Having the best 4K laptop means a lot more than having a high-quality screen. These laptops offer efficiency, power, and lightweight portability. Now, at Digital Trends, we recommend the Dell XPS 13 for its 1080p display and 4K visuals that make it stand out of the crowd.
If you’re not a fan of the XPS 13 or even the 15, we have an assortment of other options, so you’re sure to find something that works for you. We’ve conducted hundreds of laptop reviews and put together this list to help you choose.
Best 4K laptops
- Dell XPS 13
- Dell XPS 15
- HP Spectre x360 15
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
- Asus ZenBook Pro 15
- Razer Blade
Why you should buy this: The XPS 13 is a killer laptop in every way and looks fantastic with a 4K panel.
Who’s it for: Anyone but gamers.
What we thought of the Dell XPS 13:
The XPS 13 is our favorite all round laptop, so it’s perhaps no surprise that its 4K option tops the list of our favorite 4K laptops, too. The latest versions go beyond anything we’ve seen before, though, moving the webcam back up top where it belongs, trimming the bezels and chassis even more, and offers some of the best internal hardware you can get at the 13-inch size (although here are some other options).
In our review, we took a look at the 4K model with an Intel 10th-gen six-core Core i7-10710U processor, 16GB of RAM, and a terabyte of solid-state storage, which delivered class-leading performance, but there are an array of options with lesser hardware choices to deliver greater value. Whichever option you pick, though, the 4K touchscreen looks fantastic, even in bright offices and outside, thanks to its 366 nits of brightness. It’s got great contrast, support for a wide gamut of colors (although not as wide as some others on our list), and better color accuracy than most laptops in its bracket.
The only caveat to all this is that the 4K screen does demand more from the battery, so you do need to sacrifice a little of the XPS 13’s longevity to upgrade it to 4K.
Read our full Dell XPS 13 review
Why you should buy this: It’s the XPS 13 but bigger with more room to enjoy that beautiful 4K screen.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants more than a 13-inch laptop can deliver.
What we thought of the Dell XPS 15:
Larger and more capable, but a little less portable, than its smaller sibling, the XPS 15 steals the top spot of our best 15-inch laptops list and the 4K configuration is one of our favorites. You get a cheaper price and better battery life with the 1080p option, but if you’re after that 4K experience, the XPS 15 is one of the best.
The latest version no longer suffers from poor webcam placement in the base of the display bezels, which is a welcome change. It has solid performance thanks to powerful Intel 9th-gen Core i7 and i9 CPUs, up to 32GB of memory, and an Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics chip for decent entry-level gaming capabilities and strong creative application performance. The optional OLED 4K screen means you’re getting one of the best displays on the market in terms of inky-black contrast, wide and accurate colors, and incredible brightness.
While not quite as sleek as some of the newer XPS laptop refreshes, this XPS 15 model is still fantastic to look at and use and is one of our favorite 4K laptops available.
Read our full Dell XPS 15 review
Why you should buy this: It’s an awesomely powerful 2-in-1 with great visuals in both laptop and tablet mode.
Who’s it for: Those who want the best 4K screen clarity in a convertible laptop.
What we thought of the HP Spectre x360 15:
Laptops that can convert into tablets, 2-in-1s as they’re often called, typically miss out on being great laptops by virtue of trying to be a jack of all trades. Not so with the HP Spectre x360 15, which packs some seriously powerful hardware into a relatively lightweight chassis for an awesome notebook with some tablet capabilities too.
The quad-core Intel Core i7-9750H CPU pairs perfectly with the onboard Nvidia GTX 1650 to deliver decent gaming performance — even at 4K resolution — while overall system power and the fast solid-state storage kept everything feeling snappy and responsive. It even looks great on the outside, with a unique blue color-scheme accented with gold that steers clear of the gaudy label, but certainly stands out from the pack of black and silver alternatives.
The display itself looks gorgeous and though it falls behind some of the competition in terms of contrast, its wide color gamut support is top-tier and its color accuracy is only beaten by the XPS 15. Like the XPS 15, the latest versions include an option for a 4K OLED screen to give it excellent display performance to go with its speed.
