The best 4K laptops are beautiful enough to make your jaw drop. Yes, you can watch movies and TV shows all in 1080p if you want, but with a sharper resolution, at 3840 × 2160, 4K panels are typically brighter and even more colorful than 1080p screens. And since there’s an increasing number of games that support this resolution, the best gaming laptops are stacked to deliver the best experience possible.
There’s a huge selection of the best 4K laptops, and you’ll find these super-sharp displays on the best laptops you can buy, including the best 2-in-1 laptops and workstations. And the best 4K laptops can double as video editing laptops and the best photo editing laptops as well. However, keep in mind that 4K laptops typically don’t have the best battery life around, so there are some compromises you’ll have to make.
We determined which were the best 4K laptops by measuring the nits of brightness and the percentage of sRGB that their panels cover. When (not if) 8K laptops arrive, we’ll be ready for a whole new page for you. In the meantime, check out the best back-to-school laptop deals to save at Apple, Best Buy and more.
The recently reviewed Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 features an excellent 4K display, but the laptop itself has some drawbacks. If you’re looking for a 4K laptop with two displays, check out the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15
Black Friday 2020
Black Friday 2020 kicks off Friday, November 27 and we expect to see tons of deals on today’s best tech gear. Be sure to bookmark our Black Friday for this year’s exclusive deals.
What are the best 4K laptops?
If you’re looking for the best 4K laptop ever, that would be the Dell XPS 15. Not only does it have the brightest 4K screen around, but it also totes some impressive battery life, so you won’t be making the one compromise that you typically would on most 4K laptops. This also marks the first time the XPS 15 gets an OLED display, which is in itself monumental. But the system also packs an overclockable Core i9 processor and pairs it with a discrete Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU, making for one beautiful beast. If you’re looking to get into video editing or some light to medium taxing games, this laptop is perfect for you.
But, if you’re a full fledged gamer, the Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR is the best 4K gaming laptop that you can buy. You get all the bells and whistles, including a gorgeous 17.3-inch, 4K HDR display, a super-comfortable keyboard, solid battery life and strong overall performance, all packed into a sleek design. You’ll even get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, and while it’s not as good as competitors, it’ll still net you high frames in your favorite games.
People who need a machine for professional creative work like 3D modelling and video editing 4K content, you’ll probably want the MSI WS65 9TM, which is the best 4K workstation available right now. The WS65 packs a powerful 9th-Gen Core i7 processor and Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q GPU into a superslim, durable chassis. Top that off with solid battery life and a gorgeous 15.6-inch, 4K display.
The best 4K laptops you can buy today
- Dell XPS 15 (2019): 626 nits; 239% sRGB
- Alienware m17 R3: 591 nits; 166% sRGB
- Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR: 575 nits; 165% sRGB
- Dell XPS 17: 505 nits; 172% sRGB
- HP Spectre x360 (OLED): 483 nits; 258% sRGB
- Razer Blade 15 (OLED): 438 nits; 243% sRGB
- HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, OLED): 414 nits; 218% sRGB
- MSI WS65 9TM: 393 nits; 251% sRGB
- Alienware m15 OLED (2019): 376 nits; 265% sRGB
- MSI GT76 Titan: 376 nits; 157% sRGB
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme: 366 nits; 186% sRGB
- Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED: 357 nits; 200% sRGB
- HP ZBook 17 G5: 342 nits; 171% sRGB
- Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition: 336 nits; 216% sRGB
- Dell Precision 7730: 330 nits; 211% sRGB
The Dell XPS 15 is one of the best 4K laptops around, blasting 239% of the sRGB color gamut and 626 nits of brightness on an OLED panel. Boasting dramatic, lively colors with rich, detailed contrast, the XPS’ 4K panel must be seen to be believed. We were immediately taken with how the amber street lights glowed against actress Jodie Turner-Smith’s warm mocha skin and accentuated each twist in her long box braids as she rode in the car.
