Do you wish your 1080p laptop screen had a higher resolution? Don’t worry, most of us do!
Higher-resolution displays give you clearer and more defined images. The higher the native resolution of your display device, the better your high-quality videos look.
Most laptops have HD (1366×768) or Full HD (1920×1080) screen resolutions. 4K laptops were introduced in 2014, and by 2021, they are still not very common.
With the increase in 4K videos and games, you may be asking, “Can I change my laptop screen to 4K?”
This article provides answers to questions about upgrading your screen. Keep reading; we’ll also teach you ways to achieve a 4K display with a 1080p laptop.
- Can I Replace My Laptop Screen With a Higher Resolution Screen?
- Can I Watch 4K on a 1080p Laptop Screen?
- Alternative Solutions: Watch 4K From Your 1080p Laptop
Can I Replace My Laptop Screen With a Higher Resolution Screen?
If you’re longing for a screen upgrade, we’re happy to tell you that it is possible. You can take your HD laptop screen and replace it with a 1080p display.
Is this an easy option? It certainly is not.
The disassembly process is risky: you may end up damaging your laptop’s internal components. You need the services of an experienced technician to minimize risk.
Can I Upgrade My Laptop Screen To 4K?
Yes. It is possible to upgrade your laptop screen to 4K. If your laptop has a 1080p screen resolution, just replace the current screen with a 4K screen.
There are some factors to be considered before opting for a screen replacement, however. We’ll explore them below.
Factors To Consider Before Replacing Your Laptop Screen
1. A Compatible Screen
Some manufacturers limit your chances of getting a screen upgrade. Sometimes, they create a safelist of LCD models and insert it into the laptop’s firmware.
This makes it impossible to upgrade to a screen whose model number isn’t listed. Unlisted screens would not display any image.
To counter this, you can update your laptop’s firmware from the manufacturer’s website to see if the upgrade excludes a safelist.
2. Suitable Video Cable
First, bear in mind that the internal components of most laptops are unique to that brand or model.
A video cable connects the motherboard to the screen and sends data signals. This video cable comes in different standards depending on how many wires/data lanes they have.
2-lane video cables transmit Full HD for 1080p laptops. To use a 4K screen, you will need a full-featured (4-lane) video cable compatible with the laptop.
You can contact the parts department of your laptop’s manufacturers and order the right cable. If it’s unavailable, your only option is to modify the existing cable and add extra wires to make up 4 lanes.
3. GPU Strength
Did you check the boxes for a compatible screen and a suitable video cable? If you did, there is one more thing.
You have to consider the ability of your GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) to carry the new screen’s resolution.
A 4K screen has nearly twice the pixels of a 1080p screen. If your GPU cannot accommodate more than a 1080p screen, it may begin to cave under the weight.
There will be overheating, more strain on the cooling system and the system will fail with prolonged use.
Note: A lot of people have successfully replaced their laptop screens with higher-resolution screens. However, many people have attempted the same and failed.
After considering the above-mentioned factors, you may choose not to replace your laptop’s screen. That’s okay!
We know alternative ways to watch 4K content from your 1080p laptop, and we’ll let you in on them.
Can I Watch 4K on a 1080p Laptop Screen?
If you’ve decided against replacing your laptop screen, you’re probably asking this question now.
The simple answer is NO. Your laptop’s 1080p screen cannot display images in 4K. The screen possesses only enough pixels for Full HD.
You can play a 4K movie or game on the laptop, but the screen will downscale the images into the native 1080p resolution.
We promised alternative solutions to this limitation, and we have them listed below.
Alternative Solutions: Watch 4K From Your 1080p Laptop
You cannot watch 4K on a 1080p laptop, but you can output 4K from a 1080p laptop. There’s a difference, and we’ll explain!
What you need is an external 4K monitor. The monitor can be connected to your laptop via video cables to stream content.
Don’t worry; the 4K monitor does not mirror the 1080p display of your laptop screen. It mirrors the image quality supported by the laptop’s GPU (graphics card).
The graphics card determines the image resolution being transmitted to an external monitor. If your laptop’s graphics card supports 4K, your monitor will receive and display 4K content.
The graphics cards of most modern 1080p laptops (except Intel HD Graphics) can output 4K resolution. You can check for the name of your graphics card on the manufacturer’s website.
Once you confirm that your GPU supports 4K, you can purchase an external 4K monitor.
4K can be transmitted over DisplayPort or HDMI. It is best to buy a monitor whose video connector matches the one on your laptop.
Versions 1.4 to 2.1 of the HDMI connector support 4K. Make sure you use High-Speed HDMI cables to make the transmission smoother
The ViewSonic 27-Inch Premium IPS 4K Monitor is a great option. It has excellent color production, and it supports both HDMI and DisplayPort. Check out the New HP Premium 4K Monitor if you’re on a budget.
Apart from an external monitor, there are other display devices with 4K native resolutions that you can connect to your laptop. They include:
- 4K TVs
- 4K Projectors
If you’re interested, you can check our selection of the best projector screens for 4K resolution.
How Do I Connect My 4K Monitor To My Laptop?
Once you have purchased a suitable monitor for your laptop, the next thing to do is connect them.
This section includes step-by-step instructions to help you connect a 4K monitor to your laptop.
The best connector for this is the HDMI. Use a cable certified for high-speed transmission. You may use DisplayPort if your laptop does not support HDMI.
Here’s what to do:
- Step 1: Plug one end of the video cable into the laptop.
- Step 2: Plug the other end of the cable into the monitor.
- Step 3: Power on both devices. Most laptops automatically detect the connection and begin to transmit.
- Step 4: If it isn’t automatic, you can manually make the laptop detect it through the settings.
Press Windows + P and select Screen Resolution. Under the section ‘Multiple Displays’, click the button that says Detect.
Once you have gone through these steps, you may begin to enjoy your 4K monitor.
Is 4K Worth it on a 17″ PC?
The 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) translates to a very high number of pixels —precisely 8,294,400. This high pixel number is ideal for filling up large screens with high-quality images.
While a 13-inch laptop does not need a 4K display due to its small screen size and weaker GPU, a larger screen might benefit from it.
17-inch screens are great when they include a capacity for 4K displays. The pixels will ensure images are displayed in high quality and without pixelation.
It’s expected that people would seek out the best visual quality available to them. At the moment, 4K resolution seems to be the in-thing.
Games are getting released in 4K, and manufacturers are creating more 4K compatible devices. If you have a 1080p laptop, you can still get it on the action.
Replacing your laptop’s screen isn’t always feasible. However, you can purchase an External 4K Monitor and follow our guide to enjoy 4K quality from your laptop!
Gabriella ‘Diogo is a content writer with a vested interest in tech hardware and equipment. She shares her knowledge and processes in an easy-to-grasp, lighthearted style. When she’s not testing or researching device performance, you’ll find her writing short stories or rewatching episodes of her favorite sitcoms.