10 Best Laptops for Video Editing: Your Buying Guide (2018)
Editing on the go has never been easier or more affordable than it is today. Plus, for 1080P editing, one can spend only a fair amount of money to get a powerful computer that will be able to edit footage totally online (at full resolution) and completely smooth. Plus, all of the computers on this list aren’t just fast enough to edit videos. They’re excellent for other PC tasks like web browsing, document creation, office work, and gaming. Some of them are even fast enough to do visual effects in programs like After Effects, Cinema 4D, and Autodesk applications. In short, buying a laptop for video content creation is fairly straightforward and can be inexpensive with huge benefits.
A big factor to be aware of with these PCs is that some of them are pretty large. Be sure to check the weight (listed below each PC) and make sure you’d be willing to lug it around. Another thing to consider is that when one is actually video editing, battery life is dramatically reduced. That’s the norm with these types of PCs. That said, having a portable PC can make the editing process easy and enjoyable. There’s plenty of reasons to get a laptop for video editing, but just be aware that editing using a desktop will give one more performance for the price, and in most cases, better longevity (desktops have less moving parts and thus tend to last longer). If you’re interested in video editing desktops, check out items 7 to 10 on our best desktops for students list. The fact is, however, that for a solid price one can get a fast and portable PC.
All that out of the way, here are the 10 best laptops for video editing from lowest to highest price.
1. Dell 15.6″
Processor i5-6300HQ | RAM 8GB DDR3 | Graphics Card GTX 960M – 4GB | Display 15.6″, 1080P, IPS | Hard Drive 256GB SSD | Weight 6lbs |
This Dell has the bare minimum specs to edit 1080P video, but if your budget is tight, it will get the job done. Boasting a decent processor that’s about 20% slower than the standard on our list, the 7700HQ (See UserBenchmark.com), acceptable RAM, and a full HD screen, and a snappy 256GB SSD, what more could one need? This PC has two minor weak points: 1. More disk storage, 256GB goes fast, especially when Windows can easily eat up over 100GB of your space. 2. A better graphics card. Still, make no bones about it, the GTX 960M isn’t exactly cutting edge, at about half as powerful as a GTX 1050 Ti (UserBenchmark), but with some added data storage, this PC should be fine for editing 1080P footage. However, if you’re editing 4K frequently or doing work in graphically intensive software like After Effects, it’s likely best to step up to the next item on our list or beyond.
Buy the Dell 15.6″ here.
- Good for editing 1080P and lower
- Fast SSD
- Can play modern games at low to medium settings (runs Overwatch at 60FPS, Minecraft, and Fallout 4 at 40-50 FPS)
- RAM can be upgraded
- Decent performance
- Some units have overheating issues (can be remedied with a cooling pad underneath)
- Screen is OK
Find more Dell 15.6″ information and reviews here.
2. Acer Aspire VX
Processor i7-7700HQ (2.8GHZ w/ Turbo Boost to 3.8GHZ) | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1050Ti (4GB) | Display 15.6″, 1080P | Hard Drive 256GB SSD | Weight 5.51lbs |
Now, this is a solid PC. Boasting the most common processor on our list, the i7-7700HQ, the only real weakness of this PC is its graphics card, the GTX 1050Ti. While it’s not quite as good as the GTX 1060, for editing 1080P video, it’s much better than the 960M. When it comes to visual effects and 4K footage, however, things may get a bit choppy. Still, this PC offers a ton of bang for the buck. Some reasons to stay at this price level (and not spend $50 for the Helios 300 with a better graphics card, the next item on our list) are that this laptop has a superior screen and is basically equal in every other way.
Price: $999 (5 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Acer Aspire VX here.
- Better display than Helios 300
- Backlit keyboard
- Solid performance for 1080P VFX and editing
- Snappy SSD
- One can spend $50 or so more for the Helios and have a much better graphics card (see comparison here)
- Hard drive is on the small side; upgrade will be necessary for most
- Not the best for 4K editing performance (and screen won’t let one preview 4K as it’s only 1080P)
Find more Acer Aspire VX information and reviews here.
