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Best Budget Laptop for Content Creation

When video editing on a laptop, you should be looking for a solid CPU, lots of RAM, an accompanied dedicated graphics card for more power, and a USB-C port. If you decide that the 13 inch is better for you, check out our list of the top 13 inch laptops for video editing. For a 15 inch, simply scale up.

In essence, the best computer for video editing can be summed up in one word: balance. As we’ve seen, there are several factors to take into account when choosing a laptop for video editing. The most important of these factors is arguably the processor. The best choice will provide enough power to quickly render your edits and still allow you to take advantage of other high-end resources such as graphics cards and RAM.

MacBook Pro M1 (16-inch, 2021)

The latest 16-inch MacBook Pro is a video editing dream machine

SPECIFICATIONS

CPU: Up to 10-core Apple M1 MaxGraphics: Up to 32-Core Apple M1 Max GPURAM: 16GB – 64GBScreen: 16-inch Retina display with True ToneStorage: 1TB – 8TB SSDTODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

+Awesome M1 Pro and Max chips+Supports up to 64GB RAM+Sensational screen specs

REASONS TO AVOID

-Hugely expensive-Some may miss the TouchbarAdvertisement

We still love the original (13-inch) M1 MacBook, but with a maximum of 16GB RAM, it could never quite topple the older Intel-powered MacBook Pro to be a truly future-proofed video-editing powerhouse. Not any more! Apple has addressed these concerns, big time.

The latest 2021 MacBook Pro not only smashes any RAM limitations courtesy of its new M1 Max chip, which can be had with 64GB RAM, it also comes with a 16-inch screen size, which is noticeably more comfortable for long editing sessions than a 13-inch panel. This incredible Liquid Retina XDR display boasts an insane 1,600-nit peak brightness, making HDR content come alive, and it can display a high DCI-P3 color space coverage for accurate video editing. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is also available with an M1 Pro chip (rather than M1 Max) if you want to save some cash, though RAM capacity is restricted to 16GB or 32GB, and its speed is lower.

Despite all this power, the supreme efficiency of the M1 chip architecture, combined with a large 100-watt-hour battery, means battery life is up to an incredible 21 hours.

The 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro is far from cheap no matter how you spec one, but your money is buying one of the most technically advanced laptops on the market right now.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G15

Best for super-smooth video playback

SPECIFICATIONS

CPU: Up to octa-core AMD Ryzen 9 5900HSGraphics: Up to GeForce RTX 3080RAM: Up to 48GBScreen: 15.6-inch IPS, 2560 x 1440Storage: Up to 2TB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSDSD card reader: Yes, microSDThunderbolt: 

REASONS TO BUY

+Power with portability+Super-fast screen refresh rate

REASONS TO AVOID

-Screen not 4K-No USB 4/Thunderbolt 4Advertisement

Right now, the new MacBook M1 Pro and M1 Max are the MacBooks stealing all the limelight. Said to be 70% faster than the original M1, the M1 Pro is available with up to 32GB RAM, while the top-tier M1 Max can be specced with a whopping 64GB RAM – addressing our reservation with the 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 which can only be equipped with a maximum 16GB RAM.

But until we can fully review an M1 Pro or M1 Max, the older 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro just hangs on as our top pick for the best MacBook for serious video work. It can be specced with anything up to a 9th generation, octa-core Intel Core i9 processor, a whopping 64GB of RAM, and Radeon Pro 5500M graphics. But even an entry-level 16-inch MacBook Pro should keep you going whether you’re working through large edits or complex After Effects projects.

The MacBook’s context sensitivity is what sets it apart though. For example, the Touch Bar, a touch-sensitive horizontal screen above the keyboard, changes depending on what app you’re using. In Premiere Pro, for example, it presents quick options to scrub through footage, showcase keyboards, and more.

Meanwhile, the laptop’s trackpad vibrates when interacting with different elements in different apps – it gives you haptic feedback, for example, when one clip you’re dragging snaps to another in video-editing apps. Combined with up to an 8TB SSD and a gorgeous, sharp display, it’s no wonder so many love it.

HP Envy 17

Big-screen video editing and features galore

SPECIFICATIONS

CPU: 11th-gen quad-core Intel Core i7Graphics: Intel Iris XeRAM: 32GBScreen: 17-inch, (3840 x 2160) IPSStorage: 1TB NVMe M.2 SSDSD card slot: YesThunderbolt 4:

REASONS TO BUY

+large, comfortable screen size+4K and 100% Adobe RGB coverage+Powerful CPU options

REASONS TO AVOID

-Physically large, inevitablyAdvertisement

We love the portability of an ultra-compact laptop, but for longer video editing sessions, squinting at a small screen can soon become a real pain. By contrast, the HP Envy 17 with its larger than average 17-inch screen gives you appreciably more display real estate for video previews and timelines, as well as multi-tasking.

