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Best Video Editing Laptop for Smooth Performance

Video editing is one of the most computer-intensive tasks you can perform, and if you want to do it on a portable device, a video editing laptop is the best choice for you.

Laptops are still inferior (and perhaps will always remain such) to desktops in overall power, but they’ve come a long way to provide rich high-end specs in a compact form factor for ultimate portability and convenience.

You’ll want the best specs and fantastic build quality in your video editing laptop. We’ve got you covered in this article.

Best Video Editing Laptop Reviews

You shouldn’t expect a video editing laptop to cost only a few hundred dollars. Video editing requires high-end CPUs, lots of RAM, and a fast storage drive. This makes video editing laptops pricey, and by extension it means you need to think thrice before spending that much money.

We’ve reviewed the 6 best video editing laptops in 2018 based on their performance, specs, build, and video editing capability. These high-end laptops offer great performance at varying levels of pricing.

Be sure to go through our buyer’s guide after the reviews as well for better understanding of what you should look for.

Our Top Pick

Our Top Pick

Dell XPS 15

The Best Windows Laptop for Video Editing

Dell’s gorgeous XPS 15 is a phenomenal laptop in more ways than one. Feature-packed with high-end hardware, this laptop comes with a stunning FHD or 4K InfinityEdge display with almost no bezels. You also get epic battery life that lasts up to 15 hours.

We consider the Dell XPS 15 not only the best video editing laptop, but also the overall best Windows laptop you can buy. It’s just that good.

Best Alternative

Best Alternative

Apple MacBook Pro Touch Bar

The Best MacBook for Editing

The MacBook Pro with Touch Bar offers a stunning set of features in a lightweight, portable design. Mac OS is the operating system of choice for many video editing professionals, and the Touch Bar powered MacBook only reinforces it with powerful specs, a stunning Retina display, and a beautiful giant touchpad.

For those accustomed to the Apple ecosystem, the MacBook Pro Touch Bar is the best video editing laptop you could get your hands on.

Dell XPS 15

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 – Core i9
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti
  • RAM: 8GB – 32GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1TB HDD – 1TB SSD
  • Screen Resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080) or 4K (3840×2160)

The Dell XPS 15 continues to not only be our favorite video editing laptop, but also perhaps the best overall Windows laptop you can buy. The beautiful design and drop-dead gorgeous screen is enough to attract the crowds, but this laptop isn’t just a mere looker.

It backs its elegance with incredible raw power, jam-packed with features and a multitude of different options to give you the ultimate video editing laptop. The range of processors and the powerful graphics card (even though it’s a year old) will be adequate for video editing of all levels. Furthermore, you get a ton of storage options that go all the way to 1TB PCIe NVMe m.2 SSD.

The screen is the main selling point of this laptop. The beautiful 15.6” InfinityEdge display comes in wither 1080p or 4K, with the bezel barely there. The immersive screen combines well with the carbon fiber build. Oh, and there’s an incredible 15-hr battery life there as well.

Everything about the XPS 15 screams quality, and we love the fact that even when specced out it manages to be competitively priced and beat almost every other laptop in both performance and price. There was never going to be any other pick for the best video editing laptop.

Pros

  • Fast and powerful
  • Stunning display
  • Insanely good battery life
  • Simply gorgeous

Cons

  • Webcam placement is awkward

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

MacbookProTouch

  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: Radeon Pro 555 / Radeon Pro 560
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3
  • Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
  • Screen Resolution: 15.4” Retina (2880×1800)

For Mac users, the Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is the best video editing laptop out there. Utilizing Apple’s streamlined, elegant ecosystem, this remarkable beast is not only Apple’s magnum opus, but also our second choice (and top choice for Mac users) for the ultimate video editing laptop you can buy.

The Touch Bar divided the camp quite a bit despite its usefulness, but this MacBook is a lot more than its main selling feature. The immaculate touchpad is big, beautiful, and highly responsive. Apple’s signature Retina display pops out as vibrantly as ever.

The slim and highly portable design used by most modern Macbooks is retained with minimal changes. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

The performance on the Mac operating system is highly streamlined, which is why it remains the primary choice for most audio and video editing professionals. It’s further backed up by the powerful Core i7 processor options, and incredible 16GB of RAM, and options for powerful Radeon Pro graphic cards. The RAM is a tad slower, utilizing older DDR3 technology, but it won’t be too noticeable in real life use.

