The best laptops for video editing in 2019

Best laptops for video editing

Welcome to our pick of the best laptops for video editing in 2019. If you want to use a laptop for video editing, it needs to be powerful to ensure stutter-free, smooth performance when arranging and previewing audio and video clips. This is especially true when editing 4K video, which is only really possible on a high-end laptop.

To manipulate high resolution video files and run the best video editing software, you’ll need a fast processor, ideally with four or more cores, along with plenty of memory and storage. And you might want a laptop with a decent graphics card, since many of the popular high-end video editing software packages can take advantage of a computer’s graphics card to accelerate performance.

For that reason, some of the best video editing laptops are gaming systems. With lashings of CPU and graphics power, they’ll chew through the best digital art software and encode videos faster than any standard laptop.

Power at a price (you can afford)

We won’t lie, the most powerful laptops can be really pricey, and you’ll probably find video editing frustratingly slow on entry-level laptops, such as the most affordable Chromebooks. But thanks to the ever-falling cost of computer hardware, the good news is that with a reasonable budget, you’ll be able to buy a laptop that is absolutely up to the task of editing video up to 1080p resolution, without choppy or laggy performance getting in the way of your creative ideas.

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 and our favourite mid-range options too. 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.

Read on for our pick of the best video-editing laptops out there...

Image: HP

Image: HP

01. HP Envy 13 (2019)

Great performance at a brilliant price

CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620, Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 256-512GB SSD

Lightweight
Powerful
No six-core processors
No 4K display

The current HP Envy 13 deserves its title as the current best all-round video editing laptop. It has an elegant, lightweight design, weighing just 1.3kg, with a great keyboard and a FullHD screen. 

And it’s also cracking value for money, with even the more affordable variant packing plenty of performance, with a quad-core processor, full HD display, discrete graphics and enough storage and memory to handle video editing.

Bump up the spec and you get more memory, a bigger SSD and a faster 4GHz Intel Core i7 processor. Although it’s probably not up to the job of editing 4K video, it will certainly handle 1080p footage without complaining, and without breaking the bank

Image: Apple

02. 15-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

The larger MacBook Pro is now available with 8 processor cores.

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 9750H (six cores) / 2.3 GHz Intel Core i9 9980HK (eight cores) | Graphics: Radeon Pro 555X / 560X / Vega 16 / Vega 20 | RAM: 16-32GB | Screen: 15.4-inch Retina display (2880x1800) | Storage: 256GB SSD - 4TB SSD

Thin and light
8-core processor
Very expensive
No NVIDIA graphics option

One of the most powerful and flexible video editing software packages is Apple’s Final Cut Pro, but it only works on Macs, and the most powerful Mac laptop that is most capable of running it well is the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Just recently, Apple upgraded its entire range of MacBook Pros with faster Intel processors, packing even more video editing performance into what is a very compact design, weighing just 1.83kg and measuring 1.55cm thick.

The 15-inch model is now equipped with either a six or eight-core Intel Core i9 processor running at up to 5GHz Turbo, certain to chomp through even 4K video.

The upgrade options include AMD Vega 20 graphics with 4GB of HBM2 memory, which is significantly faster than the Radeon Pro 560X graphics in the base model, along with up to 4TB of storage and up to 32GB of memory. It’s also worth mentioning the TrueTone Retina display on the 15-inch MacBook Pro looks really good, and is great for any kind of visual design work. 

Product shot of Dell Inspiron 14 5000

Image: Dell

03. Dell Inspiron 14 5000

A fantastic mid-range video editing laptop

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

Great price
IPS display
Low-end graphics
Not great for 4K video editing

Not to be confused with the 2-in-1 Inspiron laptops, the brand new 14-inch 5000 series is a standard laptop design that offers an eight-generation Intel quad-core processor and discrete graphics card together with a 1,920x1,080 IPS display, to offer some excellent video editing performance.

Best of all, the price for the entry level configurations starts at $649.99, which is more than reasonable for a video editing rig. SSD storage options, a Core i7 processor and an additional hard disk are among the available upgrades, making this laptop even better for video editing.

Acer Predator Helios 500

04. Acer Predator Helios 500

This gaming laptop is great for video editing

CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5); Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 8 - 16GB | Screen: 17.3-inch 1080p (1,920 x 1080) | Storage: 512GB SSD; 2TB HDD

Powerful processor
Plenty of graphics grunt
Slightly bulky
Pricey top-end configurations

One of the best video-editing laptops right now is Acer’s 17-inch gaming-focused Helios 500. This Windows machine has a few tricks up its sleeve to make it one of the fastest laptops you can buy for any kind of multimedia work. Along with a built-in 2TB hard disk that’s great for storing loads of media files, as well as 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD, it has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 – a high-performance graphics card that can accelerate plugins and visual effects.

But it has another trick up its sleeve, since you can either order it with with a six-core Intel Core i9, or an eight-core AMD Ryzen processor. Eight cores can outperform six, and in some cases, this nudges the AMD Ryzen slightly ahead of Intel’s Core i9 chip for video editing.

Microsoft Surface Book 2

05. 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

Apple MacBook Air (2018)

06. Apple MacBook Air (2018)

The Air is now more powerful but just as portable

CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 (dual-core / quad-core) | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 617 | RAM: 8 - 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina display | Storage: 128GB - 1.5TB SSD

Core i5 can handle video editing
Still as portable as ever
Still no quad-core option
No longer the affordable option

Before 2018, the MacBook Air was Apple’s most affordable Mac, but only capable of basic video editing as it hadn’t been updated for years. That all has changed. The newest MacBook Air now has a high-resolution display, faster eight generation dual-core processor and more memory, all of which make a big difference to its video editing credentials. Unfortunately, it’s no longer the affordable option it once was, but it could still be called Apple’s most portable video editing laptop.

MSI Prestige P65 Creator

07. MSI Prestige P65 Creator

Super slim and super powerful

CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (Max-Q) | RAM: 8 - 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina display | Storage: 128GB - 1.5TB SSD

Fast processor and graphics
Looks great
Screen wobbles a bit
144Hz screen more suited to gaming

MSI has delivered the goods here with the Prestige P65 Creator, a fantastically light laptop that looks as great as it performs. An optional six-core Intel processor, Nvidia GeForce graphics card (up to a GTX 1070) along with 16GB of memory will make your footage render at super fast speeds. It has some great visual touches, with chamfered edges around the chassis, and a lovely large trackpad. If you snag the limited edition version, you can get a 144Hz screen as well.

 HP Pavilion 15

08. 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: the HP Pavilion 15. 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.

Lenovo Yoga 720

09. 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

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