Best Laptops for Video Editing
Video editing is a process of manipulating and rearranging video shots to create new content. It is a part of the post-production process which has major significance in the final output of the video. Video Editors are usually very technical when it comes to their work as it is a tough job to do and quite time-consuming. It should be fun! After reading so many articles and watching interviews of the top video editors in the industry, I noticed one thing they all said in common, which was,” It should be fun otherwise you won’t be able to do it!”.
Video editors are very selective when it comes to the choice of laptops they will use for video editing. Video editors who are editing sizeable videos in full HD or 4K formats require high-end supercomputers to complete their task in a fun and easy manner. Any lagging in the process may break the flow and is quite frustrating. You all know what I feel when I say this! Video consumes a lot of resources and power, not as much as you might think in some cases and more than you might realize in others. So I am going to break it down into really simple terms for you, about what you need and what you don’t when it comes to video editing and which is the best laptop for video editing for the year 2018.
Most of the users who are creating simple content for YouTube or editing basic videos which are not full HD or 4K might end up with a good laptop for around $350 to $600. If you are doing more advanced stuff or doing filmmaking, you might have different requirements. Now let’s talk about the bare minimum requirements for basic video editing. The main components of a laptop which affect the video editing capabilities and performance are the CPU, HARDRIVE SPEEDS, RAM AND THE GRAPHICS CARD.
Keeping all these components in mind, and after reviewing many different laptops, I have come to the conclusion that the best laptops for video editing are:
- MacBook Pro 15” with Touch Bar
- Dell XPS 15
- Microsoft Surface Book 2
- Lenovo Yoga 720
- HP Pavilion 15
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MacBook Pro 15” with Touch Bar
Pros & Cons
The Design of the MacBook Pro has been uplifted after the year 2015. Apple made some significant design changes like cutting down on the thickness of the laptop and increasing the size of the beautiful touchpad. Replacing the old keyboard mechanism with the latest butterfly keys, decreasing the key travel and lowering the sound of the keys (Something many users did not like. Including me!). The most significant change that the company has brought to the Mac line-up is the removal of the beautiful backlit apple logo. Yes! It has been removed and is replaced by a shiny metal look apple logo just like the ones on the iPhones. But it is still fitted in a beautiful solid aluminum body with elegantly tapered edges, and two attractive colors: Classic Silver and the all-new Space Gray.
Apple, unlike the other rivals, has not compromised on screen, even a bit! It is still using the old bezel display not changing the webcam directions. Competitors like Dell XPS13 and Huawei Matebook X Pro have their webcams on the bottom bezel, which undoubtedly offers some bizarre camera angles.
The 15” MacBook Pro has a 15.5mm screen, offering an excellent experience for video editors and is also super sleek and light weighing around 4lbs, as portability is essential for on the go video editing.
Talking of power and capability, let’s discuss the Performance of the 15” beast. As the name beholds, the MacBook Pro is more or less like its name, literally a Pro machine when it comes to power and performance. The Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU and 32GB of RAM together are a perfect duo for massive utility. All the video editors out there who are already using the MacBook 15” knows what I’m talking about. Imagine performance so fast, so fluent, no lag between such enormous files and videos. Hard to believe? Well, it is possible with the MacBook Pro.
The company offers the 15” model laptop with 3 Intel CPU options, all new Kaby Lake 8th generation; a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7 processor with 6 cores and with Intel’s Turbo Boost which is up to 4.1GHz; a 2.6GHz Core i7 with 4.3GHz Turbo Boost, and a 2.9 GHz Core i9—also with 6 cores, and with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz. The basic specification has 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 RAM— that compared to LPDDR3 last year, and there is now also an upgrade option to 32GB for the price of $400.
For a video editor, graphics play a significant role. The GPU speeds with 4GB of GDDR5 of Radeon Pro 555X. Also, you can upgrade to 560X with the only difference of $100.
