If you want to watch shows and movies in all their glory or play the latest and best AAA games the way they were meant to be played, you don’t need to rely on just your TV. 4K laptops are available in abundance and more affordable than ever before. In fact, you can easily find a great laptop that supports 4K for a relatively decent price.
A 4K laptop can serve any number of needs. That means getting access to 4K resolution content from streaming services and ramping games up to their highest settings, but it can also be among the best choices for people who work professionally in digital design or video editing. We’ve picked 10 of the best 4K laptop models available right now, and we’re ready to share them with you along with some general shopping advice.
TL;DR - 10 Best 4k Laptops in 2021:
- Dell XPS 15 7590, 15.6″ 4K UHD Touch, 9th Gen
- Gigabyte AERO 17 HDR XA-7US4130SQ
- HP ENVY 13 Inch Thin Laptop 4K Touchscreen
- HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 15.6″ 4K UHD Laptop
- Lenovo Flex 5 15 2-in-1 15.6″ 4K UHD Laptop
- MSI WS65 9TM-857 15.6″ UHD
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Laptop, 15.6” 4K UHD
- Razer Blade Pro 17 Laptop – 4K Touchscreen
- Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 15.6” 4K UHD
- Lenovo Yoga C930 4K UHD Touch-Screen Laptop
1. Dell XPS 15 7590, 15.6″ 4K UHD Touch, 9th Gen
Great 4K Performance on a Fantastic All-Around Machine
The Dell XPS 15 regularly tops our list of best laptops, and there's a reason for that. The Dell XPS offers some of the best specs across the board at a price that's affordable, making it hands-down one of the best deals around. The 4K resolution in the Dell XPS applies to a full and spacious 15-inch screen, and the Dell XPS is further enhanced by a ninth-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a decent graphics card from Nvidia.
The 4K on the Dell XPS is further bolstered by a respectable dynamic color range, a pretty solid speaker system with 3D sound capabilities, and CinemaStream for smoother 4K video streaming.
2. Gigabyte AERO 17 HDR XA-7US4130SQ
One of the Most Powerful 4K Laptops on the Market
You may have not heard of Gigabyte, but this Taiwanese manufacturer has created one of the best and most powerful 4K laptops on the market with the Aero. It does something that few laptops manage to achieve: offering top-level specs and hardware while still maintaining great battery life.
If you want a 4K gaming or creative rig that you can comfortably bring with you on the go, the Aero has a lot of things going in its favor. And in an especially creative gesture, this laptop makes use of the Microsoft Azure A.I. to provide you with settings unique to your needs. All in all, this laptop is an incredible option, just as long as you're comfortable with the approximately $2000 price tag
3. HP ENVY 13 Inch Thin Laptop 4K Touchscreen
A Smaller-Sized and Mid-Budget Alternative
It's a bit surprising to see a full 4K display in a screen smaller than 15 inches, but the HP Envy offers a reasonable alternative between the exorbitantly priced models that occupy most of our list and the micro-budget Chuwi LapBook we talk about below. It manages to squeeze in an eighth-generation central processor along with a decently specced Nvidia graphics card.
The battery is capable of keeping going for over half a day on a single charge, and the laptop includes a touchscreen for more seamless navigation. As the cherry on top, the screen is also well protected by a durable Gorilla Glass coating.
4. HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 15.6″ 4K UHD Laptop
Admirable 4K Performance at an Affordable Price
Need something a little more affordable? That's exactly what you'll find in the HP Spectre x360. It's more than $1000 cheaper than the last couple of 4K laptops on our list for only a meager drop in terms of performance. Despite being eighth- rather than ninth-generation, the Intel Core i7 processor in the HP Spectre x360 is pretty close in terms of performance. But what really stands out here is the touch screen. At 15.6 inches, the HP Spectre x360 is larger than most, but that allows the 4K display to really pop. It even offers speakers from Bang & Olufsen to provide something approaching a cinematic sound experience.