Those badass visuals also come with badass performance, as the XPS 15 is powered by a 9th Gen Core i9 CPU and Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU. The XPS 15 is also light as ever, weighing only 4.5 pounds, so you can easily take its gorgeous display with you anywhere.
See our full Dell XPS 15 (2019) review.
The third iteration of the Alienware m17 is here and it’s even better than the previous models. Sporting Intel’s new 10th Gen H-Series processor and an Nvidia Super GPU, the Alienware m17 R3 is a formidable force in the gaming laptop arena. Not only is the laptop powerful, but it’s got an intergalactic elegance that’s a bonafide headturner. It’s also one of the lightest desktop replacements on the market.
Watching the trailer for Miss Virginia, actress Uzo Aduba’s bronze skin looked great on the 17.3-inch display, especially when set against her cranberry blouse with its blood-red embossed flower pattern. And while Trials of Mana is already a beautiful game, playing it on the m17 R3’s screen just seemed to elevate the visuals. In line with Alienware’s characteristic vividness, the m17 R3 reproduced 166% of the sRGB color gamut. The m17 R3’s screen is also seriously bright, averaging 591 nits.
See our full Alienware m17 R3 review.
While the Gigabyte Aero 17 doesn’t have an OLED display, its HDR replacement is kick-ass, nailing 575 nits of brightness and 165% of the sRGB color gamut. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the lush greenery popped in contrast to the red, green and yellow shanty houses that surrounded us. When we dove into a swamp, we could see the details in the rocks around the darkest corners. And the cracks on the wood houses were incredibly sharp, even at several feet away.
Now combine that with a slim aluminum chassis packed with an RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU that can still last a wild 5 hours and 30 minutes on a single charge. The Aero 17 is an excellent choice for video editors and gamers alike.
See our full Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR review.
The Dell XPS 17 wields a magnificent 17-inch, 4K panel in a chassis that is smaller than most 15-inch systems. And if that isn’t impressive enough, the performance of its 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU should be. And let’s not forget the speedy SSD, bumping sound, and highly efficient thermal system. However, the $3,049 ($1,449 starting) price is going to give a lot of consumers pause.
The laptop has a 93.7% screen-to-body ratio with a 16:10 aspect ratio, which means instead of your normal 4K panel (3840 x 2160), the XPS 17’s panel has a resolution of 3820 x 2400. Measuring for color reproduction, the XPS 17 hit 172% of the sRGB color gamut, and the screen is also extremely bright, averaging 505 nits of brightness. And despite that glossy display, the XPS 17 has an anti-reflective coating that allowed us to see clearly from every angle.
See our full Dell XPS 17 review.
Need a relatively affordably 2-in-1 laptop with a lovely 4K OLED display? The HP Spectre x360 returns with its gorgeous copper-accented chassis, a comfortable keyboard and powerful Bang & Olufsen speakers. It also ramps up its panel with 483 nits of brightness and 258% of the sRGB color spectrum.
We could see each strand of hair on the crazy old woman’s head, and when James McAvoy took the stage, his green-and-brown flannel shirt popped on the Spectre x360’s display. The panel was bright enough to make us forget that the glare was even there, and when Pennywise revealed himself in a pitch black space, we could still see a structure in the background as well as some of his costume. Now combine that with a Intel Core i7-8565U processor, an Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card and the uber-flexible design for a versatile multimedia experience.
See our full HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, OLED) review.
Besides boasting a stunning 4K display with G-Sync technology, the Razer Blade 15 is the slimmest desktop replacement around. It clocked in 438 nits of brightness and 243% of the sRGB color spectrum. You’ll be wowed by its Core i9 processor and Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU. Not to mention that it lasted more than 4 hours on our battery test.
Gaming is a feast for the eyes on the Blade 15. Playing through Far Cry New Dawn, we were impressed with the golden yucca plants and the bluish-green hummingbird buzzing about it, trying to feed. The verdant pastures were dotted with neon pink flowers. Details were clear enough that we noticed the bark on each tree. Some had the usual textured surface you’d expect, while others were stripped bare due to grazing by local fauna and others were covered in moss.
See our full Razer Blade 15 (OLED) review.
