Having the right video editing tools can make a world of difference. That’s why we’ve put together our pick of the best laptops for video editing. After all, choose the wrong one and you’ll waste hours in post-production wrestling with erratic touchpads, squinting at pixelated images and drumming your fingers as your work slowly exports.
These five fantastic laptops will make video editing a doddle. As well as our pick of the best overall machines, we’ll tell you the best video editing laptops for a budget (under £500/$500) and at the mid-range price point (£1,000/$1,000). And whether you’re a Mac fan or a Windows wizard, we have the laptop for you.
01. MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
A brilliant Mac with a difference
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Radeon Pro 555 with 2GB memory – 560 with 4GB memory | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.4-inch Retina display (2880×1800) | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD
It might not surprise you to see Apple’s most powerful laptop ever at the top of our list. The eye-catching Touch Bar may have attracted all the headlines on release, but it’s the remarkable power, immaculate 13.3-inch Retina 2,560 x 1,600 resolution display and vast trackpad that make it the best for video editing.
Featuring a minimum of 8GB Ram and 256GB solid-state drive, even the entry-level MacBook Pro will be easily fast enough to deal with most editing tasks at a phenomenal lick. Its rich-sounding speakers also stand out for extra praise – handy if you’re trying to nail the dialogue and ambient sounds on your latest creation.
Mac devotees will nod sagely when we say that the software available on Apple computers is the ideal companion for post-production. So if you’ve never used a Mac before, now might be the time to start.
02. Dell XPS 15
Best Windows laptop for video editing
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920×1080) – 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD or 1TB HDD
Last year’s Windows 10-based Dell XPS 15 is quite exceptional and pushes the MacBook very close to the title. It’s a wonderful-to-use piece of kit in every department.
The beautiful combination of 4K 3840×2160 resolution InfinityEdge display (the bezel is barely there) and top-of-the-range graphics card will make your footage sing as you chop and cut. And you can pay extra to ramp up the RAM to a hefty 16GB. Rapid.
03. Microsoft Surface Book
Superb Windows machine with a trick up its sleeve
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce Graphics | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (3000×2000) | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD
The Microsoft Surface Book wasn’t far off toppling the XPS 15 for best Windows laptop for video editing, but it waltzes to best 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrid with ease. Give the screen a tug and it satisfyingly detaches from the keyboard, enabling you to use it as a tablet.
That’s handy if you have a work in progress that you want to pass around a table. But, coming with the Surface Pen stylus, it also means you can get more control using the touchscreen. And as a laptop in its own right, it’s extremely powerful.
04. MacBook Air
The best laptop for video editing under £1,000/$1,000
CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13-inch (1440×9000) | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD
Despite Apple’s reputation for great expense, you don’t have to pay top dollar for the sleek, powerful pleasure of owning one of its machines. The super-slim MacBook Air makes for a brilliant sub-£1,000/$1,000 video editing machine.
The processor speed has just been upgraded to 1.8GHz and the default RAM has been boosted to 8GB instead – meaning silky smooth processing and fast exporting.
5. HP Pavilion 15
Best laptop for video editing under £500/$500
CPU: AMD dual-core A9 APU – Intel Core i7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon R5 – Nvidia GTX 1050 | RAM: 6GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1366×768) – FHD (1920×1080); touch optional | Storage: 512GB SSD – 1TB HDD
It isn’t easy to find a decently specced laptop with a large screen and still get change from £500/$500. But that trusty stalwart HP has somehow managed to produce a cheap laptop that isn’t a disaster zone.
This isn’t one for the pros, but if you’re a beginner or keen amateur learning the ropes of video editing, the Pavilion is a good choice. Even the entry-level models have loads of storage for rolls of footage, and a little extra cash can get you more RAM, a better Intel processor or a full HD display.