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The best laptops for video editing provide sufficient power and the ability to handle graphics-intensive tasks. Most video editing is completed on desktop PCs, so you'll need a fairly beefy laptop to compete with that kind of performance. More often than not, you'll need a laptop with gaming-grade graphics and power, and that doesn’t come cheap. Portability and even affordability take a back seat to performance with these laptops, and the best processors and GPUs are on full display here, with hefty RAM packages and fast storage to back it all up.
Our pick for the best laptop for video editing is the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo UX581 (view on Amazon). The Zenbook Duo Pro packs some serious horsepower, with impressive specs and a two 4K touch displays. If you’re looking for something a little less fancy, we’ve also included other options, including our pick for the best budget laptop for video editing.
Two 4K touch displays
Heavy and bulky
The Zenbook Pro Duo is one of the coolest looking laptops on the market. It has a beautiful 15.6-inch main display, and it also has an additional display that sits above the keyboard. The second display is also a touchscreen, and it has a 4K widescreen and a glare-resistant finish for the best possible viewing experience. The two displays allow you two multitask, take notes, and speed up your productivity. You get an ASUS pen included, which helps with editing, note-taking, and productivity tasks.
The Pro Duo comes in different configurations, but the base model provides ample power and storage. It comes equipped with a 9th generation Intel i7 processor, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 for graphics, and 1 TB of SSD storage.
ASUS made quite a few smart design decisions with the Pro Duo, providing plentiful venting along the sides for better cooling. Plus, when you open the Pro Duo, it lifts the tablet slightly and places it on an incline, which promotes better venting and more ergonomic positioning. What’s not to love? The Pro Duo is expensive, it’s quite heavy, and the battery life could be better. The keyboard design may take some getting used to also. Since the second screen takes up space on the bottom of the laptop, the keyboard is lowered down and the trackpad is located alongside the keyboard instead of below it.
Full-power Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics
Short battery life
The Acer Predator Triton 500 might be primarily marketed as a gaming laptop, but it’s also highly competent as an editing tool. It has an Intel Core i7-8750H 6-core processor, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and a 15.6-inch screen. That makes it more than capable of handling video editing software, as well as anything else you might want to do on your laptop.
It advertises a battery life of up to eight hours, which will dip down a bit when you're conducting processor-heavy tasks like gaming. It's also worth investing in extra storage if you plan on doing a lot of editing, as the 512GB SSD is speedy but sure to run out of space if you rely on it exclusively.
The Acer Predator Triton 500 is an excellent laptop for all purposes, especially in editing applications that support GPU (or discrete graphics) acceleration. Programs like Adobe Premiere Pro (or Elements), Pinnacle Studio, and Vegas Pro can hone the aforementioned RTX 2060 to export final projects in a matter of minutes. You’ll be able to focus on your videos rather than waiting around for things to finish processing, and it all comes in a stylish package to boot. It’s lightweight (less than five pounds), includes the standard array of ports (Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1, HDMI 2.0, and Mini Display), and has a programmable RGB keyboard.
Good battery runtimes
Lower number of I/O ports
The HP Pavilion 15 might not be on a par with more expensive laptops, but it's still worth a look for those who want a budget-friendly laptop for video editing. Despite its low price tag, it comes loaded with an Intel Core Core i7-8550U processor, 8GB RAM, and a 1TB HDD supplemented by 16GB of Optane to speed up loading and boot times. This is an ideal machine for editing shorter videos at 720p or 1080p. Its weakness is in its integrated Intel HD 620 graphics, which lack the raw power to push higher resolutions like 4K, but that's a relatively small compromise to make for such a low price.
The touchscreen, measuring 15.6 inches diagonal, is useful if you want to be tactile in your approach to design and editing. Though it comes as a separate purchase, a drawing stylus can be a worthwhile companion to the HP Pavilion.
Promised battery life is about nine hours, but you can expect a more realistic five or so while using it for anything taxing like playing back color corrected footage and tuning chroma key effects.
"If you're looking for a portable editing system to use on location, run through some quick color tests on your footage in the field, or need the flexibility to show edits to collaborators, one of these laptops can do the trick." — Aaron Pattap, Senior Managing Video Editor, Dotdash
Can double as a solid gaming PC
Tons of different configurations
4K touch display
Some configurations are a bit expensive
The Dell XPS 15's main highlight is its 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen, which boasts a resolution up to 3840x2160 pixels. It has an infinity edge and a 10-finger multi-touch support. When editing images and video, you’ll be able to see even the most minute details and pinpoint any minor issues you might find. Simply put, there’s no chance of any dead pixels here.
As for specs, there's an Intel Core i5-8300H processor, 8GB of RAM, Geforce GTX 1050 Ti graphics, and a 1TB SSD. With four cores and up to 4GHz of performance when Turbo Boost kicks in, the Dell XPS 15 is a fortified daily driver, for lighter video editing duties and just about everything else. If you want a more powerful laptop, the highest tier model includes a 9th Generation Intel Core 10885H processor and GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics.
Astoundingly, the XPS 15 can sustain 20 hours off the charger, but you should only expect it to live up to this claim in nearly idle conditions and at low brightness. During average use, expect to use it for about six hours. That's not bad for a laptop powering a gorgeous 4K screen, as well as two SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Type-A ports and a Kensington lock slot.
Good battery life
Responsive touch screen
Dock is a bit under powered
Half laptop, half tablet, the 15-inch Microsoft Surface Book 2 sports an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, and 512GB of storage. To convert the device to a tablet or back to a computer is a snap because of its detachable form factor. If you want to do some freeform drawing, just use your finger or a stylus to manipulate what's on screen, including scrolling along the track when editing video.
The moment you want to treat it more like a regular laptop, simply slot it back together again. However you use it, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 has a battery life of up to 17 hours (when watching videos), which equates to about seven hours during general use.
We're not saying the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is the powerhouse you might expect of a full laptop at the same price, but if you're in need of an all-in-one solution, this is a stellar option to pursue.
Amazing sound quality
MacBooks aren’t usually ideal for gaming, but the new MacBook Pro can serve as a faithful laptop for video editing because of its display quality, accurate colors, and processing power. With 3072 x 1920 native resolution at 226 pixels per inch, 500 nits brightness, and True Tone technology for a more realistic image.
The base model has a 2.6 GHz Intel i7 processor with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage. Its GPU, the AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series, can handle graphics demanding tasks. The MacBook Pro can support up to four displays at 4096x2034 resolution at 60Hz.
The new MacBook has exceptional cooling, and its battery life is impressive. The magic keyboard design promotes efficiency, while the clean MacOS interface makes for seamless work experience.
Erika Rawes has been a professional writer for more than 10 years, and she has spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. She specializes in smart home devices, networking devices, computing devices, and A/V equipment. Erika currently writes for Lifewire and Digital Trends.
Jennifer Allen has been writing about technology since 2010. She specializes in iOS and Apple technology, as well as wearable technology and smart home devices. She's been a regular tech columnist for Paste Magazine, written for Wareable, TechRadar, Mashable, and PC World.
Graphics - Graphics aren't just important for playing games—a higher-end graphics card is going to let you render and finalize edits much faster.
Storage - While most people will inevitably need some kind of external storage to hold on to extra footage, having a decent SSD under the hood can help immensely with load times and overall performance.
RAM - More RAM means being able to multitask and have more windows open without affecting speed and performance. In a laptop for video editing, you’ll want a minimum of 8GB, but more is always better.