the best 4K laptops for 2023.
- Best Overall: Lenovo Flex 5
- Best Budget Option: HP Envy 13
- Best Travel Option: Asus VivoBook 16X
- Best Durable Option: Lenovo ThinkPad P15
- Best Performance Option: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
Best Overall 4K Laptop: Lenovo Flex 5
The Lenovo Flex 5 is the best overall 4K laptop thanks to its powerful hardware, expansive features, and portability. With a 15.6” touchscreen display running at 4K UHD resolution, the Lenovo Flex 5 offers a stunning visual experience. Additionally, the large IPS display provides 500 nits of brightness for the most vivid visuals.
Lenovo has loaded the Flex 5 with plenty of powerful hardware. Loaded with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor running at up to 4.7GHz, you have all the computing power you need. Coupled with the Nvidia GeForce MX450 GPU with 2GB of graphics memory, this combination delivers more than enough performance to power the 4K display.
As for RAM, the Lenovo Flex has 16GB of 3200MHz DDR4 memory. You’ll have no trouble with memory-intensive tasks like content creation, editing, and design. This laptop will also pleasantly surprise you if you’re worried about storage capacity. With a 512GB PCIe SSD, you have dependable storage that is accessible in a flash.
Connecting monitors, peripherals, and accessories is no problem, thanks to this laptop’s vast array of ports. The Lenovo Flex sports one USB Type-C and two USB 3.2 ports. You’ll find an HDMI port for powering external displays, a card reader for loading images from cameras and camcorders, and a headphone jack for connecting your favorite headset.
Additionally, this system comes with the latest WiFi 6 and BlueTooth for simple and fast connectivity. At under four pounds in weight and measuring less than an inch thick, the Lenovo Flex 5 is also highly portable.
Features like a backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, and webcam only add to the great experience. Overall, the combination of a 4K display, performant hardware, and portability make this system one of the best 4K laptops on the market.
Check out Lenovo Flex 5 on Amazon.
Best Budget 4K Laptop: HP Envy 13
While the HP Envy 13 doesn’t offer the advanced features and all the bells and whistles that more expensive models have, you can’t argue with the price. Coming in at under $900 as of writing this, the laptop is one of the most budget-friendly systems you can find, especially considering the beautiful 4K UHD touchscreen display.
While the HP Envy 13 comes with a competent 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, it lacks the dedicated graphics necessary for graphically demanding tasks. That being said, you can still get plenty of use out of this system thanks to its robust combination of processing power, RAM, and SSD.
With 8GB of DDR4, you have enough memory to handle most everyday tasks. Additionally, 500GB of solid-state storage is spacious enough for most users. You won’t find as many ports and connection options as on larger laptops, but the HP Envy is still well-endowed, with enough to get started.
Along the sides of the laptop, you’ll find two USB 3 ports and a USB Type-C connector. You also get an SD card slot for reading your memory cards and a headphone port for connecting your headsets and earphones.
The HP Envy is also surprisingly lightweight. At under three pounds, this system is highly portable and great for travel. The most significant downsides of this laptop include a lack of upgradeable RAM, missing display and monitor connections, and underpowered graphics. Still, you get an impressive 4K display in a compact package for a laptop in this price range.
Check out HP Envy 13 on Amazon.
Best Travel 4K Laptop: Asus VivoBook 16X
Asus has consistently created innovative high-performance laptops, and the Asus VivoBook 16X is no exception. The company’s latest 4K laptop with a beautiful 16” OLED display. With a 16:10 aspect ratio, 550 nits of brightness, and a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, this laptop is ideal for content creators and professionals who need the best possible display.
Asus built the VivoBook 16X with an incredible set of specs. To start, you get an Intel Core i7-12700 processor running at up to 4.7GHz. Paired with Intel Iris xE graphics, this laptop offers robust performance for video editors and graphic designers. However, gamers might find the performance underwhelming compared to dedicated gaming laptops.
The Asus VivoBook 16X comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, with one module integrated into the motherboard and the other module expandable by the end user. As for storage, you get a spacious 512GB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive, perfect for holding all of your applications and files. The system boots up in a flash thanks to this high-speed drive.
