Just add your raw, creative talent
Video editing is a more popular pastime than ever. Everyone these days seems to have a YouTube channel, and there’s no shortage of people making content with drones and GoPros. Which can be quite a struggle if you’re using an underpowered laptop to edit that footage.
4K video is quickly becoming the new standard and modern editing suites will eat up as much performance as you have and beg for more. Which is why we’ve picked out five of the most powerful laptops for video editing you can buy today.
Sure, they have impressive price tags to go along with their impressive specs, but the time and energy they’ll save you is well worth it.
Apple’s reputation for creative industry muscle is nearly as old as the company itself and there are good reasons for that. MacOS is a stable and intuitive platform to run applications like Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X or DaVinci Resolve. There’s a reason so many professional video editors swear by macOS and Apple computers.
If you want the most powerful mobile Mac for video editing, then the choice is easy. You have to buy a MacBook Pro 16.
There are two models of the MacBook Pro 16. The lower-end model has storage starting at 512GB and the higher-end model starts at 1TB. Both can be bought with an 8-core Intel Core i9 CPU, but the lower end model starts at a 6-core i7. Any of these models will absolutely blast through video editing workloads, with the bigger beast simply doing it with more haste.
One of the most important features of the MacBook Pro 16, apart from its deep reserves of processing power, is the 16-inch retina display and it’s P3 color gamut. This screen is designed specifically for professional color work, making it a one-stop mobile video editing workstation. The only downside is the lack of native 4K resolution, but in practice this makes little difference during editing.
2. Apple MacBook Pro 13 (2020)
There’s an important market for slim and light video editing computers. It’s very common for video creators to work on the road, on the set or in the field. While something like a MacBook Pro 16 is ideal from a performance perspective, it’s larger size can make it a less than perfect travel companion.
Luckily the MacBook Pro 13 offers the same software platform, the same professional reliability and the same color-accurate display. Its specifications are of course nowhere near its much bigger sibling, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have it where it counts.
The quad-core eighth-generation CPU in the latest MacBook Pro 13 will happily chew through 1080p HD content. Just be sure you’re looking at the new model that has 16GB of RAM and not the 2019 model that was limited to 8GB of RAM.
If you’re still in the market for a thin and light powerhouse, but don’t want to go the Apple route, then this ZenBook from Asus is an incredibly interesting choice. In raw specifications it has the MacBook 13 at a disadvantage.
Especially thanks to its discrete GTX 1650 GPU. So if you’re using a video editing suite that makes proper use of GPU acceleration, the limitations of having a quad-core will be much less of an issue.
The native 4K main screen is the other killer feature on offer for the ZenBook 15. Letting you check your renders in native 4K and also offering quite a lot of real-estate for software. Which makes it even crazier that this laptop actually comes with a second screen! That’s right, it has something Asus calls a “ScreenPad” which replaces the traditional trackpad.
This LCD screen can be used as a second display, so you can drag applications into it while doing something else on the main display. This means you can treat it the way you do a second external monitor on a desktop editing rig. Put your editing tools on it or use it as a video monitor. It’s all up to your workflow.
If you think the ScreenPad on the ZenBook 15 is a cool productivity feature for video editing, then prepare to be blown away by the ZenBook Pro Duo.
This is a high-spec machine built for creative workloads. It has the Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU with eight cores and 16 threads. 32GB of RAM and an RTX 2060 GPU. Coupled with a massive 1TB PCIe hard drive, you have more power available than you’re likely to need. We’re definitely past MacBook Pro 16 territory here. Let’s just say that if you’re looking at 4K or lower projects, you simply don’t have to worry about processing power here.
Which means we can get to the real showpieces in this machine. First off we have a gorgeous 15.6” 4K OLED screen touchscreen. Plenty of space for UI elements and of course you can watch your renders at native 4K. Being an OLED, you can depend on perfect black levels and incredibly image quality. Of course, you’ll need to calibrate it for color accuracy.
Finally, we come to the ScreenPad Plus. No longer a tiny touchpad-sized screen as on the ZenBook 15. This 14” touchscreen offers the perfect second display for video editing. It’s ultra-wide aspect ratio makes it perfect for an editing timeline or multiple mastering control surfaces. While this laptop will do anything (including gaming) with gusto, we think it’s quite possibly the best video editing laptop we’ve ever seen.
Gaming laptops often make for excellent video editing laptops. They tend to be cheaper than specialized creativity computers, while offering similar core specifications. So it is with the MSI GS65 Stealth-004. It has a 6-core Intel Core i7 CPU, an RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU and therefore more than enough horsepower for serious video projects.
The downside is that its high-refresh screen might not be the best choice for color work and only has a Full HD resolution. Which means you may have to consider a second portable, color-accurate screen. The primary SSD is also a little on the small side so an external SSD or an additional internal drive may be in order.
If you’re trying to start your video editing journey on a budget however, a laptop such as the GS65 is a great base to build from. You’ll have all the essential power you need from day one and can add storage as you need it. It’s perfect for the gaming streamer or multi-purpose user on a budget who wants to make their own content. Which makes it a fabulous choice in our books.
Choosing Your Most Powerful Video Editing Laptop
Laptops have come a long way from offering half the performance at twice the price of desktop systems. There’s very little compromise to be had in exchange for mobility.
These laptops represent top-performing machines in various form factors and price classes,but they all guarantee significant bang for your buck. Now all you have to bring to the party is raw creative talent. Sadly, we can’t help you with that!