The Envy 17 is available in several different spec configurations, but we reckon the ’17-ch0020na’ version makes the most sense for serious video editing, and it’s also well priced for the power it offers.

The screen itself isn’t just quantity over quality – far from it. The IPS LCD panel boasts a 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, 400-nit max brightness, and it’s capable of displaying 100% of the Adobe RGB color space – that’s a remarkable achievement for a laptop display.

The extra screen size means there’s more space in front for a full-size keyboard, and you even get a proper SD card reader built in – a real rarity on today’s laptops.

Even 4K edits should be handled with ease thanks to the latest 11th-gen quad-core Intel Core i7 processors teamed with a very healthy 32GB RAM. A single Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 Type-C port ensures blazing-fast connectivity with external devices, plus there are 3 USB Type-A ports for easy backward compatibility with older peripherals.

Dell XPS 15

Best for 4K edits

SPECIFICATIONS

CPU: Up to 11th-gen octa-core Intel Core i9Graphics: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 TiRAM: Up to 64GBScreen: Up to 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2400 touchscreenStorage: Up to 2TB SSDSD card reader: YesThunderbolt: Yes, version 4

REASONS TO BUY

+Jaw-dropping screen specs+SD card reader

REASONS TO AVOID

-Not class-leading GPU for the price-Battery life is not a great advertisement

The Dell XPS 15 is the 4K OLED-screened laptop to go for if you’re not into gaming. While it uses a similarly specced display to the Razer Blade 15, which is also in this roundup, its design and feature set are better suited to video editing.

For starters, it has an SD card slot, and up to Intel Core i9 power, not to mention up to a huge 64GB RAM – and with up to 2TB solid-state storage it’s also an ideal machine to have when ingesting gigabytes of 4K content.

While its Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card isn’t going to stack up against some of the top-tier competition, thanks to Thunderbolt 4 connectivity you can supplement it with an external, desktop GPU for more demanding projects – and for quick edits on the fly, it’ll be more than up to the task.

Acer ConceptD 7

Best laptop for color grading

SPECIFICATIONS

CPU: Hexa-core Intel Core i7Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080RAM: up to 32GBScreen: 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 (UHD) IPSStorage: 1TB SSDSD card reader: NoThunderbolt 3: Yes

REASONS TO BUY

+Beautifully calibrated screen+Not an RGB gaming light in sight+4K screen

REASONS TO AVOID

-Very expensive-No SD card slot advertisement

If you’ve got a lot of cash to invest, the Acer ConceptD line is a series of laptops and desktops that have been fine-tuned for designers and editors. Specifically, the concept 7-series laptop has gaming laptop power without any of the gaudy casing or attention-grabbing RGB lighting. It’s also quiet, staying cool without loud fans whirring/roaring away. 

Ideal for color grading, the Acer concept 7’s 4K UHD display covers 100% of the Adobe RGB gamut – a hugely impressive feat few other monitor screens can match. The display is also Pantone validated, with color accuracy of Delta E <2, ensuring you can rely on it for color-critical work.

With the latest hexa-core i7 internals from Intel, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card, and up to 32GB RAM, whether you’re processing out Full HD or 4K footage, Acer’s concept should make short work of it.

Acer Predator Helios 300 15

Best for affordable gaming as well as video editing

SPECIFICATIONS

CPU: Up to octa-core Intel Core i7Graphics: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080RAM: Up to 32GBScreen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 IPSStorage: Up to 1TB SSD + 2TB HDDSD card reader: NoThunderbolt: Yes, version 4TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

+Comparatively affordable+Great GPU options

REASONS TO AVOID

-No SD card reader-Only FullHD screen RSS advertisement

Acer’s Helios line delivers gaming power at a comparatively affordable price when looking at the competition, especially given how much is crammed into these laptops. That also means video professionals can benefit from its clout without necessarily breaking the bank.

Available with Intel Core i7 power coupled with up to 32GB RAM in its top-of-the-line guise, it can rival some of the best laptops around, and thanks to ample storage – up to a 1TB SSD, or an SSD and hard drive double act, it’s a perfect option for 4K footage hoarders.

Like some other gaming laptops, there’s a Turbo button you can hit to overclock performance for intense editing bouts, and there’s also granular control over the fan, so you can ramp it up or down depending on whether you’re in the mood for a cool laptop or a quiet workspace.

