Laptops are great choices if you’re a very mobile person. This is because it’s easy to pack up your laptop and set it up wherever you need to go. The thing is, how can you ensure that you get a laptop that can handle the workload of video editing? Choosing the best laptop for video editing is a matter of doing some due diligence on the features certain laptops have to offer. If video editing is a necessary part of your life, this is something you need to keep in mind.
A laptop’s arguably most important feature has to be its mobility. Why else would laptops exist if it weren’t for the mobility factor? If it was so easy to bring around a desktop computer would we see these things around? Anyways, mobility is something to think about.
Maybe you need to edit videos on the go on a bus or plane. You could be helping shoot a documentary in a foreign country; this is when a good mobile laptop really comes into play. If your laptop can be readily available whenever you need it, that is only better for you. Even if you own a very nice desktop computer, it’s only logical to bring a laptop with you to work with out of the house. Some people own only a laptop and that’s fine too.
To help you with your search for the best laptop for video editing, we’re going to go over some laptops. They’re going to range in different prices and offer different features that are important to consider. We’ll be going chronologically from low to high priced options as well as go furthermore into features along the way. This will then be followed by in-depth reviews of our favorite laptops for video editing. Let’s get started.
Best Laptop For Video Editing Complete Guide
Low Priced Laptops
If you’re an amateur when it comes to laptops and technology, then you probably shouldn’t go out and get the most expensive laptop with all the extra features you’re not going to know how to use. You may also be a beginner videographer who is using a phone or small pocket camera to capture footage. Your laptop will be your editing tool and that will probably be the main thing you use it for. Especially if you don’t have a huge budget, considering a low priced laptop is one of the best places to start. Keep in mind, the cheapest laptop will probably be much less than optimal when it comes to it’s video editing capabilities. These laptops will at most allow you to use the internet and do basic tasks like checking your email. Features that would help with your video editing are going to be found on a more advanced laptop.
To be realistic for your needs, you’re going to want to start at around $850 minimum. Think of the power your laptop is going to need to handle the workload of editing a video. At the very least your laptop should have an Intel Core i5 processor along with 4 GB of memory space available, 500GB for your internal drive as well. It’s always important to keep an external hard drive which is another investment of its own. If you’re a beginner, then the software that will come with your new low priced laptop may be all you need to edit your videos. Adobe Premiere Elements is a software that is the next level up. Whichever works best for you. Just take into consideration the amount of work your laptop can handle and don’t get software that will be too much to handle.
Mid Priced Laptops
If you’re looking for higher level performance and use a more expensive camera to record video footage, a mid priced laptop may be more of what you’re looking for. You’re going to be dealing with HD footage and you need to make sure your laptop can handle processing that. You want a laptop that won’t take forever to render a 1080p video; that will be a waste of time. Getting a mid priced laptop will overall be more efficient for your video editing needs. When talking mid priced laptops, this should be less than $2000. An i5 powered laptop would work out fine for you; just look mainly for more memory, larger hard drive and/or a larger screen. To make it easier for you to imagine, think i7 core processor with 8 GB of memory space along with a 1 TB hard drive. That is a substantial quality difference compared to the lower priced laptops.
The main difference in performance will be noticeable in speed. Rendering as well as outputting will be quicker. A larger screen will make it easier to work on video editing. These are the things that make the mid priced lap top worth the extra money. Depending on what laptop you choose, your software will probably cost more as well. You’re probably editing your videos for income. Advanced editing software will probably be around the $500 price range (not a small penny considering you can buy entire laptops for under $500) and always be sure to have extra on hand for your external hard drive. VERY important.
High Priced Laptops
Expect more from a high priced laptop. Something that can perform under pressure and that has much more horsepower is absolutely needed for you. This machine will allow you to be the most efficient you can be on a laptop. High priced laptops are basically necessary if you’re editing movies and creating DVDs for your clientele. You may even be an actual professional. Your laptop needs to match your workload. A high priced laptop can reasonably be less than $3000. Something like an Intel i7 processor along with 16GB of memory can work for you. Keep in mind that something like super high resolution display may be an additional feature you would like. With the big investment on your laptop already, you’re more likely to invest more in the video editing software you’ll be using. Adobe After Effects is a visual effects software that you may want to consider. Though expensive, software is an important investment that should ultimately pay itself off in the end.
