Laptops can have various screen resolutions. Usually, a higher resolution means better image quality. But what is the normal screen resolution for a laptop these days?
Most laptops these days, including the cheaper ones, can offer full HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels). This is considered the standard by most buyers, resulting in a really good image quality for internet browsing, watching movies and browsing.
There is not such thing as a “normal” resolution for laptops, because they can function well at various resolutions.
Smaller laptops will usually have lower resolutions simply because the screen is smaller and even at lower pixel density, the image will look good.
This means that you can still get a really good image quality on a small 14″ laptop with a resolution of 1,600 x 900 (HD), with no noticeable differences for the average users when compared to a full HD resolution.
How is a screen’s resolution calculated?
The resolution is calculated in pixels, which are tiny dots that create the image on our displays. Simply counting the number of pixels horizontally and vertically on your display will give you the resolution.
The higher the resolution, the higher the density of the pixles on the screen, and the clearer the image.
In other words, a resolution of 1920 x 1080 means that horizontally, you have 1920 pixels, with 1080 pixels vertically.
Each display can support multiple resolutions, but it is usually the native resolution or its normal resolution that is mentioned in a specifications list.
So a full HD laptop that natively supports a 1920 x 1080 px resolution, can also work in HD mode (1,600 x 9000), but not in a higher resolution mode (like 2,560 x 1,440, which is known as 2K resolution).
To learn more about the various screen sizes that laptops offer, read our laptop screen size comparison chart.
What Are Some Normal Screen Resolutions for a Laptop?
Resolutions vary from model to model, but the ones listed below are considered to be the “normal” resolutions that work well on a laptop’s screen.
These resolutions have a 1.77 aspect rate generally, which best suits the shape of a laptop’s display. Other aspect ratios will make images look strange – stretched either horizontally or vertically.
Here are the normal resolutions laptops use:
- 1280 x 720 px (720p or HD resolution)
- 1920 x 1080 px (Full HD or FHD resolution)
- 2,560 x 1,440 px (2K Resolution)
- 3,840 x 2,160 px (4K or UHD resolution)
We will still find laptops supporting a maximum resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. These are usually cheaper models with smaller screens. The image quality is not the best, but it is still usable.
Full HD resolution (1,920 x 1080) is becoming the norm nowadays and most models offer this resolution or above.
At this resolution, the image quality is better, with clearer and crisper colors. A larger screen with a FHD resolution will always have a better quality than lower resolution. Even on smaller screens, a full HD resolution will look better.
Considering price/quality ratios, if you’re looking to get a new laptop, the FHD resolution is your best bet. Image quality is great, while prices can still be very low.
You can check out some prices for Full HD resolution laptops here (affiliate link)
Screen resolutions greater than 1920 x 1080
Pretty soon, we’ll consider the FullHD resolution obsolete. With advancements made in technology, greater resolutions are becoming available and the prices for devices that support these improved resolutions are falling.
Higher resolution means better image quality, so you should always try to get a model with a high resolution. Here are some extra details about the various resolutions offered right now:
2,304 x 1,440: This is the typical resolution of Retina displays used on MacBooks, offering a better image quality.
2,560 x 1,440: 2K resolution (or WQHD). This isn’t a very popular resolution, for some strange reason. The trend is to go 4K directly, basically skipping this increased resolution
2,560 x 1,600 (and 2,880 x 1,800): Also exclusive resolutions that Apple uses for their more recent Retina displays. The image quality is absolutely amazing!
3,200 x 1,800: a very uncommon resolution, also known as 3K or QHD.
3,840 x 2,160: this is the 4K resolution, also known as UHD. This is becoming more and more popular with each passing day and more models strive to offer this resolution to customers.
While we personally believe that for smaller laptops, such an amazing resolution is a bit overkill, for larger screens and especially TVs, this is a resolution that really increases the image quality and takes it to the next level.
This will probably become the new normal in the coming years, replacing the current “normal” resolution of 1,920 x 1080 px.
You can find some of the best laptops offering a 4K resolution on Amazon (affiliate link)
There are already laptops and especially TV screens offering 8K resolution, but these are extremely expensive and in the very early stages of development.
A laptop’s native resolution tells you how high quality the image will be. Higher resolutions offer better image quality, but have in mind that the size of your laptop also matters. Smaller laptops still offer a great image with lower resolution.
We can say that today, the most common resolution on a laptop is FullHD. Most likely, in the next few years, the technology (and preferences of customers) will evolve and we’ll have 4K resolution becoming the norm.