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Best laptops for video editing 2024: Work faster with these expert picks

Saturday November 18, 2023. 02:00 PM , from PC World
Video editing can put quite a heavy burden on any computer. So, when shopping for a laptop for video editing, you’ll want to make sure you’re loading up on enough heavy hardware firepower to get the job done. While you might not need the absolute top-of-the-line gear, simply buying a gaming laptop and calling it a day is probably not going to cut it. Beyond just processor and graphics performance, serious video editors need to take into account a few things such as the quality of the display, port selection, and onboard storage capacity.

Why you should trust us: PCWorld has been covering PCs since 1983, and reviews more than 70 notebooks a year in our never-ending quest to find the best laptops. Our expert reviewers evaluate every machine using a combination of performance benchmarks and rigorous usability standards, with an eye toward identifying the best laptops for specific needs and at various price points. We also edit lots of videos ourselves, with the results appearing on PCWorld’s YouTube channel. Take a look at our top picks for video editing below, followed by buying advice and more details about our testing process.

If you’re on a budget or just looking to save some money, you may also want to check out our daily roundup of the best laptop deals to scope out any discounts on content creation notebooks.

Update May 2, 2024: We added the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Ultra as the Best Laptop for Video Editing (if you don’t need 4K). We’ve also updated our list of recent laptop reviews and added a new “at a glance” section below.

Best laptops for video editing at a glance

Dell XPS 17 (Best laptop for video editing), $1,649 at Dell

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Ultra (Best laptop for video editing if you don’t need 4K), $2,399.99 at Samsung

Apple MacBook Pro (Best MacBook for video editing), $1,799 at B&H

Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition (Best budget laptop for video editing), $955 at Amazon

Razer Blade 14 (Best ultraportable laptop for video editing), $2,699.99 at B&H

The best laptops for video editing






Dell XPS 17 (2023) – Best laptop for video editing





















Pros


Expansive 17-inch 16:10 display

Thin chassis

Incredible battery life



Cons


Expensive

720p webcam


















Why we like the Dell XPS 17 (2023)

The Dell XPS 17 (2023) is a fantastic laptop for content creation because it has a gigantic display and a good amount of graphics firepower. The OLED touch display, which measures a massive 17-inches, features a crystal clear resolution of 3840×2400 and a maximum brightness of 550 nits. It’s perfect for media editing, multitasking, and so much more. The machine is also powered by an Intel Core i7-13700H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070, which means it’s more than capable of handling any video editing you throw at it. The specific configuration we reviewed will cost you well over $3,000, so it’s likely not a viable option for the budget-conscious, but if your time is money, the Dell XPS 17 is money very well spent.

Who should buy the Dell XPS 17 (2023)

We feel the Dell XPS 17 is a phenomenal option for serious or professional video editors. The 4K screen is divine and it has the perfect amount of horsepower as far as internal components go. It also includes an SD card reader and multiple Thunderbolt 4 ports for quickly offloading videos or photos. Finally, the Dell XPS 17 can run up to 11 hours on a single charge, eliminating the need to go outlet hunting. Although we would’ve liked to have seen this model with an OLED screen, it’s still a top-notch pick.

Alternative option: The Dell XPS 16 is another good option for content creators. In fact, the hardware is almost identical to our top pick. The only real difference is that the Dell XPS 16 has an OLED screen and the Dell XPS 17 9730 does not. That said, the Dell XPS 16 didn’t make the cut because it doesn’t have as many Thunderbolt 4 ports and the keyboard is a real headache to use due to stiff keys.

Read our full

Dell XPS 17 9730 review






Samsung Galaxy Book4 Ultra – Best laptop for video editing (if you don't need 4K)





















Pros


Fantastic battery life

Solid GPU performance

Gorgeous OLED screen that can be used outdoors

Great audio

AI-powered Core Ultra inside



Cons


Chargers keep getting bigger

Still not a great keyboard


















Why we like the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy Book4 Ultra offers powerful performance as well as a gorgeous OLED display. Thanks to the Intel Core Ultra 9 185H CPU and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU, it’s well equipped to handle any video editing task you throw at it. Plus, the 16-inch OLED display has a resolution of 2880×1800 and a refresh rate of 120Hz–so you can expect a crisp-looking picture with rich colors. Sure, it’s not 4K, but it’s still a fantastic screen for content creation. Battery life is absolutely absurd, too. This machine lasted a whopping 18 hours and 54 minutes on a single charge. Wall outlet? Who is she?

Who should buy the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Ultra

Anyone looking for a powerful, long-lasting laptop and doesn’t need to edit 4K videos. In addition to the stunning OLED display and the long battery life, the audio is also quite punchy, sounding great up and down the audio range. If you switch on the Dolby Atmos feature, you’ll hear even richer sound. Though content creators may not necessarily need good audio (or likely use dedicated headphones), it’s still a nice perk.

Read our full

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Ultra review






Apple MacBook Pro (M3, Pro) – Best MacBook for video editing





















Pros


Good performance

18GB of RAM

Runs quiet



Cons


Low performance advantage over M2 Pro


















Why we like the Apple MacBook Pro (M3, Pro)

The Apple MacBook Pro (M3, Pro) will kick you in the teeth with its power (in the best way possible). Inside, you’ll find a 14-core GPU as well as 18GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. That amount of RAM will keep things running nice and smooth while the beefy GPU will chew right through any intense edits, though intense video editors will want to upgrade to a model with more storage or invest in an external SSD for added capacity. The 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display also has a ridiculously high resolution of 3024×1964, so editing should be a delightful experience. It even comes with three Thunderbolt 4 ports for speedy data transfers.

Who should buy the Apple MacBook Pro (M3, Pro)

Anyone who prefers Apple’s ecosystem. This configuration shows a 44 percent increase in performance (according to Geekbench’s Compute Metal test) compared to the M3 (sans Pro) model. You’ll also be able to see every detail of your photo or video editing work thanks to the gorgeous Liquid Retina XDR display. Battery life isn’t too shabby, either. The M3 Pro MacBook Pro will last you over ten hours on a single charge, which is more than a full work day.

Alternative option: If you’re looking for a bigger screen, then you should check out the MacBook Pro, M2 Pro. The Liquid Retina XDR display measures 16.2-inches and has a resolution of 3456×2234, so visuals should be sharp as knives. The M2 Pro also comes loaded with a powerful 19-core GPU.

Read our full

Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Pro, 2023) review






Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition – Best budget laptop for video editing





















Pros


All-day battery life

Stunning display

Durable build



Cons


720p webcam

Keys feel too soft


















Why we like the Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition

The Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition is a good option for those on a tight budget, as it ticks off all of the right boxes for a sub-$1,000 machine. For one, colors appear rich and varied on the 16-inch 1200p FHD display. Sure, it’s not 4K, but it’s still a good screen–our reviewer was surprised by the “depth of the blacks and greys.” As for internals, the AMD Radeon RX 7600S GPU and the AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS CPU should blitz right through graphically demanding tasks like video editing. It also lasted a whopping 11 hours on a single charge, which is shocking for a gaming laptop.

Who should buy the Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition

Anyone who’s looking to save money on a capable and long-lasting laptop. You don’t have to go outlet hunting because of the long battery life and the 1200p display offers nothing but stunning visuals. While the keys feel a bit mushy and the 720p webcam won’t be doing you any favors on video calls, we feel as though the pros far outweigh the cons, especially given the reasonable price point.

Alternative option: The Lenovo LOQ 15 is another good budget option to consider. It has a better GPU (RTX 4060) than our current top pick. Despite the high star rating, it didn’t end up making the cut because of the poor battery life (not unusual in a gaming laptop) and limited connectivity options. The Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition just stands out from the pack, especially where battery life is concerned, but the Lenovo LOQ would be a good budget option if your workflow is accelerated by Nvidia features and technology.

Read our full

Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition review






Razer Blade 14 (2024) – Best ultraportable laptop for video editing





















Pros


Improved performance compared to last year's model

Stunning display with a quick 240Hz refresh rate

Solid build quality



Cons


The keys feel a bit mushy

The speakers lack strong bass

Costly


















Why we like the Razer Blade 14

The Razer Blade 14 is ultra-thin and remarkably lightweight, tipping the scales at just over four pounds. That makes it much smaller than most laptops with video editing chops. But don’t let its slim profile fool you, as it’s a heavy hitter in the performance department. It comes with an AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU, so video editing tasks should be a breeze. You’re also getting 1TB of SSD storage as well as 32GB of memory.

Who should buy the Razer Blade 14

If sheer portability is essential, consider the Razer Blade 13 (2024). The port selection isn’t too shabby, either. You’re getting two USB-A 3.2 ports, two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports (with DisplayPort 1.4 and Power Delivery), and one HDMI 2.1. The 14-inch IPS-grade screen tops out at just 2560×1600, so 4K video editing is off the table. That said, the laptop still supports the full DCI-P3 color gamut, so the display is quite vibrant.

Alternative option: If you want a solid portable laptop for a more affordable price the $1,499 Acer Swift X 14 it weighs just 3.31 pounds. It includes an Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU, so it packs a decent punch in the performance department. The 14.5-inch 1800p OLED display also has an “effectively infinite contrast ratio,” according to our review. Although it’s more lightweight than the Razer Blade 14 (2023), it’s not as powerful.

Read our full

Razer Blade 14 review






Recent laptop reviews

Lenovo Yoga 7i: The Lenovo Yoga 7i (16IML9) is a competent and well-built at a palatable price. It’s not the best value for a standard laptop, but it’s flexibility may make up for its shortcoming for some users.

