4k (or UHD) laptops have been in the market for quite some time now. But there is still a lot of ambiguity surrounding the actual benefits you have with a 4k display, especially related to its rival 1080p (or FHD) laptops. These ambiguities can arise from questions concerning the detailed display, smooth gaming experience and battery consumption, et cetera, to name a few. We will be looking at these questions in detail and, in the process, hope to clear the fuzziness surrounding this 4k vs 1080p laptop debate.
4k vs 1080p: The basic difference.
As the words “4k” and “1080p” suggest, the difference has to do something with the numbers. And these numbers relate to the number of pixels – a smallest addressable area of illumination that can be displayed on a digital display device – displayed on the screen.
A 4k laptop display has a resolution of 3840 x 2160, meaning that a 4k display screen has 3840 individual pixels from top to bottom and 2160 individual pixels from left to right. So, the total number of pixels become 8,294,400 (3840 times 2160).
Whereas a 1080p laptop display has 2,073,600 individual pixels, owing to its 1920 x 1080 resolution. The 4k laptop display has 4 times the pixels of a 1080p laptop display, hence the term “4k”. And these greater numbers of pixels mean a better image quality, detailed imagery, and a greater depth to the visuals.
Gaming on 4k laptops: The Pros and Cons.
It might seem surprising but a better visual quality does not mean a better and smoother gaming experience. True that 4k laptop displays have to have an immersive feel to them, but it comes at a cost. Now, we’ll see how this cost-benefit relation plays out.
The Overall Gaming Experience.
The 4k laptops, owing to their greater number of pixels, have a sharp display, great color gamut, and a better saturation and contrast. This leads to an immersive gaming experience where you feel like you are part of the action. The tiny details that you pick make the display more pleasing. Especially with the more adventure-themed games, the experience can be dazzling. In short, the 4k laptop gaming experience can be aesthetically pleasing in the full sense of the word.
The downside of 4k laptops is that most of them are capped at 60fps. This means even if you have a great display, the stutter or lag caused by low fps can hinder a smoother gaming experience. If you’re into competitive gaming, this factor comes into play even more. If having a little more detail of your gun means that you will be missing that next headshot because of the laggy display, you’re not going to make that trade, or are you? That’s why most professional gamers tend to favor 1080p displays for gaming.
If you’re a professional gamer or just a gaming enthusiast and want to have the best of both graphics and smooth experience, you can do so by upgrading your GPU. NVIDIA and AMD offer graphics card at the price range of about $1000. This means you will have enough power resources to power a 4k display. So, you can enjoy the eye-pleasing graphics without having to affect the smooth gaming experience.
When it comes to gaming laptops, battery timing is already a topic of concern. Equip the gaming laptop with a 4k display, and you’ve got a monster that savagely feeds on power. After all, you’ve got 8 million pixels to feed, compared to 2 million pixels of a 1080p display laptop, which require significantly more energy. Another advantage 1080p display laptops have over 4k ones is that they have low energy consumption, leading to better battery life. So, not only there is no worry of having your laptop plugged in every 2 hours or so, but unlike 4k display laptops, they last long too.
Let’s be real. Most of us have tight budgets, and especially with the pandemic situation, price considerations have become even more relevant. There is a considerable price difference between 4k display laptops 1080p ones. This price difference can range from 300 dollars to 500 dollars.
Let’s consider the example of HP’s laptop Spectre x360. When all the specifications are kept the same, there can be a $300 difference with and without the 4k display. With 4k display, Spectre x360 can cost something about 1400 dollars. While without a 4k display, it costs about 1100 dollars. Imagine what you could do with that saved 300 dollars.
There is also an indirect way that 4k laptops can take a serious toll on your wallet. We discussed that most 4k laptops are capped at 60fps, which can make your gaming experience less smooth. The remedy to this problem – an upgraded graphics card – comes at a whopping price. And for obvious reasons, not everybody will be able to afford that.
What’s the bottom line?
As you can probably guess, there is no straight way to settle the “4k vs 1080p laptop” debate. A lot of it comes down to what is that you are aiming to achieve and what you are willing to spend. If you’re a casual gamer, who plays in his/her free time, then a 4k display laptop can really pay dividends. The high quality and in-depth really make it worth that price. But if you’re into competitive gaming, a 4k display laptop can hinder the smooth flow of the game.
In competitive gaming, where it is predominantly about having that movement edge over the other, small lags or stutters can ruin your gaming experience. If you’re a professional gamer, who can afford to spend extra money on a graphics card, then it might make sense to purchase a 4k display laptop. At the end of the choice is yours.