As far as the storage is concerned, Apple really knows how to extract money from its customers. The base option starts at 256GB, but you can upgrade it to 512GB with an additional price of $200. To upgrade to 1TB and 2TB, extra bucks of $600 and $1400 respectively. Not just this, for the first time, there is also an option to expand storage to 4TB, which costs the customer $3,400 above the base price for the laptop. There is a reason for Apple to be a multi-millionaire company.
The only thing which comes to my mind when I read the word connectivity options is ports. Rather than waiting for other competitors to match, Apple has always tried to step ahead in future with its technologies. First, it removed the headphone jack from the iPhones and introduced the wireless way of doing things. Then, it removed the back-lit apple logo, just to succeed in its plan to create the thinnest and lightest laptop ever. Now, from the 2016 model of the MacBook Pro, Apple has removed all the existing ports from the laptop and replaced it with the USB type-C ports. On the 15” model, there are four ports, two on each side. The USB type-C is no doubt the best port for data transfer, and according to tests, the fastest too. It is more of a universal port, like one port for everything.
The display on the new 2018 MacBook Pro is phenomenal. Big beautiful bright display, the glitches or reflective screens are not a problem to be considered for Apple users. The 2018 model of the laptop features for the first time, “The True Tone Display”. The company claims that it uses several advanced multi-channel sensors to adjust the color and intensity as per the surroundings. Don’t worry! It was tough for me as well to understand, what the new display was all about. Let’s understand.
In my room, I have bright fluorescent lighting, and to my surprise, the MacBook’s display adjusted the color and balance to warmer tones, different and better than what it did in the natural lighting. Comparing the old Macs with the latest one will show you the difference very easily.
The 15.4-inch display is smart for sure with 2880×1800 resolutions on a 4K video. Looking at the stats, MacBook Pro is more radiant in terms of brightness and color as compared to its competitors which are the XPS 15 and the surface book 2.
A keyboard is one of the most important components of a computer. Key to fast and error-free typing is a good responsive keyboard which certainly is the case with the Apple’s MacBook. In the 2018 model of the laptop, the keyboard has been made quieter than before. Looking under the keyboard, we’ve found a membrane under each key, which helps avoid debris enter inside, and as a result, there are no stuck keys and quiet typing is the cherry on the top. There is a lot of difference when it comes to typing on the older 2012-2013-2014 MacBook pros and 2016-2017-2018 MacBook Pros.
If key-travel bothers you, then the 2018 MacBook Pro might take some of your time to adjust with them. The key-travel is 0.7mm which is less than its competitors with Surface Book 2 having 1.2mm of key-travel. Overall, the keys on the keyboard are very responsive, and it could bother you for some time, but after that, you will love typing on it.
The Touchpad is massive on the new laptop, with 6.3 x 3.9-inches. The track-pad is force touch which means that it doesn’t really move, it is a solid piece when the laptop is turned off. The MacBook has a haptic feedback mechanism inside, which simulates click when the laptop is in use. It could take you time to get used to this new system of force-touch and haptic feedback. New gestures have to be learned only then you will start loving the responsive new touchpad on the MacBook Pro 15”.The track-pad also knows when you are pressing it with greater force, it can differentiate your touch on the basis of the force you apply, opening new options and features for video editors. Innovative!
On the go, video editing requires a good battery life. Performing heavy tasks like video editing which consumes different resources and bulky software may drain all of the laptop’s battery in a few hours. But the MacBook especially the 15” model has a battery life of 10hours and 20min. which lasts all day. On top of that, generous Apple has provided us with more options for saving battery (turning on Automatic Graphics Switching under system and preferences).
I hope I have successfully impressed you with the features and beauty of the MacBook Pro, but now it’s time for the reality check. Yes! I’m hinting towards the cost of this power machine. The MacBook pro 15” costs a whopping $4,699, and includes an 8th Gen Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD and a discrete AMD Radeon 560X GPU with 4GB of memory.
