Best Laptops for Video Editing
In today’s world of social media and multimedia sharing platforms, video’s popularity to digital consumers is on a steady rise.
To ensure that you are getting a quality video output, one of the most painstaking tasks is editing them. If you are a creative or a video artist, you know just how important it is to have the best laptop for video editing on your side. However, the laptop market is filled with tons of laptops that it can be quite a task just going over each one of them.
For this reason, we have come up with a list of the best laptops that can fill your video editing regiment in a snap. Whether you are a professional or just a hobbyist, there’s a suitable laptop for you in this article.
Here are the best video editing laptops currently on the market.
1. Alienware R4
While it’s primarily a gaming laptop, we could not help but include the Alienware R4 on the list. The display is simply breathtaking and can create the sRGB color gamut at 119-percent and brightness at 311 nits. The audio also delivers top notch quality which is a must-have if you want to sync the sound of the video you are editing.
Clocking in at 2.1 GHz, the Alienware R4 is quite fast for a gaming laptop, but it sits in the middle pack of our list in terms of processing speed. It does excel, however, at multitasking thanks to its 16GB of ram. Additionally, it has a 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD hard drives, which can help rev up your editing. Moreover, you have tons of ports such as USB Type C, USB 3.1, HDMI 2.0 and an 802.11ac Wifi with Bluetooth 4.1.
The backlit keyboard is like a small trampoline with a 2 mm travel and 78 grams actuation force. The touchpad also has enough room to perform multitouch gestures. This thing also has a nifty webcam equipped with the Tobii EyeX Lite which is an eye-tracking technology that controls certain functions of the built-in camera. The battery life is also at an acceptable 5-hour range, while the heat index all measure at a comfortable threshold.
Display: 15.6-inch screen; 1920×1080 resolution
Processor: 2.1 GHz Intel Core i7-8750 H
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070; Intel HD Graphics 630 with 8GB memory
Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD
Weight: 7.8 pounds
- Beautifully designed case
- Bright display with strong graphics
- Comfortable keyboard
- Long battery life
- Bottom gets hot during intense editing
- Requires a faster SSD
For Apple lovers out there who also perform video editing as a hobby or as a professional, you definitely can’t look past the MacBook Pro. It’s easily one of the most luxurious laptops in its class thanks to its sleek ultrathin design and overall performance. While its display is not true 4K HD quality, the 2,880 x 1800 resolution is still an eye candy. It’s Cinema 4D performance is nothing short of masterful especially with its improved render times and complex material reflections. For best video editing compatibility, you should use Final Cut X as it’s already optimized for Apple’s system.
The new Intel Core i9 processor with 6 cores and 12 threads matched with a 32 GB RAM is simply phenomenal. This upgrade allows you to work faster on your video encoding including the demanding H.265 code. You can also multitask with ease without having to worry about its performance dropping when several programs are open at the same time. The ultra-thin design, however, limits the number of ports in the laptop. Not to mention, it’s still using the USB-C ports which means you need to get your dongles ready.
The keyboard has been one of the main sources of ire for the MacBook Pro over the years. Apple changed it in this new model. However, though it may feel different the keys still have less than 1 mm travel which could mean it’s prone to be obstructed by small things like fallen hair and chips crumbs. The MacBook Pro also has a bit of issue when it comes to the CPU decreasing its throttle speed to cool down the unit. Its battery life is at a laudable 9 hours.
Display: 15.4-inch screen; 2,880 x 1,800 resolution
Processor: 2.9GHz Intel Core i9-8950HK (hex-core)
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon Pro 560X; Intel UHD Graphics 360
Storage: 2TB SSD
Weight: 2.03 pounds
- Very impressive overall performance
- Clear and bright display
- Large storage space
- Unique owning experience
- A limited number of ports
- A tendency to slow down when it heats up
Many of the video editing laptops in the market cost a decent amount of money. The Asus ZenBook, however, is one of the few budget ultrabooks under $1,000 that can perform light video editing with ease. While it does not have a Nvidia graphics card, the Intel HD Graphics 620 can do its part of the job well. Its display produces the sRGB spectrum at 105-percent and has a brightness of 302 nits; which in ultrabook standard is above average.
