The Best Laptops For Video Editing
We used the following criteria for recommending laptops:
- Strong CPU with multiple cores / threads to help with rendering and other video-related tasks.
- At least 16GB of RAM. You dont want to skimp here, and if youre editing 4K video, consider upgrading aftermarket to 32GB.
- USB 3.1 Type-C was strongly preferred, to use fast external SSD drives to hold your project files. We opted for Thunderbolt 3 where we could for even more speed.
These criteria meant that we ended up with a lot of gaming laptops. Theres a lot of RGB bling on some of these laptops, and they dont always look as professional as, say, a Macbook, but theyre also pushing a lot more power.
We didnt end up picking any Ryzen laptops because they tend to come with weaker Vega 10 GPUs, which arent sufficient for our purposes. However, desktop Ryzen processors are great for video editing when you pair them with a solid GPU.
We also did not recommend the Microsoft Surface laptops. While they are gorgeous devices, they dont have the kind of graphical grunt that youll want for 4K editing, and their price to performance ratio was too lopsided to recommend as an option for 1080p editing alone.
As always, the prices and availability of the products discussed below may change over time.
Bigger Screen Same Starting Price
For the same price as the old 15-inch MacBook Pro, which Apple has discontinued, you now get the significantly upgraded 16-inch model. The two laptops look very similar, since the overall MacBook Pro design language hasn’t changed much since 2016. That means the new MacBook Pro is a Space Gray-colored metal slab just like its predecessor. But there are some key differences, if you examine it closely.
Why You Should Trust Us
Wirecutter has been researching and testing laptops since 2013, and Andrew Cunningham has been testing, reviewing, and otherwise writing about PCs, Macs, and other gadgets for AnandTech, Ars Technica, and Wirecutter since 2011. He has been building, upgrading, and fixing PCs for more than 15 years, and he spent five of those years in IT departments buying and repairing laptops and desktops as well as helping people buy the best tech for their needs. He has also spent dozens of hours testing the color accuracy of high-end monitors, as well as deciphering the model numbers of processors and graphics cards for the benefit of Wirecutters readers .
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Best Budget: Asus Vivobook S15
If you want to save some money or happen just to be starting out, the more affordable ASUS VivoBook S is a great choice. It’s not the most powerful laptop in our collection, nor will it win any awards for the plastic build, but it houses a very capable integrated AMD Radeon Vega GPU at an affordable price.
The laptop looks more expensive than it is. Inside is an AMD Ryzen 5000 processor with an AMD Vega 8 GPU, and 8GB of RAM. It’ll be just good enough to play some games and should be able to handle some video editing as well. It’s let down by the dim display, and rather slow solid-state drive write speeds.
You may want to pass on this laptop if you need one that will last for longer than a few hours, but it’s challenging to find a notebook with similar specs for a better price.
The Best Computers For Video Editing Available Now
Reasons to avoid
Apple’s brand-new 24-inch iMac, is our pick for the best computer for video design in 2021. Apple has taken everything we laoved about the iconic all-in-one, nd improved it in numerous ways.
For a start, it now has a larger screen compared to the 21.5-inch model that it replaces. This gives you a lot more space to work on, and the 4.5K resolution means you can edit 4K footage without taking up the entire screen.
The new iMac has also had one of the biggest redesigns in years. For a start, the bezels around the screen are much thinner than before, and that means you get a larger screen, but the overall size of the 24-inch is remarkably close to the 21.5-inch model. It looks gorgeous, too, and now comes in a range of colors, harkening back to Apple’s classic G3 all-in-one PCs.
The new iMac also has brand-new hardware powering it, with Apple’s own M1 chip providing the CPU and GPU. This is an impressively fast PC, then, and it can run video editing apps such as Final Cut Pro quickly and smoothly, even when working in 8K.
If you want a larger screen, and require more graphical horsepower, than the slightly older 27-inch iMac, below, will be a better buy, however.
Reasons to avoid
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How We Test The Best Laptops For Photo Editors
We test the best laptops for photo editors by, first, running tests on the laptop’s display. Our labs run sRGB gamut coverage tests, as well as Delta E accuracy, screen brightness and more.
We also test the graphics card performance by using the 3DMark benchmark to determine the laptop’s ability to run graphic-intensive applications. We also dive into processor performance using the Geekbench benchmark.
