These are the five brightest laptops we've tested thus far
Most mainstream laptop and Ultrabook displays hover around the 300 to 400 nit range while cheaper models are commonly limited to 200 to 250 nits. The popular XPS 15, for example, tops out at about 400 nits when at the maximum brightness setting compared to only 230 on a Pavilion 15. Though generally sufficient for indoor conditions, users will need all the backlight brightness potential they can get when working outdoors under sunlight or even overcast.
Our small list here includes the five brightest non-industrial laptops we've seen thus far based on our independent measurements with an X-Rite spectrophotometer. The only two conditions in place are that both smartphones and tablets cannot be included and that only one model per OEM is allowed. Industrial devices like the Dell Latitude 14 Rugged or Xplore XSlate L10 can have display panels reaching over 1000 nits, but these have been omitted for the purposes of this guide.
As the table below shows, all five laptops crack the 500 nit barrier with the HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2 nearly breaking 700 nits. If you frequently use your laptop outdoors, then these models should be near the top of your next purchase list.
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|HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2|
ID: IVO04E8, Name: M125NVF6 R0, IPS, 12.5, 1920x1080
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00|
Lenovo 40AE / B140QAN02.0, IPS Dolby Vision HDR, 14, 2560x1440
|Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X5T-X01US |
ID: BOE06E8, Name: BOE HF NV150FHB-N31, IPS, 15, 1920x1080
|Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.9 GHz, 560)|
|Porsche Design BOOK ONE|
SHP147D (LQ133Z1JZ25), IPS, 13.3, 3200x1800
|Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *|
34.4 (18, 16.4)
56.8 (21.2, 35.6)
46 (25.2, 20.8)
42.4 (20.4, 22)
35.6 (17.6, 18)
|Response Time Black / White *|
28 (15.6, 12.4)
24 (6.8, 17.2)
29.6 (16.4, 13.2)
28 (14.8, 13.2)
25.2 (13.6, 11.6)
|Black Level *|
|Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *|
|Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *|
|Greyscale DeltaE2000 *|
|Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)|
|Color Space (Percent of sRGB)|
|Total Average (Program / Settings)|
* ... smaller is better
HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2
Topping our list is the one convertible model that also happens to be the smallest in terms of screen size. The 12.5-inch HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2 is about two times brighter than most Ultrabooks in the market today including those from HP's own Spectre series. The similar EliteBook 840 G5 is also extremely bright at about 650 nits. It's perhaps unsurprising that HP has been making a big deal about the very bright 13.3-inch EliteBook x360 1030 G3 being a major selling point for the model.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga HDR 2018
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The ThinkPad X1 Yoga HDR is the second laptop from Lenovo to meet the technical requirements for an HDR-certified display. One of these requirements for the HDR600 standard is to have a maximum brightness of 600 nits compared to just 300 or 400 nits on most earlier ThinkPad models. As a result, the X1 Yoga HDR is also the brightest ThinkPad laptop available thus far.
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X5T
The 15-inch Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X5T and 13-inch Notebook 9 NP900X3N are unique in that they each have an "Outdoor Mode" toggle mapped onto a Function key. When activated, the maximum brightness jumps to about 550 nits. Glare will be heavily reduced but not completely eliminated because of the glossy panel.
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017
Apple displays are generally more color accurate out of the box with wider gamuts and subsequently deeper colors than a Windows alternative. Perhaps not by coincidence, Apple MacBook Pro models are also some of the brightest. Both the latest MacBook Pro 15 2017 and MacBook Pro 13 2017 can each reach over 500 nits when set to their respective maximums.
Porsche Design BOOK ONE
Rounding up our short list is the surprising Porsche Design Book One convertible. In spite of all its performance, battery life, and quality issues as mentioned in our full review, the 13.3-inch system is still one of the brightest non-detachable convertibles money can buy. With the aforementioned 13.3-inch EliteBook x360 1030 G3 launching soon, however, the Porsche convertible is a tough recommendation.