Quad Core i7 / Quad Core Intel Xeon Processor
The processor is going to be the feature with the biggest impact on speed and efficiency. A better processor means smoother maneuvering and a particularly better handle with HD footage. Multiple CPU cores is so essential, have 4 at the absolute minimum. You will have a horrible time working with HD footage captured by DSLRs or AVCHD if you have a smaller amount of CPU cores. Multiple cores allow the workload to be shared amongst them, rather than an overload happening. Software like TeleStream Wirecast or vMix for live streams also require a minimum of 4 cores. The running efficiency is significant between dual cores and 4 cores. Luckily, the implementation of more quad core built laptops is in effect.
Quadro Mobile GPUs
The GPU is essential to tap into for additional performance measures. A GPU can be described as a “secondary computer” that handles tasks offline from the CPU. High tech stuff, indeed. NVIDIA GPUs along with CUDA technology is highly recommended. A new line of mobile Quadro GPUs was launched by NVIDIA, called the M Series. Simply a must have if you’ll be running your NLE on Windows. Adobe Premiere Pro is phenomenal at tapping into the GPU performance. Just try to run Adobe Premiere Pro without a strong enough GPU and experience something similar to hell.
High-Resolution and Screen Size
Using a laptop for editing can be a real drag if you have a small screen. Having enough space to handle all the different things you need to do is going to make you more efficient. Yes, a bigger screen takes a little bit away from the portability. You can go with a 17” screen laptop if you would like; but if you would prefer more portability, then a 15” screen with high resolution can work just fine for you too. That trade off is up to you; there is no wrong or right. However, choosing a 17” screen with lower resolution as compared to a 15” screen with higher resolution is a poor trade off. The resolution of the screen should be more important than the amount of work space available. A 17” high resolution touch screen would be awesome if you could afford it. Let’s be real, you would not regret that. Touch screen laptops and computers are becoming more and more popular for their convenience. Technology is evolving and it’s predicted that the popularity of touch screens is on a steady upward trend. This is definitely something you should keep in mind.
Here is the thing with RAM; the more, the better. It’s typical for laptops to come with only 4GB of RAM. With video editing, you should really be aiming for at least 8GB. The performance will be so significantly improved when using a 16GB that it’s definitely worth taking note of. Of course, if you can afford a 32GB RAM, then you should get that instead.
Please make sure your laptop has at minimum 1 USB 3 plug-in available for your external storage source. Thunderbolt offers the quickest connectivity to external storage and hard drives, but USB 3 is a viable option as well. There is USB 3.1 which supports both Thunderbolt and USB 3.USB 2 is cool and all, but not as reliable or as stable when compared to USB 3. With USB 3, you can be sure that the demands of your video editing will be met.
If you’re using your laptop for live streaming, you’re definitely going to want more than just 1 USB 3 port. This is important so you can use a frame grabber like Epiphan AV.io for a multi-camera stream. Imagine if you had never considered this. Make sure you get what will work best for you and what you need to accomplish.
A Thunderbolt port is the fastest way to externally store your work as well as retrieve it. Keep Thunderbolt as a priority if you’re going to work with a lot of HD footage or if you will be using 4K I/O for playbacks. USB 3.1 is also a good considering it supports both Thunderbolt and USB 3.
Best Laptops for Video Editing Reviews
1. Dell XPS 15 w/ Touchscreen 6th Gen. Review
The Dell XPS can be described as the “Windows-based alternative to the MacBook Pro”. This is particularly awesome if you enjoy MacBook Pro features, but don’t actually want to buy a MacBook Pro. The Dell XPS is around the same price range an offers a comparable horsepower to the MB Pro. The thin and light design makes portability no problem. Offering an amazing 4k screen option, you won’t be disappointed. The only thing mentionable is that battery life isn’t that great. You’ll need to make sure you’re by an outlet at all times or that you have an external, portable power source with you (though this shouldn’t really be an issue as video editing software seems to drain battery in pretty much any laptop. An 18,000mAh mobile charger would be something you should look for in terms of a mobile charger. The XPS battery life simply can’t compare to Apple’s. Of course, optionally you can upgrade your laptop’s battery.
A great feature of the XPS 15 is that it stays true to the best design and physical attribute of the XPS 13. A durable and lightweight aluminum frame, the soft carbon fiber palm rest, and a more than comfortable keyboard, the XPS 15 is certainly made for you. Don’t forget about the amazing thin display along with what can be described as a 15.6 inch screen squeezed into a 14 inch screen, giving off very high quality.
At just under 4 ½ pounds, the XPS 15 lives up to being a thin and light machine. The laptop also features a tapered profile, slimming down to 0.45 inches of thickness from 0.66 inches of thickness. For what you get, the portability of this laptop is great. Enjoy the touch screen feature as well. Touch screen technology is on the rise.
You’ll never need to worry about a shortage of ports with the XPS 15. It offers a full sized USB socket, full sized HDMI socket, a little Thunderbolt 3 port as well as a headphone jack just on the left side. Over on the right there is an additional USB connection with the lock slot to help keep your laptop secure when closed.
Dell did a phenomenal job at preserving what was so great about the XPS 13 and though the touch screen could use a bit more improvement, the comfort level of the keyboard totally makes up for it. The trouble Dell has with the current touchpad isn’t something they can’t improve for the future. The XPS 15 keyboard offers backlit and good sized buttons that are very well spaced. It’s easy to type with even though there is not as much “spring” as with most other laptops. You don’t want to overdo it with your typing power, so be more gentle with this keyboard, just not so gentle your letters don‘t show up. It takes a little bit of adaptation to use a new laptop, this is really not a big deal or something to worry about.
The touchpad is large and allows for ample space for you to scroll, pinch, zoom and do whatever it is you need to do on your laptop. Sadly, there seems to be consistent minor problems with the Windows touchpads that happen with the XPS 15 as well as other models. That doesn’t mean the touchpad is completely useless at all. In fact, the touchpad is more than usable. You might face some problems with the mouse not cooperating about where to go, the cursor doing what it prefers to do and the unexpected rearrangements of icons and tabs you may have pinned. These are very minor problems that Windows will hopefully solve one day soon.
Dell’s XPS 15 offers more than just a sleek, thin design and a powerful internal machine. The 15 inch display is great and more than just “real estate”. Easily use spreadsheets, produce music, edit photos in Photoshop, and utilize various other tools for graphic design with this display. Dell offers a 4k, “color-accurate” touch screen in addition to it’s 1080p, non-touch panel. The display is stunning with a 350 brightness rating and offering coverage with Adobe colorspace. Simply awesome stuff here, guys.
Software has been implemented in order to remap colors that may be out of the typical RGB color range and scale. You don’t even need to be a video editor to realize the benefits of this feature. Screen time is at an all time high, so we might as well be looking at something beautiful and amazing while we do it. Take that MacBook Air.
The stereo speakers available on the Dell XPS 15 work very well and sound pleasing to the ear. Of course, laptop speakers do not compare to the visual capacity. You never have to worry about this laptop being to quiet as it’s super easy to hear sound even when the volume is set low. Stream your music with no problems hearing. There is a distinct “tinniness” with this laptop’s sound system when it comes to certain genres. You’re going to mainly use this laptop for video editing anyways, so that shouldn’t be the main thing that you choose this laptop for. You will find that the XPS 15 leaves more to be desired in terms of the sound system. Maybe if the machine was bigger, the sound might be fuller.
This laptop has a rare combination of specs worth mentioning. It has a quad core, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, 16GB worth of RAM as well as Intel’s integration of HD Graphics 530 and a 2GB NVIDIA 960M GPU for optimal performance. The XPS 15 simply blows away any other laptop we’ve tried out, especially in the graphics aspect. It is so well equipped to handle video editing, which is perfect for what you‘re looking for. To find a laptop that has this kind of durability that has a quad-core processor and super strong graphics behind it is pretty rare. The same thing could be said about the 16GB of RAM, though that is easier to achieve.
