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The best laptops for video editing in 2021

Best laptops for video editing
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Welcome to our pick of the best laptops for video editing in 2021. On this page, we've picked the top laptops that will help you in any video editing task you need, no matter what your budget is.

When picking the best laptop for video editing, you'll want something with plenty of power, as video editing applications can require a lot of resources - especially if you're working with ultra high definition footage in 4K or even 8K resolutions.

So, you'll want a laptop that comes with a modern processor from Intel or AMD, or if you're after a MacBook, then Apple's own M1 chip has proved to be an awesome bit of hardware for video editing.

You'll also want plenty of RAM, which will help you run multiple tasks at once. This can be a real benefit for people who want to work on multiple projects at once, or work on different parts of the same project while another one is rendering, for example. 

The laptop should also offer plenty of fast SSD storage space, as your video files can get pretty large.

If you're doing some ambitious video editing and rendering, then a dedicated graphics card is also advisable, and we've included a number of laptops on this page that come with them. Bear in mind, however, that this adds to the overall price of the laptop, and modern integrated graphics are more than good enough for video editing, especially for beginners and hobbyists.

The best video editing laptops will also come high resolution screens so you can comfortably work on them, and they will display your footage with accurate colours. Some of the laptops on this list will actually come with professional-calibrated screens to ensure your footage looks its very best.

High quality built-in speakers are also a great bonus, as the soundtracks to your videos is just as important as the footage itself, so having great speakers lets you listen and edit your video's soundtrack without needing to invest in external speakers.

All of the laptops on this page can easily run the best video editing software, so you won't have to worry about any of them struggling. If you're studying a video editing course (or just want to do a bit of video editing for fun while at university, college or school, then check out our best student laptops rundown).

If you're looking for the ideal audio while you work, check out our pick of the best MacBook for video editing. And if you want something even smaller, see our best tablets for video editing guide.

The best laptops for video editing available now

MacBook Pro 16-inch laptop with screen open

(Image credit: Apple)

The best laptop for video editing

Specifications
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9
Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M
RAM: 16GB – 64GB
Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Stunning 16-inch screen+New and improved keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Limited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports

Even in 2021, two years after it released, the MacBook Pro 16-inch is still, in our view, the best laptop for video editing. Creatives love Apple's MacBook devices, and when it brought out the 16-inch MacBook Pro, packed with high-end components and a new, larger screen, creative professionals were once again bowled over.

It's a brilliant laptop for video editing, combining incredibly powerful components that still hold up today, with a gorgeous thin and light design. That larger 16-inch screen (up from the 15-inches Apple used to offer) and higher resolution means editing video on this laptop is a joy.

As for performance, with a powerful Intel processor and professional graphics card from AMD, the MacBook Pro 16-inch can handle any video editing app with ease.

You won't find a better laptop for video editing in 2021.

Also read: MacBook Pro 16-inch review

The Dell XPS 17 (2021) at an angle with the screen partly openCB endorsed

(Image credit: Dell)

02. Dell XPS 17 (2021)

The best Windows-based laptop for video editng

Specifications
CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i9-11980HK
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200MHz
Screen: Screen: 17.0" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 17.0" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit
Storage: Up to 4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe
Reasons to buy
+Great performance+Gorgeous design
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of ports

The Dell XPS 17 (2021) is a brand-new laptop from Dell that's ideal for video editing. It comes with some of the best modern components money can buy right now, with up to an Intel Core i9 CPU and 64GB of RAM in certain configurations.

You can also kit it out with an Nvidia RTX GeForce 3060 dedicated graphics card. It's a fine modern GPU that will allow you to edit 4K videos without issue, and that UHD footage is going to look gorgeous on the Dell XPS 17's high resolution 17-inch screen.

Despite its large screen, the Dell XPS 17 maintains the sleek design the XPS lineup is known for, so you're not having to lug around a big bulky laptop just to edit videos on a larger screen.

And that large screen really does help with video editing, allowing you to work in complete comfort. It's pricey, but well worth the investment.

Dell XPS 15 with the screen open and a desktop wallpaper displayed

(Image credit: Dell)

03. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

Another brilliant Windows video editing laptop

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics - Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM: 8GB – 64GB
Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS - UHD+ (3840 x 2400)
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Fast performance+Eye-catching design
Reasons to avoid
-May struggle with 4K video editing-15-inch screen might be too large for some

The Dell XPS 15 (2020) is another brilliant laptop for video editing for people who prefer Windows over macOS. Dell has packed it with 10th generation Intel processors, and it can also be configured to come with a discrete graphics card, which is ideal for video editing.

Speaking of configuration, the XPS 15, like pretty much all of Dell's laptops, can be configured when you buy it, so you can add upgrades like a 4K screen and large (and fast) 1TB SSD. This means you can build a Dell XPS 15 that suits both your needs and budget.

