Help Me, Laptop: Finding a Laptop Fit to Edit Video

Video-editing laptops don't come cheap.This is why Tom's Guide forum member krissylsmith25 wrote in with this request: "Looking for a laptop for editing videos to upload to YouTube, what would you recommend as in brand, processor and RAM. It also needs to be used for school. Has to be able to connect to broadband Wi-Fi as well. It's for my 13-year-old son. He's not a gamer either."

Later in the forum, krissylsmith25 continued, saying, "I'm not spending nowhere near $1,000. … He already has a YouTube channel & uses his phone. He just can't get the GoPro on his phone so needs a computer for that. Is there something less than 500?"

Well, since you'll have a hard time finding a video-editing laptop under $500 (or near that amount), I have one long-shot idea in addition to my laptop recommendation.

Can your son find a way to upload the videos from his GoPro to a cloud-storage system, such as Dropbox? If so, he can then download the videos to his phone and edit them there with good-enough quality. For that, all he'd need is a laptop with an SD memory reader, such as the $350 Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM).

But if he wants to edit his videos on a laptop, the reality is that a sub-$500 laptop cannot handle video editing. Why do you need to spend more money than that? Because you want a laptop with a discrete (read, not integrated) graphics card, such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, and those don't come cheap.

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Further, you want a recently made laptop. My 5-year-old MacBook Pro has its own  GeForce GT 650M graphics card, but this laptop has a hard time grinding together a short video for YouTube. In part, that slowness is because the GPU has only 1GB of memory, whereas the GeForce GTX 1050 has 4GB.

You can get discrete graphics in the $949 Dell Inspiron 15 7000, but we found its display lacking (its 233 nits of brightness is on the low end, as is its 70 percent rating on the sRGB color spectrum). And you can't edit video well if you can't judge its image quality.

Instead, I'd recommend the $950 15-inch Lenovo Yoga 720. Yes, it's more expensive than you'd like, but it has a relatively bright (272-nit) and colorful (114 percent of the sRGB spectrum) display, which will allow your son to view his videos clearly. And this laptop provides the speed he needs for video editing.

Credit: Laptop Mag