Top 10 Best Laptops for Video Editing 2020
Making videos that truly stand out
If you are a professional video editor, a film-school student, or just someone passionate about A/V, you can derive immense pleasure from owning a multimedia editing laptop. A laptop that understands the needs of a video editor goes a long way in keeping you from harrowing post-production sessions.
It is all very well to tell yourself that any video editing you require can be done on a regular laptop; it is just about tying in small clips together, right? But it is when you stare at distorted imagery, fiddle with an uncooperative touchpad, and tear your hair apart over an unresponsive processor that you begin to lose faith. The footage you shot in the first place seems to be without any potential whatsoever.
For satisfying and productive video editing, THE most important thing does not come as a surprise: a mighty processor. But along with a persevering CPU, you also need a display that does justice to your content.
A user-friendly operating system is essential too. It is true that video editing has conventionally been associated with a Mac laptop that lets you use software like Final Cut Pro.
But, unless you are a hardcore loyalist, you can also opt for Windows 10 or Linux. Some other important considerations include a specially designed keyboard. Video editing involves precise, repetitive movements, and a keyboard that gets this is going to be vital.
When purchasing a multimedia-focused laptop, it is a good idea to enlist your priorities and choose from various form factors that offer a veritable mix. For instance, many 14” and 15” machines prove adequate for video editing; they manage to expand the available screen space by thinning out the bezel.
You can also explore convertibles, devices with 17” screens (if mobility isn’t a priority), and desktop-replacement laptops.
- Features of the Best Video Editing Laptops
- Our Picks: Best Laptop for Video Editing 2020
- 1. ASUS ROG Zephyrus M – Best 240Hz Laptop for Video Editing
- 2. MSI GS65 Stealth – Best Laptop for Video Editing
- 3. New Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch
- 4. Dell XPS 15 7590 – Video Editing Laptop with OLED Display
- 5. Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15″) – Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Video Editing
- 6. Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition – Laptop with 4K OLED Touch Display
- 7. ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 17 – Best 17 Inch Laptop for Video Editing
- 8. ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 (15″) – Best 4K OLED
- 9. MSI Creator 15M – Video Editing Laptop Under $1500
- 10. Acer Predator Helios 300 – Best Laptop for Video Editing Under $1000
- Video Editing on a Laptop? Is it Possible?
- Comparing Video Editing: Laptops vs. Desktops
- Hardware Requirements for Video Editing
- Do You Need a Dedicated Video Editing Laptop?
- Putting it all Together
Features of the Best Video Editing Laptops
Here are the essential features you must look for in a competent multimedia editing laptop:
A powerful CPU: Look for at least an Intel Core i7, preferably with multiple cores. The ideal RAM support would be upwards of 16GB, although many affordable laptops now also offer up to 32GB.
Integrated/dedicated graphics: While integrated graphics might be too weak for many AAA games, they work reasonably well for video editing. Of course, if you can get a lucrative deal on a starter GPU like an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, it makes sense to go right ahead.
Ample storage space: It would be smart to splurge on a laptop with an SSD as the speed gains during video editing are tremendous. Since high-capacity SSDs are still pricey, you can get additional storage through an external hard drive.
Lightweight construction: If you plan to move about with your laptop, settle for something that weighs in the range of 4–5lbs. But remember not to compromise on the USB ports or display ports to achieve this. A USB Type-C port (or regular USB 3.1 or 3.0 ports), an SD card reader, and an audio port are essential for any video editing machine.
A vivid display: An FHD screen is the bare minimum here, although you might need to get a 4K display if you shoot in a high resolution.
An intuitive keyboard: Aim to get a laptop that offers a backlit keyboard with thoughtful shortcuts and ergonomic key placement (and handy travel distance).
Our Picks: Best Laptop for Video Editing 2020
Okay, that is enough of a preamble for video editing machines; it is time to dive right in and select a companion that will help you achieve the visual brilliance you so dearly covet.
We have put together a list of ten best video editing laptops 2020 that encompass all the essential features while catering to different budgets and priorities.
|Recommended Specs for|
Video Editing Laptop
|CPU||Intel Core i7 (Up to 4. 5GHz)|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX/RTX|
|RAM||16GB DDR4 2666MHz|
|Storage||512GB NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6" Full HD (1920x1080)|
100% DCI-P3 Color Gamut
|Battery Life||Up to 9-hours|
1. ASUS ROG Zephyrus M – Best 240Hz Laptop for Video Editing
If video editing is your profession or passion, then the 15.6” ASUS ROG Zephyrus M is one of the best laptops for you.
