The best video editing laptops in 2018: make your footage sing

null

If you're looking to buy a new laptop for video editing, you've come to the right place. Whatever level you're at, we've got an option for you below – from high-powered Macs and Windows PCs through to Chromebooks and budget video-editing laptops.

Having the right video editing software and hardware can make a world of difference. After all, choose the wrong tools and you'll waste hours in post-production wrestling with erratic touchpads, squinting at pixelated images and drumming your fingers as your work slowly exports. No one wants that.

(Prefer a desktop? Take a look at the best video editing computers elsewhere on the site.)  

In this guide, we'll help you pick the right video editing laptop for you, no matter your budget or skill level. As well as our pick of the best overall machines, we'll show you the best budget video editing laptops (under £500/$500) and our favourite mid-range options (£1,000/$1,000) too. Whether you're a Mac fan or a Windows wizard, we've got you covered. Read on for our pick of the best video-editing laptops out there...

01. MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

A brilliant Mac with a difference

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Radeon Pro 555 with 2GB memory – 560 with 4GB memory | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.4-inch Retina display (2880x1800) | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD

Innovative Touch Bar
Massive trackpad
Light, slim and portable
Battery life could be better

It might not surprise you to see Apple's most powerful laptop ever at the top of our list. The eye-catching Touch Bar may have attracted all the headlines on release, but it's the remarkable power, immaculate 13.3-inch Retina 2,560 x 1,600 resolution display and vast trackpad that make it the best for video editing.

Featuring a minimum of 8GB Ram and 256GB solid-state drive, even the entry-level MacBook Pro will be easily fast enough to deal with most editing tasks at a phenomenal lick. Its rich-sounding speakers also stand out for extra praise - handy if you're trying to nail the dialogue and ambient sounds on your latest creation.

Mac devotees will nod sagely when we say that the software available on Apple computers is the ideal companion for post-production. So if you've never used a Mac before, now might be the time to start.

Read our sister site TechRadar's MacBook Pro with Touch Bar review

02. Dell XPS 15

Best Windows laptop for video editing

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920x1080) – 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD or 1TB HDD

Lightning fast
Stunning InfinityEdge screen
Epic battery life
Odd webcam position

Last year's Windows 10-based Dell XPS 15 is quite exceptional and pushes the MacBook very close to the title. It's a wonderful-to-use piece of kit in every department.

The beautiful combination of 4K 3840x2160 resolution InfinityEdge display (the bezel is barely there) and top-of-the-range graphics card will make your footage sing as you chop and cut. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 card is powered by 4GB of video RAM, which doubles that of the MacBook. The graphic capabilities of this beast of a PC top anything else in this price range.

There's a Kaby Lake processor and 8GB of RAM as standard under the hood, but you can pay extra to ramp up the RAM to a roaring 16GB. Rapid.

Read TechRadar's full Dell XPS 15 review

Huawei MateBook X Pro

03. Huawei MateBook X Pro

Best overall laptop in the world

CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 , Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch 3K (3,000 x 2,080) | Storage: 512GB SSD

Beautiful design
Fantastic display
Terrific battery life
No SD card slot
Webcam not great

The likes of Dell, Apple and Microsoft have dominated the top of most 'best laptop' charts for a while now, Huawei been busy designing a PC to break up the monopoly. With the staggeringly good Huawei MateBook X Pro, it has well and truly achieved that goal.

There's little doubt that you'll be wowed by the gorgeous design of the X Pro, but it's the hidden inside parts that impress the most. You know that you're going to get a unit powerful enough to process heavyweight video files with ease when you see the 8th generation Intel chip, 512GB SSD and up to 16GB RAM on the spec sheet. But what you won't see on there is any indication of just how long the battery will last you - handy if you plan to work on your videos on the go. And your creations will look at their very best on the dazzling 13.9-inch display boasting a 3,000 x 2,080 resolution. This isn't merely one of the best laptops out there for editing your footage, we reckon it's among the very best laptops in the world right now.

Read TechRadar's full Huawei MateBook X Pro review

04. Microsoft Surface Book 2

One of the best is now even better

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15-inch PixelSense (3240x2160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Detachable screen
So, so powerful
Exceptional battery life
Fulcrum hinge could cause problems

You don't need to be in the film industry to know that the sequel is rarely as good as the original. But quite unlike Jaws, Speed and The Exorcist, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a definite improvement on the first generation. 

In fact, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a mere whisker away from toppling the XPS 15 for best Windows laptop for video editing. But when it comes to 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrids, there are none finer. Give the 15-inch screen a tug and it satisfyingly detaches from the keyboard, enabling you to use it as a huge tablet. Handy if you have a work in progress that you want to pass around a table. But, coming with the Surface Pen stylus, it also means you can get more control using the touchscreen for seamless video edits. 