Acer Swift Go 14: The Acer Swift Go 14 is a reliable travel workhorse through and through.

Dell XPS 14 (2024): The Dell XPS 14 is a looker, but even though it can offer respectable performance, it comes at such a high cost above competent — and often faster — competitors that there’s little reason to consider it.

Acer Aspire Go 15: The Acer Aspire Go 15 (2024) isn’t much to look at, but it plods along without much fuss, only struggling when demand is put on the meager integrated graphics or too much CPU horsepower is called for. For simple computing needs, it has clear value at just $300.

How we tested

The PCWorld team puts each and every Windows laptop through a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop to its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested. Chromebooks, on the other hand, go through a series of web-based tests. It wouldn’t be fair or possible to run the same kinds of tests on a Chromebook, as they’re Chrome OS-based machines.

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each test and the reasons why we run them. For a much deeper look at our review methodology, check out how PCWorld tests laptops.

Windows laptops

PCMark 10: PCMark 10 is how we determine how well the laptop handles lighter tasks like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and so on.

HandBrake: HandBrake is more intensive than PCMark 10. It basically measures how long a laptop’s CPU takes to encode a beefy 30GB file.

Cinebench: Cinebench is a brief stress test of the CPU cores. It does this by rendering a 2D scene over a short period of time.

3DMark: 3DMark checks if 3D performance remains consistent over time by running graphic-intensive clips.

Video rundown test: To gauge battery life, we loop a 4K video using Windows 10’s Movies & TV app until the laptop dies.

FAQ
1.
What should I look for in a laptop for video editing?

The first thing to look for in a laptop for video editing is its CPU and GPU. The faster your hardware, the faster your edits.

If your workload is primarily CPU-driven, we’d recommend springing for the Intel Core i7 or the Intel Core i9. HX is designed for raw horsepower, which id deal for gaming and content creation, and the Ultra is built around power efficiency. For a more in-depth look at the difference between the two processors, we’ve done a thorough compare and contrast piece that really lays it all out. For those on a strict budget, you can get by with an Intel Core i5, but it’s going to be slower.

You probably won’t need a dedicated graphics card everyday video editing, but if you work on motion graphics, then the extra firepower really comes in handy. For most video editing projects, we’d suggest the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 or higher, though having any RTX GPU onboard can help accelerate some specific workloads. For those who prefer AMD over Nvidia, we’d recommend the AMD Radeon RX 7600S or higher. Unless you’re looking to play AAA games on the side, you don’t really need the best graphics card out there. A mid-range GPU will serve most people.

Another thing to consider is storage size. A 4K video, for example, will require more storage space than a 1080p video. In other words, you’re going to need quite a bit of storage, otherwise your laptop might get too bogged down. For those who work with 4K resolution, you should go for at least 1TB of SSD or higher. You could probably get by with just 512GB of SSD storage, but you’ll probably need to keep offloading files onto an external storage device.

RAM is important too, as it determines how fast your laptop will generally run. Video editors tend to work with large files, which can cause your laptop to slow down. That’s why we’d recommend at least 16GB of RAM. However, if you’re editing 4K video, you’ll definitely want 32GB of RAM or more. More RAM reduces the likelihood of bottlenecks, which can be a real pain in the neck when you’re in the middle of an important edit.

2.
What kind of display should I get?

You’re going to want a display that’s both bright and color accurate. For example, a display that’s close to 100 percent of the sRGB spectrum is ideal. While a 4K display isn’t necessary, we’d strongly recommend it for serious video editing. A high resolution display will produce sharper images, which helps reduce eye strain, and allow you to edit 4K video at full resolution. A larger screen like a 15- or 17-inch is preferable as well, as it provides better visibility for editing.

3.
What do the experts recommend?

PCWorld video director Adam Patrick Murray stresses that an ideal laptop for video editing includes an SD card reader for grabbing video off of a camera. He also recommends opting for a notebook with a 4K, 60Hz panel over the ultra-fast 1080p panels often found on gaming laptops that would otherwise be ideal for video editing. You need a 4K panel to edit 4K videos well and blazing-fast refresh rates don’t mean anything for video editing like they do for gaming. If color accuracy matters to you—it might not if you’re only creating casual videos for your personal YouTube channel, for example—then support for the full DCI-P3 color gamut is also a must along with Delta E < 2 color accuracy.

You won’t often find those sorts of specs listed for (or supported by) gaming laptops, but dedicated content creation laptops should include that information. That said, if you want the fastest possible laptop for video editing that can also satisfy your gaming proclivities, you can always pair that burly gaming laptop with a color-accurate external monitor for creation tasks.

Laptops
https://www.pcworld.com/article/560670/best-laptops-for-video-editing.html
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