The base model of the 15” MacBook Pro costs $2,399, in a configuration that includes an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of memory, a 256GB SSD and a Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory.
The Core i9 CPU costs a mere $400 extra. But as it is so expensive already, the customer has one chance of upgrading the SSD from basic which is 512GB up-to 2TB costing $1,400 extra.
Bottom-line is that the 15” MacBook Pro is one of the best laptops for video editing as of today in the market. With remarkable speeds and long lasting battery life, it is difficult to keep away from such a device. Not just this, the Truetone display is radiant than ever, force touchpad and swift keys on the most responsive keyboard are brilliant. Most importantly, it is powerful under the hood as well. The Core i9, 32GB of RAM configuration does the job.
If only there were more connectivity options, other than the fastest USB type-C, it would be great. Not everyone would prefer to carry around a bag full of dongles to do their tasks; it defeats the purpose of portability as well.
Dell XPS 15
Pros & Cons
Dell has always been a very promising company when it comes to laptops. Both performance and style are focused on the products. Video Editors who are already using the XPS 15 are immensely satisfied with the performance of the laptop.
The Design of the XPS 15 from the year 2017 is very similar to its predecessor. There are no radical changes in design, fine aluminum chassis which encloses in a rubberized panel surrounded by plastic inputs. The keyboard is improved than the last time, with key travel similar to the MacBook Pro. It has a slim industrial design look which catches the eye for sure. Not just this, it even has a similar shiny metal logo at the center of the lid which looks stunning. The machine looks quite beautiful on the outside, and I assure you that it is beautiful inside as well. The screen is almost bezel-less which the company calls “infinity edge bezel” surrounding the 15.6”display. As compared to its rivals, it measures 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.5-0.7 inches and weighs around 4.2 pounds, which is great.
Talking about the screens, let’s jump to the display of this machine. The display of the XPS 15 is capable of producing rich color and fine sharp details, the matte 1920 x 1080p resolution display steals the show. Looking at the fine details of the pictures on the screen, I was hardly surprised knowing that it can reproduce 115 of the sRGB gamut. The competition has become even more vibrant and colorful when compared to the flagships like the MacBook Pro, Spectre 360, Matebook X and SurfaceBook.
Moving on to the keyboard and touchpad segment of the review, I am extremely satisfied with the island styled keys’ with above average 70g of actuation force which adds bounce to the typing experience. Average user hit typical 70 words per minute on the 10fastfingers typing test without falling out. The key-travel is less as compared to other laptops, but it is fairly similar to the MacBook Pro with 0.7mm travel. Again, it is pretty great, but it can take time for you to get used to it.
The touchpad is also as good as the keyboard; 4 x 3.1-inch size provides plenty of space to carry out our tasks without lag. It is quick and responsive to boot, also responsive when it comes to scrolling and pinch zoom in and out.
Under the hood, Performance takes the lead with 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-8750H processor with 16GB of RAM packed inside the slim case. The XPS 15 has performed equally well on Geekbench four, where it scored 19,775, besting the 11,492 premium laptop average score. On running several tests on the performance of the laptop, it has passed each one of them with pretty decent marks and is surely a powerful device for heavy tasks like video editing.
As Discussed earlier, a video editor needs portability and battery life for his on the go task of video editing. The battery life is the second most important thing for them to look for in a laptop, first obviously being the performance. The XPS 15 can run a class when it comes to endurance. The laptop lasted 11 hours and 56 min. On a single charge which makes it an almost perfect machine for video editors.
Connectivity ports are something which we can’t forget, it’s the USB type-C era everybody!
Well, this beast has enough ports for carrying out any office work or video editing and even gaming battle-stations as well. On the right side there is a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a SD card reader, and a battery status indicator equipped with 5 lights. There is another Type-A port on the left side accompanied by a Thunderbolt 3 port, an HDMI 2.0 port, a headset jack and a AC adapter port.