The Spectre x360 15 is a little heavier than we’d like for tablet use, but that minor gripe aside, it’s a fantastic 4K laptop that’s well-suited to just about anyone.
Read our full HP Spectre x360 15 review
Why you should buy this: ThinkPads are amazing work machines, and the X1 Extreme is no different — now with a great 4K screen and an OLED option.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants to maximize screen real estate for work and play.
What we thought of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme:
If style is the least of your concerns or you want 4K laptop power in a system that doesn’t scream “look at me,” then the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 might be what you need. It packs capable hardware into a durable, sturdy chassis that eschews modern design meta in favor of function, with a fantastic keyboard to boot.
While the X1 Extreme retains the rigidity and sturdy feel of its predecessors, the latest version has still gone on a diet, featuring sleeker lines and body than the ThinkPads that came before. Those trimmer bezels help contain high-contrast 4K panels (IPS and OLED options) that offer high contrast, excellent colors, and great brightness.
It falls behind a bit on battery life, managing less than six hours in our video loop test, but this machine is more designed for work than play. The latest Gen 2 version can play though, thanks to its powerful array of 9th-gen quad- and six-core Intel CPUs and an optional Nvidia GTX 1650, making it more than capable of playing Esports games at decent frame rates. Even at 4K.
Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme review
Why you should buy this: It’s a worthy competitor for the XPS 15 and has a fancy Screenpad to boot.
Who’s it for: Those who want power and enjoy innovative features.
What we thought of the Asus ZenBook Pro 15:
The only laptop on this list to technically come with two displays, the ZenBook Pro 15 is a unique offering that has some quirks and drawbacks that are all its own.
While mostly built like most other ZenBooks we’ve ever tested, this one turns things on its head with the introduction of the ScreenPad, an LCD touch panel instead of a typical touchpad. The buttons aren’t great, but we enjoyed the touchpad function with its support for Windows 10 gestures, and the ability to use it for dedicated apps like calculators and music players. It’s certainly more useful than Apple’s Touch Bar.
The 4K screen in this laptop isn’t the best, with so-so contrast ratio and somewhat disappointing color accuracy, but at 335 nits it’s reasonably bright, and we found it good enough for productivity work and looking at photos. There’s always the new OLED option though, if you want a better looking panel for a bumped cost.
Where it falls down in visuals, though, the ZenBook 15 makes up for it in raw performance. Our review system with the powerful Intel Core i9-8950HK dominated the competition in all productivity benchmarks and its gaming power wasn’t bad either, delivering playable frame rates at 1080p in Rocket League, Battlefield 1, and Civilization VI.
Read our full Asus ZenBook Pro 15 review
Why you should buy this: The Blade is an amazing gaming laptop and 4K really makes the visuals pop.
Who’s it for: Gamers and anyone who likes a flashier laptop.
What we thought of the Razer Blade:
Razer makes a few different gaming laptops, some larger and more capable than others, but our favorite is still the standard Blade for its mix of features, affordability, and great gaming power. The 4K options are the most power-hungry of the lot, so Razer demands not only a higher price, but mandates a more powerful graphics chip too. The weakest you can opt for is the Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q, though the 2080 Max-Q will give better frame rates and opens up the option for a 4K OLED panel which is absolutely gorgeous.
Whether you opt for LED or OLED though, the Razer Blade is an awesome gaming machine with all the hardware you could need, a great aesthetic, solid build quality, and even decent battery life if you don’t push it too hard. We managed more than six hours in our 1080p video loop test. Don’t expect as long if you’re watching UHD movies, but that’s still rather impressive for such a powerfully specced machine.
The Razer Blade isn’t cheap, but it’s the only 4K laptop on this list that can game like a real gaming laptop and still offer all the functionality of a work machine if you need it for something more productive in between gaming sessions.
Read our full Razer Blade review
- The best OLED laptops for 2020
- The best business laptops for 2020
- The best 13-inch laptops for 2020
- Dell Inspiron 15 7000 review: Powerful, affordable, and expandable
- The best laptops for 2020