Skip to content

The best laptops for video editing

The best laptop for video editing is the one that you’re happiest using. No matter which laptop you choose, it’s a good idea to make sure its dedicated GPU is powerful enough to handle intensive tasks like video encoding or rendering, so be sure to check out our performance section before buying.

Whether you’re editing video as a hobby or as a career, you’re going to need one of the best laptops for video editing. In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the best ones out there to help you choose the right laptop for your needs.

What are the best laptops for video editing?

Right now, we recommend Apple’s 2021 MacBook Pro as the best video editing laptop you can buy. We prefer the 16-inch model for the extra screen real estate, but it also comes in a 14-inch version that’s just as powerful and a bit easier to carry. The older, Intel-based 16-inch MacBook Pros are still incredible video editing platforms thanks to their discrete GPUs, but Apple’s latest round of MacBook Pros is surprisingly good thanks to the power of Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. The older 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 is a also great choice because it’s capable, long-lasting, and remarkably lightweight, albeit a bit less powerful than the 2021 MacBook Pros.

If you prefer Windows over macOS, we recommend the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 as the best all-around video editing laptop for most people. While it’s technically a gaming laptop, that means it has plenty of power for most video editing projects thanks to its beefy AMD Ryzen 9 CPU and discrete GeForce GPU. The 11-hour battery life is frankly incredible for a gaming laptop, plus it’s easy to carry, has a great screen, and is remarkably affordable to boot.

If you want a Windows laptop for video editing and the price is no object, we recommend the Alienware m17 R2 because it has a big, beautiful 17.3-inch screen and plenty of power to tackle even the toughest video editing tasks. However, if you plan to do a lot of 4K video editing, we recommend the Alienware m15 R4 instead. It was a little slower than the m17 R2 in our Handbrake video transcoding test, and it has a smaller screen, but the vibrant 4K display (which not even the fanciest MacBook Pros have) will help you keep track of every little detail in your next project.

The best laptops for video editing

1. 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021

Best laptop for editing video

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 16.2 inches; 3456×2244 pixelsCPU: M1 Pro (10-core CPU) | M1 Max (10-core CPU)GPU: 16-core to 32-core integrated GPURAM: 16GB to 64GBStorage: 512GB – 8TBWeight: 4.7 pounds (M1 Pro) | 4.8 pounds (M1 Max)

REASONS TO BUY

+Beautiful Liquid Retina XDR display+Incredible performance trounces competition+Outstanding battery life

REASONS TO AVOID

-Display still isn’t 4K -Expensive with M1 MaxAdvertisement

Want it all? Then you may be looking for the beastly 16-inch MacBook Pro, which is optimized for video editing and sports either M1 Pro or M1 Max chips that deliver shocking amounts of performance. An upgrade over the previous Intel-based model, this model features thinner bezels to give more space to the gorgeous mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR displays. Once you get over the notch, you’ll be wowed by its contrast and smoothness, especially with its 120Hz refresh rate.

On top of that, you get the return of the ports that pros demand. That’s not just the safety-focused MagSafe 3 charging port, but HDMI-out for connecting to displays and an SD memory reader for connecting memory cards for real-deal cameras. Oh, and don’t think MagSafe will take USB-C charging out of the picture: the MacBook Pro’s trio of Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports also draw power. On top of that, you’ve got a 1080p webcam, a trio of improved microphones, and a stellar six-point speaker system.

2. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The best all-around Windows laptop for video editing

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 14-inches, 1920 x 1080CPU: AMD Ryzen 9-4900HSGPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060RAM: 16GBStorage: 1TB SSDWeight: 3.5 poundsHandbrake 4K-1080p video transcode time: 6:53

REASONS TO BUY

+Great performance+Super portable design paired with 11-hour battery life+Great display and audio

REASONS TO AVOID

-No webcam-Keyboard has backlighting issuesAdvertisement

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is that rare gaming laptop that manages to be both powerful and portable without sacrificing battery life. The unit we reviewed achieves this thanks to its AMD Ryzen 9 processor, a very capable CPU that comes with AMD’s latest tech to deliver power without draining your battery in a matter of hours. Factor in the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU and you’re looking at a very powerful 14-inch laptop.

