FHD vs UHD: A Battle of Display Resolution Performance

One of the major challenges that the average laptop buyer faces when it comes to making a purchase decision is choosing the right display for their new portable computer.

Different laptop models come with different displays, and it is important to decipher which display characteristics matter.  

Screen resolution isn’t always at the top of the priority list when you’re going over the specifications of a new laptop.

Yet, it impacts the quality of text and images that you see on your screen when you’re using your laptop. Having said that, it’s only right that you consider the resolution of your display.

If you’re contemplating picking between Full High Definition (FHD) and Ultra High Definition (UHD), continue reading on below to get the useful insight required to make the right choice.

This review is based on a thorough investigation and analysis of the development of high definition (HD) resolutions.

Extensive research was carried out to collect empirical evidence from available literature (previously published material) in order to give a comprehensive review of the topic.  

The research process involved critically reading the material found in order to gain a deep understanding of the topic.

The main objective of the research was to identify and analyze established aspects of the topic and to use findings to conduct this review.

Evolution of Laptop HD Resolutions

Laptops are widely used throughout the world because they can deliver a myriad of benefits to users. The characteristics of laptops that have made them so popular around the world are versatility, speed, storage capacity, portability and many more.

Unfortunately, choosing the right laptop isn’t a matter of simply buying the first model available to you. It demands careful consideration of many things, including the type of screen resolution that the display of the machine comes with.

HD resolutions have come a long way, as illustrated below.

  • HD: resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Full HD: resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Ultra HD: resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels
  • True 4K: resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels


Image from: IGN

FHD is short for Full High Definition and is the next upgrade to high definition (720p).  It is also called 1080p because it delivers a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. The total number of pixels found in FHD is roughly two million – 2073600 pixels to be exact.  

What Are the Pros and Cons of FHD?

Going full HD offers a range of amazing advantages to laptop users, but it also presents a number of challenges. Take a look at some of the notable benefits and limitations of FHD laptops compared to laptops with other HD resolutions.

The Good Side

Compared to its predecessor, that is, HD resolution, full HD resolution delivers better text and image clarity by increasing the number of total pixels on your computer screen. If you’ve ever used an HD laptop, you will notice that the text on your FHD screen will look crisper and will be easier to read, while the images displayed will be clearer, sharper, and more detailed.This is vital to making lighter work of everyday tasks that need to be performed using a laptop. Screen real estate is the amount of workspace available to you on your display. If you’re looking to upgrade from a standard HD laptop, investing in a laptop with full HD resolution is a great way to increase the amount of space available for you to actively get work done.The extra screen real estate will help make it easier for you to perform simple tasks like browsing the web, as well as more demanding tasks like photo and video editing. Your new laptop’s screen resolution will have an impact on battery performance. Higher res laptops tend to use up more power, thus hurting battery life.Because FHD laptops don’t push as many pixels as their UHD counterparts, they don’t hurt battery life as much.As a result, you can get more work done on a single charge. This benefit is essential if you need to use your laptop on the go, especially in places that may not have a power connection. Content availability is one area where FHD beats UHD. If you intend to use your laptop for both work and play, you’re going to love the freedom to choose from a wider selection of FHD media available on the entertainment market.Whether you like streaming movies, series or TV shows, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to watch all your favorite 1080p video content on a compatible FHD screen – the improved viewing experience is simply amazing. Are you aware that higher resolutions can also hurt the lifespan of your laptop? One of the major reasons why FHD laptops generally outlast their UHD counterparts is because they deliver less resolution.Since the hardware doesn’t have to work as hard to keep up with the need for higher image resolution, they tend to last longer. This benefit can also reduce the need for laptop repair throughout the lifespan of the machine. Because full HD technology precedes ultra HD, laptops makers have had more time to adopt FHD technology.

Thus, FHD laptops are generally more widely available compared to their 2160p counterparts. Another advantage of FHD laptops is that they generally cost less when compared to their UHD counterparts. If you’re looking for a budget laptop, it makes great sense to settle for a 1080p laptop.

The Negative Side

When it comes to delivering impressive image quality, full HD res laptops can’t outperform their UHD counterparts. If you’re interested in getting a better screen resolution, you’ll need to consider the next level up – UHD resolution. Although full HD laptops have become more affordable nowadays, they still cost more than their lower-res counterparts because of the extra pixels they deliver.

  • Deliver superior image quality compared to lowly HD resolutions
  • Provide additional screen real estate
  • Deliver longer battery life than their UHD counterparts
  • Lots of FHD content available for you to consume
  • Tend to outlast UHD machines
  • Generally cheaper than UHD laptops
  • Deliver less visual clarity compared to UHD
  • Come with higher price tags compared to lower-res laptops

UHD is the short name for Ultra High Definition. It means that your laptop has a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels. UHD is also called 4K resolution because it quadruples the number of pixels found in a 1080p display – the total number of pixels found in UHD is approximately eight million). Hence, UHD offers a superior image resolution compared to FHD.

What Are the Pros and Cons of UHD?

If you love the text and image quality on a full HD screen, you’re going to love the enhanced viewing experience on a UHD screen even more.

The extra pixels delivered by UHD resolution displays ensures laptop users see what’s on their screen with a greater level of detail. A higher UHD res means that more information or detail will be displayed on the screen at a particular time. This can make browsing the web or streaming a movie easier to do. If you are a serious gamer, you can take your gaming to the next level by playing 4K games on your UHD laptop. Sure, you might need to purchase some extra hardware to get started, but you will be rewarded with an enthralling gaming experience.