It comes with a refresh rate of 240Hz and a stunning Pantone-validated display for color accuracy. It is also a high performer in terms of speed and efficiency, equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Matching the immense power is a capable cooling mechanism that employs two 12V fans (with adjustable modes) and anti-dust technology.
The FHD monitor is fitted with an IPS panel for maximum viewing comfort while editing. Since this laptop has NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics, you will be able to witness the finest details, special effects and transitions.
ASUS has ensured that you are not disturbed by external factors while working by employing a narrow-bezel design. The screen-to-body ratio is as much as 81%. This computer also enjoys good mobility with its lightweight chassis of 4.4lbs and thickness of only 0.74”.
2. MSI GS65 Stealth – Best Laptop for Video Editing
An Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, up to 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce RTX2060 graphics ensure that demanding multimedia tasks are a breeze. A thin-bezel monitor with a screen-to-body ratio of 82% lets you focus on the work at hand with negligible external interference. The display also has an anti-glare panel to reduce eye-strain.
Quite gloriously built, this MSI device features the classic golden dragon logo, gold trim hinges and a silky glass touchpad. If you wish to use it untethered, the long battery life of 8+ hours will hold you in good stead.
Interestingly, the power adapter is super slim too, which makes it easy to carry along. Thanks to a Thunderbolt 3 port, you can stay connected with any devices or peripherals you may require.
3. New Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch
A powerful Intel Core i9 processor, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics, and a vivid Retina Display with True Tone technology set the 16” Apple MacBook Pro apart.
A competent video editing computer, it is equipped with up to 64GB RAM, as much as 8TB SSD, and a redesigned cooling mechanism. It also offers an innovative Touch Bar for increased productivity.
This MacBook believes in connectivity through USB-C ports (four) and 802.11AC Wi-Fi—a blessing for editors who need access to storage devices, external screens, etc.
In fact, you can easily plug in up to two 6K displays. The sound system of this laptop is especially praiseworthy, thanks to the six-speaker system, force-cancelling woofers, and three-mic array.
Bonus: You get as much as 11 hours of battery life—not a common merit to boot for powerful multimedia machines. It is easy to work on your editing projects even on the go.
4. Dell XPS 15 7590 – Video Editing Laptop with OLED Display
Powered by a ninth-gen Intel Core processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, the 15.6” Dell XPS 15 7590 is a great choice for a video editing laptop.
It offers a stunning OLED display (3840 x 2160) that is excellent if you need professional-grade imagery for your multimedia projects.
The screen has narrow borders for minimal external interference as well as an IPS panel for viewing comfort across different angles. Colors render accurately on the display, thanks to the 100% sRGB color gamut.
It helps that the brightness is as high as 500 nits, as you experience greater clarity during editing. The acoustics match up too, with stereo speakers and dual-array microphones complementing the Waves MaxxAudio sound.
Perhaps the most promising aspect of this laptop is how portable and lightweight it is. At 4lbs and a thickness of 0.45–0.66”, this computer can be a good option for mobile professionals.
The build is also designed for travel, with a chassis made of CNC-machined aluminum, a fingerprint reader for security and accessibility while on the run, and a backlit keyboard with a comfortable key-travel distance of 1.3mm.
You can safely opt for this laptop whether you are starting out with video editing or are a seasoned professional. The price tag is just a tad over $1000 and hence very compelling.
|Dell XPS 15 7590 Specs|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-9300H (up to 4.1 GHz)|
Intel Core i7-9750H (up to 4.5 GHz)
Intel Core i9-9980HK (up to 5.0 GHz)
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 630|
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
|Memory||Up to 64GB DDR4 2666MHz|
|Storage||Up to 2TB PCIe SSD|
|Display||15.6-inch OLED 4K (3840 x 2160) |
15.6-inch UltraSharp 4K (3840x2160)
15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)
|Weight||Starting at 4 lbs|
|Battery Life||Up to 20 hours|
5. Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15″) – Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Video Editing
The gorgeous, lightweight Microsoft Surface Book 2 is another brilliant option for video editing.
It neatly encompasses NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics, efficient Intel Core i7 processing, 16GB RAM and 1TB of storage (SSD).
The PixelSense display is one of the best in its class, offering terrific color accuracy and sharpness of detail. This laptop can run on a single charge for as long as 17 hours, making it a go-to choice for anyone who travels extensively.
