Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Best Laptop for Video Editing 2021: The Fastest Machines for Video Editors

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It takes time to create a stunning video. From the first brainstorming session to scriptwriting, to actually filming – it’s a lot of work. The last thing you want to do at the end of an edit session is to wait for your work to be rendered and ready to share with the world.A speedy laptop for video editing is about more than just the latest processor. You’ll also want a powerful GPU to speed up exporting, but often that means you’ll give up some portability. Although, that’s not always the case, as you’ll see below.

The spec sheet of most video editing laptops reads a lot like a gaming laptop, with color tuned displays, RTX 20-series GPUs, and cooling systems to ensure everything keeps running. But that’s necessarily a bad thing. You’ll save yourself some time, and when you’re done working, you can open your favorite game and escape for a couple of hours.

These are the Best Laptops For Video Editing

1. Gigabyte Aero 15

Best Laptop For Video Editing

Our Pick

Gigabyte Aero 15

On Amazon

To edit video, you need to have a lot of power and a great monitor to preview your content. That’s just what the Gigabyte Aero 15 has to offer. This laptop features a Samsung AMOLED display that comes X-Rite Pantone color calibrated, so you’ll be getting accurate colors and astounding contrast. Let’s not forget that this is an Ultra HD display either, so it will have incredibly crisp detail.

Your editing will get a helpful boost from the performance offered by the Intel Core i7-10875H processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 with 6GB of VRAM packed inside. When you need to process effects and edit quickly on the go, you don’t want to have to sit around waiting forever to see your changes take effect. So, this kind of power will help ensure your edits are quick. This may not be the most powerful pick, but it makes up for that in portability by weighing in at just 4.4 pounds and measuring less than an inch thick.

2. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch

Best MacBook For Video Editing

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Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch

On Amazon

Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro is the most powerful MacBook Apple makes. It combines Apple’s typical minimal approach to design, with a high-resolution Retina display, an AMD Radeon Pro 5000M GPU, and a beefy 64GB of memory.

It was also the first laptop Apple shipped with the new Magic Keyboard scissor mechanism that, so far, hasn’t experienced the same issues Apple’s keyboards had been plagued with. For anyone who lives inside Final Cut Pro X while on the go, the 16-inch MacBook Pro was made for you.

3. HP ZBook Studio G7

Best 15-inch Laptop For Video Editing

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Who said you couldn’t get a compact workstation? The HP ZBook Studio G7 packs all the powerful components you need for video editing into a form factor that’s ready for your backpack. It’s thin enough and light enough that you’re not likely to find your back hurting from toting it around.

Inside, the HP ZBook Studio G7 comes packing a six-core Intel Core i7-10850H alongside a professional-grade Nvidia Quadro T2000 graphics processor. That’ll help you handle your video editing, but that’s only part of the workstation. You wouldn’t want to do much beyond editing timelines if your display wasn’t up to the task. Fortunately, this laptop includes a UHD display with 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space and a peak brightness of 600 nits. An anti-glare finish on the display will even help you do some work out in the sun.

4. MSI GT76 Titan DT

Best 17-inch Laptop For Video Editing

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MSI GT76 Titan DT

On Amazon

If you want to do some serious video editing, you should plan on getting a beast of a laptop, and they don’t get much beastlier than 17-inch behemoths like the MSI GT76 Titan DT. This computer comes fully loaded with the power to chew through video editing workloads thanks to its combination of an Intel Core i9-10900K and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super. That gives you ten processor cores to work with and 8GB of VRAM.

You’re also getting 64GB of RAM, so you can work on large projects. And, the inclusion of 2TB of PCIe storage will make opening up projects and loading media a breeze.This laptop also makes good use of its 17-inch display by going with a 4K resolution, so you’ll be able to check your work in higher fidelity than you would get to on the 1080p displays more often found on laptops.

5. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Best Ultrabook For Video Editing

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Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

On Amazon

Believe it or not, there are ultrabooks that can handle video editing. That comes in large part thanks to AMD’s latest laptop processors. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (read our review) is the best option of the bunch with its AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS processor. That will give you eight processing cores and 16 threads with boost speeds up to 4.3GHz to speed through your workloads.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 includes 16GB of RAM to keep your work running smoothly even when working on larger projects, and it has an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q for the CPU to hand over some of the rending to. Even with all that power, this ultrabook weighs less than four pounds and measures just 0.7 inches thick.

