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
HP 15.6-inch Victus 15-fa0010nr Gaming Laptop
The HP 15.6-inch Victus 15-fa0010nr Gaming Laptop may be a gaming laptop, but it’s got everything you need to edit video as well. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-12500H 12-Core i5 processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics, you get the power you need to edit video while also saving some cash. Also, it’s got an effective cooling system, preventing any slowdown when handling demanding projects.
If you’re looking to edit video on a budget, the HP 15.6-inch Victus 15-fa0010nr Gaming Laptop is a great option.
Best portable laptop
MSI Creator M16
The MSI Creator M16 features a 13th-generation Intel core i7 processor, allowing it to handle taxing multitasking and pro-level processing tasks. It also has GeForce RTX 40 Series graphics along with full ray tracing. And its inclusion of the Max-Q suite of technologies streamlines the laptop’s performance and battery life.
It features a 16-inch display with an impressive color gamut, delivering vivid colors and all the details you need to edit quality videos. You can’t go wrong with the MSI Creator M16.
Best portable Mac laptop
Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro M2
The Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 Pro chip is a great laptop for Mac users looking for a budget option that can still handle demanding video editing workflows. The laptop’s Apple M2 Pro 10-core chip is more than capable of handling demanding professional creative workflows. It also features a 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with a 3024 x 1964 resolution, 1,000 cd/m² of sustained brightness and 1,600 cd/m² of peak brightness, as well as P3 color gamut support.
So, if you need a budget Mac laptop, consider the Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 Pro chip.
Best Mac laptop
Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro M2 Max
16-inch MacBook Pro M2 Max is a powerful laptop that can handle demanding workflows for creative professionals on the go. It is powered by Apple’s M2 Max 12-core chip and features a 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with a 3456 x 2234 resolution, 1,000 cd/m² of sustained brightness, 1,600 cd/m² of peak brightness and P3 color gamut support. It also comes with up to 32 GB of unified RAM and 1 TB of SSD storage.
If you’re a Mac user looking for the most bang for your buck, the Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro M2 Max is worth considering.
Best performance laptop
HP ZBook Studio G9
The HP ZBook Studio G9 is a high-performance laptop that comes with all the bells and whistles you need to edit video on the go. It features a 12th Generation Intel Core i7 processor. Additionally, it comes with 16 GB memory with 256 GB SSD storage. It also has a 16-inch diagonal WUXGA display and Intel Iris X Graphics. The HP ZBook Studio G9 is a powerful laptop and outdoes its current competition.
Best laptop for editors who also love to game
MSI 15.6-inch Stealth 15
The MSI 15.6-inch Stealth 15 features a 13th Gen Intel Core i7-13620H 10-Core processor and 16GB of 5200 MHz DDR5 RAM. Together, this combo allows the MSI 15.6-inch Stealth 15 to do creative editing without breaking a sweat. Plus, its 1 TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD keeps it running fast, allowing for fast boost and load times.
The laptop also comes with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and a 15.6-inch display. This display features a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution and 144 Hz refresh rate. The MSI 15.6-inch Stealth 15 laptop wins our recommendation.
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.