Best 4K Laptops Windows Central 2021
Compared to just a few years ago, many more laptops now include a 4K display option, but Dell's XPS 15 (9500) is our pick out of the best 4K laptops. Its 4K UHD+ display is gorgeous with its new 16:10 aspect ratio, it has a dedicated GPU for extra power, 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options for outstanding performance, and it's all contained in a slim aluminum chassis that can fit into any setting. You'll get long battery life from the 86Wh battery, altogether making this a laptop you can carry with you everywhere you go.
- Best Overall: Dell XPS 15 (9500)
- Best Convertible: Lenovo Yoga C940
- Best Gaming: Razer Blade 15
- Best 13-Inch: Dell XPS 13 (9300)
- Best High-End Gaming: Razer Blade Pro 17
- Best Value Convertible: HP Spectre x360 13t
- Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 8)
Best Overall: Dell XPS 15 (9500)
The XPS 15 has been known for years to have one of the best displays around, and the refreshed 9500 model is no different. The 15.6-inch 4K UHD+ display has a boxier 16:10 aspect ratio with a 3840x2400 resolution, and there's essentially no more bezel, including below the screen. It's equipped with touch, and it has an anti-reflective coating to cut down on glare. It hits 80% AdobeRGB and 76% DCI-P3 color reproduction and manages more than 500 nits brightness for a brilliant picture.
The 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor (CPU) is truly a performer with six cores, but you can opt for up to a Core i9-10885H CPU with eight cores and a clock speed up to 5.3GHz. Add in a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and you have a laptop that can handle some specialized design and editing work.
The slim chassis made up of aluminum and carbon fiber holds onto decent port selection, with two Thunderbolt 3, USB-C 3.1, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. A fingerprint reader is built into the power button, and the IR webcam sits above the display for a natural angle and facial recognition. Rounding things out is an enormous 86Wh battery that allows you to get through about six or 7 hours from a charge.
- 4K UHD+ touch display with 16:10 aspect ratio
- Powerful Intel 10th Gen CPU options
- Dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU
- Premium aluminum chassis
- Large 86Wh battery
- Not as versatile as a convertible
- Less expensive options available
Best Convertible: Lenovo Yoga C940
Lenovo's 14-inch Yoga C940 is a refresh of last year's Yoga C930, which we reviewed favorably. It now comes with 10th Gen Intel Core "Ice Lake" CPU options that should give you a substantial boost to performance (including Iris Plus Graphics) and offers Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for incredible wireless speeds. You'll have to check out the 15-inch version for a dedicated GPU, though you will lose 10th Gen chips. Despite the new hardware inside, the C940 retains the slick all-metal convertible chassis with a soundbar hinge and a dedicated pen slot on the back edge. The hinge is now a single piece rather than being split near the middle.
There are a few display options available, but the lone 4K option includes an IPS panel for wide viewing angles, HDR400, and brightness that can reach 500 nits. It does have a glossy finish because it's touch, but the brightness level should handle glare. And, of course, you can use it with Windows Ink thanks to the included pen. The bezel is thin, but there's enough room on the top for a webcam and privacy shutter.
This laptop is just 0.57 inches (1.4cm) at its thinnest point, making it a rather portable option. And if you're in public, there's a fingerprint reader built-in for some extra security. The 4K display will likely cut the 60Wh battery's life by about a third, but rapid charge tech is available for a quick refill. Ports here include two Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.1 (Gen 2), and a 3.5mm audio jack.
- 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs
- Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
- 14-inch 4K touch display with slim bezel
- Soundbar hinge
- Dedicated active pen silo
- No dedicated GPU (see 15-inch version)
- Battery could be larger
Best Gaming: Razer Blade 15
For those who love PC gaming at a 4K resolution, the Razer Blade 15 should not leave you wanting. Depending on the performance hardware you opt for — up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875 eight-core CPU, and 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM — you'll be able to choose from different display options.
The top option is a 4K OLED touch display with 100% DCI-P3 color reproduction, 60Hz refresh rate, and HDR400 certification. If you're a designer or editor, this would no doubt also make a stellar system, especially now that Razer is offering an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 GPU. Top-firing quad speakers provide loud audio, and you might be tempted to use them instead of a gaming headset.
All this is contained in a symmetrical metal chassis with squared edges, available in either black or Mercury White colors. It's one of the best looking laptops out there, and it's built to withstand daily use. The keyboard's travel is a bit short, but the enormous Precision touchpad is ideal when not using an external gaming mouse plugged into one of three USB-A 3.2 ports. Other connectivity includes Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, and Ethernet depending on whether you get the Base or Advanced model.
- 4K OLED display is stunning
- Outstanding audio
- Excellent gaming performance
- Keeps cool
- Premium build quality
- Keyboard has short travel
- Very expensive
Best 13-Inch: Dell XPS 13 (9300)
Dell's refreshed XPS 13 9300 is one of the overall best laptops you can buy today. It's thin, it's lightweight but durable thanks to an aluminum body, and it's packing performance hardware (save a dedicated GPU). Add up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD, and enjoy long battery life from the 52Wh battery.
The display has had nearly all its bezel removed, including below where the chin usually sits. This allows for a boxier 16:10 aspect ratio for more screen real estate. There's still an IR camera above the display, as well as a fingerprint reader built into the power button as a backup for Windows Hello.
The 4K UHD+ (3840x2400) touch display option is gorgeous, with 500 nits brightness, anti-reflective coating, and 90% DCI-P3 color reproduction. It's also certified for DisplayHDR400. While the FHD+ display is also great, this laptop truly shines with the UHD+ screen.
- 16:10 aspect ratio and thin bezel
- Stunning look and design
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- Strong performance
- Beautiful 4K display
- Webcam could be better
- Gets expensive fast
Best High-End Gaming: Razer Blade Pro 17
The 17-inch Razer Blade Pro is a big, heavy laptop, but that's because it aims to replace your gaming desktop. It's available with up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM (upgradeable to 64GB), a 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD (with an extra open M.2 slot), and a NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU. That's some serious power, but it's needed for the high-end display option.
At 17.3 inches it offers a lot of screen real estate, and the available 4K (3840x2160) resolution is stunning. It's touch-enabled, it has a whopping 120Hz refresh rate, and it offers 100% AdobeRGB, 100% sRGB, and 95% DCI-P3 color reproduction. It also manages 434 nits brightness.
Typing is a bit shallow, but keys are responsive for gaming action and have customizable RGB lighting. Flanking either side of the keyboard are robust speakers with Dolby Atmos tuning; they get loud and make full use of the space available on a 17-inch device. Ports are plentiful, you get an IR camera above the display, and it's all wrapped up in a snazzy aluminum chassis.
- 4K 120Hz gaming display
- Outstanding performance
- High-end audio
- IR camera
- Lots of ports
- Very expensive
- Big and heavy
Best Value Convertible: HP Spectre x360 13t
HP's Spectre x360 13t comes at you with a gorgeous gem-cut design, bringing sharp, precise angles to a laptop that was already a looker. The angles aren't just for looks, as the USB-C port and power button are offset on the back edge to prevent accidental presses when in convertible mode and a better angle for your charger that doesn't get in the way of an external mouse.
The 13.3-inch touch 4K AMOLED display is gorgeous and can be used with an included active pen for Windows Ink. The bezel along the top and bottom has been shrunk down by a whopping 66% for an even more premium look, yet HP has managed to keep an IR camera above the screen for Windows Hello.
The chiclet keyboard is crisp and comfortable. It makes perfect use of all space available, and the touchpad, now using Microsoft Precision drivers is large. 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options offer excellent performance and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.
- Handsome, elegant gem-cut design
- Using Precision touchpad drivers
- Pen included for inking
- IR camera for Windows Hello
- 4K AMOLED touch display with slim bezel
- Drop-jaw USB-A is annoying
- Still using 16:9 aspect ratio
Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Lenovo has refreshed its ThinkPad X1 Carbon, now in its eighth generation. It has a carbon fiber finish and, yes, it's been put through a bunch of durability tests to prove it can withstand use outside of a normal office setting. Wi-Fi 6 is now included, and LTE connectivity is optional. For security, you get a fingerprint reader, IR camera, webcam shutter, dTPM 2.0 chip, and FIDO authentication, as well as a Kensington lock slot.
Port selection is generous, with two Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A 3.2, HDMI 1.4, Ethernet extension adapter, and 3.5mm audio. The keyboard is among the best around, and the Precision touchpad is accompanied by a TrackPoint system for those who love the red pointing nub.
For performance hardware, get up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. And, to top it all off, add up to a 14-inch non-touch display with 90% DCI-P3 color reproduction, 500 nits brightness, and Dolby Vision HDR 400.
- 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options
- Beautiful 4K display option
- Varied port selection
- Comfy keyboard
- Durable ThinkPad build
It's a great time to be in the market for a laptop with 4K display, but Dell's XPS 15 9500 steals the show.
The 4K UHD+ touch display has a 16:10 aspect ratio that eliminates bezel, it has an anti-reflective coating, and it hits more than 500 nits brightness. It's backed up by a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU and 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options. The compact, light chassis is made from aluminum and carbon fiber, and it's packing a sizable 86Wh battery.
If these laptops aren't quite what you're looking for, head over to our collection of the overall best Windows laptop picks for far more options.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Cale Hunt Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.
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