You’ll find no shortage of relevant connectors for all of your peripherals, docking stations, and external hard drives. With three USB 3 ports and one USB Type-C port, you have compatibility with all of today’s most common accessories and devices. Additionally, the included HDMI port means you can connect your laptop to an external monitor or TV.
While WiFi 6 and Bluetooth are standard features, the VivoBook 16X also includes helpful features like active noise canceling powered by AI. Weighing in at 3.70 pounds and measuring just 0.78 inches thick, this laptop is ideal for the traveler. No other laptop lets you take a 4K UHD display and all of this powerful hardware around with you with as much ease as the VivoBook 16X.
Check out Asus VivoBook 16X on Amazon.
Best Durable 4K Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad P15
- 【Upgraded】 Seal is opened for Hardware/Software upgrade only to enhance performance. 15.6" 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) 60Hz IPS Display; Wi-Fi 6 AX201 Wifi, Bluetooth 5.2, Ethernet LAN (RJ-45), 720p...
- 【Powerful Performance with Intel Core i7-10750H Hexa Core】 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H 2.60GHz Processor (upto 5 GHz, 12MB Cache, 6-Cores) ; NVIDIA Quadro T1000 4GB GDDR6 Dedicated Graphics, .
- 【High Speed and Multitasking】 32GB DDR4 SODIMM; 170W Power Supply, 6-Cell 94 WHr Battery; Black Color, .
- 【Enormous Storage】 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD; 2 USB 3.2 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 2 Thunderbolt 3 (Type-C), USB 3.2 Type-C Gen1, 2 USB 3.2 Type-C Gen2, SD Reader, No Optical Drive, Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack.,...
- Includes Dockztorm USB Hub(Special Edition Portable Docztorm Data Hub;Super Speedy Data Syn Rate upto 5Gbps)
The Lenovo ThinkPad P15 workstation laptop holds up the company’s reputation for making the most durable laptops thanks to its rugged construction and materials.
The vibrant 4K display is particularly attractive, but the ThinkPad might not be for everyone. Weighing over 6 pounds and being relatively thick, the biggest drawback to this laptop is its bulky form factor.
The ThinkPad P15 does not disappoint in terms of performance, however. With a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor running at up to 5GHz, this laptop offers superior processing power. Coupled with the Nvidia Quadro T1000 graphics chip, sporting 4GB of video memory, you have an incredibly competent workstation system.
Lenovo generously configured the ThinkPad P15 with a whopping 32GB of DDR4 memory. You can upgrade your ThinkPad as high as 64GB if you prefer. While the RAM may be impressive, the storage is also solid. With a 1TB M.2 SSD, you have a vast amount of space for all of your applications and files and plenty of kick to boot the system up in just a few seconds.
This laptop features a wide array of ports that make it easy to connect monitors, peripherals, and accessories. Along the sides and back of this laptop, you’ll find two USB 3.2 ports and three USB Type-C ports. You also get an HDMI port for connecting your high-refresh rate monitors and an SD card reader for communicating with your digital camera.
Check out Lenovo ThinkPad P15 on Amazon.
Best Performance 4K Laptop: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Voltage: 20.0 volts
- Complimentary 3-month Adobe Creative Cloud subscription with the purchase
- ScreenPad Plus: 14-inch 4K matte touchscreen, giving you endless ways to optimize your multitasking experience by extending the screen or splitting windows and apps on both displays
- 15.6-inch OLED 4K UHD (3840 x 2160p) NanoEdge touchscreen glossy main display
- 11th generation Intel Core i9-11900H Processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU with 8GB VRAM – NVIDIA Studio Ready
Asus recently introduced the ZenBook Pro Duo, one of the most unique laptops ever created. With the help of an additional touchscreen display between the keyboard and the main display, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo offers the most daring design we have seen yet. This system will exceed your requirements if you’re looking for the best-performance 4K laptop.
By far, the most fascinating aspect of this laptop is its dual-display layout. The main display is 4K UHD with 100% DCI-P3 color accuracy. The second display is particularly fun to use, and you can quickly move your windows and applications around on the lower panel.