Our labs also test for how fast the laptop can transfer files, which is important information for impatient photo editors who have a lot of content to output and input on their laptops.
Multitasking muscle is another aspect of laptops we test. Photo editors tend to have multiple programs running in the background, and if a laptop lacks multitasking muscle, it will become slow and sluggish.
We also dive into tests that have nothing to do with photo editing, but may appeal to photo editors depending on their needs, including the image quality of the webcam, the crispness of the speakers and gaming capabilities.
Apple Macbook Pro With Touch Bar
This is by far the best Mac laptop for video editing, potentially the best laptop for video editing period, and it is totally drool-worthy. It has outstanding Retina displays and has both 15-inch and 13-inch configurations.
Both have editing capabilities in 1080p. The larger model sports a screen that has 220 ppi , and the smaller one has 227 ppi . Whether you choose the large or the small, the editing suites user interface remains on the screen while plugging away at editing.
The display is impressive, but other aspects are even more so. In the 15-inch, it features 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM, a 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, a distinct AMD Radeon Pro 560 GPU containing 4GB of GDDR5, and a remarkable 2TB of flash storage. It weighs in at around only four pounds, including the aluminum case housing.
The newest upgrades done to the Mac are debated, with some loving the new features, and others missing what is familiar. The Touch Bar replaces the keyboards top row, but for scouring through your content, it is highly effective.
Four Thunderbolt 3 ports replace everything apart from the headphone jack. This is beneficial when it comes to accessories since they have so much bandwidth, but anything without a built-in USB-C port will require specialty cables.
Both power and adaptability come with a high price tag. Totally maxed out you are looking at a fairly hefty price tag.
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Best Laptops For Video Editing: Power At A Price You Can Afford
Because of their combination of powerful hardware and slimline designs, many of the best laptops for video editing can also be pretty expensive. However, because prices of high-end hardware are getting more affordable, it means you can find a great video editing laptop without breaking the bank. You might be confined to just editing 1080p footage, but for many people that will be absolutely fine.
You may notice from the list above that quite a few companies that specialise in gaming laptops, like Acer and Razer, also make laptops designed for creative professionals. These laptops use the same powerful hardware you’d find in a high-end gaming device, but without some of the game centric features . Most importantly of all, they include powerful graphics cards that can drastically cut the time it takes to edit and render videos.
With lashings of CPU and graphics power, theyll chew through the best digital art software and encode videos faster than any standard laptop, and you’ll find them included in this list as well. Whether you’re a Mac fan or a Windows wizard, we’ve got you covered. If you’re looking for a device specifically for coding, be sure to check out our round up of the best laptops for programming.
Match Your Video Editing Laptop To Your Software
So, to recap: the best video editing software will match your needs, your skills, your budget, and your laptop. If you invest in high-caliber software, youll need a high-powered laptop to accommodate it. For professional video editors who work with a lot of editing programs, that makes sense.
However, if youre a new user, budget-conscious, or creating fairly short content, then youre better off with web-based apps. Video editing apps like InVideo offer most of the tools you need, without taking up space on your hard drive. Theyre also more affordable and come with a lot of background support.
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The Best Laptops For Video Editing In 2021
Video editing is a task that requires more than just the best video editing software. You need access to a high-quality display and enough computing power to process large video files. Whether youre a creative who works on professional-quality videos or you want to launch a YouTube channel, investing in the right laptop will make video editing much easier.
Its easy to feel confused if youre not familiar with performance specs. Weve compared different laptops to select the best computers you can use for video editing. Weve put together a few recommendations to help you find the right laptop for your video editing needs.
You can also look at our list of the overall best laptops for 2021 for more options.
Best Video Editing Computer : The Top Pcs For Editors And Producers
15 April 2021
The best computer for video editing
The best video editing computer needs a whole lot of power. Theres simply no way around this. While small compromises can be made here and there you can, for example, minor design and features that arent vital when youre putting clips together or running the most taxing of video editing software with ease. However, in terms of the components inside, only a PC with powerful enough internal components will do.
When youre only rendering videos that last only a few seconds or a couple of minutes, you can probably get away with many desktop PCs. However, the longer and higher resolution your video will be, the more power you need. That means that to edit videos and render very large files, youll need one of the best video editing computers. That sheer performance will shave a lot of time off your process, and help you focus more on your creative workflow.