Plus, since it is fitted with a USB-C port and weighs only 3.38lbs, you can easily carry it along to work on the run. Microsoft has included regular USB Type-A ports and an SD card reader for additional storage.
One useful advantage of this device is its flexibility; it supports operation in multiple modes like laptop, tablet and studio. Since the screen is detachable at the push of a button, you can share content with peers and colleagues comfortably.
6. Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition – Laptop with 4K OLED Touch Display
Driven by a powerful Intel Core i7-9750H processor, 32GB RAM and a 1TB SSD (upgradable), this laptop can efficiently fulfill a host of multimedia activities. The vapor chamber cooling, which deserves a special mention, keeps the proceedings sustainable for a long time.
Undoubtedly, the fantastic display is the prime draw of this laptop, opening up a gamut of visual possibilities with the 100% DCI-P3 and the 1ms response time.
However, you can also connect to external displays (up to three) via the Thunderbolt 3 ports, the HDMI, or the display port.
This makes it simpler to project your work to an audience or relish a larger-than-life experience during editing.
Although this is a super-competent video editor, Razer has kept it fairly portable at 4.87lbs and 0.7”. The durable aluminum-unibody design, secure facial login via Windows Hello, and gigabit-league Intel Wi-Fi 6 further boost its adaptability to on-the-go lifestyles.
Bonus: You can enjoy a customizable RGB-backlit keyboard to elevate your editing (or gaming) experience. This mercury-white laptop supports as many as 16.8 million colors and several profiles.
7. ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 17 – Best 17 Inch Laptop for Video Editing
It is a brilliant mix of competent processing, superb graphics, and a dependable build. This turquoise-gray laptop is powered by an Intel Xeon E-2276M processor, 32GB RAM, a 2TB SSD, and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 graphics. A narrow bezel, Pantone-validation and a calibration of Delta E < 2 set the monitor apart.
The screen-to-body ratio is phenomenal: 97%. Thanks to the Independent Software Vendor (ISV) certification, you can be assured that your machine will support major video editing applications.
Balancing its power with a good degree of portability is a major triumph for this computer. Not only does it employ the MIL-STD 810G military standard for construction, but it also manages a lightweight build of 5.27lbs and 0.72”. The keyboard has a dedicated number pad to facilitate data entry or number-crunching operations.
8. ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 (15″) – Best 4K OLED
Boasting of Intel Core i7 processing, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics (Max-Q), this ThinkPad also offers the classic military-grade resilience of its family. Multimedia editors will benefit from the extended battery life of 14 hours and the rapid-charging technology that lets you power up to 80% in one hour.
This 3.76lbs laptop is amply connected to the world with USB-C Thunderbolt ports, an IR camera (720p), and 360-degree far-field microphones that make for superior audio and VoIP. It is also compatible with Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
Note: Even if you don’t opt for the 4K display, the FHD monitor with Dolby Vision, anti-glare and a brightness of 500 nits is excellent for creative projects. Glance eye-tracking lets you control your experience intuitively.
9. MSI Creator 15M – Video Editing Laptop Under $1500
An affordable video editing laptop under $1500, this MSI product boasts of an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, military-standard construction (MIL-STD-810G), and long battery life of seven hours.
It is also equipped with NVIDIA RTX 2060 graphics, up to 64GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD to support various kinds of multimedia endeavors.
Since this computer weighs only 4.10 lbs and is built to sustain varying environments, you can take it along on travels and meetings.
On the display front, you get an FHD monitor with IPS and an optimal screen resolution of 1920 x 1080. The use of True Color technology is the highlight here, bringing you accurate color and customized imagery for different scene settings.
You also get a color gamut close to 100% sRGB to ensure attention to detail. (Note that the refresh rate is on the lower side at 120Hz, which might affect work involving multiple transitions and special effects.)
Bonus: The keyboard supports white backlighting, enabling you to work even in dimly lit settings. Plus, it offers anti-ghosting for more accurate work under time constraints.
10. Acer Predator Helios 300 – Best Laptop for Video Editing Under $1000
Making excellent video editing possible on a budget is the 15.6” Acer Predator Helios 300.
It is power-packed with all the essentials that editors demand—from a powerful CPU (Intel i7-9750H) to a refresh rate of 144Hz and a response time of 3ms.
The processing compartment features 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, which can be ample for both standard editing pursuits as well as some more demanding applications.
The display lives up to expectations, supplying an FHD screen with an IPS panel, a brightness of 300 nits, and a vast color gamut of 72% NTSC.
It is well-matched by the fine audio, enhanced by Waves MAXXAudio, in conjunction with Acer True Harmony Acer Purified Voice technology. This synergy benefits all video editing endeavors where audio clarity is paramount for meticulous work.
With time, Acer has evolved into a brand renowned for mobility and adaptability to modern lifestyles.
This offering continues the legacy, boasting of a lightweight 5.07lbs chassis, sustainable aeroblade cooling, and Killer DoubleShot Pro for bandwidth optimization.
A full array of USB ports, including a Type-C one, allows you to connect to any peripherals you might need. The battery lasts six hours on one charge, lending you a good degree of portability.
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Video Editing on a Laptop? Is it Possible?
Let’s face it: video editing might sound glamorous and cool, but it is really quite exhausting. Whether you need to fine-tune personal movies or work as a professional video editor, you typically need a machine that is both speedy and dependable.
It needs to be competent at running editing software like Photoshop and Premiere Pro—applications that are heavy and loaded, on a good day.
Given this home truth, how practical is video editing on a laptop? As it turns out, many leading laptop manufacturers have now come up with devices that are not only capable of supporting editing pursuits but are also quite good at it!
To use your laptop as your editing partner, you need the best hardware specs that your budget will allow. For starters, this covers the CPU, RAM and storage. You will need a speedy and efficient processor, ample RAM, and plenty of storage for your multimedia files.
You also need a stellar display, several connectivity options, and a lightweight but sturdy build. That last bit becomes particularly indispensable if you are also likely to be shooting the video you will eventually edit.
When you already have a heavy bag packed to the brim with camera equipment, you really do not want a heavy laptop weighing things down further. But what you also don’t want is a flimsy device that takes up more babysitting than it is worth.
All that jazz in a laptop? Seems like a tall order, no? Of course, if your prime pursuit is going to be home-based or personal footage, you should be good with lower specifications.
But give or take some specs, you will have to navigate through some important decisions to land the perfect machine.
For example: How should you pick between an SSD and good old HDD for storage space? The read and write speeds that an SSD provides are much higher than older interfaces; however, it also comes at a premium.
Likewise, should or shouldn’t you opt for a GPU? While a dedicated GPU has features that can translate into benefits for your work (especially if your film consists of several special effects, shadows, etc.), you might have to make the CPU vs. GPU trade-off if you are on a tight budget.
This is because video editing remains highly multi-threaded, and this is something that a powerful CPU is equipped to deal with.
That said, the bottom line is evident: video editing on a laptop is definitely possible. All you need to do is make the right decisions tailored to your requirements. Also, let it be understood that finding a budget machine that can rival a desktop in performance might be stretching it too far.
However, as the demand for multimedia-editing laptops goes up, and more players enter the market, it is reasonable to expect price cuts in the near future.
Comparing Video Editing: Laptops vs. Desktops
Not too long back, it was unthinkable that a task as complicated and resource-intensive as video editing could be performed on a laptop. But the technological world changes every so often, and this scenario is now a reality. However, while laptops are capable of this task, how competent are they? Can they match up to the power of a desktop when it comes to a job well done? Let us examine this.
- Overall Performance: Typically, desktops offer better overall performance than laptops at a similar price point. Their build allows them to provide greater processing strength and more RAM and storage space, all of which come in handy for rapid editing work. This becomes even more significant if your work involves several transitions, text overlays, etc. Another bonus with desktops is their easy upgradability—something that not many laptops offer.
- Longevity: Since desktops have more efficient cooling systems than laptops, they will be able to support you for longer durations. Many laptops tend to get heated up quickly when working on CPU-intensive tasks, and this seriously limits their sustainability.
- Portability: If you are planning on working on your editing projects from your desk, you may not find much use from a portable, lightweight laptop that travels well. In this case, a desktop might be a smarter choice for you as it will give you greater CPU power and overall efficiencies.
- Working on Multiple Screens: Video editors frequently need to consult multiple screens to get a comprehensive picture of their work. A desktop is better equipped to work with multiple screens, thereby simplifying your tasks. To derive a similar performance from a laptop, you would need to find one with abundant connectivity options.
- Quick Editing On The Go: Professionals need to be prepared to handle last-minute edits for that particularly discerning client. They may also need to create rough edits for presentations and samples, without getting the luxury of a workstation. Laptops are Godsends for such scenarios.