Thanks to preinstalled software like App switcher, Task Group, Window Flick, and Control Panel, Asus has made its secondary display even more helpful. You can set up touch controls and presets and modify many Adobe apps with the built-in tools.
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo makes a great first impression with its clever display setup, but it backs up its striking appearance with equally impressive performance. Under the hood of the Pro Duo, you’ll find an 11th-generation Intel Core i9 processor paired with an Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics chip. The end result is an incredible gaming experience with vivid graphics and frame rates.
32GB of DDR4 RAM makes this laptop a multitasking powerhouse. Coupled with the 1TB M.2 SSD, you have a laptop that can boot in under five seconds and load apps and programs effortlessly. Additionally, you get all the standard connections you would expect on a regular laptop. Along the sides, you will notice two USB Type-C ports, a USB 3.2 port, an HDMI, and a headphone jack.
Check out Asus ZenBook Pro Duo on Amazon.
How To Pick The Best 4K Laptop: Step by Step
Let’s go over how to pick the best 4K laptop. To make things simple, we’ll break down what to look for into five distinct categories:
- Storage and RAM
- Weight and battery
- Ports and connectivity
Let’s examine each topic in more detail.
The display is undoubtedly the first thing you will look at when shopping for a 4K laptop. A 4K resolution display is 2,160 pixels vertically and 3,840 pixels horizontally. The result is a screen with over eight million pixels. You stand to benefit most from this massive pixel count if you plan to use your laptop for gaming, streaming, editing videos, or graphic design.
While the resolution is the deciding factor for many people, it is essential to understand the other factors that play a part in display quality. The most common spec you’ll see is the refresh rate. This is measured in Hz.
Unless you are a competitive gamer, you won’t notice a massive benefit with displays rated over 240hz. Conversely, you should not settle for anything less than a 60hz refresh rate. Ideally, you should aim for a 120hz or higher display laptop.
Color accuracy is another factor to pay attention to. If you use Adobe programs like Photoshop or Illustrator, having an accurate color depiction is of the utmost importance. Most displays will be rated based on the sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamut. A rating of 100% is ideal, although anything above 97% is still above average.
The processor, or CPU, is the central processing unit of a system. Your laptop’s processor is undoubtedly one of the most crucial components for gaming and other heavy applications. The processor is especially important in 4K laptops due to the increased power needed to drive the display.
Since 4K displays require additional processing power, you should aim to get the best CPU for your money. To ensure you get the best possible performance, you should aim for a laptop with an 11th-generation or newer Intel Core processor or AMD Ryzen processor. Whether you pick Intel or Ryzen, you should choose a processor with a high-core count and clock speed to ensure sufficient performance.
Storage and RAM
Storage and RAM are equally important qualities to pay attention to when shopping for a 4K laptop. Multitasking and running multiple applications simultaneously requires plenty of RAM, but storing all your programs and files requires sufficient storage.
To ensure the best possible performance, you should look for a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM, although 16GB will offer even better performance. Many laptops come with as much as 32GB or 64GB of RAM but will often command higher prices. Either way, you should ensure that RAM is upgradeable to increase its capacity in the future.
Ideally, you should have at least 128GB of storage to hold the operating system and a few applications. However, you should be able to find models with more storage than this. Many modern laptops will sport 500GB and 1TB capacity. It is also crucial to find a system with fast solid-state storage (SSD) rather than a classic hard drive (HDD). In terms of performance, SSDs are significantly faster than HDDs.
Weight and Battery
If you want to take your 4K laptop on the go with you, weight is one of the first aspects to pay attention to. While laptops used to be heavy burdens, with heavy power bricks bringing their total weight over ten pounds, today’s laptops are substantially lighter. More efficient technology means that laptops can be ever more potent and capable without adding significant weight.
Nothing is quite as tiring as carrying a heavy laptop with you all day. Finding one with a slim form factor and lightweight will ensure you don’t get fatigued from lugging your computer around. Luckily, most 4K laptops weigh under 5 pounds, with specific models weighing even less.