As we are focussing mainly on the video editing components, let’s discuss the graphics configurations and costs respectively. The $1,549 model of the Dell XPS 15 is equipped with 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-8750H processor with 16GB RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q GPU with 4GB of VRAM, and an Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU with a 1920 x 1080p resolution panel.
The base model costs $1,049 and pulls the CPU down to a 2.3-GHz Intel Core i5-8300H processor with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive speeded at 5,600 RPM, an Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU and a 1920 x 1080p resolution.
For heavier editing of good quality, yes! I’m talking about the 4K video editing on the Dell XPS 15, you need to go a step further with the cost. The $2,599, will offer you a 3840 x 2160 touch screen with double the RAM. model, with a 1TB PCIe SSD. If you require even more power than this, Dell has a $2,949 model that offers an over-clockable 2.9-GHz Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU.
Verdict– Multimedia is the catch with the Dell XPS 15. With high graphics options, it can also play the role of a gaming laptop. Slim design that is outraging with power, which includes an Intel Core i7 processor with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q. Responsive keyboard and touchpad help to enhance the beauty of the device. All in all, it is a capable machine to perform tasks like video editing and regular office work.
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Pros & Cons
When the original surface book was released, no one thought that there could be the second edition released as well. The Surface book 2 from Microsoft is expensive and looking at its features and design, it has to be. The Surface Book 2 is more protected than the original one and is by far the best 2-in-1 laptop in the market at this time.
The Design of the Microsoft Surface Book is very clean, with the idea of the original surface book being evolved into the modern day. Microsoft has taken lessons from the Surface book i7 and other previous models and powered up the performance of the device. The surface book 2 is a light and slim laptop; power packed and feels elegant when detached from its hinge. It is the lightest tablet to use after detachment. The fulcrum hinge of the laptop is sturdy but unwieldy to cramp up into a backpack. Otherwise, there are no important design changes in the surfacebook2.
The display’s resolution is short of 4K laptops, it is very much similar to the Apple’s P3 color gamut, and there is not much difference when it comes to color reproduction. In the previous version of the Surface book, the touch response of the display was very less, and there was consistent lag with touch responses, even drawing on the screen was bit by bit in traces, but this with the Surface Book 2 this issue of lag and poor performance has been fixed, the touch is responsive than ever. Resolution of 3240×2160 and 3:2 aspect ratio and 26PPI color gamut. It has a solid display as compared to its competition in the market.
Moving on to the performance of the laptop, Intel’s new Core i7-8650U processor saves the day, with maximum multicore functionality and minimum battery withdrawal. The single core score is better than the original Surface Book, so think about the improvement in the performance with multi-core score, well it is approximately 85% better than its predecessor. The 8th generation Core is a major jump forward in demanding software, and the Surface Book 2 surely reaps the benefit of it becoming one of the best laptops for video editing. The base model is equipped with a 256GB SSD, but it is always upgradable to 1TB costing you extra $800. A customer’s choice and pocket. Indeed! It’s not just the SSD after upgrading; you get lightning fast speeds of 2.8GB/sec. The HP ZBook 14u G4 is the only Windows laptop that outruns the Surface Book 2 in performance while other competitors still struggle to reach those speeds.
Talking of performance, let’s get to the graphics of the device, does it comply with the needs of a video editor? It does. The 15-inch Book 2 comes with an Nvidia GTX 1060, while the 13-inch model has the GTX 1050 GPU. Not only amazing fluent video editing without lag with these master-class GPUs, but it can also do gaming, it has the entry-level specifications even to call it a gaming laptop. But Microsoft is entirely into Professionalism, I guess.