- Ergonomics: Video editing projects tend to be long and cumbersome, requiring you to sit in front of your computer for several hours. As far as ergonomics and comfort go, a desktop is a better choice. Laptops, on the other hand, are well-suited to getting things done on the move. If you are primarily going to be working on stationary projects at home or your office, getting a desktop will help you avoid occupational hazards like backaches.
Ultimately, both laptops and desktops have their highs and lows when it comes to multimedia editing. While the former score brownie points for mobility, the latter offer a premium in power and longevity.
When choosing between them, you would be well advised to weigh your day-to-day needs, requirements for travel, and budget.
Depending on the specifications that your budget allows, many contemporary laptops can be as commendable as desktops at providing a smooth editing experience.
Hardware Requirements for Video Editing
So, what are the things you need to look out for when purchasing a laptop for video editing? While an efficient processing compartment is a no-brainer, you would also want to handpick a device with a reasonably vivid display, clear sound, and plentiful options for connectivity so that you can collaborate with peers and colleagues.
We have put together a ready reckoner of essential hardware requirements that will ensure you can create and edit multimedia content smoothly. The decision to pick your end of the spectrum vis-à-vis these requirements, of course, will be dictated by your needs and budgets.
The single most important consideration while purchasing a video editing laptop is the strength of its processing compartment. To perform a CPU draining task like multimedia editing satisfactorily, the laptop needs to be equipped with a powerful processor that can handle complexities like supporting heavy duty software, facilitating transitions and special effects, etc.
The best pick for high performance is an Intel i9-9980HK or an Intel i9-9880H CPU (at 2.3GHz). The level of performance you can expect is desktop-grade (read super smooth and up to the mark for professional endeavors). These CPUs can execute as many as 16 parallel threads with the hyper-threading technology. They also come with the advantage of turbo boosting (up to 5GHz in the i9-9980HK model).
A slightly more budget-friendly option is the Intel i7-9750H. It suits both personal and professional pursuits while coming in considerably cheaper than its pricier sibling. Many multimedia-friendly laptops now come with Intel i9 or i7 processors, and so fluid is their performance that you might forget you are working on a laptop.
Another alternative you can explore is getting an AMD processor. Typically, these CPUs are much more cost effective than their Intel counterparts. But they still manage to support multitasking pursuits. We would recommend an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H CPU as a well-rounded processor for working with multimedia content. It is exemplary when it comes to tackling multiple threads without drilling a hole in your pocket.
A video editing laptop can reap considerable dividends from a dedicated GPU (graphics processing unit). With a GPU, you can enjoy smoother performance vis-à-vis 3D modeling, editing on various premiere applications, creating after effects, etc.
A budget-friendly GPU we highly recommend is the NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti. Based on the NVIDIA Turing architecture, this is an all-rounder GPU that will delight both professionals and hobbyists.
If you are looking for true blue excellence and have a higher budget, you can look at getting an NVIDIA GeForce RTX2060 or RTX2070 (with 6GB and 8GB dedicated memory respectively).
The RTX graphics card comes with several topnotch additions such as real-time ray tracing (where in-game light mimics the behavior of light in real life) and graphics enhanced by artificial intelligence.
On Premiere Pro, for instance, an RTX 2070 GPU gets a score of 885.5—only a tad lower than the highest score of 920.5 obtained by Titan RTX—as per a study conducted by Puget Systems, a custom computer business.
The amount of RAM your laptop possesses becomes a major factor in video editing as it determines the kind of speeds and overall performance you can expect from the machine.
If you are on a budget, aim to get a laptop with at least 16GB RAM. This will help you accomplish your multimedia editing tasks comfortably (without bringing up occasions when the system comes to a standstill).
However, if your priority is performance and you have some leeway with the budget, try to fit in about 32GB of RAM. That is the gold standard when it comes to memory and turns out to be a solid investment in the long run. The difference is palpable when you are working on projects that involve several details and nuggets of tasks that can drain the processor.
Video editing is a high-memory job; you are going to need considerable space on your system to stock your work in progress films and finished edits. It can be a challenge to get high-speed storage that is capacious enough to meet such requirements. This is why it is a solid idea to look for good old HDD (hard disk drive) as far as capacity is concerned.
