One of the biggest announcements at CES 2021 seemed to come and go without much fanfare. Shadowed by Nvidia’s debut of its RTX 3000 series of graphics chips for laptops, you may have missed hearing that an increasing number of manufacturers are finally building fast-refreshing QHD screens in their portable gaming machines.
Standalone QHD (1440p) monitors are a popular choice for discerning gamers who use desktops for several reasons. First, the monitors are often more affordable and feature-packed than most 4K monitors, while looking almost as good. And most importantly, modern high-end graphics cards, such as the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT and Nvidia RTX 3080 (and even some latest generation products), run games much good at QHD.
Frustrating and inexplicable, however, QHD has not been an option if you want one built into your gaming laptop. You have had the choice between either 1
I’m still of the opinion that 1080p looks lived for most usage cases, however, I would not argue that displaying games in 1080p with relatively smooth performance is a low obstacle for even medium-sized portable hardware to clear. On the other hand, it’s at once impressive and mediocre to play the latest AAA games in 4K resolution with all the graphics settings set to max, with frame rates often dipping into the unplayable zone. QHD monitors in powerful laptops can offer good visual fidelity with hardware that has no problem keeping up.
Razer’s Blade 15 is one of the few laptops announced at CES 2021 that allows you to add a QHD monitor to your order, and I was pleased to see that it does not add that much to it total sum to do so. For $ 2,199 ($ 200 more than the model that has an FHD 144Hz panel) you get a machine with a QHD IPS display with a 165Hz refresh rate along with the new Nvidia RTX 3070 and a six-core 10th generation of Intel Core i7 processor. This price is on par with many current laptops equipped with latest generation parts and a fast refreshing 1080p screen.
In fact, I would not be surprised to see laptops with QHD monitors fall below the $ 2K price point this year. Acer’s Nitro 5 for 2021 will also have the option of being configured with a QHD monitor, and I’m sure many other OEMs will follow suit.
I’m not yet able to tell you what kind of performance the Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series will deliver on new laptops until later this month. But if you’re used to playing on a 1080p screen, it can be obvious to see it all run on a more pixel-dense QHD screen.