Till now, we know that this 2-in-1 laptop is fast and powerful. We also know that it is portable, with tablet mode and laptop mode both, light and slim. It fulfills most of the requirements of a video editor, but the most important battery life is yet to discuss. Microsoft has provided the 15” model with a battery of 90 watt-hours. Divided between tablet and base with 23 watt-hours and 67 watt-hours, combined with the Intel chip outlasts an entire day without any issues. A major drawback of the battery which can be taken into consideration is that, in tablet mode, one-third of the battery is used, which drains fast in tablet mode and then depends on the rest 67watt-hour juices up with the laptop mode.
Cannot forget the ports, It is provided with 2 x full-size USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, 2 x Surface Connect ports (1 in tablet, 1 in the base), full-size SDXC card reader. Perfect for video editors and other professionals.
Verdict– There is a lot to love and less to complain about the Surface Book 2, so I recommend you to consider this as an option for a full-time video editing software. It is powerful and sleek, light in grams and heavy on performance. The only issue is the battery life on tablet mode which matters somewhere but all in all with a responsive touchscreen. It is a beautiful device.
Lenovo Yoga 720
Pros & Cons
The Lenovo Yoga 720 is a 2-in-1 laptop, which provides premium features at a reasonable price. It has an all-metal chassis defining its premium look, vibrant colors and solid performance. Surely, a laptop to be considered by video editors.
Starting with the design, the Yoga 720 is a small laptop, it is sleek and light but is still small with 13 inches of screen size. It has a silver lid, with the yoga logo unapologetic about its font. A black bezel surrounds the display. There are also backlit island-style keys and a fingerprint sensor for security.
The display– Yoga 720 has a 1080p full HD display. The touchscreen is dimmer than most of its ultraportable competitors in the market, which may be a bane for video editors. The color is still pretty vivid with the panel producing an amazing 141% of the sRGB color gamut, winning the ultraportable average of 104 nits and the not so vivid displays on the Dell Inspiron (71%) and the Envy x360 (77%). The Yoga 920 is great but less vivid at 105%.
Moving on to the performance of the laptop, thanking the 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe SSD, the basic configuration of the Lenovo Yoga 720 is up to all of your multitasking making it good efficiency for heavy tasks. On the Geekbench 4, the Lenovo Yoga 720 scored 10,622 leaving behind the ultraportable average score. But it is still left behind Inspiron and yoga 920.
Graphics are also petty descent with The Yoga 720, stunning visuals, thanks to a cutting-edge NVIDIA GTX1050 discrete graphics card with significantly boosted speed and power-efficiency from its predecessors.
The keyboard and touchpad are not meeting the expectations as such. The keyboard feels stiff and flat, with 1.2mm of key-travel and 68 grams of actuation force. On the 10fastfingers.com test, I could only score a minimum of 112 words per minute, with a 6% error rate. I know I can do it better because I have scored pretty well on the MacBook Pro and XPS 15 and even surface book 2. The touchpad is pretty responsive to windows functions, like pinch out and pinch in for zoom or tapping our fingers to check the notifications, etc.
The Battery life is decent according to the laptop. It offers around 8hours and 28 minutes on a single charge. The ultraportable average ratio is 8:11, and it surpassed both the Inspiron and the Envy. Lenovo’s own Yoga 920, is even more long-lasting, clocked at 12:22.
Configurations- The base model of the Lenovo yoga 720 costs $879 with an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe SSD. For $1,049.99, you can upgrade to a Core i7-8550U CPU and 512GB SSD, but with the same 8GB of RAM. If you’re still not satisfied, Lenovo has offered another high-end model at $1,499.99, getting the Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a TB SSD and boosted to a 4K display. That model also comes with a Lenovo Active Pen.
Verdict-The Lenovo Yoga 720 is a reasonably priced laptop according to the price of the base model, starting at $879.The Display is a bit of a turn down with dimmer brightness as compared to its other rivals, but to the contrary extremely vivid. The keyboard is also not as good as expected with key-travel 1.2mm, snappier. However, if you require a solid combination of performance, quality, and design, the Yoga 720 should be on your priority list.