The 8th Gen i5-8250U mated with an 8 GB RAM is plenty enough to do some multitasking. However, there is visibly some lag to your video editing tool when a few programs are open at the same time. The 256 GB SATA can transfer files at a decent rate, but it could sure use an SSD upgrade. The audio is also quite solid and can easily fill a small room with loud sounds. You also have some familiar ports a USB 3.0, USB Type-C, micro HDMI and the usual 802.11ac Wi-Fi with Bluetooth 4.1.
Its keyboard has 1.6-millimeters of travel and an actuation force of 81 grams, which far exceeds the minimum for its ultrabook category. The touchpad though is not as impressive as it’s quite stiff and unresponsive with your clicks. Hence, you’re better off using a mouse. Finally, the ZenBook’s battery life is at more than 8 hours, which is quite useful when you’re doing any all-nighter activity.
Display: 13.3-inch screen; 1920×1080 resolution
Processor: 1.6 GHz Intel i5-8250U
Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics 620
Storage: 256GB HDD
Weight: 2.66 pounds
- Affordable Price
- Very Portable
- Bright and vibrant screen
- Speedy performance for an ultrabook
- Can only do light video editing task
- Stiff touchpad
4. Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS has a vivid display that can reach 111-percent of the sRGB gamut and has a brightness of 371 nits. While it has a native 1920×1080 resolution, you can upgrade it to a maximum of 3840×2160 resolution. It’s supported by a GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q which is what you usually get in most entry-level gaming laptops. That is to say, it can hold fairly well in terms of producing the most detailed display with occasional to no stuttering during the editing process.
The XPS 15 may have a slim built, but it has some muscles to flex coming from its Intel Core i7-8750H processor coupled with 16GB of RAM. You can even have your browser with multiple tabs opened running on the background as you edit and it wouldn’t even be a problem. Its 256 GB HDD storage, however, may be considered ho-hum, as far as its competitors are concerned. The built-in speakers also produce clean and loud sounds. It’s got the customary ports much like the ones that came before it on this list.
This laptop also has an island-style key which has a shallow 0.7 mm travel and a 70 grams actuation which isn’t too shabby. The touchpad is quick and responsive enough especially when doing a three-finger tap and other multi-touch strokes. If we have one gripe about this laptop it would be the webcam which is awkwardly placed above the hinge. Battery life is at a stellar 11 hours and it stays cool everywhere during that period.
Display: 15.6-inches screen; up to 3840×2160 resolution
Processor: 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q with 4GB memory
Storage: 256GB SDD
- Great overall graphics performance
- Top notch battery life
- Doesn’t heat up fast and stays cool
- Vibrant and lively display
- Awkwardly placed webcam
- Outdated case design
5. HP ZBook X2
A laptop made specifically for graphics and digital artists may sound like a concept of the future, but it’s already here. The HP ZBook X2 is a convertible laptop designed specifically for working with visual content such as images and videos. It can turn into a tablet with a native resolution of 3840×2160 pixels spread across its 14-inch touchscreen. The display is probably the most vivid on this list with a whooping sRGB color gamut at 178-percent and brightness at 313 nits. To top it off, it’s also equipped with a Nvidia Quadro M620 which makes the editing task much easier.
The combination of Intel Core i7-8650U and a 32 GB RAM allows you to multitask and open several programs at the same time. It does quite well on many video-editing tests and can transcode a 4K video to a 1080 pixel video in faster than two minutes than the average. The 512 GB SSD storage is also a welcome addition since you can have more files in it. It also has two cameras- a selfie cam with 720p and a rear shooter with 3264×1836 resolution. Audio quality is also in tip-top shape as one would expect from a Bang & Olufsen-made speakers.
