The right laptop can make your job as a video editor so much easier. But finding the right machine for your workflow can be exhausting — and expensive. Don’t worry, we’ve done our research on 2020 laptops, across price ranges, operating systems, and designs. Before we jump into our best laptop for video editing, let’s review why certain machines are better than others for this kind of task.
What is the Best Laptop for Video Editing?
A note on the criteria
High performance video editing demands three things: up-to-date computer memory (RAM), a fast Computer Processing Unit (CPU), and a Solid State Drive (SSD). If you find yourself asking: how much RAM do I need for video editing?
Think about this way: the more RAM you have, the faster your CPU boost-clock is, and the more storage your SSD has, the better. It’s all about finding the right balance between price and performance.
You may also want to consider whether or not to buy a laptop with a dedicated Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). If a laptop has a dedicated GPU, we say that the system has discrete graphics. If it doesn’t, then the graphics are integrated.
A computer with discrete graphics will help your post-production workflow but it won’t necessarily change the game.
The laptops on this list are ranked in accordance to their value for video editing, including everything from light VFX to motion graphics design. Note that some video editing programs are available only on certain operating systems. For example, Final Cut Pro only runs on MacOS. Most other video editing programs, such as Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve run on Windows and MacOS.
Note that the prices on this list are only estimates and subject to change. There are multiple configurations for each computer on this list.
MacS Remains King
1. Macbook Pro 16 (2020)
- Display: 16‑inch (diagonal) LED‑backlit display with IPS technology; 3072‑by‑1920 native resolution at 226 pixels per inch -- 500 nits brightness -- Wide color (P3) -- True Tone -- up to 60Hz refresh.
- CPU: (base) 2.6GHz 6‑core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz -- (advanced) 2.3GHz 8‑core Intel Core i9, Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz.
- Storage: (base) 512GB SSD -- (advanced) 1TB SSD.
- RAM: 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 onboard memory.
- GPU: (base) AMD Radeon 5300M -- (advanced) AMD Radeon 5500M.
- Charging/Expansion: Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and headphone jack.
The 16 inch Macbook Pro is the best laptop for video editing on the market. That being said, it’s not the perfect overall machine. It’s GPU isn’t the best. It doesn’t have a 4k display. And it doesn't have Intel's 10th generation chips. Yikes, that doesn’t sound good. So why is it the best laptop for video editing?
For what the Macbook Pro 16 lacks in raw power, it makes up for in reliability. I cannot stress enough: the number one most important thing for video editing is reliability. There’s a reason why Apple remains at the top of the laptop market. The build quality of their chassis, the color accuracy of their screens, and the reliability of their OS are second to none. Macbook video editing is as good as it gets for editing on the go and there’s no better option than the 2020 16-inch model.
Best Laptop for Video Editing on Windows
2. Dell XPS 15 (2020)
- Display: 15.6-inch (diagonal) (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge -- Anti-Glare -- Non-touch -- IPS -- 100% sRGB -- 500-Nits.
- CPU: 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-9750H (12 MB Cache, 6 Core, up to 4.50 GHz).
- Storage: 256GB - 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD SSD.
- RAM: 8GB-32GB DDR4-2666MHz.
- GPU: (base) Intel® UHD Graphics 630 -- (advanced) NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5.
- Charging/Expansion: 1 HDMI v2.0 port -- 1 Thunderbolt™ 3 with Power Delivery and DisplayPort -- 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port -- 1 Universal audio jack.
The Dell XPS 15 is the best value laptop on the market and laptop for video editing on Windows. It has strong performance capabilities, a near bezel-less 500 nit display, and a quality unibody design.
If you’re looking to do your video editing on a Windows laptop, then this is the best option.
The ASUS Alternative
3. ASUS Zephyrus G14 (2020)
- Display: 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-level panel, 120Hz, 100% sRGB, Pantone® Validated, adaptive sync.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS - AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS.
- Storage: M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 512GB / 1TB.
- RAM: Up to 32GB DDR4 3200MHz SDRAM
- GPU: (base) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GDDR6 VRAM -- (advanced) NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 VRAM.
- Charging/Expansion: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with DisplayPort™ 1.4 and Power Delivery -- 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C -- 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A -- 1 x HDMI 2.0b -- 1 x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack -- 1 x Kensington lock.
2020 is the year that AMD stole the thunder from Intel, and the ASUS Zephyrus G14 is proof of that. For generations, Intel CPU’s have made minimal progress in terms of speed and performance. AMD CPUs and GPUs on the other hand have made monumental gains.
The Zephyrus G14 received rave reviews from tech critics upon release in 2020, with many citing the system’s AMD Ryzen 9 CPU as its best component. Although the G14 was built for gaming, it’s a killer video editing machine as well.
It blew out nearly every other laptop in PC World’s multi-threaded Cinebench test. The G14 may not be a cheap laptop for video editing, but it’s much less expensive than the other premium options on this list.
The Razer Experience
4. Razer Blade 15 (2020)
TECH SPECS (best value configuration)
- Display: 15.6" Full HD 144Hz, 100% sRGB, 4.9mm bezel, factory calibrated.
- CPU: 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-10750H 6-Core (2.6GHz / 5.0GHz).
- Storage: 512GB SSD (M.2 NVMe).
- RAM: 16GB Dual-Channel (8GB x 2) DDR4-2933MHz
- GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2070 with Max-Q Design (8GB GDDR6 VRAM).
- Charging/Expansion: USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB-A) x2, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C).
Razer laptops are most noteworthy for being gaming-machines, but plenty of users use them to edit video as well. There are a multitude of configurations for the Razer Blade 15. Seriously, you could mix and match components to your heart’s content. But we put together the best value configuration for video editing.
If you’re a fan of Razer’s brand aesthetic and have the money to spend, then the 2020 Razer Blade 15 isn’t a bad option.
Microsoft’s Premiere Notebook
5. Surface Book 3 (2020)
- Display: 15” PixelSense™ (Resolution 3240 x 2160,) 260 PPI10 point multi-touch.
- CPU: Quad-core 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-1065G7 Processor.
- Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB PCIe SSD.
- RAM: 16GB or 32GB 3733Mhz LPDDR4x.
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q Design w/6GB GDDR6 graphics memory.
- Charging/Expansion: 2 x USB-A (version 3.1 Gen 2) -- 1 x USB-C® (version 3.1 Gen 2 with USB Power Delivery revision 3.0) -- 3.5mm headphone jack -- 2 x Surface Connect ports (one on keyboard base, one on tablet) -- Full-size SDXC card reader.
Microsoft is notorious for making… how do I say... hardware that nobody wants. Think Zune, Band, and yes, Surface laptops. For years Microsoft has tried to make their Surface laptops a thing, but they haven’t been successful.
Enter the Surface Book 3 -- the best laptop Microsoft has ever made. It’s not the best video editing laptop, and it’s not for everybody, but if you’re looking for a hybrid that’s capable of video editing and pencil-drawing, then the Surface Book 3 may be the laptop for you.
Laptops for Film Editing
Buying a premium laptop for video editing can get expensive. Here are some other options for you to consider:
Macbook Pro 13 (2020) - $1,299 - $1,999
Alienware m15 (2019) - $1,379.78
MSI Creator 17 (2020) - $2,000
Lenovo Legion (2020) - $1,709
Dell G5 (2020) - $879.99
Best video editing apps
Laptops give us the ability to edit on the go, but sometimes we need an even greater degree of portability. There are a bunch of great video editing apps on mobile, but finding them can be a difficult task. Don’t worry, we got rid of the clutter to present our list of the best apps on iOS and Android.