Multi-tasking can be handled with no problem on the XPS 15. Easily use programs like Skype, Microsoft Word, and Google Chrome simultaneously with ease. It’s obvious this laptop can handle the workload of a video editing software. Even though the laptop may get warm as the workload increases, you can still comfortably place it on your lap and use it for several hours at a time.
If you’re planning on gaming with your new laptop, the XPS 15 may come up short for you as it’s graphics card isn’t fully up to date. It’s not built specifically for gaming in the first place. Running Photoshop and Adobe Premier applications should give you no problem as the processing needed to handle these programs is present. It really depends on the particular things you’re going to need that determines if you’ll need more of a workstation instead. That itself costs more money, but if needed, can be invested in.
Dell advertises the XPS 15 as being able to run for up to 17 hours on a full charge. They don’t take into account to amount of power it takes to run video editing software though. Maybe it lasts 17 hours with low screen resolution and if you’re only browsing on the web, but not so much with video editing. The time this laptop lasts on a full charge cuts almost in half when you factor in how much work it is for the XPS 15 to run everything. Expect the battery life to be cut down even more when you set the screen to a 4k display.
Overall, the Dell XPS 15 is a phenomenal laptop computer that earned the title as the “Windows alternative to the 15” MacBook Pro”. This laptop is one of a kind with it’s horsepower, portability, 4k screen display and such a high quality display means. The only real downfall here is that the battery life could be better. The XPS 15 still makes it as one of the best laptops for video editing.
2. HP Spectre x360 15t 6th gen. Review
HP takes a different kind of approach when it comes to the high-end and high-performance 15” laptop. Offering the new Spectre x360, this laptop by HP is absolutely great. It’s perfect for anyone looking for great performance along with a decent amount of screen to use. That is who HP is gearing towards anyways.
The Spctre x360 15T is essentially the 13 inch Spectre x360, just with a bigger screen. More “real estate” allows for more space to do what you need to do. This laptop features a 10 point touch IPS panel that easily folds back into either A-frame or tablet mode. Also look for a CNC-milled aluminum chassis. Even though the screen is bigger on the Spectre x360 15T, it maintains the same thickness found in the 13” Spectre by HP.
The thickness of the laptop near the hinge measures at just a little more than half an inch at 16.55 mm. This is so thin for a 15.6 in laptop and it competes with the XPS 15 (20 mm), Samsung’s brand new 15 inch Book 9 pro and the 2015 MacBook Pro (both at about 18 mm). HP absolutely killed it with the portability factor and making this power house of a laptop into a thin air machine.
Comparable to the MacBook Pro 15 and Samsung Book 9 Pro, both weighing in at 4 pounds and 7 ounces, the Spectre x360 blows it away weighing only 4 pounds and 3 ounces. This is pretty impressive considering its dimensions. This is definitely a great laptop to bring around with you anywhere you need to go. Believe it or not, using the Spectre x360 15T is quite comparable to using the Spectre x360 3. It just feels a little bigger. What makes it different though, is that even with the larger body, the keyboard keys are made 0.1 mm smaller than the Spectre s360 13’s. This is a small change, but definitely notable. The trackpad is in typical HP style with a wide format and a piano-like hinge.
Though the body is thin, the Spectre x360 15T leaves more than enough room for its available ports. The generous port selections comes with 3 USB 3 Type A ports, 1 full sized HDMI port, a mini Display Port , an SD card reader and as well as an audio jack. There is also a forward facing USB C port available to use, but sadly there is not any Thunderbolt support. Four speakers are provided by Bang & Olufsen on the Spectre x360 15T’s chassis. They honestly aren’t so loud when you compare to the contemporaries. The speakers work just fine but don’t really meet up to the standards that Bang & Olufsen has made for themselves.
The HP Spectre x360 15T provides a 1920×1080 IPS panel that can be configured to work by touch. Compared to the Dell XPS 15 display, the backlighting is generally even and some noticeable “bleeding” when the brightness was set all the way up. This is not really a problem since you won’t notice it unless you’re in a dark room.
The Spectre x360 15T has a challenge to overcome; that’s proving that it’s less than desirable performance can still push through and allow it to compete with the Dell XPS 15. MacBook Pro 15, and Samsung Book 9 Pro. While all the others have a quad-core processor, the x360 15T only offers a dual-core processor with integrated graphics. This shows in some critical tests. To help with graphics, an Intel Iris graphics aboard is available. It’s the best integrated graphics performance, yet still doesn’t outdo discrete graphics.
