The best mini-LED laptops | Digital Trends

The first mini-LED laptop launched just two years ago, and while it is pretty early, the panel tech has started gaining some momentum. Giving tough competition to OLED in terms of brightness, durability, and HDR performance, mini-LED panels have made their way to the latest Apple MacBooks, iPads, and some high-end laptops targeted at creators. In fact, we are also seeing some gaming laptops in the mix.

Here is a look at some of the best mini-LED laptops for 2022.

apple macbook pro 16" with liquid retina xdr display, m1 max chip with 10-core cpu and 24-core gpu, 32gb memory, 512gb ssd, space gray, late 2021

Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, 16-inch)

Best MacBook with mini-LED display

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aus rog zephyrus flow x16

ASUS ROG Zephyrus Flow X16

A brilliant ultralight 2-in-1 gaming laptop

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gigabyte aero 16 (rtx 3080 ti, core i9-12900hk)

Gigabyte Aero 16

The best mini-LED laptop for creators and gamers

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msi creator 17 17.3" uhd hdr1000 mini led creator laptop intel core i7-11800h rtx3070 16gb 1tb nvme ssd win10pro vr ready (b11ug-239)
asus rog zephyrus duo 16 (2022) gaming laptop, 16" 165hz rog nebula hdr qhd+ 16:10 display, nvidia geforce rtx 3080 ti, amd ryzen 9 6900hx, 32gb ddr5, 2tb ssd, windows 11 pro, gx650rx-xs97

ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16

Dream machine for multitaskers and gamers

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apple macbook pro review 2021 01

Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, 16-inch)

Best MacBook with mini-LED display

Pros

  • Incredible XDR display
  • Fantastic creative performance
  • Extensive port selection
  • Keyboard and trackpad are perfect
  • Excellent speakers and webcam
  • Endless battery life

Why you should buy this: It is the first and best Apple MacBook with a mini-LED display.

Who’s it for: Creative professionals who cannot live without the Mac ecosystem.

Why we chose the Apple MacBook Pro 2021:

The late 2021 MacBook Pro models come with Apple’s new Liquid Retina XDR displays powered by mini-LEDs. The panel on the MacBook Pro 16 measures 16.2 inches with a resolution of 3456 x 2234, while the MacBook Pro 14 offers a 14.2-inch screen with a 3024 x 1964 resolution. It is capable of 100% sRGB and 90% AdobeRGB with 475 nits of brightness. Apple also says that the sustained brightness of the display can go up to 1,000 nits, although that is limited to HDR content.

Performance is actually noticeable, and as per our review, toggling back and forth between Apple’s XDR preset shows a clear difference. Apart from improved brightness, highlights are brighter and colors look punchier. The display also comes with a 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate, which means that it can automatically adjust between 20Hz and 120Hz, depending on what’s happening on the screen.

The new MacBook Pro models are powered by Apple’s M1 Pro chipset that offers a 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. The 16-inch model is also available with the M1 Max chipset that doubles the GPU cores and memory bandwidth speeds.

apple macbook pro 16" with liquid retina xdr display, m1 max chip with 10-core cpu and 24-core gpu, 32gb memory, 512gb ssd, space gray, late 2021

Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, 16-inch)

Best MacBook with mini-LED display

product image of the asus rog zephyrus flow x16 2-in-1 gaming laptop.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus Flow X16

A brilliant ultralight 2-in-1 gaming laptop

Pros

  • 1,100 nits of brightness
  • Fast and responsive panel
  • Sleek design with good build quality
  • Silent fans
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Poor 720p webcam
  • Pricing
  • May heat up under heavy loads

Why you should buy this: It is a solid 2-in-1 convertible gaming laptop with a bright and responsive mini-LED display.

Who’s it for: For those who are looking for a sleek gaming laptop with a bright mini-LED display.

Why we chose the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Flow X16:

Mini-LED displays offer better brightness and reliable HDR performance, but ASUS has taken things to the next level. The Zephyrus Flow X16 is a relatively compact and slim laptop with a 16-inch QHD (2560 x 1600) resolution display crammed in a 15.6-inch form factor. The ROG Nebula HDR display on the laptop is pretty impressive as it comes with a 165Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, FreeSync Premium Pro, Dolby Vision HDR, and Pantone validation. It is also rated at 100% DCI-P3 and 1,100 nits of peak brightness, with 512 local dimming zones and VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification, making it one of the brightest displays on a gaming laptop.

As for the core features of the laptop, it comes with a 2-in-1 form factor, allowing you to flip the display to any angle that you wish and use it in tablet mode or tent mode. The ROG Zephyrus Flow X16 is powered by the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS mobile processor with the option of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-series mobile GPUs (up to a 3070 Ti), 32GB of DDR5 memory, and up to 2TB of fast PCIe Gen 4 NVMe storage.

aus rog zephyrus flow x16

ASUS ROG Zephyrus Flow X16

A brilliant ultralight 2-in-1 gaming laptop

gigabyte aero 16 review 11

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Gigabyte Aero 16

The best mini-LED laptop for creators and gamers

Pros

  • Decent keyboard for typing
  • Includes a USB hub in the box
  • Beautiful OLED screen
  • Solid gaming and CPU performance

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Screen is limited to 60Hz
  • GPU is limited by power

Why you should buy this: It is one of the most premium mini-LED laptops meant for studio-oriented workflows.

Who’s it for: Creative professionals and content creators who are looking for a well-built laptop with a bright display.

