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Best High-Resolution Laptops

If you edit photos, videos, or text, you might appreciate the extra pixels provided by the displays on these models

A pair of high-resolution laptops

The full HD screens commonly found on today's laptops pack plenty of pixels. But sometimes you need more.

If you regularly edit 4K video, stream movies with lush cinematography, or work with long, dense text documents in Microsoft Word, you may find yourself longing for the crisp, clear text and images provided by a laptop with a high-resolution display.

And if you’re a gamer, a high-resolution display will grant you full access to the eye-popping detail in modern classics such as “Apex Legends” and “Resident Evil 2.”

More on Laptops

According to Antonette Asedillo, who oversees laptop testing for Consumer Reports, that higher resolution often equals higher quality, too. “Based on what we’ve seen,” she says, “computers with high-res screens usually offer better color, contrast, and overall display scores.”

They also tend to feature high-end components, providing you with faster processing speeds and ample memory and storage.

Many of the laptops in our ratings have a UHD display (also known as 4K), which has four times the number of pixels found in a full HD display (also known as 1080p). Other models aren't quite as flush with pixels but still offer at least 50 percent more than full HD. Either way, you're getting significantly more detail with which to work and play.

To be sure, there are trade-offs when it comes to getting such detail. For starters, high-resolution displays tend to be more expensive than their full HD counterparts: Dell, for example, adds $300 to the price of a new 13-inch XPS when you upgrade to a UHD display. On HP's new 13-inch Spectre, that upgrade costs only $120 more.

Then there are battery life concerns. Moving around so many pixels puts a serious strain on your power reserves. How much of a strain? In late 2017, our testers found that the full HD version of a Lenovo Yoga laptop logged 14 hours of battery life per charge; the 4K version delivered only 7.5 hours.

If you're going to tether your laptop to the electrical outlet in your office, that may not matter much, but if you spend your days on the go, you may want to invest in a portable charger, too.

Every year, Consumer Reports buys dozens of laptops from retail stores (to prevent manufacturers from giving our test samples special treatment) and runs those laptops through our labs, objectively rating them on criteria such as display quality and performance.

Below we highlight some of the best laptops we’ve seen with displays beyond 1080p.

13-Inch Laptops

Microsoft Surface
The 13.5-inch model pictured below has a 2256x1504 touch-screen display. At that resolution, you get roughly 40 percent more pixels than a 1080p display offers.

The laptop is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and has 8GB of memory and 256GB of solid state storage. Those are nice specs for a laptop: Apps launch very fast—nobody likes waiting around for Chrome or Word to fill the screen—and you’ll have no trouble with everyday tasks like browsing the web or editing text documents.

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