This laptop would be best for a beginner level video editor as it is not made for heavy duty tasks. The CPU and GPU just simply can’t handle anything that’s too advanced. Beginner level video editing is more than suitable, but if you’re more advanced at your skill, then one of the other laptops being reviewed would be a much better fit for you. It’s not so bad though; there are some advantages to this modest configuration. You get a better battery life which is useful when you’re not going to be by a power source for a little bit of time. This is especially great when you consider that it offers a touch screen which generally consumes more power than a regular laptop screen.
The price of the Spectre x360 15T is probably one of its best attributes. Because of the dual (rather than quad) processor and very discrete GPU, that will save you some cash. If you’re not looking to spend much of a fortune on your laptop then the HP Spectre x360 15T is a great option for you.
3. Lenovo Z70 Review
If you’re looking for a laptop that provides a “bigger than life” display, the Lenovo Z70 is definitely a laptop you should consider. With an HD 17.3 inch screen, you’ll be able to do anything with ease. Sure, the portability will take a hit with the size, but for some people it’s worth carrying around the extra size – just invest in a decent laptop carrying case and you’re good to go. The large screen will accommodate to your video editing needs flawlessly, though if you’re more of a gamer, you might want to look elsewhere. The Z70 provides a 5th generation and Intel Core i7-5500U processor along with 16GB of RAM. Get online, work on any office software and work with multimedia files as you need. To put it simply, this is the best laptop for video editing under $1000.
Because of the large screen, the 17+ inch Z70 is a great desktop-replacement laptop. The screen comes in FULL HD and you get an AccuType keyboard along with a number pad. For it’s size, this machine is generally slim, coming in a just under 1 inch. It’s weight is at 606 pounds, a bit more than the other laptops we reviewed. That doesn’t make it up-portable though. The Z70 is about 1 pound lighter than it’s running mate, the Lenovo Y70. Enjoy a black cover with an accented tactile feel that is comparable to its higher end competitors.
With the same Intel Core i7-5500U processor as the Lenovo G50, the Z70 outdoes it with twice as much RAM. 16GB of RAM to be exact. The processor has a 2.2GHz base speed and can boost up to 2.7GHz in turbo mode. The Z70 provides a NVIDIA GeForce GT840M graphics processor up to 2GB for video memory. This means you’ll get pretty decent performance with popular games; though toning down certain resolutions for more modern titles may be needed. The Lenovo provided this Z70 model with a SSHD which is a slid-state hybrid drive. This combines 1 TB and 5,400rpm hard drive with 8 GB of storage; enough to boost performances and allow for a quick system boot. With this windows 10 system, there is not too much unneeded software that comes with it.
Qualifying as a desktop-replacement laptop, the JBL speakers by Dolby audio offers some crispy and clear sounds even when the volume is all the way out. Experience a full sound from his laptop that will fill the room. There is a DVD burner available which is seemingly becoming extinct, so it’s nice that it offers this feature. The port selection also has some retro cameos, including an Ethernet, HSMI port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, as well as a VGA. There is also a Bluetooth 4.0 and a wireless 802.11 a/c/b/g/n WiFi AND a 720p webcam for easy video chats.
Supporting full HD resolutions, this laptop actually lacks in touch support if that matters to you. Windows 10 works great without touch though; since you’ll be mostly video editing anyways this shouldn’t be such a deal breaker. Enjoy phenomenal picture and color rendition as well as super sharp details and very accurate colors. Movies will look great on this screen.
The AccuType keyboard has a pretty plain design, not even offering backlit keys. The keyboard is very comfortable though. The system itself is large, but there is no space between the keys. There is however a lot of free space on each side of the keyboard. If you have bigger hands and fingers, you might prefer more spacing, but this keyboard still works perfectly. Since this is a bigger laptop that advertises itself as a desktop replacement laptop, don’t expect too much battery life. This machine averages out to a little over 3 1/2 hours of battery life. You will definitely want to stay near power sources and keep a mobile power source handy for emergencies.