We set out to find the best laptop for video editing and after much deliberation, awarded the title to the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW.
The mix of speed, display and a dedicated graphics card to speed up intense rendering makes this the best choice for video editors.
The five best laptops for video editing
Here’s a list of the best laptops for video editing;
|ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-US71...||from $1,526.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Apple MacBook Pro MLW72LL/A 15-inch...||$2,124.00||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Lenovo Thinkpad P50 15.6-inch Laptop...||$1,799.93||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Dell XPS 15 9550 Touch 15.6" 4K...||$1,499.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Microsoft Surface Book (512 GB, 16...||$1,550.00||Read Amazon Reviews »|
The best laptop for video editing
We ended up choosing the ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW as the best laptop for video editing. When you’re choosing a laptop for video editing, speed is critical to reduce your idle time whilst you wait for videos to render.
The Intel i7-6700HQ Quad Core processor and 16GB of RAM are more than adequate for intensive rendering and encoding tasks.
As mentioned before, having a dedicated graphics card can speed up rendering tasks tremendously. The ZenBook Pro has a Nvidia GTX960M graphics card that will aid in speeding up your video rendering.
Also important is storage and the ZenBook has a modest 512GB SSD. The fast read/write times that the SSD provides is vital when dealing with large raw video files.
Given that during video editing you will be looking at and analysing videos, it’s reasonable to expect a quality display. The ZenBook Pro has a 15.6” 4K Ultra HD display with a massive 3840 x 2160 resolution for incredible pixel density. It also has an IPS panel which has superb color reproduction.
From a portability perspective, the ZenBook Pro weighs just 5 lbs and is 0.8” thick.
- 15.6" Touch IPS 4K Ultra-HD display, 3840 x 2160 resolution
- Powerful Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Quadcore CPU (turbo to...
- 512GB SSD with transfer speeds of 1400MB/s and 16GB DDR4 RAM
The four other video editing laptops we tested
Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″
The MacBook Pro was a close contender in this closely fought contest. You should really consider a Mac if you need to use applications that are Mac specific, such as iMovie.
With an Intel 2.2Ghz Quad-Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, the MacBook Pro is up to the task of rendering and encoding.
One downside is that the MacBook doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card to help speed up rendering, however the Quad Core i7 should still do a great job and shouldn’t take too long.
A speedy 256GB SSD will aid with read/write speeds and make applications feel more responsive.
The 15.4” screen has Apple’s retina display that has over 5 million pixels, for incredible clarity and pixel density.
Weighing in at 4.5 lbs, you’ll have no issue carrying around the laptop with you all day and at 0.7” thick, it looks sleek.
- 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
- Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz
- Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
Lenovo Thinkpad P50
With a Nvidia Quadro graphics card and Intel Xeon processor, the Thinkpad P50 is made for video editing.
As mentioned earlier, Nvidia Quadro graphics cards are specifically made for demanding visualisation workloads which means your render times will be decreased dramatically.
The Intel Xeon processor and 16GB of RAM provide the grunt work of the laptop whilst the 256 GB SSD helps with boot times and application responsiveness.
Display wise, the P50 has a 15.6” HD display which displays videos brilliantly.
The Thinkpad is on the heavier side, weighing at 8.7 lbs and being 3.8” thick, so it’s better if you don’t have to carry the laptop around with you constantly.
- Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 Quad-Core Processor (4 cores, 2.8 GHz up to 3.70 GHz, 8MB...
- Nvidia Quadro M2000M 4GB GDDR5 | 256 GB SSD M.2 Opal2 | 16GB DDR4 (MAX 32GB)
- 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) IPS | Backlit Keys | FingerPrint Reader
Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 has a speedy i7-6700HQ processor with 16GB of RAM that is more than adequate for running video editing programs.
Rendering speeds are decreased with the addition of a Nvidia GTX 960M graphics card, which helps to take the load off the CPU.
A respectable 256GB SSD is included for fast boot speeds and application responsiveness.
Helpful for seeing the finer details of your work, the XPS 15 has a 15.6” Ultra HD 4K display with a stunning 3840 x 2160 resolution that also happens to be a touchscreen.
If portability is what you’re after then you won’t be disappointed with the XPS as it weighs only 3.9 lbs and is 0.7” thick.
- 6th Generation Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
- NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 960M with 2GB GDDR5
- 15.6" 4K Ultra HD Display (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge touch Screen
Microsoft Surface Book
Like the others, the Surface Book has a speedy Intel i7 processor and comes with 16GB of RAM which should be sufficient for video editing.
It does lack a dedicated graphics card which might be a deal breaker if you are concerned with super fast rendering speeds.
A big 512GB SSD is solid for this price range and helps with boot speeds and the read/write speeds of your files.
Despite having a 13.5” screen, the Surface Book has an incredible 3000 x 2000 resolution and is also a touchscreen.
Incredibly mobile, the Surface Book weighs just 3.48 lbs and is just 1.9” thick.
- 13.5-inch PixelSense touchscreen display (3000 x 2000) resolution
- Windows 10 Pro operating system
- Incredibly mobile at 3.48 pounds (1576 grams)
How we chose the best laptop for video editing
When we chose the best laptop for video editing, we took into account the top 5 factors that would affect video editors most critically.
We determined this final list by talking to people who are video editors, poring through hundreds of amazon reviews to get a general consensus and conducting our own research.
The most important consideration when choosing the best laptop for video editing
When you’re dealing with raw video files and trying to encode and render videos, speed is the most important consideration.
Depending on the size of the video, rendering is a process which can take hours and the last thing you want to be doing is sitting around waiting for it to finish.
By selecting a laptop with an i7 processor with multithreading technology, ensuring you have adequate RAM and a dedicated graphics card, you can cut down on rendering time immensely.
There is also two options when it comes to rendering, you can render with either the CPU or the GPU. Getting a dedicated graphics card is important because it can improve render speeds up to 6.2x.
Other considerations when choosing the best laptop for video editing
Whilst a graphics card isn’t mandatory for video editing, it can speed up rendering processes tremendously.
If you’re heavily into video editing, then you should consider a graphics card that is specifically designed for it.
Nvidia’s Quadro graphics cards were tailor made for video editing and delivers up to 5x faster performance than normal graphics cards.
When you are video editing you will often have gigabytes, if not terabytes of files. You should ensure you get a laptop that has an adequate hard drive to store all of them.
Something to consider is buying larger external hard drives as they often represent better value-for-money than internal hard drives.
As 4K video becomes more prevalent, 4K screens become more useful. If you often find yourself working with 4K video, you should consider a screen that is 4K ready.
As with photo editing, a screen with an IPS panel will provide better color reproduction so you can really see the finer details.
You can also consider buying an external monitor as a second screen to improve your productivity.
Let’s face it, the lighter your laptop the better. Not only does it make carrying it around easier, but lighter laptops are often thinner and ultimately look better and more stylish.
If you’re constantly moving around your house or office, then finding a laptop with great portability will be a higher priority than someone who sits at their desk all day.
The bottom line
All things considered, we had to award the title of best laptop for video editing to the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW.
A great processor, dedicated graphics card and stunning display all come together to make one fantastic video editing laptop.
If you’re serious about video editing, you won’t be disappointed with the Asus ZenBook Pro.