3. Acer Predator Helios 300
Processor i7-7700HQ (2.8GHZ w/ Turbo Boost to 3.8GHZ) | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1060 – 6GB | Display 15.6″ 1920 x 1080, IPS 60HZ | Hard Drive 256GB SSD | Weight 5.95lbs |
This budget PC is making waves for its intense specs and dirt cheap price. It has but one shortcoming: the screen is a bit on the dim side. Still, beyond this, this PC is more than powerful enough for smooth 1080P editing. It will also suffice for 4K, but it may be worth spending a bit more for maximum smoothness and performance. Still, with a GTX 1060, this PC will easily output to a 4K screen and its own screen (the laptop’s built-in 1080P monitor) without hardly breaking a sweat. In terms of performance for the price, this laptop is the one to beat (and no one does). Some minor disadvantages include its lack of a data drive and its dim display. Still, for most, this computer does it all and at a great price. Plus, it can play modern games at high to ultra settings.
Buy the Acer Predator Helios 300 here.
- Superb price to performance ratio (tons of bang for one’s buck)
- Fast enough for 1080P editing (VFX or otherwise)
- Acceptable for editing 4K video (but screen is only 1080P)
- Backlit keyboard
- Surprisingly loud speakers
- Screen could be brighter
- Hard drive is on the small side; one will need to add HDD or external space
- Keyboard can get hot under intense use
- Poor battery life
- Screen is only 1080P (no 4K previewing)
Find more Acer Predator Helios 300 information and reviews here.
4. Eluktronics Pro-X
Processor i7-7700HQ (2.8GHZ w/ Turbo Boost to 3.8GHZ) | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1050 Ti (4GB) | Display 1920 x 1080P, IPS | Hard Drive 256GB NVME | Weight 5.6lbs |
While this Eluktronics Pro-X adds $50 to the above model and has an inferior graphics card (the same as the first PC on our list, the 1050 Ti), it does bring two great things to the table: a blazing fast NVMe SSD for rapid turn-on times (and even snappier editing performance) and a great display made by LG. Beyond this, however, it’s pretty much the same as the second PC on our list, but at a slightly higher price point. It’s a great choice for those who want a fast boot time and a better display, but as far as price-to-performance goes, it’s not as good as either of the above models. Still, it looks great and boosts fast. That’s a big perk for some.
Price: $1099 (24 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Eluktronics Pro-X here.
- Blazing fast SSD
- Great bang for the buck
- Display is better than Helios 300
- Great for editing 1080P and VFX in that resolution
- May need additional storage for editing video (or external hard drive)
- Trackpad is mediocre
- Borderline performance for 4K video editing
- 1080P screen means one can’t accurately preview 4K footage
Find more Eluktronics Pro-X information and reviews here.
5. Eluktroniks 15.6″ 1080P Laptop
Processor i7-7700HQ (2.8GHZ w/ Turbo Boost to 3.8GHZ) | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1060 – 6GB | Display 15.6″ FHD IPS 1080P | Hard Drive 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Weight 5.9lbs |
While the price of this machine may be quite a bit higher than the Helios 300, it does offer a no compromises solution (besides its resolution). The screen is excellent and critically, this PC has large data storage of one terabyte. Since the point of a laptop is portability, not having to lug around an external drive can be a real perk for some people. Plus, having a brighter screen is a serious advantage. While the Helios 300 is virtually impossible to beat strictly on price to performance, this computer does have superior convenience and a better-looking display, which for editing video, can be massively noticeable and is one aspect of a laptop that cannot be changed or upgraded.
Price: $1349.95 (34 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Eluktroniks 15.6″ 1080P Laptop here.
- No compromises laptop with 1080P screen
- Large storage capacity
- Great for editing 1080P video or doing visual effects work
- High quality and reputable brand
- Battery is not removable
- Runs on the hot side (for lap usage)
- On the heavy side
- Limited resolution means one can’t watch 4K on this laptop
Find more Eluktroniks 15.6″ 1080P Laptop information and reviews here.
