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Which 4K gaming laptop is best?

PC gaming hardware has finally reached a point where 4K Ultra HD gaming is available to regular people without investing a fortune. The influx of high-powered components from manufacturers including Intel and Nvidia is responsible, as is the advent of novel technologies such as supersampling and variable refresh rates. Not only is it more likely than ever that your new computer will be able to run games in 4K, but high-speed monitors and advanced HDMI connectivity mean you can play at impressive frame rates.

If you want to get the absolute best visual fidelity possible on a notebook PC, consider a 4K gaming laptop. They’re not cheap, and they’re not for everybody, but they’re fast and fun, and there are more to choose from than ever before.

What to know before you buy a 4K gaming laptop

They’re relatively new to the market

The ability to play modern AAA titles on portable hardware is a relatively new development. Only the most prominent laptop manufacturers offer Ultra HD models meant for gaming. That means you can trust that all of today’s 4K gaming laptops are well-engineered pieces of equipment that should last for years with proper upkeep.

They’re not inexpensive

Unfortunately, for dedicated gamers, another offshoot of 4K gaming laptops’ meager availability is that they’re remarkably expensive. There’s a handful of Ultra HD laptops that offer great performance and don’t break the bank, but they aren’t all meant specifically for gaming, and some lack important gaming features.

They’re not incredibly portable

Gaming hardware tends to be large and generate a lot of heat. As such, gaming laptops take up a lot of space to accommodate the hardware and cooling system. Don’t be surprised when your new high-end gaming laptop weighs several pounds.

What to look for in a quality 4K gaming laptop

17-inch screen

It’s unwise to spend significant amounts of money and your battery life on a 4K gaming laptop with a screen smaller than 17 inches. There are debatable reasons why a smaller 4K laptop can help with non-gaming tasks. For example, some creative software suites scale better at 4K than 1440p resolutions. When it comes to gaming, though, you won’t see any benefit from an Ultra HD resolution on a 15.6-inch screen.

Powerful gaming components

You’ll need some of the latest gaming technology to take advantage of such a high resolution. At the very least, you’ll need an 11th-generation Intel or Ryzen 7 5000-series CPU or better. In both cases, look for a central processor with an H-class designation, which denotes a high-powered mobile CPU.

The graphics processing unit is the other keystone of gaming performance. An Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 is the minimum recommended GPU for 4K gaming. Anything slower, and you’ll quickly find performance lacking in the most advanced games.

System memory is another feature that’s important to consider but doesn’t have as many options. All high-end gaming laptops have at least 16 gigabytes of RAM. Today, many offer an optional 32 GB for the ultimate in future-proofing.

A high refresh rate

Sixty hertz has been the go-to refresh rate for standard laptops and gaming consoles for many years. Frame rates above 60 frames per second only recently became mainstream, and once you exceed 60 hertz, it’s tough to go back. A refresh rate of 120 hertz or higher allows for smooth motion with little to no stuttering.

Best 4K gaming laptops 

Top 4K gaming laptop

Dell Alienware x17 R2

Dell Alienware x17 R2

What you need to know: Its extensive range of configuration options gives you the best choice of the most premium components.

What you’ll love: It’s offered with essentially the absolute fastest hardware you can find in a laptop at the moment, which isn’t a surprise given Alienware’s reputation. That includes an incredibly powerful 12th-generation Intel Core i9 CPU, which even supports overclocking. You can also select up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card. If you insist on peak performance, this is the one for you.

What you should consider: It’s one of the most expensive gaming laptops globally, exceeded only by novel and extremely niche models.

Where to buy: Sold by Dell

Top 4K gaming laptop for the money

Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR XD

Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR XD

What you need to know: Marketed as a content creator’s workstation, it delivers great performance at a surprisingly reasonable price.

What you’ll love: The standout feature here is the display itself, which boasts X-Rite Pantone color calibration that ensures high-volume and high-accuracy color output. It can produce 100% of the Adobe RGB color space that some professional photographers use, further highlighting its wide color gamut. It also offers impressive connectivity options, including a Thunderbolt 4 port and a high-speed UHS-II SD Card reader.

What you should consider: Since it wasn’t originally intended as a gaming laptop, it’s limited to just a 60-hertz refresh rate.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Asus ROG Zephyrus S17

Asus ROG Zephyrus S17

What you need to know: Asus went out of its way to provide a convenient and effective Ultra HD gaming experience with this high-powered laptop.

What you’ll love: In particular, the keyboard is an interesting component that makes it clear a lot of thought when into the Zephyrus S17. It boasts per-key RGB lighting, premium optical-mechanical switches and a supporting hinge that lets it rest at angle for comfortable ergonomics. The relatively high power configuration and boost clock of the GeForce RTX 3080 are more evidence of the machine’s impressive capabilities.

What you should consider: Its 11th-generation Intel CPU isn’t quite as fast or efficient as its newer counterpart.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best 4K gaming laptop alternatives

You don’t necessarily have to shell out an incredible amount of money for a smooth, high-resolution gaming experience. Quite a few dependable laptops will offer a great gaming experience for years, even if you like to play modern AAA titles.

Best high-performance 4K gaming laptop alternative

Asus ROG Strix 17

Asus ROG Strix 17

What you need to know: It can display twice as many frames as the fastest 4K models at a nearly indistinguishable resolution.

What you’ll love: While it’s limited to a 1440p resolution, its 240-hertz refresh rate blows Ultra HD laptops out of the water. As is standard with high-end Asus models, it’s packed with the finest components available.

What you should consider: Other than the slightly lower resolution, it’s hard to find any faults with the ROG Strix 17 aside from its price.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best midrange alternative to a 4K gaming laptop

ProStar PD70PNN

ProStar PD70PNN

What you need to know: This no-nonsense gaming laptop sports impressive specs and doesn’t cost a fortune.

What you’ll love: Its GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU is one of the most recently released models and delivers great performance. It even offers a whopping two gigabytes of high-speed solid-state storage.

What you should consider: At 165 hertz, its refresh rate isn’t quite as high as some other options.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best 4K gaming laptop alternative on a budget

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

What you need to know: No matter what your preferred hardware configuration, this option represents one of the best values in high-end laptop gaming.

What you’ll love: The 1440p of this 17-inch laptop comes close to the pixel density of a 4K model. Aside from that, it has a great blend of components that don’t create any meaningful bottlenecks, and it’s reasonably priced.

What you should consider: Its Ryzen CPU isn’t quite up to par with Intel’s latest 12th-generation processors.

Where to buy: Sold by Lenovo and Amazon

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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