Why we chose the Gigabyte Aero 16:

The Gigabyte AERO 16 is the company’s premium offering for creative professionals and content creators. The laptop comes with a 16-inch 2560 x 1600 16:10 mini-LED display that is VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certified with a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, 100% coverage DCI-P3 color gamut, and a 120Hz refresh rate that ensures a smooth workflow. The fast refresh rate also means that you can enjoy gaming on this laptop. There is also a feature called AI Eye Care that can sense changes in ambient light sources and adjust the screen brightness accordingly. Gigabyte also offers a 4K OLED model.

The design is also noteworthy as it comes with slim 3mm bezels that help in achieving a 90% screen-to-body ratio, while the CNC aluminum-alloy unibody offers a premium and robust build. The notebook is powered by the latest 12th-generation Intel processors that can be configured with up to a Core i9-12900HK, 64GB of DDR5 memory, dual M.2 solid-state drive (SSD) storage slots, and up to an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti.

gigabyte aero 16 (rtx 3080 ti, core i9-12900hk)

Gigabyte Aero 16

The best mini-LED laptop for creators and gamers

front and back view of the msi creator 17 mini-led laptop on a white background.

MSI Creator 17

Reliable 4K mini-LED laptop for creators

Pros

  • Bright and vivid colors
  • Factory calibrated
  • Outstanding performance
  • Fingerprint and IR webcam

Cons

  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • Not the best battery life

Why you should buy this: It features an excellent mini-LED display that should meet the expectations of most creative professionals.

Who’s it for: Content creators that are looking for a large laptop with a bright 4K mini-LED display.

Why we chose the MSI Creator 17:

MSI was the first to introduce a laptop with a mini-LED display back in 2020, and the company introduced an updated model last year. While it uses the same panel, it is a worthy option for content creators who are looking for a laptop with a bright 4K mini-LED panel. The 17.3-inch display on the MSI Creator 17 is great for professional content creation as it offers excellent colors and contrast without compromising on brightness. It comes with a UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution, VESA DisplayHDR1000 certification for 1,000 nits of peak brightness, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut support, and factory calibration of Delta E< 2 accuracy. It has a standard 60Hz refresh rate display, though, so it might not be the best choice if you plan on playing fast-paced action games on this machine.

Powering the laptop are Intel’s 11th-gen mobile processors configurable with the Core i7-11800H or the more powerful Core i9-11900H with 32GB of DDR4 memory (expandable to 64GB), two M.2 SSD storage slots, and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 mobile GPU. The laptop also features an advanced cooling system with three fans and six heat pipes to maintain the thermals.

The price isn’t the best, especially if you compare it to the Gigabyte Aero 17, which offers newer Intel 12th-gen chips and a faster 120Hz refresh rate panel. But we are expecting the company to bring an updated model, so keep an eye out.

msi creator 17 17.3" uhd hdr1000 mini led creator laptop intel core i7-11800h rtx3070 16gb 1tb nvme ssd win10pro vr ready (b11ug-239)

MSI Creator 17

Reliable 4K mini-LED laptop for creators

a asus rog zephyrus duo 16 sits on a desk in blue and purple ambient lighting.

ASUS

ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16

Dream machine for multitaskers and gamers

Pros

  • Bright and vivid display
  • Dual-screen benefits
  • Excellent performance capabilities

Cons

  • Awkward touchpad placement
  • Battery life

Why you should buy this: It is a performance and multitasking powerhouse thanks to high-end hardware and two built-in displays.

Who’s it for: Gamers as well as content creators who want the ultimate performance and a dual-screen experience.

Why we chose the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16:

ASUS clearly leads the charts when it comes to laptop innovation, and the ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is a fine example. Featuring two displays packed into a traditional clamshell design, the laptop comes with the company’s ROG Nebula HDR display, which is a 16-inch mini-LED panel with QHD+ (2560 x 1600) resolution offering a 165Hz refresh rate. It is VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certified with 1,100 nits peak brightness and offers vivid colors with 100% DCI-P3 coverage. The display is also Pantone certified, supports Dolby Vision, and offers a 3ms response time for fast-paced action while playing games.

There is also a 14-inch wide ROG ScreenPad Plus 4K touch display that sits right above the keyboard and raises at an angle when you open the lid. This secondary display expands your productivity by allowing you to configure various apps and settings for games, creative tasks, coding, and multitasking.

Powering the laptop is AMD’s Ryzen 9 6900HX octa-core processor that can be paired with up to 32GB of DDR5 memory, 4TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe storage, and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080Ti mobile GPU. If you are looking for the ultimate mini-LED laptop for multitasking, this is the one you should consider.

asus rog zephyrus duo 16 (2022) gaming laptop, 16" 165hz rog nebula hdr qhd+ 16:10 display, nvidia geforce rtx 3080 ti, amd ryzen 9 6900hx, 32gb ddr5, 2tb ssd, windows 11 pro, gx650rx-xs97

ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16

Dream machine for multitaskers and gamers

Frequently Asked Questions

What is mini-LED?

A mini-LED display works similarly when compared to any other conventional LED display. An LED backlight provides the primary source of brightness, which then passes through an LCD matrix and color filters to produce the final image on the screen. The one big difference when it comes to mini-LED is in the number and size of those LEDs. While a regular LED display might have a few dozen or even hundreds of LEDs, mini-LED bumps this up to thousands by shrinking the size of the individual LEDs. This helps with better contrast, brightness, and black levels. A larger collection of smaller LEDs also offers better control over local dimming, which means deeper blacks.

Are mini-LED displays more expensive?

Yes. Mini-LED displays have a higher production cost. However, they are not much more expensive when compared to OLED.

Mini-LED versus OLED. Which one is better?

Mini-LED displays might not offer the best brightness, contrast, and inky blacks like some of the most premium OLED displays, but there are many other factors involved. The newer generation of mini-LED displays is expected to offer more dimming zones and brighter LEDs. They are also more durable and make more sense for PC users, which is still a pain point for OLED.

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