6. MSI 17″ Apache Pro
Processor i7-7700HQ (2.8GHZ w/ Turbo Boost to 3.8GHZ) | RAM 16GB | Graphics Card GTX 1060 – 6GB | Display 1920 x 1080, IPS 120HZ | Hard Drive 128GB SSD + 1TB | Weight 8.4lbs |
This MSI machine offers a few unique advantages over its competition. While it is considerably heavier, it has a much larger screen at 17″, and it has a much better screen for gaming. If you’re looking to do more than edit videos (or you want to edit videos at unconventional frame rates), this model has a 120hz screen. Screens like this are valued by gamers particularly for first-person shooters where quick reaction times matter. For most video editors, this won’t have any real effect, but using a 120hz screen is very smooth and nice on the eyes. For those who want a machine that’s as good as it is for editing video as it is for gaming, this is the way to go. Of course, at 8.4lbs, it’s more of a portable desktop than something that goes on your lap, but that’s the price one must pay for this kind of robust performance. Having 17″ may hurt portability, but larger screens do tend to be nicer to edit on, especially with complex interfaces like those in Sony Vegas, Premiere Pro, and Adobe After Effects.
Buy the MSI 17″ Apache Pro here.
- Includes SuperMulti drive with DVD/R/RW and CD reader
- 3 year limited CUK warranty
- Great for editing 1080P and doing VFX in this resolution
- Acceptable performance for 4K video editing
- Screen is top notch at 120hz; great for FPS games
- On the heavy side
- Cannot preview 4K footage at real resolution
- Keyboard keys are a bit close together
- Upgrading requires extensive work (removal of backplate is complicated)
Find more MSI 17″ Apache Pro information and reviews here.
7. Acer Predator 17
Processor i7-7700HQ (2.8GHZ w/ Turbo Boost to 3.8GHZ) | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1070 – 8GB | Display 17.3″ 1080P, IPS, G-SYNC | Hard Drive 256GB SSD + 1TB | Weight 9.26lbs |
Speaking of portable desktops, this monster clocks in at 9.26lbs, but it truly does it all and with a graphics card that makes the GTX 1060 seem a bit less attractive (the 1070 is about 38% faster). Still, this figure doesn’t exactly mean that this PC will output videos 38% faster. It has an identical processor to the Helios, for instance. This means that this advantage isn’t as much as it seems. However, the advantage will be present for gaming and visual effects software, such as using After Effects or even Photoshop (not Adobe Lightroom, however; this program only uses the CPU). This PC also has a large data drive and a G-Sync screen. G-Sync is an Nvidia technology that makes graphics look as smooth as possible and for some people, this feature offers a big advantage, though it’s mainly for gamers. This is one heck of a laptop, but at this weight, it’s perhaps more accurate to call it a conveniently movable desktop.
Price: $1749 (13 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Acer Predator 17 here.
- Great performance for games
- High quality screen with G-Sync for gaming
- Tons of storage space
- Will easily edit 1080P (video or VFX)
- Acceptable for 4K video editing (but screen cannot display it, one will need to hook up another monitor)
- Upgrading RAM is easy
- 1080P screen means one can’t view 4K footage at true resolution
- Needs to be plugged in for usage
- Battery life is mediocre
- More of a portable desktop
Find more Acer Predator 17 information and reviews here.
8. MSI Stealth Pro (Editor’s Choice)
Processor i7-7700HQ (2.8GHZ w/ Turbo Boost to 3.8GHZ) | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1060 (6GB) | Display 4K, 15.6″ | Hard Drive 512GB SSD + 1TB | Weight 3.96lbs |
This PC gets the job done in every single way. Boasting a large SSD (512GB) with a data drive (1TB), a solid graphics card (the GTX 1060), a great processor, a 4K display, and an insanely low weight of less than 4lbs, it truly does it all for the video editor in today’s world. While other laptops will merely show you one-quarter of 4K’s glorious resolution (also known as 1080P), this laptop will actually show you what it looks like. Plus, it has plenty of room for your footage and everything else one could possibly need. This is the no compromises solution that won’t break one’s back carrying it around.
Buy the MSI Stealth Pro here.
- Very light for its specs
- Powerful enough for 1080P video and VFX; decent for 4K
- Screen is excellent and 4K
- Battery life is higher than on comparable models, up to three hours
- Data drive is 5400RPM (on the slow side)
- Speakers are poor quality
Find more MSI Stealth Pro information and reviews here.
