If you're in the market for an editing computer but need something portable, a solid video editing laptop is the best choice.
In the past, you could only edit videos on a desktop computer – laptops simply weren't up to date in the editing area. They didn't have the power to publish renderings in a manageable way, and trying to edit them was (and is still a complete hassle for laptops with low performance). With the advent of new, more powerful computer parts available to consumers – such as implemented SSDs and slimmer GPUs – laptops are now a viable option for professional editors.
So we've put together a list of laptops that you can use to speed up your rush jobs or even connect to a monitor to create a portable workstation. This list includes laptops for the entire price range, including some of our preferred options for different types of editors. Let's dive in
Things to look for in an editing laptop
(The intro part of this video explains everything you need to know about computer components.)
If you don't know what to look for in a computer before buying, you should know the following:
- The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the brain of the operation. It does most of the processing on your PC, so you should prioritize it for editing on computers. The power is measured based on Hz and number of cores. The higher the number of individual devices, the more power they have (example: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3.6 GHz 8-core processor).
- The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is in itself important for rendering and processing graphics. GPUs are measured in graphics memory from 4 GB to 12 GB. The higher the number, the more powerful the GPU (example: MSI Radeon RX 580 8 GB ARMOR OC graphics card). If you often work in After Effects or DaVinci Resolve, look for a good GPU in your laptop.
- Always buy SSDs (Solid State Drives) from HDDs (Hard Disk Drives). You can access information ten times faster than hard drives and increase your processing speed by seamlessly accessing the footage.
- Technically, RAM will not "speed up" your PC. Certain programs use a certain amount of RAM, so the more RAM on your computer you can open more programs at the same time.
These are all the specifications you need to look for in a laptop, as well as the type of monitor it comes with. If you're editing 4K footage, you should probably invest in a 4K laptop. A helpful tip to remember is when looking at laptops. When marketed as a "gaming" laptop, there is a likelihood that CPU / GPU performance specifications will take precedence over peripheral devices – such as a touchscreen or "tablet" feature.
The budget problem
So if you want to buy a new laptop for video editing, the budget is probably the first thing you think about. The more money you spend, the better your laptop will be. If you buy an editing laptop, you may have to stretch your budget in the $ 1,000 to $ 3,000 range, which seems like a huge investment. But trust me, it's worth it. Unlike a PC that you build yourself, you cannot turn off your components over the years. Programs require more computing power and updated parts. That said, it's good to overestimate your electricity needs, as in a few years you'll no longer want your laptop to be live when certain parts are out of date.
Low budget recommendation: Lenovo ™ Legion® Y7000P gaming laptop – $ 1,069
If you're looking for a laptop for around $ 1,000 that can do all the necessary tasks, I can't recommend the Legion Y7000P enough. It has an incredible array of components that can compete with laptops in higher price ranges – such as: B. an i7 processor and 8 GB RAM. It only has a 1080p display, but hey, we're on a budget here. A great feature of this laptop is the shared storage: 1 TB of hard drive space for your video files and 256 GB of SSD space for your operating system and programs.
- GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4 GB
- Processor: 9th generation Intel® Core ™ i7-9750HF (2.60 GHz, up to 4.50 GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 cores, 12 MB cache)
- Display type: 15.6-inch FHD-IPS (1920 x 1080), glare-free, 60 Hz, 250 nits
- Memory: 8 GB DDR4 2666 MHz
- Hard drive: 1 TB hard drive with 7200 rpm + 256 GB SSD PCIe
Mid-level budget recommendation: Alienware m15 gaming laptop – $ 1,349
I wasn't the biggest Alienware fan in the past because of the sometimes overpriced prices on their desktop computers, but the Aliendware m15 gaming laptop is a solid purchase for video editing. While the GPU only had a 4-core processor and 8 GB RAM, it compensated for the lack of scope with 6 GB 1660 Ti. This would be a great laptop for anyone using DaVinci Resolve as the program uses the GPU more than the processor.
- 9th generation Intel® Core ™ i5-9300H (4-core, 8 MB cache, up to 4.1 GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit English
- NVIDIA® GeForce GTX® 1660 Ti 6 GB GDDR6
- 8 GB DDR4 2666 MHz
- 256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD
High-budget recommendation: Used 15-inch MacBook Pro (2019) – $ 1,749
For creatives, buying a laptop seems to be the MacBook Pro, and for good reason. They work well with editing programs, offer incredible ads, and last incredibly long. We buy used cars here because the price has dropped significantly compared to a new one. If you want to use the performance of an i7 and 16 GB of RAM under 2 KB, it is best to buy your used Mac from a reputable dealer.
- 2.6 GHz 6-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz
- Memory: 16 GB onboard memory with 2400 MHz DDR4
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- Radeon Pro 555X with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching
Best-in-Category: The specialist laptops
Based on our budget recommendations, we found that we skipped a lot of good laptops based on specialists – which means that they're good for certain types of editors. Here are some that we thought you should know.
Best for designers who edit: Microsoft Surface Book Pro 2 – $ 2,599
If you're a designer who needs both a tablet and a powerful laptop, I've heard great things about the Surface Book 2 from Microsoft. In laptop mode, it works like a normal laptop. However, you can remove the display to make it a fully functional tablet. If you need to create Illustrator files for your work before you start editing, you can do it all in one with the Surface Book.
- 16 GB RAM
- Intel i7 8th Gen.
- 512 GB SSD storage
Best rugged laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad P73
I've always been a big fan of Lenovo's ThinkPad series for one reason: they last forever. These laptops are built like tanks and have incredible battery life for editors on the go. With the ThinkPad, you can make an incredible number of adjustments by adding either 16 or 32 GB of RAM or even fully utilizing the CPU of an Intel i9 8-core processor. If you are an editor who is in turbulent situations, e.g. For example, when editing on the set, the ThinkPad is a good option.
- 9th generation Intel® Core ™ or Intel® Xeon® multi-core processors
- Most powerful NVIDIA® Quadro® RTX graphics
- 4K UHD and Dolby Vision ™ display option
Cover picture about Suradech Prapairat.
Are you looking for more video equipment? Check out these articles.