Battery life is another essential component of a 4K laptop. You might not be concerned about your laptop’s battery life if you primarily use it at home or at your desk. On the other hand, if you carry your laptop to the office or bring it with you on your travels, the battery is a primary concern. Nothing is nearly as frustrating as having your laptop die while you are working or gaming.
The capacity of laptop batteries is measured in watt-hours and milliampere-hours. Although higher numbers are better, the size and specs of the laptop will also affect battery life. High-performance laptops with massive screens will drain batteries faster than smaller laptops with limited hardware. As a result, there is always a tradeoff between battery life and performance.
Ports and Connectivity
A wide array of ports is also essential if you want to get the most use out of your 4K laptop. You want to ensure that you can connect the peripherals, docking stations, displays, and adapters you require. Your system should be fully compatible with your current setup so that you can get up and running immediately.
Pay close attention to the selection of USB ports. Many laptops will offer various types of USB, including 3.1 and 3.2 USB-A and Type-C ports. Thunderbolt ports look similar to USB Type-C ports and provide additional functionality. Connections like HDMI, Display-Port, and VGA can also come in handy for connecting to monitors and external displays.
Wireless connectivity is another area that you should always pay attention to. While WiFi capabilities are commonplace on modern laptops, the latest WiFi 6 standards will provide an even faster experience. Additionally, the latest Bluetooth standard will provide you with all the compatibility you need to connect wireless speakers, headphones, mice, and keyboards.
Using a 4K Laptop: What It’s Like
Laptops with 4K resolution displays have a few minor drawbacks. Powering a 4K is a major battery drain. As a result, laptops with 4K screens suffer from shorter battery lives. You may still be able to get decent battery life out of your 4K laptop, but the additional pixels task your processor and graphics system more than a standard laptop.
Another drawback is the price. While 4K laptops have drastically fallen in price over the past few years, they are still more expensive than laptops with lower-resolution screens. Fortunately, finding solid 4K laptops at reasonable prices is getting easier daily.
Once you’ve overcome the initial disadvantages, you only have positives for 4K. The most notable benefit is that your images are crisper and sharper. If you are a graphic designer, this can prove invaluable. The same can be said for video editing.
As 4K cameras increase in popularity, more people want to edit 4K videos to upload to YouTube or other channels. With a quality 4K laptop, you can join the ranks of video editors enjoying high-resolution video production capabilities.
Talking about 4K without mentioning gaming would be a crime. As PC gamers demand better and better graphics, manufacturers have responded by releasing higher-resolution displays. If you want to experience the latest, most immersive gaming experience, a 4K laptop is the perfect vehicle to get you there.
What to Know Before Buying a 4K Laptop
You don’t want to get burned by jumping into a new laptop without doing your research. One of the best ways to ensure you get the specs you need is to take stock of what programs and applications you use.
If you want to use specific programs, such as graphic design, video editing, or music production software, you should find out their requirements so that you can be certain they will run on your laptop. You should also know the going rate for a solid 4K laptop.
Having up-to-date and accurate knowledge of the current prices will ensure you don’t get a sour deal. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
You should be cautious if a laptop claims to be 4K, but the price is suspiciously low. Conversely, you must also be careful not to overpay for a laptop with extra features or hardware you don’t need.
Future of 4k Laptops: What’s Next
In the future, 4K laptops are expected to see several advancements:
- Improved Affordability: Prices of 4K laptops are anticipated to decrease, making them more budget-friendly and accessible to a wider audience.
- More Powerful Processors: Future 4K laptops will likely feature even more potent processors to handle the demanding tasks of displaying high-resolution content effectively.
- Better Battery Life: Advancements in power efficiency will lead to improved battery life for 4K laptops, addressing the current challenge of shorter battery duration.
- New Features: Expect 4K laptops to introduce new features like HDR support or eye tracking, enhancing the immersive and user-friendly aspects of these devices.
In summary, these anticipated advances will make 4K laptops more affordable, powerful, and feature-rich in the future.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Mr.Mikla/Shutterstock.com.