While many convertible laptops fail when it comes to the keyboard, the ZBook seem to thrive in it. Thanks to 1.5 mm travel and 68 grams of pressing force, you can increase your typing speed by a significant amount. The touchpad is also quite pleasant with ample of space and responsiveness. It also comes with a handy stylus which is useful especially when you’re drawing. The ZBook tends to heat up faster on tablet mode but can handle remaining cool when on laptop mode. Its Achilles’ heel, however, is in its short battery life that lasts only 4 hours.
Display: 14-inch screen; 3840×2160 native resolution
Processor: Intel Core i7-8650U
Graphics Card: Nvidia Quadro M620 with 2GB video memory
Storage: 512GB SSD
Weight: 4.9 pounds laptop; 3.8 pounds tablet
- Top performing processor and RAM
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- Usable front and back cameras
- Impressive shortcut software
- Short battery life
If you are looking for a more affordable 2-in-1 laptop for your video editing needs, then look no farther than the Yoga 720. It’s got an amazing display with a sRGB color gamut of 141 percent and brightness of 255 nits. Add in an Intel HD Graphics 620 and this setup can display videos with great accuracy especially in the shading and effects department. While the native resolution sits at 1920×1080, you can upgrade it to a 3840×2160 res for a true 4K experience.
The Intel Core i5-8250U is capable of giving a decent pace to your editing, however, the 8GB RAM limits how much multitasking you can do. File transfer speeds are above average when compared to its ultrabook competitors. We recommend that you only do light video editing on this laptop as it can only process so much at a time. The 720p webcam that comes with it can perform your casual chatting with ease but nothing else beyond that.
Among the issues that we have found out about this laptop is its unimpressive keypad which feels flat. The key’s 1.2 mm travel and 68 grams actuation can hamper your typing speed. Luckily, the touchpad performs better than the keyboard and is quite accurate especially on responding to Windows 10 gestures. Moreover, this device remains at a comfortable temperature both for the laptop and tablet mode even when used for a long period of time. Battery life is at an average of 8 hours.
Display: 13.3-inch screen; up to 3840 x 2160 resolution
Processor: Intel Core i5-8250U
Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics 620
Storage: 256GB SSD
Weight: 4.55 pounds laptop; 2.8 pounds tablet
- Super fast SSD
- Thunderbolt 3 port
- JBL stereo speakers
- Great value for its justified price
- Poor keyboard layout
- No SD card reader
Microsoft knows that a large number of its laptop market is comprised of creatives and artists. Hence, the Surface Book 2 was released to fill such need and compete with rival Apple’s MacBook Pro. The 2-in-1 Surface Book 2 has been revamped to fight toe-to-toe in a competitive space. The gorgeous display has been made into a true 4K display and backed with a capable Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card. The screen’s texture quality looks crisp with 131-percent sRGB color gamut and easily beats that of the MacBook Pro. Attaching and detaching the tablet screen is also speedy.
Performance-wise it’s still at a modest standing with a quad-core Intel Core i7-865OU which can ooze out 1.8 GHz. It also has a 16 GB RAM and 1TB of SSD. However, it’s a couple of cores lower than the faster MacBook. On the flipside, because its bulkier than its rival the Surface Book 2 has the edge in terms of a number of ports with two USB 3.1, a Type C USB 3.1, SD card reader, and two Surface Connect. It also comes with two cameras- an 8MP rear and a 5MP front. The speakers, however, are placed awkwardly which results in its low volume.
The backlit keyboard has an acceptable travel time and has quite a punchy feedback that allows good typing speed. Moreover, the touchpad is responsible enough and does things just right. However, the Surface Pen, one of the best styluses in the market, is not included on its package which is a bummer. Both laptop and tablet mode stays relatively cool when doing simple tasks. To put the icing on the cake, the Surface Book 2 has an enviable 15 hours of battery life.