OLED displays are finally breaking out into 13-inch laptops and the HP Spectre x360 is among the first to get one. The Spectre x360’s 13.3-inch, 3840 x 2160 OLED display is feverishly colorful and bright enough to replace the sun at the crack of dawn. It clocks in at 414 nits of brightness and covers 218% of the sRGB color gamut In the Jungle Cruise trailer, the exotic pink flowers that bloomed on the mystical tree jumped off the screen as if I was standing right there in the river.
The machine also comes with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD with 32GB of Intel Optane memory. However, even for a laptop with 4K display, especially an OLED one (which tends to consume less energy), the Spectre x360’s battery life is dismal. The Spectre x360’s battery died after 6 hours and 31 minutes, which pales in comparison to the 8:47 premium laptop average.
See our full HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, OLED) review.
The MSI WS65 9TM’s stellar 17.3-inch, 4K display covers 251% of the sRGB color gamut and emits 393 nits of brightness. Jack Black’s green-and-brown bow tie in the Jumanji: Next Level trailer might’ve been glossed over on another panel because of the darker shades, but it popped on the MSI WS65’s panel. When Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was about to get choke-slammed by Rory “The Hound” McCann, we could make out the cracks in the walls of the dimly lit space around them.
It not only keeps up to par with badass workstations, but it is the best workstation around right now, pumped with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor and an Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q GPU. Top that off with a superslim design and a battery life that outlasts the average workstation. Despite being light and thin, the MSI WS65 can take a punch thanks to its mil-spec chassis.
See our full MSI WS65 9TM review.
The Alienware m15 is an excellent gaming laptop to begin with, but now Dell has added a crazy OLED panel to this beast, giving it a screen that emits 376 nits of brightness and covers 265% of the sRGB color gamut. Watching the Gemini Man trailer was a thing of beauty, particularly the rich gold, red and green of the Myanmar flag as it fluttered lazy in the breeze during a Will Smith monologue. Details were sharp enough that the tiny furrows in his forehead were clearly visible along with beads of sweat traveling down his temple.
Combo that with a Core i7-8750H processor and an RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, you can experience games like Middle-earth: Shadow of War at a solid 38 frames per second at 4K, Ultra.
See our full Alienware m15 OLED review.
The MSI GT76 Titan looks as dazzling as it has ever been, especially on the inside. Its 4K panel blasted us with 376 nits of brightness and 157% of the sRGB color spectrum. The gorgeous color cavalcade continued as we played Far Cry New Dawn, where a crimson and black rattlesnake coiled, ready to strike with thin yellow lines accentuating the black diamond patterns on the reptile’s taut body. The full moon overhead helped bring attention to the delicate scales making up the transfixing pattern.
And thanks to its RTX 2080 GPU, the MSI GT76 Titan maxed out the SteamVR Performance Test. Although it’s a pretty thick boy, at 10 pounds and 1.3~1.7 inches thick, its keyboard was generously spaced and offered bouncy feedback without a hint of bottoming out.
See our full MSI GT76 Titan review.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is a complete badass, from its 4K HDR display hitting 366 nits of brightness and 186% of the sRGB spectrum to its Core i9 CPU and GTX 1050 Ti GPU completing our HandBrake video editing benchmark in just 10 minutes and 3 seconds. Combine that with a chassis that met 12 MIL-STD-810G standards then you have an absolute monster of a laptop, aka Extreme!
The trailer we watched of the upcoming X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, was riveting on the practically bezel-less 4K model. During the slow-motion car crash, we could see the tiniest shards of glass floating harmlessly, inches away from a young Jean Grey. We also noticed an incredible amount of detail in James McAvoy’s face during a close-up shot, from the tiny cracks in his bright red lips to the smallest lines on his forehead.
See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme review.
The Gigabyte Aero 15 is not only a gaming laptop, but it’s also a system for content creators as well. Its gorgeous 4K OLED averaged 357 nits of brightness and covered a vivid 200% of the sRGB color spectrum. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the neon sign for La Casa Mexicana was incredibly vibrant. When we took a tour through the jungle, even the darkest corners were fleshed out with visible leaves and branches. The panel was sharp enough to show off the threading on the net that a baddie was wearing over his head just 5 feet from us.