For better performance, you can seek an SSD (solid state drive). Many laptops offer a mix of the two, allowing you to use an HDD to store your data and an SSD for documents you need frequently or files related to the operating system. Such a combination results in greater speeds overall, thus making your video editing experience faster and more efficient.
Another option to consider for exemplary performance is an NVME SSD (non-volatile memory express).
While these drives are expensive, the jump they offer is magnificent: up to 2500MB/s and 1000MB/s for sequential read and write respectively, as opposed to around 550MB/s offered by a SATA and 130–150MB/s in case of an HDD.
It will not be an overstatement to claim that an NVME SSD is among the highest-speed storage interface you can avail of for your laptop in the present times.
This realm comprises three main buckets you need to evaluate.
The screen size is an important consideration in video editing laptops as you will be spending long hours staring at the display, scouting for fine details.
As a thumb rule, a 17” laptop works best for home-based use. It will provide ample real estate to render your content accurately and allow for ample space to showcase details in varied film formats. Also, a laptop with this screen size closely mimics the desktop experience, thereby increasing your comfort of usage.
However, if you intend to use your computer outside your home or office, we would recommend getting one with a 15” display.
This form factor is better suited to travel and working outside a stationary workstation. Suffice it to say, this dimension hits the sweet spot between portability and usability.
How about more mobile laptops with more compact displays? Well, anything smaller than 15” (say, a 14” or 13” laptop) is unlikely to have the kind of powerful components that you require for editing projects. They might also feel too cramped to allow you to work comfortably.
IPS Panel vs. TN Panel
Getting the right paneling is another crucial lookout in your video editing laptop. Let us first consider TN (Twisted Nematic) panels.
Their claim to fame is their rapid response time, which makes them best buddies with gamers. But while gamers might enjoy TN panels for the assistance they provide in minimizing ghosting and blurring, you are likely to experience a major downside as a video editor: poor viewing angles. With TN panels, the content tends to alter in appearance (color, contrast, etc.) with changing viewing angles. This can seriously affect your editing work.
This brings us to our recommendation for paneling: IPS (In Plane Switching).
With this option, you can edit from multiple viewing angles without experiencing distortion in your content. Further, some editors find that IPS panels also offer better color reproduction than TN panels. This is a huge help in ensuring that your work can be meticulous as well as precise.
This consideration is fairly straightforward: aim to get a laptop with a screen resolution of 1920 × 1080 (2K) to extract the best overall performance. Not only is 2K compatible with various content formats, but it is also an excellent resolution to facilitate video editing projects without resulting in either eye strain or loss of detail.
But wait. Wouldn’t a 4K resolution be better suited for multimedia projects? Well, while you can opt for a laptop that offers a 3840 × 2160 resolution (4K), it might not turn out to be comfortable for everyday usage.
This is essentially because the 4K resolution tends to come with small fonts that are not well matched to popular video editing software. This font size limitation can strain your eyes—something you would want to avoid when you have truckloads of editing work to complete.
Another drawback of editing on a 4K screen is that it results in huge file sizes. You will find it a challenge to host these gigantic files online. Even if you only want to playback, you would need to have a monitor that supports 4K. A large number of video editors continue to prefer a 2K monitor for these reasons.
Weight and Portability
This is undoubtedly THE USP when it comes to video editing laptops: you get a lightweight chassis that is highly mobile, doing away with the bulk of a desktop and the difficulties of transporting it from point A to B.
Aim to get a laptop with a maximum weight of 4–5 lbs. This will not burden your shoulders and leave you with a body ache by the end of the day. It will also be sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of travel.
Remember that the while the overall weight will depend on the form factor you choose (especially the screen size), many laptop makers have prioritized cutting down on the bulk to fit more in more compact frames.
Other than being picky about the weight, also try to get a laptop that has a robust build with additional features built to enhance portability.
For instance, a backlit keyboard with a comfortable key-travel distance will let you work even in poorly lit environments or rickety public transport.
Most video editing laptops worth their salt are extensively tested to withstand extreme conditions such as high temperatures, varying altitudes, falls and vibrations, etc.
Given how powerful video editing laptops are, few are high on battery backup. It can be a challenge to sneak in a mighty battery in a small frame since all the other high-end processing components also take up considerable space.
However, one of the top considerations while purchasing a video editing laptop is to be able to edit on the run. As a rule of thumb, you need a machine that supports unplugged usage for at least three hours or more.
You will require this to be able to complete continuous video editing for movies, short films, and other forms of multimedia content. Also, this will liberate you from the need to stay tethered to a power station, which will, otherwise, defeat the purpose of acquiring a portable editor.