5. Lenovo Flex 5 15 2-in-1 15.6″ 4K UHD Laptop
A Parallel Alternative to the HP Spectre x360
The Lenovo Flex squarely falls into the same niche as the x360 listed above. Both are 15-inch 2-in-1s, and they both retail for almost the exact same price. Even the central processor and the graphical processor are the same between these two 4K laptops. While this one shows a little bit of glare in bright rooms, the color quality is rich and vibrant in more controlled situations.
One of the big things you need to worry about with a convertible laptop is how sensitive the screens are to touch. However, the Lenovo Flex is among the best on the market in this regard, responding well to both fingertips and styluses.
6. MSI WS65 9TM-857 15.6″ UHD
A Visual Powerhouse for Digital Creatives
Considering that it offers the same ninth-generation central processor as some of our earlier laptop models while costing around a grand more, it would be easy to assume this laptop from MSI is simply overpriced. You'll soon realize it's not, though, when you recognize that it uses a brand new GPU designed by MSI for high-end productivity along with a staggering 32 GB of memory (which you can upgrade to double that).
If you're a creative designer working in the visual field, this laptop from MSI is the best of the best, but it may be a bit of overkill for most users.
7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Laptop, 15.6” 4K UHD
Some of the Best Color Reproduction Around
The ThinkPad X1 is among the best 4K workstation alternatives to the MSI WS65, and you can get it for a significantly lower price. It doesn't offer a specialized graphics card like MSI's entry does, but the color vibrancy is some of the best around. In addition to sporting a 4K display, it also offers support for HDR400 for some of the best color reproduction around.
All told, it covers 100% of the Adobe RGB spectrum. It also sports a touchscreen for easier navigation, and the panel here is fully smudge-free and anti-reflective so it will look great in practically any environment.
8. Razer Blade Pro 17 Laptop – 4K Touchscreen
Eyebrow-Raising Visual Performance for Gaming
The Razer Blade Pro 17 isn't exactly the perfect gaming laptop, but it's one of the best blueprints for what a 4K gaming laptop should be. The fact that the Razer Blade offers a refresh rate of 120 Hz with a 4K display is eyebrow-raising, allowing gamers to get the responsiveness they need without sacrificing graphical fidelity. And while the processor is just a seventh-generation i7, it's been overclocked to squeeze every ounce of performance possible out of it.
And it's possible you won't need to track down gaming-specific peripherals either, since the mechanical keyboard and trackpad on the Razer Blade are both impressive in their own right.
9. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 15.6” 4K UHD
Specialized for Creative Professionals
The ASUS Zenbook Pro is more or less comparable to the Gigabyte Aero both in terms of pricing and specs, but where the Zenbook differs is in its specialized features for creative professionals and those obsessed with efficiency. The best and most obvious distinction here is the inclusion of a 14-inch matte 4K touch screen.
And since it's highly customizable, it can be used for everything from setting up macros in games to handling color selection when photo editing. It also makes use of a design feature that ASUS calls the ErgoLift system, which encourages healthier posture for users.
10. Lenovo Yoga C930 4K UHD Touch-Screen Laptop
A Perfect Harmony of Form and Function
The Lenovo Yoga has long been considered a 2-in-1 that does things right - combining form and function perfectly, and creating a model that capably makes the most of the best features of both a laptop and a tablet. The Y930 is more of the same - building off of an already great design and making small, iterative changes to improve upon it.
The coolest design feature here is how the hinge itself has been transformed into a speaker, but there's also a convenient holder for your stylus built into the body and a slider to block your webcam when it's not in use. And that's not even talking about hardware. The performance here is on par with plenty of laptops in its price range, and it sports a surprisingly strong battery life, all things considered.
4K Laptops Buyer’s Guide
We’ve already written a lot of guides about laptops, and you can feel free to check out our more comprehensive guides if you need a thorough analysis of all the specs and features you should be paying attention to. But in this guide, we’ll pay special attention to helping you understand exactly what a 4K display offers and what sort of use cases 4K is best suited to.