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2

Best for business

SPECIFICATIONS

CPU: Up to 11th Gen Intel Core i9Graphics: Up to NVIDIA Quadro RTX A5000RAM: Up to 128GBScreen: Up to 15.6-inch UHD (3840×2160) OLED touch storage: Up to 6TB SSD (3x 2TB drives)SD card slot: YesThunderbolt 4 port: Yes, x2

REASONS TO BUY

+Dolby Vision or OLED 4K screen options+Massively powerful when specced up+SD card slot

REASONS TO AVOID

-Bulky-Uninspired design-Can get very expensive advertisement

If you’re running a business and your video editors don’t need MacBooks (much as they might want them), the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 is a traditional-looking laptop with incredibly capable internals. Even the ‘entry-level’ version would be a pro machine for most, with 16GB RAM and an 8-core Intel i7 processor, but you can spec up the p15 to the moon and get a supercharged version capable of tackling huge 4K masterpieces. The P15 Gen 2 is as versatile as your business needs it to be.

One of the only laptops on our list with an Ethernet port, the latest version also features two Thunderbolt 4 ports and an optional Nano-SIM tray for fast 4G speeds on the go.

For editors working with HDR content the P15 Gen 2’s optional Dolby Vision 4K touch display is the screen of choice for reviewing HDR content. And with a huge choice of customization options (with up to 128GB of RAM is possible, along with an incredible 6TB storage space courtesy of three separate SSD drives!) this laptop will fly through edits and give you plenty of space to store them.

Microsoft Surface Book 3 (15-inch)

Best 2-in-1 laptop for video editing

SPECIFICATIONS

CPU: Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti-Max-QRAM: 16GBScreen: 15.4-inch, 3240 x 2160 IPSStorage: 256GB – 1TB SSDSD card reader: YesThunderbolt 3: 

REASONS TO BUY

+Tablet and laptop in one+Stunning design

REASONS TO AVOID

-Expensive-No Thunderbolt 3 portAdvertisement

The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is an incredible feat of engineering, with an electro-magnetic latch that securely connects the tablet section to the keyboard without wiggle or a wobble in sight. 

The laptop can be specced up to become the ultimate editing device with Intel Core i7 graphics and up to 1TB SSD storage. It’s also got an SD card reader in the keyboard section, and supports pen input, whether you’re using it as a tablet or laptop. 

With Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics, the 15-inch Surface Book 3 can also handle advanced 3D gaming, video edits, and even take After Effects renders in its stride; and thanks to a stunningly sharp, vibrant, 15-inch 3240 x 2160 PixelSense display with a 1600:1 contrast ratio, everything it showcases looks stellar.

The overall experience is rounded off with great battery life of up to 17.5 hours and ultimate versatility; as a package, the Surface Book 3 is one of the most impressive bits of tech we’ve ever used.

How to choose the best laptop for video editing

Screen size is one of the first aspects you should consider when looking for the best laptop for video editing. The best video editing software, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, will often result in your screen being split into quadrants (a preview window, timeline, effects tab, and a bin for footage). Working with software like this on a small laptop will get old pretty quickly, so we’d recommend opting for at least a 15-inch laptop. However, the larger the screen size, the more comfortable you’ll find the editing process. Don’t forget you can also get an extra video editing monitor to help out as well.

The next thing to consider is your laptop’s screen resolution. If you regularly color grade footage, then a color-accurate display is necessary to prevent any potential egg-on-face moments after your project has been exported (one of the best monitor calibrators will help too). It’s also worth thinking about what resolution your footage will be. If you shoot with a 4K, 6Kor 8K camera, then a Full HD screen just won’t cut it.

Once you’ve decided what sort of screen you need, it’s time to get technical and consider what sort of processor you’ll need. Intel offers an excellent range of 4, 6, and 8-core mobile chips (entitled Core-i5, i7, and i9). Meanwhile, AMD’s Ryzen processors are also worth considering, with the newest 3000 and 4000-series mobile processors proving to be very quick and pleasingly power-efficient.Advertisement

It’s also worth remembering that the more RAM you have, the better your laptop will run. If you’re working with Full HD or higher-res content, we’d recommend using 16GB of RAM as a minimum.

The final thing to consider is connections. For example, a Thunderbolt 3 port means that you can kit out your video editing laptop with an external graphics card. This means that you can attain desktop-grade rendering power, which will come in handy for more intensive edits.

Conclusion

In this post, we listed computers that can handle video editing. For video editing, you need good performance, high resolution, lots of RAM, and hard drive space. These computers will do the job. Hope after reading this article you will have a clear idea in mind which computer you need to get for your video editing.

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