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Whether you're a professional video editor working for a company or an amateur editing videos for social media, having a laptop with good performance is crucial, as video editing is a demanding task that requires a lot of processing power. A powerful laptop will provide a smoother experience when manipulating footage, play high-resolution videos smoothly with fewer frame drops, and render videos faster, saving you precious time. To help you with your buying decision, we've put together a list of laptops suitable for video editing. This list includes mobile workstations and gaming laptops (yes, gaming laptops are just as good for video editing). However, it won't contain any Chromebooks because most video editing applications don't work on Chrome OS, and Chromebooks usually lack a dedicated GPU. The list is short for now, but it'll grow as we review more laptops.
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We've bought and tested over 60 laptops. Below you'll find our recommendations for the best video editing laptops you can buy. You can also see our recommendations for the best laptops, the best business laptops, and the best laptops for college.
The best laptop for editing videos we've tested is the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021). This 2021 model has a sleek design, an incredibly sturdy build, and plenty of processing power to handle even the most difficult tasks. You can get up to 64GB of memory and 8TB of storage; just remember that you can't upgrade the components yourself later on, so it's best to get enough to suit your needs upfront. It sports a Mini LED display with full sRGB and DCI P3 coverage, and its factory calibration is superb, meaning you can get right to work. The battery life will depend on what you do; you can get an all-day battery if you only perform light tasks, but for demanding video editing tasks, you'll likely get a little over two hours.
If portability is more important than screen size, the smaller Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) is pretty much the same laptop, just more compact. Its battery life is a little shorter than the 16-inch model but not significantly, and while the speakers don't sound quite as good, they're still excellent and among the best in the laptop world. One thing to know is that Apple has released newer models of the MacBook Pro 14 and 16 with their M2 Pro and M2 Max SoCs, which are reportedly around 20% faster, so if you're shopping now, go with the newer models unless you find an M1 model at a heavily discounted price.
For Windows users, get the MSI WS76 (2021), a 17.3-inch model available with Intel 11th Gen. processors and NVIDIA discrete GPUs. It performs exceptionally well and can handle demanding workloads. However, it isn't as portable as it's bulkier and heavier, and the display's factory calibration isn't as good in the DCI P3 color space, so you may need to fine-tune it before doing any color work.
If you don't want to spend too much on a premium laptop like the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021), check out the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022). Yes, gaming laptops are excellent for video editing because there are many similarities in hardware requirements. It's particularly true with the G14, as it sports a sharp 16:10 QHD panel with full DCI P3 coverage. Its factory calibration is good, but you might want to fine-tune it before you do any color work. It has a powerful 8-core AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, and you can choose between an AMD Radeon RX 6700S or 6800S GPU, both of which have enough horsepower to handle video editing.
There are a few downsides to know about. First, this laptop gets hot and loud under load; you can change the fan settings if it bothers you, but at the cost of some performance loss. Second, the USB-C ports support USB 3.2 Gen 2 data transfer speed, which is much slower than USB4 or Thunderbolt 4. ASUS promised an update that will add USB4 support, but there's no word on the update yet. Lastly, you can only get this laptop with 1TB of storage, so you'll need external drives to store all of your footage. Overall, although it doesn't feel as premium as the Apple laptop we recommend above, it's still an excellent laptop for video editing, and it can also double as your gaming PC.
The best budget laptop for video editing is the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021). You can configure this gaming laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, and you get multiple GPU options, from an entry-level NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 to a powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070. It's on the bulkier side, so it isn't the most portable, but it feels well-built, and its understated design won't stick out in a professional work environment. The keyboard feels spacious and comfortable, and there are plenty of ports for your peripherals and external displays.
The memory and storage are user-replaceable, so you can get a cheaper configuration and upgrade it yourself later on. The main downside is that it's only available with sRGB displays, so you'll need an external monitor if you work in a wider color space. It also doesn't have any biometrics for quick logins, and its battery life is very short, around four hours of light use and one hour of intensive workload. Its performance over time is outstanding, as there's no noticeable throttling on the CPU or GPU, but the fans get pretty loud.
If you need something cheap to get the job done, consider the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021). You can configure this 15.6-inch laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, both of which have enough processing power to handle video editing. There are various NVIDIA dedicated GPU options, from an entry-level GeForce GTX 1650 to a mid-range RTX 3060. You can only get up to 16GB of memory, but the RAM is user-upgradeable, meaning you can add more later on.
Again, the downside is that all the display options are only suitable for sRGB content. It also gets hot and loud under load, and the battery lasts less than an hour when performing demanding tasks, so you'll need to carry the power adapter if you want to work on the go. The USB-C port doesn't support video output, but you get an HDMI 2.0 port. Although it isn't a particularly premium-feeling laptop, it'll get the job done and is wallet-friendly.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best video editing laptops to buy. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you prefer to make your own decision, here's the list of all of our laptop reviews, sorted by price from low to high. Keep in mind that most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it's best to see the full review for information about other variants.
Virtual Shadow Maps (VSMs) is the new shadow mapping method used to deliver consistent, high-resolution shadowing that works with film-quality assets and large, dynamically lit open worlds using Unreal Engine 5's Nanite Virtualized Geometry, Lumen Global Illumination and Reflections, and World Partition features.
Conceptually, virtual shadow maps are just very high-resolution shadow maps. In their current implementation, they have a virtual resolution of 16k x 16k pixels. Clipmaps are used to increase resolution further for Directional Lights. To keep performance high at reasonable memory cost, VSMs split the shadow map into tiles (or Pages) that are 128x128 each. Pages are allocated and rendered only as needed to shade on-screen pixels based on an analysis of the depth buffer. The pages are cached between frames unless they are invalidated by moving objects or light, which further improves performance.
In the Project Settings under Engine > Rendering in the Shadows section, you can set what Shadow Map Method your project supports, whether Virtual Shadow Maps or the conventional Shadow Maps** that have been used in previous Unreal Engine releases.
Fully baked shadows from Static Lights will still work as before (when not using Lumen). Their contributions are entirely represented in the baked lightmaps and there is no runtime lighting evaluated at all. Stationary lights will use the indirect diffuse contribution from any baked lightmaps, but their direct lighting and shadows are evaluated dynamically (the same as Movable lights) when VSMs are enabled.
Nanite geometry always renders to the Virtual Shadow Map regardless of distance, since this is the most performant option and provides the highest quality. It is possible to make non-Nanite geometry behave the same way as Nanite by the console variable r.Shadow.Virtual.UseFarShadowCulling 0.
Due to VSM's high resolution and accuracy, the screen space Contact Shadow feature controlled with the Contact Shadow Length property is no longer necessary to achieve sharp contact shadows. It still may have value when used to pick up cheaper shadows from objects set to not render into shadow maps but is not recommended otherwise as it will be less accurate than the shadows VSMs will create.
Shadow Map Ray Tracing (SMRT) is a sampling algorithm used with virtual shadow maps to produce more plausible soft shadows and contact hardening. Objects that cast shadows farther will have softer shadows than objects casting shadows closer to a shadow-receiving surface.For example, the mesh pictured below is tall and casts its shadow over a long distance. Shadows near the base are sharper than those farther away.
Local lights have no Source Radius by default, compared to Directional Lights which start with a low Source Angle. When either are set with an appropriate value, SMRT produces real-time soft shadowing with contact hardening, like the example below using a Point Light with a Source Radius of 10.
Noise in the penumbra is influenced by the number of rays being used, and both local and Directional Lights use eight rays by default when scalability for Shadows is set to Epic.