2020 saw the introduction of quite a few premium laptop lineups rocking 4K displays, be them OLEDs or LCDs. This is quite a big jump from the 1080p screens that have been the standard for the past several years now, and the prices clearly reflect this, as the new 4K panels add an average of $400-500 to the final price. There also is the 1440p standard, as a sort of middle-ground solution, but this one did not really catch on for laptops and is currently exclusive to desktop systems. According to industry insiders like Dave Lee, 1440p screens should be making a comeback as the new standard for gaming laptops throughout the next few years, and we can already see this shift with the latest gaming laptop from Eluktronics.
Apparently, laptop OEMs chose to ignore the 1440p standard as of late, since 4K is now becoming mainstream in the TV world. The problem is, jumping from 1080p directly to 4K does not really make sense for the small laptop screens, plus you can immediately feel the impact on battery life and price. Eluktronics is the first laptop OEM to introduce the new 1440p 165 Hz displays from BOE, which are only $50 more expensive to produce than the 1080p variants, and they also increase the screen real estate by 78% without too much of an impact on the battery.
The new 1440p screens are quite bright at 318 nits, but they obviously cannot offer HDR support for now. Another plus to go along with the high refresh rate is the 2.5 ms response time, which recommends these screens for fast-paced competitive games. Luckily enough, for only $50 over the 1080p panels, we are getting 100% sRGB and 87% Adobe RGB color gamuts, as well.
One of the immediately noticeable downsides is the need for a good mobile GPU, which, in this case, would be an RTX 2070, and if we look at the new Eluktronics laptops, we see that all models come with the Super variants from Nvidia. Now, we know that the RTX 3000 and RX 6000 mobility GPUs should launch in early 2021, so maybe it would be better to wait until those become available and hope for more affordable sub-$2,000 laptops. Another problematic aspect is scaling. If, for some reason, you are forced to switch to 1080p, the image becomes a bit fuzzy and is less sharper than even a native 1080p display. Of course, we also have the battery life dwindling a bit faster with the 1440p display, but it is certainly not as obvious as in the case of 4K displays.
We are looking forward to seeing other prominent laptop OEMs announcing 1440p options at CES 2021 in early January, maybe even some AMD-based models. Additionally, the launch of the mobility Ampere and RDNA2 GPUs should lower the prices for the RTX 2070, which in turn, would make the starting prices for the 1440p laptops more palatable.