6. Alienware Area-51m R2

Best Desktop Replacement For Video Editing

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Alienware Area-51m R2

On Dell

The Alienware Area-51m R2 may have the shape of a laptop, but it’s more akin to a desktop in some ways. This laptop is bulked up enough to offer the cooling needed by a desktop-class processor. Why is that? Because this laptop actually uses a desktop-class Intel Core i9-10900K. Combine that with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super and you’ve got a serious machine on your hands.

The video editing capabilities of this machine are furthered along by the inclusion of 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. If basic PCIe SSD storage wasn’t already fast enough for video editing, you’ll be pleased to hear that Dell configured this to use two 1TB drives in a RAID 0 configuration for extra bandwidth.

7. Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro X

Best High-End Video Editing Laptop

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Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro X

On Best Buy

The Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro X may have a humble look to it, but even inside of its 4.4-pound chassis, it’s packing all the muscle it needs to handle some serious video work. The Intel Core i7-9750H isn’t the most powerful processor you’ll find for a laptop, but its got enough power to keep up. Where the real speed lies is in the Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q graphics processor, which includes a whopping 16GB of VRAM.

Though the Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro X has the ports you’d need to connect it to an external display for work, you don’t need to use them. The built-in display offers a 4K UHD resolution that well let you see everything in high detail. And, better still, it comes color calibrated to cover 100% of the Adobe RGB color space and is Pantone Validated for color accuracy with a Delta E below 1.5.

8. Razer Blade Stealth

Best 13-inch Laptop for Video Editing

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Razer Blade Stealth

On Amazon

Video editing demands some strong performance from your machine, but it can be hard to get that when you also need to consider the ability to travel light. The Razer Blade Stealth has you covered though, thanks to its combination of high-power internals and a thin-and-light build.

The Razer Blade Stealth offers up an Intel Core i7-1065G7 paired with an Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti, giving you some potent editing components even when you’re away from home. With 16GB of memory, you shouldn’t run into too much trouble opening up your favorite video editing software, and fast internal storage, as well as support for Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, will let you access your video files as quickly as ever. If you deal with a lot of files on network-attached storage, you’ll also be able to enjoy fast networking speeds over Wi-Fi 6. Razer packs all that into a laptop that’s just a foot wide, 0.6 inches thick, and weighs a little over three pounds.

9. Apple MacBook Air

Best Laptop for Final Cut

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Apple MacBook Air

On Amazon

Apple’s latest MacBook Air does some incredible things. It is a diminutive 2.6 pounds and only 0.63 inches thick at its thickest point. Interestingly enough, the new MacBook Air packs in Apple’s own M1 system-on-a-chip with an octa-core processor and its own graphics processing. While that worried some at first, the new chip has shown considerable prowess.

The new MacBook Air runs apps with speed and efficiency, letting you enjoy the best of its productivity and portability at the same time. While the MacBook Air has a translation layer to let it run x86 programs without much fuss, it performs at its best with applications built for ARM, which just happens to include the latest Final Cut version.

What to Look for in a laptop for video editing

In many ways, there’s a significant overlap between a great video editing laptop and a gaming laptop. You want something that’s powerful, while still being portable. Battery life is nice to have for everyday tasks, but when it comes to processing your latest shoot, you’ll want to keep your laptop plugged in.

To help with processing, you’ll want a laptop with a powerful GPU. Nvidia’s latest RTX 20-series GPUs leverage Nvidia’s Max-Q design that trades a slight decrease in performance for a smaller overall size, and in turn, allowing for a light and portable laptop (just look at the Razer Stealth). But don’t get caught up on with having to have the latest 20-series GPU – unless you’re dealing with 8K video, you should be able to get by just fine with something like the GTX 1650.

When looking at processors in a laptop, Intel’s 10th generation chips are becoming commonplace, and future proof your investment, but aren’t a requirement. Intel’s 9th generation processors are just as capable and will save you a little money when shopping. A quick way to identify which generation is being used in a build is to look at the numbers that follow the processor name. For example, an Intel Core i7-1065G7 denotes a 10th generation Ice Lake processor. Whereas an Intel Core i7-9750H represents a 9th generation Coffee Lake processor.

It’s easy to get caught up in looking at flashy gaming laptops, most of which will do just fine as a video editing machine. But don’t limit yourself to a gaming machine, laptops like the ZBook Studio G7 or Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro are proof that non-gaming laptops are just as powerful and versatile.

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Jason Cipriani has covered technology full-time for the past 8 years. During that time he has freelanced for the likes of CNET, Fortune, Time, ZDNet, Macworld, Wired, and TechRadar.

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