Best Video Editing Laptops of 2019
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, which is why we crafted a list of the best laptops for video editing.
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 the best laptop for handling more graphics-intensive apps beyond video editing, you may want to consider getting a workstation.
For a video editing laptop, you want something with a discrete graphics card. The cheapest on our list, which boasts Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, starts at around $1,099. For something with a more powerful card like a high-end Quadro or GTX 1070, as well as features like a high-end display, you may pay around $2,500 or more. Keep track of how much VRAM you need for certain programs as well (we wrote up a short guide on how to check your VRAM). Also, consider getting a productivity mice to help you along, and if you're concerned about your privacy, pick up a webcam cover.
We recently reviewed the Lenovo ThinkPad P52, Alienware m17 and Alienware m17 R2, which we praised for their incredibly vivid displays, but it's hard to top the Alienware m15's OLED panel. Lenovo announced the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 as well as the second generation of the ThinkPad P1 and the ThinkPad P43s and P53s for students. And if you're a fan of the MacBook Pro, you can look forward to macOS Catalina coming to your laptop this fall. We also pitted the new Dell XPS 15 against the new 15-inch MacBook Pro, and it was exciting to see which came out on top.
Here are the best video editing laptops you can buy in 2019.
Best Overall: 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. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is easily the best video editing laptop around.
Pros: Light weight for the size; Sharp Retina display; Long battery life
Cons: Has only Thunderbolt 3 ports
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 555X/560X | RAM: 16GB/32GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB SSD | Display: 15.4-inch (2880 x 1800) | Size: 13.8 x 9.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 4 pounds
Best Display: Dell XPS 15 (2019)
This baby’s 4K OLED screen will take your eyes on a journey of color, covering 239 percent of the sRGB color gamut and blasting 626 nits of brightness. Those sharp visuals are matched by even sharper performance, with the XPS 15’s 9th Gen Core i9 CPU and Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU. The carbon-fiber beauty fixed its one biggest problem and finally moved the webcam from the bottom bezel to the top. Not to mention that the XPS 15 is still light as ever, weighing only 4.5 pounds, making this a lean, portable killing machine.
Pros: Striking 4K OLED display; Great overall and graphics performance; Webcam in the right place; Slim, attractive design
Cons: Below-average battery life
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Intel UHD 630/Nvidia GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 1TB HDD or 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p/4K/4K OLED) | Size: 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.7~0.5 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds
Best Performance: Alienware Area-51m
Meet one of the best video editing laptops: The Alienware Area-51m. This baby is powered by an overclockable 9th Gen Core i9 desktop processor combined with the latest RTX 2080 GPU. It completely crushed the HandBrake benchmark, transcoding a 4K video to 1080p in just 6 minutes flat. Along with its immense, upgradable power, you get the machine's gorgeous design, an SSD with a 1,272 MBps transfer rate and a solid 17.3-inch panel.
Pros: Stunning space station aesthetic; Excellent graphics and overall performance; Lightning fast SSDs; All major components upgradable
Cons: Exorbitantly expensive
Key Specs — CPU: Intel 8th Gen Core i7/9th Gen Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060/2070/2080 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: 1TB HDD or 512GB/1TB/2TB SSD | Display: 17.3-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 16.1 x 15.9 x 1.1~1.7 inches | Weight: 8.5 pounds
Best Detachable: 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 — CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 15-inch (3240 x 2160) | Size: 13.5 x 9.9 x 0.9 inches | Weight: 4.2 pounds
Best 2-in-1: HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, 2019)
The HP Spectre x360 is an elegant machine capable of completing the HandBrake benchmark in 10 minutes and 45 seconds. Its 15.6-inch, 4K display is a little dim (247 nits), but it will blow you away with 157 percent of the sRGB spectrum. To top it all off, the Spectre x360 features a super comfortable keyboard and a battery that can last up to 8 hours and 9 minutes on a charge. The included HP Active Pen has two programmable buttons and 2,048 pressure sensitivity levels.
Pros: Sexy design; Colorful panel; Comfortable keyboard; Solid performance; Excellent battery life
Cons: Display could be brighter; Muddy speakers
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia MX150/GTX 1050 Ti | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (4K) | Size: 14.2 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 4.6 pounds
Best For Artists: HP ZBook x2
The HP ZBook x2 is pricey, but it gets you an adaptable tool for creative work. The matte, 14-inch 4K display lets you edit at any resolution, and, if you prefer a stylus, you can use the shortcut keys for quick actions or keep the Bluetooth keyboard nearby. The Quadro GPU could be stronger, but there are few devices that cater so directly to creatives.
Pros: Great stylus; Excellent shortcut management; Comfortable keyboard
Cons: Very expensive; Could have stronger graphics performance; Middling battery life;
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel HD 620 or Nvidia Quadro M620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB SSD | Display: 14-inch (4K) | Size: 14.4 x 8.9 x 0.8 inches (0.6 tablet) | Weight: 4.9 pounds
Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
Lenovo propelled its X-series line straight into the future when it revealed that the ThinkPad X1 Extreme (starting at S1,673) would be its first 15-inch and the first to have a discrete graphics card. It comes with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB GPU and can be outfitted with an 8th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU as well as 64GB of RAM, which makes it a monster for video editing. It only took 10 minutes and 3 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p on the HandBrake benchmark, which is twice as fast as the 20:30 category average.
The ThinkPad X1 Extreme met 12 MIL-STD-810G standards, which means it can survive high humidity, exposure to sand and dust, extreme temperatures and repeated drops. It also supports dTPM encryption, Intel vPro, a fingerprint reader and an optional Smart Card reader, making it ideal for business use. Additionally, it has an optional IR camera so you can sign into your laptop with Windows Hello facial recognition.
Pros: Phenomenal 4K HDR display; Blazing-fast performance; Luxurious design; Thin and lightweight; Comfortable keyboard
Cons: Below-average battery life; Runs warm; Expensive
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4 pounds
Best Workstation: HP ZBook Studio x360 G5
The HP ZBook Studio x360 is beyond powerful. It's ready to kill with its Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics all packed into its aluminum, military-durable chassis. It took 10 minutes and 40 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, which blows past the 16:44 workstation average, making it an ideal candidate for editing. On top of its power, it has a stunning 4K display, bouncy keyboard and long battery life all in a 2-in-1! It was so great that we awarded it our Editor's Choice award.
Pros: Premium design; Gorgeous 4K display; Military grade durability; Great keyboard and stylus; Excellent performance and graphics; Long battery life
Cons: Lid flexes; Lackluster webcam; Expensive
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7/Core i9/Xeon | GPU: Intel UHD 630 or Nvidia Quadro P1000/P2000 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: single or dual 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 4.9 pounds
Best Gaming: Alienware m15
If you plan on editing some gameplay videos, you'll need an actual gaming machine first. The Alienware m15 (starting at $1,352) comes with a speedy 8th Gen Core i7 and up to a GTX 1070 Max-Q that blazed through our HandBrake benchmark (transcoding a 4K video to 1080p) in 9 minutes and 51 seconds. You can not only game but video edit on a display capable of reproducing 150 percent of the sRGB color gamut and emitting a solid 284 nits of brightness. On top of that, this baby will last 6 hours and 25 minutes on a full charge, which is impressive for a gaming laptop of this caliber. Even more a gaming laptop, it's one of the best laptops for video editing.
Pros: Sleek, lightweight design; Great overall and gaming performance; Stunning display; Comfortable keyboard; Long battery life for gaming laptop
Cons: Audio could be better; Bottom gets warm; Expensive as configured
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 or RTX 2060/2070/2080 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 1TB HDD/256GB SSD + 1TB HDD/512GB + 1TB HDD/1TB SSD/2TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p/4K) | Size: 14.3 x 10.8 x 0.8~0.7 inches | Weight: 4.8 pounds
Most Innovative: Asus ZenBook Pro 15
This 4K speed demon packs an Intel Core i9 processor and a Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti GPU in a lightweight, sexy chassis accompanied by Asus' most interesting feature: the ScreenPad. Essentially a second display, ScreenPad is built into the touchpad to enhance your multitasking. There are several apps built into the ScreenPad that can transform the secondary display according to use case including a numpad, calculator or a music player. It comes in handy when you want to game on your main display and watch a game guide on the second.
When you're not fawning over the awesome ScreenPad, you get to take-in that sexy design and enjoy that eye-popping 141 percent of sRGB color gamut on the 4K display while you're bouncing around its comfortable keyboard.
Pros: Elegant, sophisticated design; Powerful overall and graphics performance; ScreenPad complements productivity tasks; Lightning-fast transfer speeds; Supervivid, 4K touch screen
Cons: Below-average battery life; Low-res webcam
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Intel UHD 630 or Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti | RAM: 16GB| Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch (4K) | Size: 14.4 x 9.9 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.2 pounds
Best Value: Lenovo Legion Y7000
If you're looking for the most bang for your buck then look no further than the Legion Y7000. For $1,099, you get a speedy 8th Gen Core i7 processor and a GTX 1060 GPU that completed the HandBrake benchmark in just 9 minutes and 24 seconds. And for the price, you also get a gorgeous 15.6-inch, 1080p display, as it covered 153 percent of the sRGB color spectrum and emitted 277 nits of brightness. Despite being a gaming laptop, its battery life isn't too bad either, lasting 4 hours and 28 minutes on a charge. Even for an affordable price, it makes its mark as one of the best video editing laptops.
Pros: Sleek, sports car design; Colorful display; Comfortable keyboard; Strong overall performance and graphics; Decent battery life
Cons: Poor audio; Nose cam
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB| Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6-inch (1080p) | Size: 14.2 x 10.5 x 1.1 - 0.9 inches | Weight: 5.3 pounds