HP Pavilion 15
Pros & Cons
HP Pavilion 15 is an ultra-book with great specifications on paper being powerful and portable. It is a very popular series of laptops, the pavilion. The company has launched the 2018 model of the pavilion 15 with upgraded 8th generation Intel core processor and dedicated GPU. But as per my opinion, it is extremely overpriced, just because of the goodwill of the company and not on the basis of specifications. Let’s find out.
The design of the laptop is full plastic, flexed plastic. The full body is plastic except for the keyboard area and top panel. These two are brushed with aluminum which looks sleek and stylish to the eye. The main material is not premium in looks, its plastic, which looks very cheap and thus makes the laptop look overpriced.
The HP pavilion sports a 15.6-inch WLED Full HD display, with former only on the top panel. The display is touch sensitive and responsive. The an excellent is good quality with bright colors and vividness. it also reproduces good color gamut.
Performance-Under the hood, the laptop is equipped with the latest 8th gen 8550U Intel Core i7 processor with Nvidia 940MX DDR3 GPU. The performance of the laptop otherwise is normally okay, but the sound does bother you when the fan is working. It produces such loud sound, maybe because of the plastic body, but it will be a headache for active users. Not only this, someone would somehow tolerate the loud noise of the fan, but what about the heating? The device still heats as much as the fan makes noise. Does it do any good? Umm… No!
Video editors can still consider this laptop for the fact that it does have superior premium graphics. HP has equipped the Pavilion 15 with a dedicated graphics core. There is a built-in GeForce 940MXGPU which is considered an entry-range model. It supports DirectX 12 and operates at speeds up to 1176 MHz. The graphics core can access 2048 MB of DDR3 storage. The results in the 3D Mark benchmark are at a normal level for the GPU used in this device.
Loving the keyboard and track-pad of this one. The HP Pavilion 15 has tactile keys which provide ample key-travel which makes the typing faster than most of its competitors. For video editors and for other professional purposes, this laptop will make you love the keyboard for sure. I personally, had a wonderful typing experience while using this one. It is voted equal to the MacBook series. The bright back-lit keys will surely help you type in the dark without any lag. On the other hand, the touchpad is plastic made. Anyone will notice the difference in the feel of the touchpad while using. The touchpad feels cheap and sometimes unresponsive. The touchpad is not tactile and may be uncomfortable for most of the users.
There are many ports fitted in the slim light body of the HP Pavilion 15. The laptop is even equipped with an Ethernet port. Which is unique nowadays as no other ultra-book has this option which may be necessary for some technologically backward country. Also, there is a USB C port, two USB A port on either side of the device, an HDMI port, a full-size SD card slot, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Another surprising thing on this “vintage” device is the DVD Drive. Yes! You read that right, it houses a DVD Drive in 2018, no one uses it, no other ultra-portable laptop has this option, but this spectacular laptop does.
Now, moving on to the battery that this laptop has to offer. Well, it houses a 38 Watt-hour battery. It is a small battery as compared to other rivals, but it will do decently. The battery is a drawback for this laptop. A reason for video editors that could make them think twice.
Configuration– the HP Pavilion 15 has been provided with (Intel i7-7700HQ, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 1 TB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Graphics 2GB Dedicated, Windows 10 Home) and is priced at $459.
Verdict– All in all, the device is decent for basic video editors and basic level gaming. With NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Graphics 2GB, the video editing process works fluently, but not 4K video editing. Portability is not an issue with this problem, and the main reason for video editors to opt for this laptop could be because of its phenomenal range of connectivity options, from Ethernet to DVD drive, it can do it all. A decently priced laptop for entry-level video editing, period.
At the end of it all, after going through the spectacular range of the above laptops, I would highly recommend the 15” MacBook Pro to all the video editors, if they are looking for the best without giving another thought about the money. It even greatly compliments the Apple Ecosystem. It is a thin, light, beautiful looking premium flagship laptop for the people who are looking for both looks and power.