Few tasks require more horsepower than video editing. While you can trim small clips with even an inexpensive laptop, to work with raw HD or 4K video or to create special effects, you need a fast processor, strong discrete graphics and a high-resolution display.
If you’re wondering if your gaming laptop can edit video, it probably can, but a dedicated media creation system is more likely to get perfect renders every time. And if you need a laptop to handle more graphics-intensive apps beyond video editing, you may want to consider getting a workstation.
Latest News, Deals and Updates (February 2019)
- We did a face-off between the Apple MacBook Pro 15 and the Alienware m15. You’ll be surprised by which 15-inch powerhouse came out on top.
- We praised the MSI PS63 Modern for its breathtaking design, punchy keyboard and solid overall performance in our recent review.
- Multiple configurations of the Dell XPS 15 are currently on sale, so you can get a model with a Core i7, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for $1,529 ($180 off).
How much does a video editing laptop cost?
For a video editing laptop, you want something with a discrete graphics card. The cheapest on our list, which boast Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, start at around $1,000. For something with a more powerful card like a high-end Quadro or GTX 1060, as well as features like a high-end display, you may pay around $2,500 or more.
1. 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
If you prefer editing on an Apple machine, the new 15-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar is hard to top. It comes with a faster Intel Core i7 CPU, a more powerful Radeon Pro 460 GPU and a brighter and more colorful display. The Touch Bar can even adapt depending on what app you’re using, so you can apply filters or scrub through a clip without ever leaving fullscreen mode. Weighing just 4 pounds and 14.9mm thick, the new MacBook is even thinner and lighter than last year’s model.
Pros: Light weight for the size; Sharp Retina display; Long battery life
Cons: Has only Thunderbolt 3 ports
Key Specs: 15.4-inch, 2880 x 1800 screen; Core i7 Kaby Lake CPU; AND Radeon Pro 560 GPU; 4 pounds
2. Dell XPS 15
This baby’s 4K screen will take your eyes on a journey of color, covering 164 percent of the sRGB color gamut and blasting 447 nits of brightness. Those sharp visuals are matched by even sharper performance, with the XPS 15’s 8th Gen Core i7 CPU and Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q. The carbon-fiber beauty is even lighter than last year’s model as well, weighing only 4.2 pounds, making this a lean, portable killing machine.
Pros: Strong overall and graphics performance; Excellent battery life; Bright, vibrant screen; Runs cool; Attractive, if dated, design
Cons: Awkwardly placed webcam
Key Specs: 15.6-inch, 1080p or 4K touchscreen; Up to Intel Core i7-8750H CPU; Up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB GPU; 4.2 pounds
3.Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch)
Both a powerful laptop and a portable tablet, the Surface Book 2 is the most versatile notebook you can use to edit video. It comes with a powerful 8th Gen Core i7 CPU and discrete Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, as well as an incredibly vibrant 3240 x 2160 display. It lasted over 12 hours on our battery test, so you can edit all day without fear of losing a charge. If the 15-inch version is too big or too expensive for you, there’s also a 13.5-inch option, but that steps down to either integrated or GTX 1050 graphics.
Pros: Detachable screen; Great pen experience; Long battery life;
Cons: Very expensive; No Thunderbolt 3 port;
Key Specs: 15-inch, 3240 x 2160 screen; Intel Core i7-8650U CPU; Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU;