It takes time to create a stunning video. From the first brainstorming session to scriptwriting, to actually filming – it’s a lot of work. The last thing you want to do at the end of an edit session is to wait for your work to be rendered and ready to share with the world.A speedy laptop for video editing is about more than just the latest processor. You’ll also want a powerful GPU to speed up exporting, but often that means you’ll give up some portability. Although, that’s not always the case, as you’ll see below.
The spec sheet of most video editing laptops reads a lot like a gaming laptop, with color tuned displays, RTX 20-series GPUs, and cooling systems to ensure everything keeps running. But that’s necessarily a bad thing. You’ll save yourself some time, and when you’re done working, you can open your favorite game and escape for a couple of hours.
These are the Best Laptops For Video Editing
1. Gigabyte Aero 15
Best Laptop For Video Editing
Gigabyte Aero 15
The Aero15 checks all the boxes for a fully-loaded video editing laptop without the sticker shock. The Samsung AMOLED display is X-Rite Pantone color calibrated, giving you realistic colors and shading. There’s a myriad of ports on either side, including a rare UHS-II SD card reader.
This laptop also comes with Microsoft’s Azure AI support, which helps automatically tune the CPU and GPU based on the app you’re using, increasing performance when you need it most. There are several configurations, with the one we’re highlighting here being the middle of the road option in specifications and cost.
2. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch
Best MacBook For Video Editing
Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch
Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro is the most powerful MacBook Apple makes. It combines Apple’s typical minimal approach to design, with a high-resolution Retina display, an AMD Radeon Pro 5000M GPU, and a beefy 64GB of memory.
It was also the first laptop Apple shipped with the new Magic Keyboard scissor mechanism that, so far, hasn’t experienced the same issues Apple’s keyboards had been plagued with. For anyone who lives inside Final Cut Pro X while on the go, the 16-inch MacBook Pro was made for you.
3. HP ZBook Studio x360 G5
Best 15-inch Laptop For Video Editing
HP ZBook Studio x360 G5
HP’s ZBook Studio boasts Intel’s Xeon E-2176M processor and the Nvidia Quadro P1000 GPU. Unlike the RTX or GTX lines which are primarily for gaming, the Quadro is designed and marketed for professional applications like CAD or video editing and support 10-bit color.
The ZBook Studio x360 has a unique form factor with a screen that rotates nearly 360-degrees, a touchscreen, and stylus support. So you can flip around the display and use the included ZBook Pen to make edits, sketch graphics, or take notes. There are multiple configurations, doubling the memory or storage – or both.
4. Acer ConceptD 5
Best 17-inch Laptop For Video Editing
Want more screen space? 17.3-inches is plenty for a laptop, and Acer found a way to keep it from adding a ton of extra weight. The ConceptD has a Pantone validated 4K screen with true to life colors.
This configuration hits an attractive price point while combining the reliable performance of 9th generation Intel Core i7 and a GTX 1660 Ti – a combination we’ve seen perform well in some of the best budget gaming laptops, and it is sure to excel when put to use in a creative environment.
5. Razer Blade Stealth 13
Best Ultrabook For Video Editing
Razer Blade Stealth 13
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 (see our review) is stunningly small, lightweight, and portable, without sacrificing much, if any, power. It’s a clear cut Ultrabook on the outside, with a spec sheet that reads like a gaming laptop. Another benefit? It’s priced more in line with what you’d expect from an ultrabook, at $ 1,500.
The 13.3-inch screen looks fantastic, despite its 1080p resolution. Razer also has a 4K touch panel configuration if you require a higher resolution display. Weighing just over 3 pounds, lending itself to be tossed in a bag and taken anywhere you want to work.
6. Alienware Area 51m
Best Desktop Replacement For Video Editing
Alienware Area 51m
Not all laptops are made for your lap, and the Alienware Area 51m (see our review) is proof of that. It’s big, bulky, and heavy, but for good reason. Instead of using a mobile processor, it uses a desktop-class CPU i9-9900K and RTX 2080 for a truly powerful workstation. It comes with plenty of storage, 1TB of SSD storage and a 1TB hybrid drive.
The Area 51m has a fun design, with a honeycomb pattern on the bottom that’s part of its cooling system. There are plenty of ports, allowing you to connect peripherals and monitors via HDMI, miniDisplay Port 1.4, or Thunderbolt 3.
7. Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro 17
Best High-End Video Editing Laptop
Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro 17
If budget isn’t a concern, you can go all out with the Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro. The massive 17-inch WUXGA display is powered by a Xeon E-2276M processor, and Quadro RTX 3000 GPU that’s designed for professionals (read: not gaming). With 64GB of memory, 4TB of storage, and the Xeon E-2276M, you’re looking at a computer that should be able to handle your editing sessions with ease.
The overall design is fairly small, given what it’s packing inside. At 5.27 pounds, it’s still portable even with a 17-inch screen. You can pare down the $ 4,000 price tag with different configurations, cutting down memory, storage, or both.
What to Look for in a laptop for video editing
In many ways, there’s a significant overlap between a great video editing laptop and a gaming laptop. You want something that’s powerful, while still being portable. Battery life is nice to have for everyday tasks, but when it comes to processing your latest shoot, you’ll want to keep your laptop plugged in.
To help with processing, you’ll want a laptop with a powerful GPU. Nvidia’s latest RTX 20-series GPUs leverage Nvidia’s Max-Q design that trades a slight decrease in performance for a smaller overall size, and in turn, allowing for a light and portable laptop (just look at the Razer Stealth). But don’t get caught up on with having to have the latest 20-series GPU – unless you’re dealing with 8K video, you should be able to get by just fine with something like the GTX 1650.
When looking at processors in a laptop, Intel’s 10th generation chips are becoming commonplace, and future proof your investment, but aren’t a requirement. Intel’s 9th generation processors are just as capable and will save you a little money when shopping. A quick way to identify which generation is being used in a build is to look at the numbers that follow the processor name. For example, an Intel Core i7-1065G7 denotes a 10th generation Ice Lake processor. Whereas an Intel Core i7-9750H represents a 9th generation Coffee Lake processor.
It’s easy to get caught up in looking at flashy gaming laptops, most of which will do just fine as a video editing machine. But don’t limit yourself to a gaming machine, laptops like the ZBook Studio x360 or Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro are proof that non-gaming laptops are just as powerful and versatile.
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Jason Cipriani has covered technology full-time for the past 8 years. During that time he has freelanced for the likes of CNET, Fortune, Time, ZDNet, Macworld, Wired, and TechRadar.
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