Understanding 4K Resolution
4K is the most current standard for TVs, but it’s still something of a rarity for laptops. The best 4K TV models are going to cost you a few hundred dollars, while 4K laptops will run you into the thousands. There’s certainly a reason for that. If you want the best 4K laptops that can handle the needs of gaming or productivity, then you need the hardware specs to match.
That said, 4K is a huge step up from the prior standard of 1080p (otherwise known as Full HD). 4K (also known as Ultra HD) offers four times the number of megapixels in a single screen. That said, there’s a case of diminishing returns when you get 4K laptops. The smaller the screen, the less of an effect you’ll get from a higher resolution, so we suggest you stick to a 15-inch or larger screen. Anything less won’t show a substantial difference between 4K and FHD.
4K for Gaming
Games simply look better in 4K, but if you’re a serious gamer, you probably understand that better graphics don’t necessarily produce better results. For that reason, many gamers opt instead for a Full HD laptop. These allow you to get better frame rates, and better frame rates mean more responsive results in multiplayer games. If you do decide to invest in the best 4K laptops, we suggest you do so with caution. Pay as much attention to input lag and frames per second as you do to the resolution.
4K for Creative Work
If you’re a professional creative working with video, photos, or graphic design, you’re going to benefit the most from 4K laptops. Accuracy is key when working in creative fields, and 4K offers a higher level of clarity than what you’ll find with a lower resolution. Of course, a laptop isn’t going to match a dedicated monitor with a top-end tower PC in terms of color reproduction, but they’re great for getting work done on the go. For that reason, we suggest investing in a model with decent battery life.
4K for Streaming Video
If you’re looking for the top laptop for streaming movies or TV shows on services like Netflix, a laptop with a 4K display is a very expensive option. As we said above, 4K TVs tend to be significantly cheaper than laptops, and the hardware that makes these laptops appropriate for higher-end gaming and creative work isn’t necessary for the comparatively simple process of streaming video.
Generally, we don’t suggest you look for the best 4K laptop when you just want to stream video, but if you do, you should aim for the cheapest model with the highest quality display. An Intel Core i7 isn’t going to be necessary at all, but it can definitely be of some benefit if you want to stream video in addition to using your laptop for more high-intensity tasks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 4K on a Laptop Worth It?
4K isn’t going to be quite as effective on a laptop as it will be on a large-screen TV simply because even a spacious 17-inch display won’t do it as much justice. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time. The distinction between 4K and FHD on a 15.6-inch or larger display is noticeable and especially useful if you’re a gamer, film aficionado, or creative professional.
What Laptop Can Play 4K Video?
There are actually quite a few laptops that offer the best 4K display, but that doesn’t mean that all 4K laptops are worth your time. We highlight 10 of the best 4K laptop models in the review guide above.
Which Laptop Resolution is Best?
If you’re looking for the very best in image quality, 4K is definitely the way to go. While 8K resolution is on the horizon (and promises a significant upgrade to 4K), it’s still a ways off, and 8K will likely offer diminishing returns on the smaller screens of laptops.
Is 4K 3840 x 2160?
Yes. The numbers above refer to the number of pixels packed into a screen, and while that might not mean much to the average person, comparing it to 1080p FHD can put things in perspective. 4K is four times as pixel-dense as you’d find in Full HD.
Which is the best laptop? It really comes down to what you need, but you can expect to pay a pretty penny for any laptop that comes with 4K capabilities. The standards for what to look for are the same with any laptop: a decent battery life, bright display, and decent hardware are always going to top the list. But if 4K is your main priority, you can be confident looking at any of the best 4K laptops on our list. We’re ready to help you find the best 4K laptops for your unique sensibilities and professional or personal needs.If you liked our article on 4k laptops, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.