If you can afford it, we do recommend going for the 4K option and as large an SSD as you can. The ultra high definition screen means you can preview your 4K footage natively, and the larger the storage, the more space you'll have to store your videos and projects. Believe us, if you're a video editor, you'll find your hard drive fills up fast.

Sure, it's expensive, and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card may struggle with editing super-high definition stuff, but overall this is one of the best laptops you can buy in 2020 regardless of whether or not you want to do some video editing. For more Dell options, see our best Dell laptops roundup.

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) with its screen open showing a colourful desktop

(Image credit: Apple)

Another video editing winner from Apple

Specifications
CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU
Graphics: Integrated 8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory
Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 LED-backlit Retina display
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm
Reasons to buy
+Huge battery life+Great performance
Reasons to avoid
-Still lacks ports

While many video editors feel most comfortable working on a large screen laptop, if you want something more portable, then a smaller laptop that can still offer enough power to run video editing apps, could be the perfect compromise.

Apple's new MacBook Pro 13-inch model now comes with Apple's very own M1 chip (rather than an Intel processor), and this allows the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) to provide some seriously impressive performance.

So, you can easily edit 4K - and even 8K - videos thanks to the power of the M1 chip, and any video editing app runs fast and smoothly on this laptop. Best of all, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) boasts the longest battery life ever seen in a MacBook. We've tested it ourselves and it's seriously impressive, allowing you to work all day and still have battery life left. For video editors who travel a lot, this is easily the best laptop money can buy.

Also read: MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) review

An angled view of the MSI Creator 17 laptop with the screen open

(Image credit: MSI)

05. MSI Creator 17

Staggering power under the hood

Specifications
CPU: up to 10th-generation Intel Core i9 Processor
Graphics: up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER with Max-Q
RAM: up to 64GB
Screen: 17.3" UHD (3840x2160), IPS-Level – 17.3" UHD (3840x2160), MiniLED, HDR 1000, 60Hz, IPS-Level
Storage: 512GB – 2TB NVMe SSD
Reasons to buy
+Lots of power under the hood+Beautiful screen
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

The best laptops for video editors offer accurate and true-to-life colours, which makes the MSI Creator 17 an ideal choice. Your videos will have never looked better than when being played on this laptop thanks to its mini LED display, which offers vivid colours and bright images.

This means working on the MSI Creator 17 when editing videos is a joy. And, not only does it display your videos well, but it runs video editing apps incredibly smoothly thanks to the powerful components under the hood, including 10th generation Intel Core processors, and Nvidia's powerful RTX lineup of graphics card.

This means that no matter how complex the videos you're editing are, or if you're working with ultra high definition content, the MSI Creator 17 can handle it with ease.

Surface Laptop 4 with desktop wallpaper and white background

(Image credit: Microsoft)

06. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

One of Microsoft's best

Specifications
CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 /AMD Ryzen 5 - 7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe / AMD Radeon
RAM: 8GB – 32GB
Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (2,256 x 1,504) touch
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable keyboard+Beautiful screen
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks ports

The Surface Laptop 4 is, like its predecessor, one of the best laptops for video editing you can buy right now. It's thin and light with a gorgeous design and top-notch build quality, and its large, high resolution PixelSense touchscreen is perfect for editing videos on, especially 1080p and 4K footage.

It's also packing some of the latest mobile tech from both Intel and AMD, and comes in a variety of specifications, so it can easily run video editing software. It runs Windows 10, so all of your favourite apps can be used.

Best of all, it has one of the longest battery lives we've seen in a laptop, and while you won't want to edit any epic movies on this thing when it's not plugged in, it does give you flexibility, as you can work out and about without worrying about being plugged into a wall socket.

Acer ConceptD 7 with the screen open showing the Windows 10 desktop

(Image credit: Acer)

A supremely powerful video editing laptop

Specifications
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 – 2080
RAM: 16GB – 32GB
Screen: 15.6" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 16:9 IPS
Storage: 1TB
Reasons to buy
+Very powerful+Cheaper than MacBook Pro+Good selection of ports
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

The Acer ConceptD 7 is quite possibly the best example of a company using its expertise in making powerful gaming laptops, and using it to make a brilliant video editing laptop.

It comes packed with some of the most powerful mobile components around, including cutting edge Intel processors and Nvidia RTX graphics, along with plenty of RAM as well.

Not only does this make it one of the best video editing laptops we've ever used, but it also comes with a gorgeous Pantone-validated 4K IPS display, which ensures your videos look their best with vibrant - and accurate - colours. It's a fantastic Windows 10 alternative to a MacBook Pro, and it comes with a better selection of ports as well. It's expensive, but well worth the investment. Read our full Acer ConceptD 7 review for more.

Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020) with the screen open and at an angle showing how thin the laptop is

(Image credit: Dell)

08. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

Dell's latest laptop is great for video editing

Specifications
CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7
Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: Up to 32GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
Screen: 13.4" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 13.4" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe
Reasons to buy
+Stunning design+Gorgeous 16:10 display
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

This is another smaller device that is still a brilliant video editing laptop. That's because despite its small size, it comes packed with some seriously powerful components, including Intel's latest 11th generation processors.

