Few tasks require more horsepower than video editing. While you can trim small clips with even an inexpensive laptop, to work with raw HD or 4K video or to create special effects, you need a fast processor, strong discrete graphics and a high-resolution display. Here are five laptops that are powerful enough to handle even your most demanding video-editing projects.
Best Overall – Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW
A relative bargain, the ZenBook Pro UX501VW has a sharp and vibrant 4K display, a speedy quad-core Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and powerful Nvidia 960M graphics, all for under $1,400. Despite these energy-gulping components, the ZenBook Pro UX501VW also lasts a strong 8 hours on a charge when surfing the web. A Thunderbolt 3 port allows you to connect to the fastest external drives on the market.
Best Mac – MacBook Pro 15-inch
For many professional video editors and media students, only a Mac will do. Not only is macOS the platform of choice for millions of creative professionals, but many filmmakers swear by Final Cut Pro, which runs only on Apple hardware. Despite its generous 15.4-inch, 2800 x 1800 display, the MacBook Pro weighs a highly portable 4.49 pounds and gets over 9 hours of battery life. A powerful, but dated, Intel 4th Generation Core i7 CPU and Radeon R9 M370X GPU should handle anything you throw at them.
Most Portable – Microsoft Surface Book
A 2-in-1 that’s powerful enough for professional video-editing and portable enough to take anywhere, the Surface Book combines an optional Core i7 CPU and discrete Nvidia graphics with a colorful, 3000 x 2000 display. With over 12 hours of battery life, you’ll be able to work while away from an outlet for a long time. Better still, the 13.5-inch screen detaches from its keyboard dock so you can use it as a tablet, editing videos while you stand up or sketching with its stylus.
Best Performance – Lenovo ThinkPad P70
If you need the most powerful video-editing laptop around and don’t care about portability, the ThinkPad P70 could be your best choice. Lenovo’s 17-inch laptop has the high-end components you need, not only for working on video files but for creating original animations and computer-assisted designs.
You can configure the P70 with a quad-core, Core i7 CPU, Nvidia Quadro M4000M graphics, a 4K display and a color calibrator.
Best Design – Dell XPS 15
With a gorgeous, lightweight carbon-fiber chassis and an eye-popping 4K screen that displays 191 percent of the sRGB color gamut, the XPS 15 lets you edit video in style. The 4.4-pound, 15-inch laptop also offers strong specs, such as a quad-core, Core i7 CPU, Nvidia 960M graphics and an NVMe-PCIe SSD.