Study the Surface Book's spec sheet and it impresses at every line. The 3,240 x 2,160 resolution display is sharper than the majority of laptops on the market (including every MacBook in existence) and 4K footage will look just how you imagined it. The presence of the GPU and Nvidia GeForce chipset gives it yet a further boost in the graphics department, while the stacks of RAM and state-of-the-art Intel processor (all configurable) make it a processing monster.

If the words of praise keep getting drowned out by volume of the price tag, then the original Surface Book is still available and would still make a more than competent companion to any video editor. You have to settle for a 13.5-inch screen, but the savings can reach as much as a grand.

Read our full Microsoft Surface Book 2 review

05. MacBook Air

The best Mac for video editing under £1,000/$1,000

CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13-inch (1440x9000) | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD

Hosts excellent editing software
Epic battery life
Comparatively affordable
No Retina display

Despite Apple's reputation for great expense, you don't have to pay top dollar for the sleek, powerful pleasure of owning one of its machines. The super-slim 13-inch MacBook Air makes for a brilliant sub-£1,000/$1,000 video editing machine.

The processor speed has just been upgraded to 1.8GHz and the default RAM has been boosted to 8GB instead – meaning silky smooth processing and fast exporting. It's a noticeably more powerful laptop than previous Air iterations. It has more ports than most MacBooks, featuring two USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 2 and a full-sized SDcard slot.

In addition to its price tag, the MacBook Air's portability make it attractive to many creative professionals. The battery life is epic and at a lightweight 1.35kg on the scales, it's svelte enough to carry around with you without feeling too burdened. Ideal if you want to work away from the office.

Read TechRadar's full MacBook Air review

06. Lenovo Yoga 720

Best Windows laptop for video editing around £1,000/$1,000

CPU: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920x1080) – UHD (3840x2160) | Storage: 256GB-512GB SSD

2-in-1 versatility
Smooth trackpad and keyboard
Solid build
No HDMI

The Lenovo Yoga 720 hits a real sweet spot between price tag and capabilities. It may not quite have the power or street smarts of the premium machines from Apple, Microsoft or Dell, but there's much to like - including the smaller impact it will have on your bank balance.

It manages to offer a full HD 15-inch display for somewhere close to a grand, if not under. And with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card as standard, you'll have the ability to experiment with effects not alien to those more powerful machines. It lacks none of the elite finish either, with the aluminium casing and backlit keyboard common to more expensive laptops.

We do rather rue the lack of an HDMI out port. If you like to instantly transmit your work in progress to a bigger screen then you'll need to find another way of going about it. But as far as compromises go, it feels like a small one. You still get an accurate touchscreen for fingertip control of your footage and sufficient processing power for frustration-free use.

Read TechRadar's Yoga 720 review

07. HP Pavilion 15

Best laptop for video editing under £500/$500

CPU: AMD dual-core A9 APU – Intel Core i7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon R5 – Nvidia GTX 1050 | RAM: 6GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1366x768) – FHD (1920x1080); touch optional | Storage: 512GB SSD – 1TB HDD

Nice big screen
Sold in wide range of places
Well...the price
Keyboard isn't great

It isn't easy to find a decently specced laptop with a large screen and still get change from £500/$500. But that trusty stalwart HP has somehow managed to produce a cheap laptop that isn't a disaster zone.

This isn't one for the pros, but if you're a beginner or keen amateur learning the ropes of video editing, the Pavilion is a good choice. Even the entry-level models have loads of storage for rolls of footage, and a little extra cash can get you more RAM, a better Intel processor or a full HD display.

Read TechRadar's Pavilion 15 review

google pixelbook

08. Google Pixelbook

Best Chromebook for video editing

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch QHD (2,400 x 1,600) LCD touchscreen | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD

Beautiful display
More on-board storage than most
Google/Android app support
Chromebook's aren't the best for editing

Let's get this out of the way...we're not entirely convinced that Pixelbooks are the best tool for video editors. They're generally not powerful enough, lack versatility and don't come with sufficient storage. But then the Google Pixelbook isn't most Chromebooks. In fact, it's probably the best we've seen to date.

Just take a look at those specifications for starters - enough to make some full blown laptops weep. A minimum of 8GB RAM, scalable up to 16GB; some of Intel's most advanced processors, a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports and a devine 12.3-inch QHD display.

With regard to the latter, that obviously means an opportunity to playback your footage with the quality it deserves. But because it's also a touchscreen that folds back on itself, it's a 2-in-1 option that means you can get more control over every cut and edit - especially if you also splash out for the Pixelbook Pen stylus.

Read TechRadar's Google Pixelbook

Related articles: