Are 4K Laptops Worth it and what can be the best option when looking for the best screen quality? In this article, we’re going to discuss why a laptop with 4K screen resolution may or may not be an interesting idea, how much these computers typically cost, and how to get the best screen PC possible.
Why a 1080p laptop can be more than Enough
Assuming that a laptop with 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080) can be more than enough, this is something we can analyze by checking its pixel density. The higher it is, the smaller each pixel will be and therefore it is more difficult for it to bother us.
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Let’s guide this by comparing laptops and monitors, and seeing what pixel densities they have. These are different sizes at 1080p resolution:
- 13 inches: 170 pixels per inch
- 14 inches: 157 pixels per inch
- 15 inches: 146 pixels per inch
- 24 inches: 91 pixels per inch
- 27 inches: 81 pixels per inch
On the other hand, if we go to the WQHD resolution (2560×1440), which would be the next step in PC monitors, we would have:
- 14 inches: 209 pixels per inch
- 24 inches: 122 pixels per inch
- 27 inches: 108 pixels per inch
As we can see, monitors still cannot exceed the pixel density of a 1080p laptop. What if we go to 4K UHD, which is 3840×2160?
- 14 inches: 314 pixels per inch
- 24 inches: 183 pixels per inch
- 27 inches: 163 pixels per inch
From this we can conclude that we need to get to 4K on a monitor to achieve the same pixel density as a 1080p laptop.
This makes recommending a 4K laptop perhaps too much in some cases, considering that already at 1080p they provide quite good pixel density.
However, there is another argument that is in favor of 4K laptops: if instead of comparing their pixel density with that of a PC monitor, we compare it with a mobile or tablet.
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For example, let’s look at the density of an iPhone 13 Pro Max and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Beware that Apple devices do not usually have a particularly high density, so there will still be better mobiles and tablets:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max: 458 pixels per inch
- iPad Pro 12.9: 264 pixels per inch
It is clear that if we want to achieve this density, we need a 4K laptop. Do you think it is necessary for you? Let’s see what we find on the market.
Are 4K Laptops Worth it and What Should be the Cost
So still the question is 4k on a laptop worth it and how much should I pay for it? Yes, it’s worth and finding a laptop with 4K UHD resolution is not an easy thing.
The variety that exists is rather little. Be very careful because searching we have found laptops that cost in between $300 to $1000 US Dollars with the indication of 4K.
But it is misleading, because it means that it supports an external 4K screen, not that the one that is integrated.
That said, perhaps the highest pixel density laptop currently available is the Razer Book 13, an excellent Ultra-book with a 13.4-inch 4K UHD resolution display, this leads to a pixel density of almost 330 pixels per inch, which is outrageous for a laptop.
Important Characteristics of a Screen
4K is not everything, there are other important characteristics of a screen which you need to know as well.
We are going to look at more features that are just as or more important than resolution on a laptop screen.
The type of panel is perhaps the most fundamental when choosing a laptop, although in the event that it has a 4K resolution we can already be sure (for pure statistics) that it will be good, since there are no 4K laptops with panels bad.
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And what is a bad panel? Easy: a TN panel. It is a type of screen with lousy viewing angles and dull colors that is, not recommended at all. We recommend IPS panels as the main option in laptops.
Aside from IPS, there are new options coming to laptops. One of the best that exists is to get an OLED screen.
OLED panels are already very popular in mobile phones, and their advantage is that they have pure black colors.
The explanation of the black colors is simple. In an IPS panel, the color is achieved thanks to liquid crystals (LCD).
But in order for us to see them, a backlight is needed, which will consist of a set of white LEDs located just behind the screen.
This cannot be turned off, because otherwise no pixel would be seen. Although there are solutions for this such as local dimming, it is something specific to TV and not to laptops.
And what about an OLED? Well, there is no backlight, since the liquid crystals light up on their own, individually, and a black pixel is simply a dark pixel.
That said, OLED laptops are a bit pricey, but cheaper and cheaper options are popping up all the time.
For example, the Zen Book that we linked to you above for only $750, cheaper than many other laptops, although with 1080p resolution, of course.
Brightness is something that, from the outset, we should not pay much attention to if we are going to use our computer indoors without direct incidence of natural light.
But we are talking about laptops, which we will constantly see in very different situations, we might even want to use it in the sun, right?
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Well, be careful here, because laptops usually have about 250 or 300 nits of brightness, which is acceptable and can be seen in the sun, but rather with white content and without being hit directly.
If we go to mobiles, the “average” brightness is around 400 nits, but the best mobiles go to 500 or 600. We even see them over 1000 nits, but this is already more difficult to achieve in laptops.
We continue to talk about the refresh rate of a laptop, which is perhaps, the measure that most complements the resolution when describing a screen.
A higher refresh rate will allow us to see the screen more fluidly, especially in two things:
- Movement of windows and displacement (“scroll”).
- Fluency in games.
There, the difference between a 60 Hz screen (the normal one) and a higher one is very noticeable. It is not noticeable in videos because they are contents that already go at a fixed rate.
Do you want to try it yourself? Currently, a good part of mobiles are 90 Hz, 120 Hz or more. If yours is, compare the scrolling with a normal computer screen, or go to the settings and put the mobile at 60 Hz and you will see the big change.
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Of course, going up from 60 Hz is something you don’t need if you’ve never tried it. The problem comes when you have tried it, that you won’t want to go back.
As we have seen, a 4K laptop is a viable option, but not too much, since there are very few options available on the market, and at somewhat prohibitive prices.
As we have analyzed, we do not have to go to laptops with this resolution, since the pixel density provided is quite good even with 1080p.
Also, there are many more things that affect the quality of a panel and perhaps we should prioritize them before the resolution. As we have seen, a factor such as brightness is quite important.
Even so, let’s remember that, despite the fact that the pixel density is objectively good, in practice it is normal for us to use our laptop much closer to our eyes than with a PC monitor, which is what we have compared it with.
In fact, perhaps we will use it at a distance more similar to that of a mobile or tablet, where to get closer to its pixel density (with the examples we have given, of course) we would have to go to a 4K laptop.
We would also have a final alternative, which would be to go to laptops with resolutions better than 1080p, but worse than 4K. That is, an intermediate solution that could more than cover our needs.
Zahid Khan Jadoon is an Interior Decorator, Designer and a specialized Chef and loves to write about home appliances and food. Right now he is running his interior designing business along with a managing a restaurant. Also in his spare time he loves to write about home and kitchen appliances.