This gaming laptop is powerful enough to handle big edit jobs yet svelte enough to throw in a bag and forget about, but the real reason it tops this list is its excellent 11-hour battery life. That kind of battery life is almost unheard of in a high-performance laptop, and at a price that ranges from $1,049 – $1,999 the Zephyrus, G14 is pretty affordable to boot. Sure, you don’t get a webcam and the keyboard backlighting has some issues, but depending on how you feel about privacy the lack of a built-in camera could be a positive thing. Don’t let the fact that it’s a gaming laptop dissuade you — the Asus ROG Zephyrus 14 is an excellent all-around video editing laptop

3. MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, late 2020)

Another great MacBook for video editing

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 13 inches; 2560x1600CPU: Apple M1 (8-core)GPU: 8-core integratedRAM: 8GB to 16GBStorage: 256GB to 2TB SSDWeight: 3 poundsHandbrake 4K-1080p video transcode time: 7:46

REASONS TO BUY

+Superb performance+Crazy long battery life+Bright and colorful display

REASONS TO AVOID

-Dated design-Just two Thunderbolt portsAdvertisement

Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 is a great laptop for editors on the go because it’s light, long-lived, and powerful enough to handle the lion’s share of editing jobs. You’ll feel the lack of a discrete GPU on some big projects, but the efficiency and performance of Apple silicon should help this M1-powered MacBook Pro punch above its weight.

Plus, its Retina display is both bright and colorful, so the video you edit on the MacBook Pro will look excellent (as will the next Netflix show you binge). We just wish Apple would update its design or give you more Thunderbolt ports — the 4 USB-C port config is currently limited to older Intel-based MacBook Pros. Still, it’s amazing to see how Apple’s processors have obliterated the performance seen in its old Intel-based MacBooks. It all adds up to why the 13-inch MacBook Pro is one of the best laptops for video editing. Its incredible 16-hour battery life is pretty handy to have in a pinch, too. Advertisement

4. Dell G5 15 SE

Best video editing performance for the price

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 15.6 inches, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz/144HzCPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H/Ryzen 5 4800HGPU: AMD Radeon RX 5600MRAM: 8-16GBStorage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSDWeight: 5.5 poundsHandbrake 4K-1080p video transcode time: 6:43

REASONS TO BUY

+Great overall performance+Impressive battery life+Colorful display

REASONS TO AVOID

-So-so speakers-Keyboard can get cramped

If you’re after an affordable but powerful gaming laptop that can handle some serious video editing, the Dell G5 15 SE 2020 is well worth your consideration. The remarkably forgettable name belies the fact that this is a very capable machine clad in a neat, unassuming chassis for less than $1,000. And despite its price, it can keep up with some of the more expensive gaming laptops, especially at 1080p.

Dell has opted to go with an all-AMD configuration, so the G5 15 SE sports a Ryzen 5 4000-series CPU and a Radeon RX 5600M GPU to deliver some graphical muscle. With up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD space, the Dell G5 15 SE 2020 is a very capable video editing laptop — it completed our Handbrake video-editing test a smidge faster than any other laptop on this list. You’ll have to pay $1,049 for the best specs, but that price also gets you a colorful display with a 144Hz refresh rate. The G5 15 SE’s plastic build might not scream ‘premium’, but it still looks pretty sharp on a desk. More importantly, it’s got it where it counts.

5. MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch)

The power of a 16-inch 2021 Pro in a svelter size

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 14.2 inches; 3024×1964 pixelsCPU: Apple M1 Pro or Max with 10-core CPUGPU: 16-core to 32-core integrated GPURAM: 16GB to 64GBStorage: 512GB to 8TB SSDWeight: 3.5 pounds

REASONS TO BUY

+Amazingly fast+Beautiful mini-LED display+Fantastic battery life

REASONS TO AVOID

-No USB-A port-$1,299 model goes without update

The new 14-inch MacBook Pro is the Mac to get if you have 1) the budget and 2) the need for the video editing power of a 2021 Pro but don’t want the extra bulk of the 16-inch model. The two laptops are nearly identical, which means that even on the 14-inch model the 2021 MacBook Pro’s new Liquid Retina XDR display with a 120Hz refresh rate is gorgeous. Your favorite movies, and everything else, will simply look better. Oh, and the new M1 Pro (and pricier M1 Max) chips deliver even more speed than ever before, while still enabling all-day battery life. Advertisement

On top of that, Apple’s brought MagSafe charging, HDMI-out, and an SD memory reader back to the MacBook Pro. This means you won’t need to bring a USB-C dongle to connect to a display or use external memory. That said, there’s still no USB-A, which is something we’re starting to realize Apple has no plans of bringing back. Other notable changes include the death of the Touch Bar (which never proved its worth), which has been swapped out for physical F1-F12 keys. Apple’s also bumped up the internal webcam to 1080p, from 720p. The MacBook Pro 2021 feels like a Pro-level laptop again.

6. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED

Best video editing laptop when price matters

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 13.3-inch 1080p OLEDCPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700UGPU: Integrated Radeon graphicsRAM: 8 GB storage: 512 GBWeight: 2.5 poundsHandbrake 4K-1080p video transcode time: 8:22

REASONS TO BUY

+Stellar battery life+Beautiful 1080p OLED display+Great performance

REASONS TO AVOID

-Middling sound quality-Inconsistent webcam-No headphone jack

The AMD-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is a capable laptop for video editing that offers excellent value, delivering an eye-catching 1080p OLED display and exceptional battery life in a slim, lightweight package for less than a thousand bucks.

Sure, the speakers aren’t amazing, the webcam leaves something to be desired, and there’s no headphone jack, but these are stumbling blocks you can workaround. The AMD Ryzen 7 5000-series CPU and 8 GB of RAM give you enough power to handle simple video editing, especially if you keep it to 1080p, and the OLED display is a joy to look at. The 15-hour battery life is pretty nice to have, too, especially on those long days. If you need a small, portable laptop with a great screen that can handle video editing and last you all day long, you can’t do better than the OLED-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 at this price.

7. Apple MacBook Air with M1

The lightest MacBook for video editing

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 13.3 inches; 2560x1600CPU: Apple M1GPU: Integrated 8-core GPU RAM: 8GB-16GBStorage: 256GB-2TB SSDWeight: 2.8 poundsHandbrake 4K-1080p video transcode time: 9:15

REASONS TO BUY

+Remarkably fast performance+Strong legacy app support+Amazingly long battery life

REASONS TO AVOID

-Still has thick bezels-Light on portsAdvertisement

Apple’s powerful M1 chips punch above their weight, rendering the 13-inch MacBook Air with M1 a remarkably effective lightweight laptop for video editing. Yes, we’re living in a world where you could do serious creative work on a MacBook Air. We’re as surprised as you are.

It’s not quite as effective as the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1, or the 16-inch MacBook Pros, but the M1-equipped MacBook Air can still get most video editing jobs done — and it’s lighter and cheaper than a Pro.

On top of that, you get stronger sound than you’d expect from a laptop this small since it supports Dolby Atmos audio. And the bright, vibrant 2,560 x 1600-pixel Retina display should be easy on the eyes during those long editing sessions.

8. Dell XPS 15

Best 15-inch video editing laptop

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 15.6 inches; 1080p, 4K, or 3.5K OLEDCPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 TiRAM: 16 GB Storage: 512 GB SSDWeight: 4.2 pounds

REASONS TO BUY

+3.5K OLED display impresses with beautiful contrasts+Remarkable performance+Spacious, comfy keyboard+Svelte chassis still looks great

REASONS TO AVOID

-Disappointing battery life-720p webcam delivers grainy, washed-out images advertisement

Don’t let its slim and stylish design fool you — the Dell XPS 15 is an absolute workhorse, and if you trick it out it can be a decent machine for video editing on the go. 

Its cutting-edge Intel CPUs deliver plenty of processing power for daily tasks, and if you pay to upgrade it with a beefy GeForce RTX GPU and some extra RAM/storage it should have more than enough oomph to get you through your next video project. Factor in a pair of impressive loudspeakers and solid battery life, as well as a gorgeous OLED screen option, and you start to see why the XPS 15 is such an appealing laptop.

9. Alienware m15 R4

The best 4K laptop for video editing

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 15 inches, 4K OLEDCPU: Intel Core i7-10870H CPU @ 2.20GHz, 2.21 GHzGPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070RAM: 16 GBStorage: 1 TB SSDWeight: 5.3 poundsHandbrake 4K-1080p video transcode time: 7:07

REASONS TO BUY

+Sleek design+Strong performance+Decent keyboard and touchpad

REASONS TO AVOID

-Fan gets very loud-Short battery lifeAdvertisement

The Alienware m15 R4 is a sleek and functional gaming laptop that’s plenty powerful enough for 4K video editing, thanks (in part) to its impressive Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU. While this machine can easily run you $2,500 (or more), in return, you’ll get a streamlined and relatively lightweight device with a slick white chassis that looks good on a desk. With a fast CPU, lots of hard drive space, and a beautiful 4K display, the m15 R4 is a surprisingly great laptop for video editing.