Look for a laptop with a powerful, energy-efficient battery that doesn’t drain out within minutes when you run heavy-duty editing software. It will be a bonus if you can find one that also supports quick charging; you can power up rapidly during, say, a stopover for your flight.
Some laptops now also offer upgradable or additional batteries that you can seamlessly switch between when you do run out of juice. This lets you build an editing bridge of sorts and helps you complete your project even when you are away from your workstation.
A portable laptop with a competent audio system continues to be a rarity. But solid acoustics are mandatory in a device that needs to perform video editing; how else can you capture the auditory nuances in your films? Look for a laptop with a headphone jack so that you can plug into the fine details of your content. If you have a preference for a certain headphone, double check the dimensions of the jack to make sure it will fit.
Some trustable sound systems to look out for in a video editing laptop include Waves MaxxAudio Pro, Dolby Sound, Bang & Olufsen, and Dell Cinema.
Your prime lookout is a sound output that is clear, free of distortion and loud enough. Make sure to check the delivery of the speakers and microphones during different pursuits, such as video calling and A/V playback. While your main priority might be editing, you will require reliable sound when liaising with clients or colleagues or looking through stock footage.
Conventionally, desktops have boasted of an edge when it comes to connectivity options. With a full-purpose desktop, it is straightforward to plug into any peripherals you may need, including external displays and USB drives.
Fortunately, modern-age video editing laptops also offer features that match up. When scouting for one, aim to get at least 3–4 USB ports.
Preferably, the assortment of ports should include a Thunderbolt Type-C port for high-speed data transfer (this can provide speeds as high as 5Gbps). You will need this to share heavy video files with peers or across computers.
Also, look for an HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) or display port. Since video editing involves meticulous work, you are likely to find yourself wanting several screens and external displays both for editing and presenting your work to others. Ideally, the laptop should support 2–3 displays of a reasonable resolution.
Finally, as we discussed in the audio standards, make sure the laptop of your choice has a headphone jack. You would be in a tricky spot if you had to rely only on the external sound as that would expose you to the risk of missing out on the details in your films.
Do You Need a Dedicated Video Editing Laptop?
A widespread belief in the computing world is that a gaming laptop is adequate for video editing.
After all, gaming computers usually offer powerful processors, dedicated graphics cards, and displays with high specs—everything you need to edit multimedia content. While this is true, a dedicated video editing system has some distinct advantages.
For starters, it is likelier to render your content with perfection, without fail. It will also be better suited to running graphics-intensive apps and providing you with a studio-like experience for the finest editing. An out-and-out multimedia laptop can be the closest thing you get to a workstation, which will be especially crucial if you are a professional.
That said, you need to go about selecting one of these devices with considerable caution. For instance, some gaming laptops might prioritize battery backup and a touchscreen display for gameplay on the go.
But guess which two things you probably do NOT need to worry about in a video editor? Yes, exactly those two. Video editing is extremely CPU-intensive, and it would be too much to expect substantial unplugged usage from any laptop in this league.
As for the display, few video editors find much use from a touchscreen, preferring instead to use a full-purpose keyboard and other peripherals for accurate work.
So, whether you ultimately decide to get a dedicated video editor or go with a gaming laptop, you have to be mindful of three core things: your budget (of course!), the level of precision and magnitude of power you need, and features you cannot do without.
Putting it all Together
In recent times, multimedia content generation and editing have emerged as a popular choice of profession. However, the marketplace is still limited in options that address these fields exclusively.
Apple has, of course, been around for a long time in this domain and continues to impress with the latest line of MacBooks that let you perform accurate and enviable editing. But competing brands like ASUS, Dell, HP, MSI, Lenovo and Razer have also come up with worthy offerings that help you achieve the creative glories you seek at (considerably) lower prices.
When you are out looking for a video editing laptop, keeping your priorities sorted in a mental checklist (or a paper one, for that matter) is your best bet.
So, you might want the cheapest deal if your laptop is going to be used primarily for school assignments and personal editing work (read vacation footage and home movies).
However, if your boss has an eagle’s eye for detail, you will want a laptop that supports the latest design and editing software, has a high-res display, and offers plenty of connectivity options for a workstation-like experience.
Whatever you choose, remember that when it comes to computing, your laptop can both restrict and liberate you. And, in the creative space, the freedom to maneuver is everything.