9. EVGA SC17
Processor i7 Quad core at 2.7GHZ | RAM 32GB | Graphics Card GTX 1070 (8GB) | Display 4K, G-Sync (3840 x 2160) | Hard Drive 1TB Hybrid drive | Weight 10lbs |
For the gamer who wants 4K and a display that can handle gaming, this EVGA model does everything the above one does, but slightly better. It adds in a GTX 1070 (a better graphics card), double the RAM, and G-Sync. Unfortunately, these features weigh a lot, and this PC is back into the realm of the “portable desktop” at 10 hefty pounds. Still, if one wants to game on their video editing PC at ultra settings (or to do graphically intensive work), then spending a couple of extra hundred bucks and lugging around six more pounds may be absolutely worth it. For the strictly video-editing-minded, however, the difference in RAM and graphics card will probably not be worth the extra weight.
Price: $2199 (21 percent off MSRP)
Buy the EVGA SC17 here.
- Unreal power, display and performance
- Great for editing 1080P video and VFX; solid for editing 4K video
- Full 4K resolution screen with max gaming performance using G-Sync
- Superb build quality
- Excellent as a portable desktop (not really a laptop)
- Massive weight
- Battery life is poor
- Needs circulation underneath laptop (laptop cooling pad)
- Trackpad is dicey
Find more EVGA SC17 information and reviews here.
10. Retina Macbook Pro
Processor i7 2.9ghz | RAM 16GB DDR3 | Graphics Card Radeon Pro 560 (4GB) | Display 2880 x 1800 (Retina) IPS | Hard Drive 512GB SSD | Weight ~4lbs |
People who like Macs like them because they’re extremely reliable machines and in certain respects, they outperform PCs. Macs last for a longer period of time (generally speaking) and due to some key optimizations (Core Audio, for instance), they can do very well for their inferior hardware. Unfortunately, for video editing, hardware is pretty much hardware and while OSX is a great operating system, this Mac doesn’t stand much ground in terms of price to performance. On the plus side, it is fairly light. On the negative side, a Radeon Pro 560 isn’t even as powerful as the graphics card on the second PC on our list. Yes, the GTX 1050 Ti on a $999PC beats this $2500+ Mac’s graphics card. Still, if you like Macs, we get it. This Mac has a beautiful Retina display and will do well editing 1080P footage, but it will struggle with editing 4K smoothly as much as a PC with a GTX 1050 Ti.
Price: $2647 (5 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Retina Macbook Pro here.
- Touch Bar can be helpful for shortcuts and certain apps
- Great for editing 1080P video
- Decent for visual effects work
- Mac OSX is the most reliable operating system
- Price to performance ratio is terrible; PC at this price will be a monster
- Light for its performance
- Video card is less than half as good as a GTX 1060
Find more Retina Macbook Pro information and reviews here.
11. Razer Blade Pro 17″
Processor i7-7820HK | RAM 32GB RAM | Graphics Card GTX 1080 | Display 17″ 4K | Hard Drive 1TB SSD | Weight 7.7lbs |
For those who want the best of the best, this Razer Blade has it all. Boasting a top of the line processor that’s slightly faster than the standard on our list, the i7-7700HQ, a 4K screen, and a blazing fast one terabyte SSD, what more could one ask? Well, it’s still a bit of a chunky one, weighing in at 7.7lbs. Still, this PC makes it look good and there’s a reason Razer Blade Pro’s are blowing up in popularity. While price-to-performance is out the window here, if you’re considering this PC, you’re obviously looking for something that’s dressed to impress and has the performance to match it… or any PC, and this one does.
Buy the Razer Blade Pro 17″ here.
- Processor is around 10% faster than 7700 HQ (Source: UserBenchmark.com)
- Most powerful graphics card on the market for top performance doing any kind of editing (1080P or 4K)
- THX certified speakers
- Stunning screen with great brightness and colors
- Backlit keyboard (but function keys aren’t lit up)
- Can get loud under stress
- Desktop with similar specs could be almost half as expensive with much better processor
Find more Razer Blade Pro 17″ information and reviews here.
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