- Easy to attach and detach
- Long battery life
- Excellent display quality
- Multiple ports including USB Type C
- Lacks Thunderbolt 3
- Quite expensive
Display: 15-inch PixelSense screen; 3,240 x 2,160 resolution
Processor: 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U processor
Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 1050; Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage: 1TB SSD
Completing this list is none other than the Razer Blade Stealth, a lightweight gaming laptop that also works spectacularly on editing videos. It’s a very balanced system which has a great display that produces 121 percent of the sRGB gamut and a brightness of 328 nits. It also has a very responsive touchscreen that can respond accurately to even a slight touch. Furthermore, it has a 3,200 x 1,800 QHD resolution that fills its 13.3-inch screen. It’s good for editing videos as it does not leave behind even the smallest of details.
Razer has also geared it with a quad-core Intel 8th gen processor for it to perform in its competitive category. The 16 GB RAM is also a welcome addition as it lets you multitask while keeping pace with its top-notch performance. Data transfer rate is also quite impressive and doubles that of the average in the mid-level gaming laptop space. The speakers are quite louder than what you’d expect for top mounted units. It also has numerous ports including a Thunderbolt, the usual USBs and an HDMI 2.0.
As one would expect from a gaming laptop, the Razer Chroma keyboard is quite capable to keep up with your typing speed. It has a 1.2 mm of travel and 69 grams actuation which are both above average. Its battery life, however, is unremarkable at just five hours.
Display: 13.3-inches screen; 3,200 x 1,800 resolution
Processor: 1.8-GHz Intel Core i7-8550U
Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics 620 GPU
Storage: 512GB SSD
Weight: 2.8 pounds
- Slim design and very portable
- Bright and very detailed display
- Fast SSD
- Comes with a powerful 8th gen processor
- Disappointing battery life
- A bit more expensive
So there you have it, these are the laptops that made it into our list of the best laptops under $500. With that being said, we hope you have found the best laptop that suits your tight budget.
So the next time you are on the lookout for a good laptop on a tight budget, just remember to look at the factors mentioned above and you will get the best value from your hard-earned cash.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Video Editing Laptop
The most important aspect of a computer for many video editors is none other than display. The laptop must have the highest resolution possible and has a genuine 4K display. We recommend a laptop that has a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels or higher for your video editing needs. You also want the laptop’s screen to have the best color accuracy to produce the best editing experience. Larger screen size is also preferred since you can see the video’s details better.
You also need to have a laptop with a fast processor since video editing requires a lot of processes happening at the same time. Thus, a laptop with great computing capabilities is preferred. The latest 7th generation of processors, the Intel i7 series, will do the job perfectly. You can also settle for an i5 series processor, but expect them to be a bit slower.
In the past, your computer does most of the video editing on the processor alone. Today, however, part of that process is also handled by the video card. Thus, it’s important that you have a top performing graphics card like Nvidia.
If you want a faster editing process, we recommend that you get a laptop that both have an SSD and HD. Having multiple drives allows faster workflow provided that you have the right setup. You can install the video editing tool, such as the Adobe Premiere Pro, in the SSD and have the video file on the HD.
Random Access Memory
RAM is another important feature that you should look for in a video editing laptop; the larger, the better. A laptop or PC with large RAM allows you to handle multi-tasking better as its where your working files are set in. RAM also affects effects and is quite useful when you are dealing with motion graphics. We recommend that your laptop of choice should have at least 16 GB RAM.
There are times you may be working in a place that has no access to an electrical outlet and you have to rely on your laptop’s battery. Thus, you need a laptop with a decent battery life so you can maximize your working output.
Finally, a smart buyer can also see the value of a laptop based on the added features. First, you want to have a USB 3.0 or USB Type C since they transfer files faster from your peripheral devices. Second, you may opt to have a backlit keyboard for better visibility especially when working in a poorly lit environment. Third, you may need a solid multi-media card reader if you save videos on other storage media and an HDMI port for presentations. If you are a freelance video editor who works online, you also will need a reliable webcam and microphone to communicate well with clients.