What does that mean exactly? Essentially, youll want something with a powerful discrete graphics card, plenty of fast RAM, and a multi-core processor inside, so it can see you through more complex editing tasks. We’ve rounded up the very best video editing computers out there for a range of budgets. And, with our built-in price comparison tool to ensure you get the best deals, youll find one that gets the best value for your money.
Also see our guide to the best video editing laptops if you’re looking for a travel-friendly alternative.
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How Much Ram Is Needed For Video Editing
Much like your computers processor, RAM is an important component in handling video editing tasks. Think of RAM as your machines short-term memory. This is for handling tasks that are active or have been active recently basically anything that is running on your device. This makes it important for running programs needed for video editing.
16GB of RAM is a good place to start when determining how much RAM you need though you can do with less. Some laptops have a graphics card that can handle more intensive tasks like video processing, meaning that you can get by with less RAM. A machine with less RAM but a powerful graphics card or processor should still be more than capable of handling video editing software.
A Giant Amount Of Storage
The first considerable aspect is your laptop must have enough storage. Its evident that when you are working on video editing tasks or slow-motion graphics editing, you will need to store all your edited videos. You already know that high-definition recording files can be pretty large, and your laptop must have few gigabytes to spare on the storage of videos.
However, not all best laptops within budget come with large storage capacity. In this case, you can look for an excellent SSD to go with your video editing machine. This hard drive alternative will provide the possibility to ram your files into an external SSD.
External SSD devices are more reliable and produce better accommodation for your media files than that of built-in ones. We recommend buying WD Blue 3D NAND 500GB Internal SSD or Kingston 480GB A400 Sata3 2.5 SDD which will increase storage space and help improve your computers perfomance!
But if you need a laptop with enough build-in storage, take a look at our list of best budget laptops for video editing below.
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How To Pick The Best Budget Laptop For Yourself
When you look for the best laptop in the market, you will find a diversity of latest laptops with variable specifications for different workloads under different price ranges. Not all of them are worth spending your dollars. Of course, you can easily find a cheap laptop to run video editing software and stuff, but you need to find the one who can do your job well.
So when you pick the best budget laptop for yourself, you need to be familiar with what type of video editor you should use and the laptop that will be able to support it. Choose the best laptop which has enough storage, RAM capacity, powerful hardware, multi-core processor, and eminent graphic cards that are capable of churning and churching any workload you throw at their way. All of these features will surely help you to accelerate your performance, and youll get the actual value of your dollars spent.
How Do You Choose A Processor For Video Editing
To choose a processor for video editing, you have to focus on the resolution you work with and your GPU. A rule of thumb is: the higher the resolution, the more powerful a processor you need. At the same time, a low-end GPU might create a bottleneck, worsening video editing performance. Therefore, you have to seek a balance between the two.
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Video Editing On A Laptop Is It Possible
Lets 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 Proapplications 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 dont want is a flimsy device that takes up more babysitting than it is worth.
But give or take some specs, you will have to navigate through some important decisions to land the perfect machine.
Why Size Is Important
Another consideration that is incredibly important for editing on a laptop is the actual size of the hard drive. Typically when you edit on a desktop computer, you will be at a workstation with external hard drives. If youre on the market for a video editing laptop, chances are you want to edit remotely from a location outside of your normal editing bay. That means external hard drives may be difficult to deal with. Its for this reason that you probably want to get a big hard drive.
As a video editing professional, you can never have too much hard drive storage. Video Maker
Odds are you will be dumping footage onto your laptop while on set, so you want to make sure there is at least enough room to backup your footage. Ive made the mistake of thinking that I would simply get a portable hard drive or SSD and carry it around with my laptop. In reality, another device is just one more thing to forget.
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Are Gaming Laptops Good For Video Editing
Yes, gaming laptops can be great for video editing because they tend to utilize faster CPUs, GPUs, and RAM that creative applications can leverage for superior performance. Its no coincidence that our pick for the most powerful video editing laptop is a gaming system, the Alienware Area-51m R2. Gaming laptop displays, though, are aimed at different objectives than youll find on the best video editing laptops theyre tuned for speed rather than color accuracy and depth. And so youll need to keep that in mind when you make your purchasing decision. One alternative is to add an external high-quality display, to leverage the performance of the laptop and still have the display quality you need for final production work where youll want to see your video in all its glory.