Of course, like most Alienware laptops (and gaming laptops in general), the m15 R4 has a pretty meager battery life, managing barely 4 hours of web surfing on a full battery. The fans get remarkably loud under heavy workloads too, but if you’re editing video with headphones on you’ll barely notice. 

10. Alienware m17 R2

Best Windows laptop for video editing at a desk

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 17.3 inches, 1920 x 1080CPU: Intel Core i5-i9, 2.4-2.6 GHzGPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti-RTX 2080 Max-QRAM: 8-16GBStorage: 256GB SSD-4TBWeight: 5.7 poundsHandbrake 4K-1080p video transcode time: 6:53

REASONS TO BUY

+Lightweight, above-average battery life+Solid performance

REASONS TO AVOID

-Expensive-Crackly speakersAdvertisement

Like all Alienware gaming laptops, the Alienware m17 R2 is expensive, and the battery life is nothing to write home about. However, if you need a beefy laptop with a big screen for video editing, shelling out for a kitted-out m17 R2 makes sense: you’ll get top-of-the-line GeForce RTX GPUs, Core i9 CPUs, a big 17.3-inch display, and more storage space than a U-Haul facility. It’s one of the oldest laptops on this list, yet it still managed to earn one of the fastest times in our Handbrake video transcoding test.

However, we clocked the battery life of the m17 R2 at about 4 hours on a full charge; that’s pretty good for a gaming laptop, but it does mean you shouldn’t invest in an M17 R2 if you expect to be working away from an outlet for extended periods. But if you just need a powerful big-screen laptop to sit on a desk and edit videos, the m17 R2 is a great choice that won’t let you down.

 Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582 – A great video editing laptop with two screens

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582 - A great video editing laptop with two screens
Editors' Choice

Best Prices Today: Not Available at Amazon

Now for something completely different. The Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582 packs abundant firepower, including a high-end overclockable Core i9 chip, GeForce RTX 3070 graphics, 32GB of DDR4 memory, and a fast 1TB NVMe SSD. It also has a 15.6-inch 4K OLED panel that shines at a bright 440 nits while covering 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut—a serious screen for serious content creators. But the truly interesting part is the secondary 14-inch 3840×1100 OLED screen situated above the keyboard. Windows counts it as a second monitor and you can use bundled Asus software to put it to all kinds of helpful tasks, such as using it as a trackpad or summoning a panel of touch controls for some Adobe apps.

The Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED is a portable high-end PC workstation, though the lack of an SD card reader may prove irksome. You can always buy an external SD reader and slap it into one of the laptop dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, though. You should also strongly consider a cheaper version than our review model on sale for $2,400 at Amazon. It switches out the high-end overclockable Core i9 chip for a Core i7 chip and drops the memory down to 16GB. It should still be plenty speedy for video editing but costs significantly less.

MSI GE76 Raider – Best gaming laptop for video editing

MSI GE76 Raider - Best gaming laptop for video editing
Editors' Choice

If you’re looking for the rawest firepower possible, on the other hand, nothing burns through video edits faster than a big, heavy gaming laptop. The MSI GE76 Raider, our favorite gaming laptop of 2021, chewed through the Adobe Premiere test in UL’s Procyon benchmark faster than any other notebook thanks to its burly 8-core Core i7 chip, an Nvidia RTX 3080 tuned for a blistering 165 watts, and ample interior cooling. It even has an SD card reader hooked into the PCIe bus for high-speed card transfers. The one downside is the display. The GE76 Raider was built for gaming, so it comes equipped with an ultra-fast 300Hz 1080p screen, rather than a 4K display with a focus on color accuracy. If you pick up this system, consider pairing it with a nice external 4K monitor for color-sensitive work.

Conclusion

We hope that this guide was helpful in finding the best laptop for video editing . No matter what you’re looking for, we’ve got something for you. Whatever your budget , whatever your level of experience needs to be, and whatever specific features you’re looking for, you can probably find it here. Take a look around, have a good time exploring your options, and then make a decision that will bring you years of enjoyment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.