Pros

  • Touch Bar is great
  • Giant trackpad
  • Slim and portable design
  • Streamlined OS

Cons

  • Average battery life
  • Expensive

Microsoft Surface Book 2 15

  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
  • Screen Resolution: 15” PixelSense (3240×2160)

We’ve always been a fan of the Surface series of tablet computers. The original Surface Book had its flaws, but it was still an incredible laptop for intensive tasks and general use. It’s gotten even better with the Surface Book 2.

Featuring the latest and greatest specifications, the 15-inch version of the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is ideal for video editing because of how powerful it is. The detachable screen means it can behave as a 2-in-1 hybrid. The detachment mechanism is smooth as ever and convenient if you want better access to your screen without the intrusion of the keyboard and touchpad.

The PixelSense screen is gorgeous and makes everything pop out, making video editing a true experience. The display is, in fact, one of the best in-terms of color reproduction and contrast out there.

The GPU option is powerful and combines well with the Core i7 to give you all the juice you need for intensive video editing, and the RAM is stacked so your computer never feels fatigued. All that makes the Surface Book 2 an incredible video editing laptop.

Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Detachable screen
  • Exceptional battery life
  • Gorgeous display

Cons

  • Fulcrum hinge is a bit annoying
  • Pricey

HP ZBook Studio x360 G5

  • CPU: Intel Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 – Nvidia Quadro P1000
  • RAM: 8GB – 32GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
  • Screen Resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080) or 4K (3840×2160)

When you’re looking for the absolute best video editing laptop in-terms of raw power, few would even dream of matching the HP ZBook Studio G5. As the name indicates, this is a laptop specifically designed for studio work, so it’s right up the alley for professional video editors.

It comes with a set of features and options that could induce a headache, and as a result the price range is ridiculous as well. You could go with the basic Core i5 setup, or amp it up all the way with a powerful Xeon processor that is the ultimate answer for heavy video editing.

Not only that, you also get the option to have the powerful, rendering-focused Nvidia Quadro P1000 in it, and up to a crazy 32 gigs of RAM.

That’s raw power there, and for anyone with a limitless budget, this is the ultimate answer. It performs over 35% faster than the average workstation rending of 4K and 1080p videos, and it has a tactile keyboard and an excellent battery life to add to it.

Pros

  • Unparalleled raw power
  • Military grade durability
  • Great battery life
  • Gorgeous display
  • Great keyboard and stylus

Cons

  • Lid flexes a bit too much
  • Very expensive

Huawei MateBook X Pro

HuaweiMateBook

  • CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620, Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB
  • RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Screen Resolution: 13.9” 3K (3000×2080)

Huawei’s foray into laptops is at its infancy, but it’s hard not to appreciate the company’s great understanding of design and performance. The MateBook X Pro is a fantastic alternative to the MacBook that comes at a more reasonable price.

It is packed to the brim with features in a design that is both stunning and highly portable. The beautiful all-metal chassis brings one of the slimmest laptops around, with a stunning screen and cutting edge components. It also boasts a terrific battery life that will put many of its rivals to shame.

As a video editing laptop, it’s feature-packed with powerful 8th generation CPU options as well as the Nvidia GeForce MX150. The MX150 isn’t as powerful as the GeForce 1050 or 1060, but it’s primarily been adopted due to the ultra-slim design of the MateBook X Pro. For the price, this is an excellent option for anyone looking for a video editing laptop without spending extravagantly.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Feature-packed
  • Terrific battery life
  • Gorgeous display

Cons

  • Odd screen aspect ratio
  • No SD card slot
  • Graphic card not as powerful

Asus Zenbook UX410

AsusUX410

  • CPU: Intel Core i5, Core i7
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD or 256GB SSD
  • Screen Resolution: 14” FHD (1920×1080)

A budget option for video editing students and those getting into it, the Asus Zenbook UX410 acts as a great basic video editing laptop that won’t cost you over $1000.

Right off the bad, you’re treated to some impressive specs on this laptop given its price. You have the option of either the 7th generation Core i5 or the 8th Generation i7 if you’re looking for more juice for your video editing. The beautiful signature Asus metallic design feels premium, and the battery life of this laptop is incredible, lasting up to 12 hours.

