Best Video Editing Laptops of 2018
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. Here are five laptops that are powerful enough to handle even your most demanding video-editing projects.
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.
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.
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.
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
Best Display: Dell XPS 15
With a gorgeous, lightweight carbon-fiber chassis and an eye-popping 4K screen that displays 188 percent of the sRGB color gamut, the XPS 15 lets you edit video in style. The 15-inch, 4.6-pound laptop also offers strong specs, such as a quad-core, Core i7 CPU, Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics and an NVMe-PCIe SSD.
Pros: Gorgeous InfinityEdge display; Stylish carbon-fibre and aluminum chassis; Good battery life
Cons: Webcam looks up your nose
Key Specs: 15.6-inch, 1080p or 4K screen; Up to Core i7-7700HQ CPU; Optional Nvidia GTX 1050 Graphics; 4.6 pounds
Most Versatile: 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;
Best Performance: HP ZBook 17 G4
HP's ZBook Studio G4 isn't just a good looker. It's a utility focused workstation that's perfect for video editing thanks to a wide variety of ports for hard drives and other peripherals, a 4K display option with vivid colors, and a range of Nvidia Quadtro graphics. It can get really expensive for the most powerful configurations (we tested it at over $6,000), but you also get a 3-year warranty.
Pros: High-end performance; Vivid 4K display; Durable design
Cons: Bulky; Very pricey
Key Specs: 17.3-inch, 4K display; Up to Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5 CPU; Up to Nvidia Quadro P5000 GPU; 7.1 pounds
Best Detachable: 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: 14-inch, 4K display; Up to 8th Gen Core i7 CPU; Up to Nvidia Quadro M620 GPU; Bluetooth keyboard.
Best Value: Lenovo Yoga 720 (15-inch)
You may flip for the Yoga 720. This convertible 2-in-1 has a 15.6-inch 1080p display, a quad-core Core i7-7700HQ CPU, a 256GB PCIe SSD and an Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU for a starting price of $999 (a 4K screen is extra).
With that kind of power under the hood, you can easily edit and transcode Ultra HD videos. You can even bend the screen back 270 degrees and edit clips in presentation or tent modes. The Yoga 720 lasted almost 9 hours the Laptop Mag Battery Test, so it will get you through a cross-country flight's worth of media creation.
Pros: 2-in-1 Design; Long battery life; Vivid display; Strong Performance
Cons: Plain design
Key Specs: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 (or 4K) screen; Core i7-7700HQ CPU, Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU; 4.55 pounds
New and Notable: Dell XPS 15 (9580)
Dell's XPS 15 9570 is coming in May with Coffee Lake H, Intel's souped-up 8th Gen Core CPU meant for serious performance.. The 15.6-inch display comes in either 4K or 1080p variants, though the 4K one is designed to reproduce 100 percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut. The Thunderbolt 3 port will pair with eGPUs, but it will come with internal options up to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.