If you need to do 4K photo and video-editing on your laptop, a UHD laptop can be a handy tool. You can add the finer details to your photos and videos on your 4K screen. If you are looking to impress people with your new laptop, having a UHD machine is a nice way to hype things up. Because they are a level up the ladder of HD resolutions, UHD machines generally have greater public appeal.

The Negative Side

If you’re a laptop user who frequently needs to use their laptop on the go without being plugged in to a power outlet, battery performance is a big issue with UHD laptops. Compared to FHD laptops, laptops with UHD resolution generally require more power to push more pixels and deliver superior image quality. This results in a considerable reduction in battery life. UHD resolution only enhances the picture quality if used to watch native 4k content. Unfortunately, there is a painful lack of UHD media today.

If you plan to stream movies, TV shows, video games and other media in UHD, you’ll be disappointed to learn that there are limited options available for you to consume. Because UHD technology hasn’t yet been universally adopted by laptop manufacturers, the availability of UHD screen laptops remains considerably limited.

Another big disadvantage of UHD laptops is their higher price tag when compared to full HD laptops. Yes, the higher number of pixels does come at a higher price, which may not be affordable to everyone.

  • Improved on-screen clarity
  • More information displayed at a time
  • Enhanced gaming experience
  • Ideal for photo and video-editing
  • A significant lack of 4k content
  • More expensive than FHD laptops

Top 6 Additional Factors Impacting the Clarity of Laptop HD Res Screens

While screen resolution impacts the quality of text and images displayed on your laptop screen, there are other factors that will also affect how items appear on your screen. Take a look at 6 other factors that can determine the clarity of your laptop display.


1. Display Size

Does display size matter? Yes, it does. When it comes to choosing the display of your new laptop, size is obviously the most important aspect. Display sizes are determined by the diagonal length of the screen measured in inches. When you’re deciding on a size, you should also consider the resolution of the display.

Larger display sizes require a higher resolution to offset reduced pixel density. This is because image clarity tends to suffer or get distorted when display sizes increase, while resolution remains unchanged.

2. Maximum Brightness

No amount of screen resolution can offset lack of brightness. Thankfully, virtually every laptop comes with a screen that is bright enough to utilize in dark rooms. But what if you need to use your laptop in bright places, say when you’re al fresco on a sunny day? Better brightness levels would be desirable.

When choosing your laptop, test the maximum brightness it can deliver. Ensure you can see the content on your screen in a bright room or in direct sunlight without straining your eyes.

3. Contrast

In case your screen is still not bright enough if you’ve already set the brightness to the maximum level, you may need to properly adjust the contrast.

4. Color Depth

To enjoy the rich colors that HD resolution screens can provide, make sure your display color is well-balanced. No matter how high your screen resolution is, it can never compensate for poor color settings.

5. Viewing angle

Your viewing angle can also impact the clarity of your high-def screen. One way to improve your viewing experience is to ensure you sit at a position that allows you enjoy the best view possible.

6. Reflectance

You won’t be able to enjoy the full potential of a higher resolution HD screen if glare from the sun or room lighting gets in the way.

With that said, you should know that some laptop screens come with glare resistance capabilities while others do not. If glare is a concern for you, consider getting a laptop screen with glare resistance qualities.

Why is it Essential to Pick the Right HD Screen for Your Laptop?


Here’s a look at top 5 reasons to ensure you choose the correct HD screen:

1. Productivity

If you’ll be using your laptop for work, you need a screen that delivers excellent viewing experience and maximum screen real estate. This will go a long way in boosting your productivity.

2. Value for Money

When you pick a screen that matches your exact laptop needs, you’re going to get the most out of your investment. This is because you will be able to get work done quickly and efficiently, thus saving you both time and money.

3. Health Benefits

Working on your laptop may mean spending long hours staring at your screen. If the images on your screen are blurred and text is difficult to read, you can easily hurt your eyes.

Getting the correct screen is vital to the protection of your eyes, as you won’t have to strain your eyes to see the content displayed on your screen.

4. More Refined Entertainment

Higher HD resolutions have taken the entertainment industry by storm. You can now stream your favorite movies, TV shows and video games in full HD or ultra HD, thanks to the availability of compatible laptops.

A Quick Recap of Key Points

When you’re shopping for a new laptop, there are many things to consider. The bottom line is that you’ll probably want a reasonably priced machine that can get the job done quickly and efficiently. In order to strike the right balance between performance and affordability, you’ll need to meticulously assess the features of the various laptop brands and models available to you.

When it comes to choosing the screen resolution of your display, a higher resolution is generally desirable. The higher the number of pixels found in each square inch, the better the image quality.

However, you shouldn’t let your decision be influenced by screen resolution alone. There are other factors that will affect the actual quality of text and graphics that appear on your screen. Knowing which screen resolution to choose is only a good starting point when it comes to deciphering the technical stuff.

The best way to pick the most appropriate screen for your laptop is to sit behind the display and see if you like the viewing experience.  

Should you choose full HD or ultra HD res for your laptop screen? The answer to this question depends on your particular situation and requirements.

If you are looking for a budget laptop that you can use to perform basic everyday tasks like browsing the web, reading e-books, producing office documents and more, and also watch full HD content, an FHD laptop would be an ideal choice.

But if you are looking to get enhanced graphics for your gaming, photography or video editing, spending extra on an ultra HD res laptop would make perfect sense. However, you should be ready to sacrifice things like battery life and storage capacity to get superior image clarity.

If you have already decided on the size of your display, you should generally consider choosing a device that offers a higher resolution. Think of resolution as the vitally important display feature that determines image quality. At higher resolutions, the content on your screen will look clearer, sharper and more defined.

Having said that, the final decision is yours to make.

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