In this article, we’ll highlight our picks for the best video editing laptops on the market today, then go over the main points a potential buyer will want to consider in choosing the right mobile workstation.
The Editors’ Choice award recognizes exceptional video production equipment, software and services. These products must help videographers be more effective storytellers while being affordable, easy to use and dependable. The products must also deliver a superior user experience.
Best budget laptop
Dell Inspiron 15
The Dell Inspiron 15 laptop features an 11th Gen Intel i-7-11390H core processor and an Intel Iris Xe Graphics video card. It also offers a 256 GB PCIe M.2 NVMe SSD and one SD-card slot. There are also a ton of other configurations you can customize to. If you’re looking to edit video on a budget, the Dell Inspiron 15 Laptop is a great option.
Best portable laptop
MSI Creator 15
Design specifically for creators, the MSI Creator 15 features a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7-10875H eight-core processor, a 15.6″ Full HD IPS Display and 512GB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD. In total, the laptop weighs just 4.19 lb. Despite its small size, the MSI Creator 15 can handle demanding creative workflows. It’s also fitted with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-series graphics cards, so it works as a gaming laptop as well. Additionally, the MSI Creator 15’s 99.9 Whr battery lasts up to nine hours on a single charge.
Overall, the MSI Creator 15 is a well-rounded, portable laptop perfect for creators working on the go.
Best performance laptop
HP Zbook Studio 15.6” G8
You would be hard-pressed to find a more powerful laptop than the HP Zbook Studio 15.6″ G8 Mobile Workstation. Not only does it house the Powered by the 2.3 GHz Intel Core i&-11800H Eight-Core CPU, it also features the NVIDIA Quadro T1200 graphics card and 16GB of DDR4 RAM. As for its display, the laptop has a 15.6″ 3840 x 2160 DreamColor HDR IPS display that covers 100% of DCI-P3 color gamut, delivering detailed color accuracy. The HP Zbook Studio 15.6″ G8 is a clear powerhouse and an excellent tool for on-the-go video editors.
Best laptop for editors who also love to game
MSI Katana GF66
The MSI Katana GF66 features the 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processors and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 series graphics. This combo not only makes this laptop great at gaming but also for video editing. With 14 cores, the 12th gen Core i7 processor offers 30% greater performance than past generations. The MSI Katana GF66 is a good laptop for video editors who like to game in their off-hours.
How do you choose?
Some features will be important for any workstation: processing power, graphics processing, memory, and storage. But choosing a portable computer differs from picking a desktop model in a number of ways. Mobile workstations are generally more limited in potential hardware upgrades than their desktop counterparts, so you’ll want to make sure your mobile build will meet your needs right out of the box.
The first choice you’ll need to make is what operating system you want to use. Windows and MacOS are both great choices, however, Apple offers the option of using Final Cut Pro (FCP), which might be important if you are currently using a Mac with FCP to edit your videos.
Screen size and screen resolution are also important factors in your purchase decision. A 15-inch workstation is an ideal size because it is large enough to see everything you need to but compact enough to fit in a backpack. However, a 13-inch model is an option if you need something smaller and slightly more cost-effective. A 17-inch screen will be quite large — good for workspace real estate but bad for travel. Resolution-wise if you are shooting in 4K, editing on a 4K display is ideal.
As for battery life; the more the better. The editor-on-the-go will want enough power to keep working through a long flight or those hours tucked away in a remote location. Video editing suites use a lot of processing power and as such use a lot of battery power when not plugged in.
The editor-on-the-go will want enough power to keep working through a long flight or those hours tucked away in a remote location.
Mobile workstations are also frequently used with a wide range of peripheral devices, from external hard drives to secondary monitors, so input/output ports are important to think about as well. Another key point to assess is portability; if you’re lugging the computer around, weight shouldn’t be overlooked. Weight-wise something that weighs around six pounds or less is a good choice for portability. These are all factors to consider in determining the right mobile workstation for you.
Look for a machine with a quality CPU, enough RAM, a solid GPU and enough storage when shopping for your next laptop. Your machine needs to work around your workflow and should meet your specific needs. Research your options and pick what works best for you.
Contributors to this article include Odin Lindblom, Erik Fritts, Chris Settineri and the Videomaker Editorial Staff.