It's thin and light design is drop dead gorgeous, and it also means it's easy to carry around with you, and it comes with one of the best screens you'll find in a laptop - so your videos will look stunning. You can configure it to come with a 4K screen, so you can once again view your ultra high definition content the way it's supposed to be seen.

Battery life is also excellent, so you'll be able to work on the new Dell XPS 13 for hours on end without needing to be plugged in.

It's one of the more expensive laptops out there, but we think it's worth every penny for video editors that want the very best laptop for their work.

Product shot of Dell Inspiron 14 5000

Image: Dell

09. Dell Inspiron 14 5000

A fantastic mid-range video editing laptop

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5-8265U (quad core, 3.9GHz Max Turbo Boost)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForceR MX150 2GB GDDR5
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 14-inch FHD (1920x1080)
Storage: 256GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Great price+IPS display
Reasons to avoid
-Not great for 4K video editing

If you're after a solid and dependable laptop for video editing, but you don't have the budget to spend huge amounts on some of the flagship devices we've listed here, then the Dell Inspiron 5000 series is a great choice.

Not only is it a lot cheaper than many of the other best video editing laptops, but it doesn't compromise in power, with a quad-core Intel processor, discrete graphics card and full 1080p IPS screen, which means it can handle video editing very well.

Its base model is a very competitive price, and means it's the perfect laptop for beginners and hobbyists. And, if you want a bit more power, you can configure it with upgraded components to make it even better at video editing - but without breaking the bank.

MacBook Air (M1, 2020) with screen open showing photo of a woman rolling through flowers

(Image credit: Apple)

New and improved

Specifications
CPU: Apple M1
Graphics: Integrated 7-core /8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)
Reasons to buy
+Silent to use+Amazing battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No new design

Apple radically overhauled its most affordable MacBook, the MacBook Air, at the end of 2020, and the upgrades have made it a worthy entry in our best laptops for video editing guide.

In the past we wouldn't necessarily recommend a MacBook Air, but the latest model comes with the same ARM-based Apple M1 chip as the more expensive MacBook Pro 13-inch.

So, it's got a tremendous amount of power under its hood, and can easily handle editing 4K video in Final Cut Pro without breaking a sweat. Its fanless design also means that it is pretty much completely silent when in use. And, as with previous MacBook Airs, it features a gorgeous thin and light design that makes it easy to carry around with you.

Also, for the first time in a MacBook Air, the latest model supports the P3 colour gamut, which means the screen can display accurate colors, a consideration that is incredibly important for video editors.

Also read: MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review

Best laptops for video editing: Power at a price you can afford

Because of their combination of powerful hardware and slimline designs, many of the best laptops for video editing can also be pretty expensive. However, because prices of high-end hardware are getting more affordable, it means you can find a great video editing laptop without breaking the bank. You might be confined to just editing 1080p footage, but for many people that will be absolutely fine.

You may notice from the list above that quite a few companies that specialise in gaming laptops, like Acer and Razer, also make laptops designed for creative professionals. These laptops use the same powerful hardware you'd find in a high-end gaming device, but without some of the game centric features (and garish designs). Most importantly of all, they include powerful graphics cards that can drastically cut the time it takes to edit and render videos.

With lashings of CPU and graphics power, they’ll chew through the best digital art software and encode videos faster than any standard laptop, and you'll find them included in this list as well. Whether you're a Mac fan or a Windows wizard, we've got you covered. If you're looking for a device specifically for coding, be sure to check out our round up of the best laptops for programming.

Should you buy a MacBook or Windows laptop for video editing?

When looking to buy a laptop for video editing, one of the biggest choices you'll have to make is whether to get a MacBook, or a laptop that runs Windows 10 (or Windows 11).

Part of this is down to individual taste. If you're used to using Windows operating systems, you may find macOS, which is what MacBooks run on, is a bit confusing with how things are done - and vice-versa.

However, both Windows and macOS offer broadly the same video editing software packages. However, Final Cut Pro is a popular application, and that's only available for MacBooks.

MacBooks are very popular amongst video editors thanks to their powerful performance and stylish designs, but in recent years Windows laptops, such as the Dell XPS line, can easily match Apple's laptops in both style and substance.

Windows laptops also benefit from being made by a large range of manufacturers, so if you don't like the design of a certain brand's laptop, you could always go for another. With MacBooks, only Apple makes them, so if you want a MacBook but don't like Apple's style, then you're out of luck.

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Adam Marshall

Adam is the Editor-in-Chief of Subscriptions and Services at Future. As well as covering topics as diverse as antivirus software, VPNs, TV streaming, broadband and mobile phone contracts, he has also covered computing hardware for Creative Bloq.