Top 5+ Best Laptops For Video Editing in 2016
Editing video can be a challenging, fun experience and for those looking to boost their social media profiles, a great way to attract more viewers and followers. Finding the best laptops for video editing takes some research, which I’ve done for you here. The last thing you want is a computer that can’t handle the heavy processing and large uploading duties required by video editors. Take a look at these tips for finding the best laptops for video editing and at then decide which of the following computers is right for you.
What To Look For In The Best Laptops For Video Editing
- Hardware specifications - In order to keep up with the high workload of editing and processing video clips, your computer will need to have a high amount of RAM memory and hard drive storage space. Find a computer with as many GB of RAM as possible and 1 TB of hard drive space if you can. A good CPU (central processing unit) is also important.
- Compatibility with software - If you plan to use Final Cut Pro or a similar editing program, make sure the computer you buy is compatible with it. These programs are hard on a computer so asking a sales person or referring to the brand’s website to ask is a good idea.
- 4K and outside file adaptability - High-level software and computers can handle this. For beginners using simple programs like GoPro Studio and other free or cheap software, they often will only work with certain formats and may not always work well with every computer.
Things To Keep In Mind
- For YouTube and other video sites on the web, videos must be mp4 or similarly formatted. When exporting your video on the computer, be sure to double check the file format that the video’s final destination requires.
- Often, storing hundreds of video clips on your computer’s hard drive can bog it down. A good idea to prevent this is to keep your clips on an external drive that is only plugged in while you are editing video.
- ALWAYS back everything up. As frustrating as it can be, video editing programs are known to crash mid-session if a hard drive is overworked or something else goes wrong. Prevent the tragedy of having to start over by keeping a backup file.
List of Top 8 Best Laptops For Video Editing
1. ASUS ROG G751JY-VS71(WX) 17-Inch Gaming Laptop
This is a top-level offering from ASUS. It comes stock with a 1 TB hard drive and 16 GB of RAM, easily enough to put together solid videos on just about any software. With a 17.3” matte display, this computer provides plenty of viewing room for optimized detail. There are four USB ports, allowing input from multiple devices at a time. For detailed editing, the full HD display is actually near perfect- when the video is slowed down you will be able to pick out even the smallest of movements for editing or removal. The computer is designed for multitasking with highly demanding programs and apps as well as the web, making it idea for the video editor.
The only real downside to this computer is that the speakers are not great. I recommend plugging in headphones when working on any video where the sound within the shots is a big factor. I’ve also heard that one or two of the drives sometimes stop working. If that happens, send it for repairs- it should be a free fix if bought from a reputable source.
2. Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK 15.6 Inch FHD Laptop
The screen on Dell’s best offering is slightly smaller than on the ASUS but still perfect for video editing. This easy to navigate the home screen and apps along with the 1 TB hard drive make this one of the best laptops for video editing. The backlight on the keyboard is the best I’ve seen on any unit- each key is extremely easy to see and read. For any video editors looking to make a full-time switch from a desktop to a laptop, the Dell Inspiron is the strongest option because its user interface is the most similar to what you are already comfortable with.
There is only 8 GB of RAM on this machine, so definitely store your clips on an external drive for optimized playback speed. The battery will last for about 4-5 hours with heavy use, making it possible to sit in a coffee shop or café and get some work done without having to plug in. The speakers are better than those on the ASUS ROG but using headphones for editing videos that have a strong audible narrative is recommended.
3. Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-Inch Laptop with Retina Display and Force Touch (NEWEST VERSION)
The MacBook Pro is the absolute top of the line device for editing video on a laptop. There is a reason why so many in the media and digital nomad communities work with the MacBook. The 1 TB hard drive is perfect for heavy working programs like Final Cut Pro. The 1 TB flash storage on this device is top of the line, and using Apple’s iOS interface is the easiest way to work once it’s learned.
For those switching from a PC, it can take a couple weeks of fooling around with the MacBook to feel comfortable. But once you make the switch, you likely will never go back. This machine is efficient, very fast in apps and on the web, and is not susceptible to the viruses that plague PC users. As with all Apple computers, the RAM is soldered so it cannot be altered or upgraded. If you are willing to make the investment, this computer will last for many years and if you work with other video editors and people who spend time on Macs, odds are that someone will know how to fix any small problems that arise.
4. ASUS K501UW-AB78 15.6-inch Full-HD Gaming Laptop
This model from ASUS is specifically designed for gaming, so you know right off the bat that it can handle heavy duty software. This is what makes it one of the best laptops for video editing. The hard drive is 8 GB and it has two Intel processors. There are 3 USB ports for inputs and when you open it to start working, the programs load very quickly. I found it extremely good for fast uploads to the web as well as importing video clips into editing software.
The screen quality is lower than that of the MacBook and ASUS ROG, making it more difficult to pick up the finer details in your video. The RAM is soldered, so don’t plan on upgrading it. The keyboard is rather large and spaced out, making it a bit more of a struggle for those with small hands (but great for those with large hands). This took some getting used to, but overall this machine does what it says it will and the memory is strong enough video editing software will not crash.
5. Dell XPS 15 9550 Touch 15.6" 4K Ultra HD
This is Dell’s top of the line offering. The screen is large- at 15.6” it isn’t the most portable unit, but it makes up for that with its sheer power. I have never seen a computer that runs video editing software so quickly and the XPS is the only one on this list of best laptops for video editing that competes head-on with the MacBook. It also has 32GB of RAM- making it hands down one of the fastest machines on the market.
With video software, this computer loads clips and runs playback very quickly. The processing sometimes takes a moment but you will not have any problems with crashing or loss of work. The only other downside is that the processor and unit do heat up after extended use- when going on a lunch break or stepping away for a bit, allow the computer to rest and cool down. The screen is almost borderless and the detail of the HD picture is incredible. Finding small things to remove from video clips and the editing process, in general, is very easy on this device.
6. Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6 Full HD, E5-575G-53VG
For some reason, Acer’s aren’t more popular in the United States. I have been working on this computer for the past several months and have not had any problems. I’ve produced two videos for YouTube, and the only frustration I had was a result of my own perfectionist habits, not the computer. It only has 8 GB of memory, so I recommend storing all clips on an external hard drive so as not to bog down the computer. The 15.6” screen allows for great full-screen rendering of video. The battery lasts for up to five hours of heavy use with software and the web. I spend a lot of time in cafes and never have problems with this computer running out of juice.
The main concern with this unit is that I keep feeling as though it will become overloaded and stop working so quickly. It hasn’t yet and therefore still deserves to be on the list of the best laptops for video editing, but I do tend to notice a lag in loading when I first open the editing software. Acer has implemented a virtual assistant named Cortana, which is helpful for doing quick research to coincide with the videos.
7. Toshiba Satellite S55t-C5165 S55t-C/5165 15.6" Laptop (Brushed Metal)
With 12 GB of memory, Toshiba’s Satellite is a good mid-level laptop for video editing. It isn’t as flashy as the MacBook or Dell XPS, but it gets the job done without costing an arm and a leg. The most interesting thing about this laptop is that it has both a solid-state hard drive (SSD) and a traditional hard drive. It does not have an optical drive. In editing software, it runs a little slow but won’t have problems with crashing or work loss. Because of the simplicity of Toshiba computers, they cause few problems and are typically able to keep running through degradation and improper care.
It is a bit heavy at 5.2 pounds. It isn’t all plastic, though, so it is quite durable for traveling or lugging around to the job site. Toshibas are kind of like the Target of computers- a little rough around the edges and certainly not an attention getter, but reliable and dependable for heavy use. Always keep the charger at hand because the battery life is not very good.
8. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Microsoft’s entry into the list of best laptops for video editing is unique in that it has a support stand behind the screen that can be adjusted to exact specifications. This is great for low light situations but is often not necessary. The screen detaches from the keyboard and doubles as a tablet, making this easily the most versatile laptop on the list. The 1 TB hard drive and 16 GB of RAM are in line with top notch editing laptops. My favorite thing about this computer is the screen because it is the easiest on the eyes that I have found anywhere. The low glare and hi-def image quality don’t require a ton of focus. There are several different options to choose from depending on your level of work- from 16 GB of RAM all the way down to 4 GB for the light user.
The Surface Pro 4 has been through many upgrades due to problems with bugs and glitches, but this most current version is nearly flawless. I’m not a huge fan of the pen that it comes with as it tends to stop working after several months, but it isn’t necessary to use it for video editing. It is very small- the display size is only 12.3 inches, but the resolution of the screen is so strong that you can work as efficiently on your projects as you can with a larger device. The lightness of this product is also great because traveling with it or bringing it around with you frequently is not a problem.
Head to head comparison and conclusion
Right off the bat, there are three laptops here that stand out from the rest. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4, the Dell XPS, and the Apple MacBook. These three are the top tier best laptops for video editing because their platform is specifically designed for high-performance programs, apps, and those who use their laptop for full-time work.
- For those who travel frequently, the MacBook is the best option because of its durability. While the Surface Pro 4 is smaller and just as useful as a tablet as a laptop, the likelihood of it breaking or becoming otherwise damaged is much higher.
- For the full-time video worker, the MacBook is the best option because of how easy the operating system is once you learn how to use it. A close second here is the Dell XPS due to its extremely high memory built in and the rapidness of loading and processing that that entails.
- For the beginning video editor, the best option is the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. This computer is the easiest to feel comfortable with and the most simple as far as the operating system and user interface. When learning, the Surface Pro 4 is adaptable with lower level software.
- For long videos like movies or short films, the Dell XPS is the best option because of its high memory. Computers with lower amounts of hard drive memory and RAM can become bogged down while loading and processing. This will not be an issue with the Dell XPS, especially if you are storing your video files on an external drive.
Overall, the best option for versatility and overall video editing is the Apple MacBook. With this option, you will become a master of their iOS operating system and figure out the tricks and hacks to make it work better for you. Apple is very consistent with their products, so you can rest assured that once you learn the first MacBook you buy, you will be able to operate any updates, upgrades, or future purchases sufficiently. Apple has specifically designed their software to work well with media workers. They anticipate and are ready for people like video editors to regularly use the MacBook for their work. Their customer service is amazing, and if you do run into any problems they will be quick to fix it or replace your device.
Tim Miller is a US-based travel writer, blogger, and product reviewer. He writes for numerous publications and blogs, and when he's not working, he is skiing, filming a documentary, or reading a good book.