Gigabyte also packed a 9th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and an RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU into the Aero 15’s 4.7-pound, 0.8-inch-thin frame. This beast was still capable of nailing 36 fps on the Shadow of War benchmark at 4K, Ultra.
See our full Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED review.
If you’re looking for a workstation that offers blistering performance and a 4K display that can clock in at 342 nits of brightness and cover 171% of the sRGB color spectrum, then look no further than the HP ZBook 17 G5. When we watched a trailer for the upcoming thriller film Serenity, the 3840 x 2160-pixel display captured the thin wrinkles in Matthew McConaughey’s weathered, scruffy face. In one particularly creepy scene, Anne Hathaway wakes up next to sheets covered in bright-red blood. The display was so crisp that we could see the tiniest details in the crime scene, from the brown leather dress shoes splayed across the bathroom floor to a key sitting on the edge of the bed, adding intrigue to this riveting mystery.
The HP ZBook 17 G5’s super powerful Intel Xeon E-2176M CPU sped through the Geekbench 4 overall performance test with a score of 20,900 and its Quadro P4200 GPU crushed Dirt 3 at a silky-smooth 225 frames per second.
See our full HP ZBook 17 G5 review.
It’s no surprise that Razer’s Blade 15 Studio Edition is one of the best 4K laptops around. Its 15.6-inch 4K OLED display nailed a whopping 216% of the sRGB color gamut and emitted 336 nits of brightness. In the Black Widow trailer, David Harbour’s Red Guardian suit popped, showcasing the blend of red, silver and white as if he were a model at a photoshoot. Black Widow made her way through a dimly lit apartment, and while we could see ourselves in the glossy screen, we spotted the accents in the wall and furniture around her. The 4K panel also detailed the different shades in a bruise on Natasha Romanoff’s cheek.
Top that off with a powerful Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 GPU, and you’ll be nonstop content creating without a single issue. And for those worried about security, this machine also has an IR webcam for Windows hello and a built-in TPM 2.0 security chip.
See our full Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition review.
Not only does the Dell Precision 7730 pack a beastly Nvidia Quadro P5200 GPU with 16GB of VRAM, but it also has a 4K display that emits 330 nights of brightness and covers a glorious 211 percent of the sRGB color spectrum. If you need a great display on the go, the Precision 7730 is a great choice, especially since it passed 15 MIL-SPEC durability tests, so it can take any kind of punishment.
When we watched a trailer for the upcoming autobiographical film Green Book, we could make out the tiniest details in the set design, like individual records in Mahershala Ali’s house during a wide shot of his chic living room and wisps of smoke rising from Viggo Mortensen’s cigarette. The turquoise paint on the pianist’s Chevy popped, as if the car had just driven off the show floor.
See our full Dell Precision 7730 review.
How to choose the best 4K laptops for you
Choosing the best 4K laptops for you really depends on what you’re using the laptop for. Do you just want to watch movies on a pretty screen? Are you into gaming and want to experience high frames all in 4K? Or are you a professional creator that needs a 4K laptop for video editing and 3D modelling?
If you just want something nice to look at, your best bet is picking up the HP Spectre x360, which will net you a vibrant 15-inch, OLED display for a relatively affordable price. If you’re a hardcore gamer that what’s the best gaming laptop around with a 4K display, go with the MSI GT76 Titan — it’ll straight up rip and tear through the best PC games. However, if you’re looking for a workstation, take a look at either the Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition or even HP ZBook 17 G5.
How we test the best 4K laptops
We put each laptop through extensive benchmark testing — both synthetic and real-world — before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate each aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers and heat management.
In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop’s display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests.
To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution.
We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, a runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise.
These tests are complemented with extensive hands-on testing from our reviewers who critique everything from the laptop’s materials to the feel of its touchpad.