There are a variety of ports on offer as well – something other video editing laptops tend to skim on. All that comes in a very lightweight offering of just 3.1lbs. The ZenBook UX410 is our favorite laptop for video editing without spending excessively.

The one downside to this laptop is the lackluster graphics chip. There’s no option to go for a dedicated graphics card in this laptop, so it might limit the intensity and kind of videos you can edit.

Yet for those looking to edit videos on a great laptop at an affordable price, there UX410 is the best option.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Good specs for the price
  • Terrific battery life
  • Lots of ports

Cons

  • Weak graphics chip
  • Limited video editing capability

Buyer’s Guide

    CPU

    The CPU is the biggest factor in determining the video editing capability of your laptop. For intensive tasks like video editing, the clock speed (in GHz) isn’t as important as the number of cores and overall threads. The higher number of cores in the processor, the better the performance.

    Video editing is primarily CPU intensive. You want to aim for a higher end Core i5 or Core i7 depending on what kind of editing you’ll be doing.

    GPU

    The GPU plays a less important task in handling your video editing, but it can be important for 3D rendering and more. Additionally, many editing programs take use of the GPU to ease the load on the CPU and offer more efficient rendering. For mild to intensive video editing, you want a dedicated GPU instead of the built-in Intel/AMD chips that offer rudimentary graphics.

    Storage

    While storage won’t play any role in the rendering and editing phase, it is important because of read/write speeds and capacity. Importing/exporting large videos to your video editor will take longer if you have a SATA hard drive or SSD. For the best read/write speeds, look at laptops with NVMe m.2 SSDs instead.

    Capacity is also important because, well, video files tend to be large. You should look for at least 256GB SSD capacity if you will be editing infrequently. For more frequent video editing and in larger volume, we recommend a video editing laptop with a 512GB SSD.

    RAM doesn’t speed up the video editing process, but it’s still very important because it allows your video editing software to run smoothly.

    Think of RAM as the road on which the CPU and GPU drive. If you drive a Ferrari on a terrible dirt road, you could hit top speeds a few times, but it’d be a bumpy ride with lots of braking and steering. A wide, straight race track on the other hand will let you hit top speed and maintain it smoothly.

    RAM plays a similar function in video editing. Though it won’t influence the speed of your video editing software, it will smoothen the operation by preventing freeze-up as there is more immediate memory at access.

    For small 1080p projects, you will be served fine with 8GB RAM. For 4K videos, you ideally want 16GB RAM.

    Screen resolution and size are less about computing performance and more about size. You obviously want a screen resolution that is as much or more than the resolution of the videos you’ll be editing.

    The size of the screen is generally for visibility and finer editing. We generally prefer more compact laptops with 12-inch or 13-inch screen sizes, but for video editing we always opt for larger screens for better visibility and coverage. Video editing is possible on 12 and 13-inch laptops, but it’s a better experience on a slightly larger screen.

    Does the video editing software I use make a difference to the performance?

    Yes, it does. Some video programs make better use of multiple cores of the CPU. Others will distribute the load between the CPU and GPU for the best utilization for laptop’s specs.

    Are workstation processors (like Xeon) better for video editing than regular ones?

    Xeon processors tend to have more cores and higher number of threads than regular processors, which makes them overall superior for video editing. However, they are much more expensive and perform inferior to regular computer processors in gaming and desktop tasks.

    Windows or Mac – which one is better for video editing?

    For PC users, it’s more important to have a higher-end CPU, RAM, and even GPU for video editing on your laptop. This is because Windows, being more open-ended, is not as streamlined as Mac. However, it gives more options for general use and video editing than Macbooks.

    Mac operating system is more streamlined so you have more computing power available for video editing. This is why many audio and video editing professionals opt for Macbooks for their work. However, the Mac ecosystem isn’t as customizable and may not offer the same large array of options as Windows based laptops.

    Can gaming laptops be used for video editing?

    Yes, you can use gaming laptops for video editing. However, gaming laptops are bulkier, more power hungry, less portable, and more GPU focused. They have the necessary amount of raw power for intensive video editing, but the overall package in not designed for portability and energy efficiency.

    We believe that a video editing laptop should be portable and have great battery lives, doubling as general task computers as well as video editing machines. For this reason, we recommend conventional laptops instead of a gaming laptop for video editing.

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