Best video editing laptops of 2021


Included in this guide:

MacBook Pro 14 against a white background

MacBook

Pro 14-inch (2021)

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) against a white background

MacBook

Air (M1, 2020)

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) against a white background

MacBook

Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

Acer ConceptD 7 against a white background

Acer

ConceptD 7

The Dell XPS 15 against a white background

Dell

XPS 15 (2021)

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020) against a white background

Razer

Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020)

The Microsoft Surface Book 3 against a white background

Microsoft

Surface Book 3

The Dell XPS 17 (2021) against a white background

Dell

XPS 17 (2021)

The Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) against a white background

Gigabyte

Aero 17 (2021)

Surface Laptop 4 against a white background

Surface

Laptop 4

a MacBook Pro on a coffee table next to a couch

If you’re trying to do some or creative work on the road, only the best video editing laptops will keep up. You need more than just the most maxed out or expensive portable for editing. You also have to keep a few specific things in mind when choosing a new machine.

That’s not to say you don’t need a powerful laptop. You do and you’ll need one with fast and a powerful . But, the laptop you end up with should also have a display with top-notch color accuracy as well as a resolution that can keep up with your work. And, you need to make sure it can run whichever apps you need for your workflow, including and .

It also has to be easy to carry. A lot of powerful laptops are more on the hefty side, but there are some and that will keep up, if you’re ok with splurging.

With all the options out there, picking a laptop for video editing can be tough. To help you find the one that best suits your needs, we’ve collected our top picks here. You’ll find that these video editing laptops are great in general, which is why some also end up on our and lists as well.

Make sure to check out our exclusive price comparison tool to find the best deals on your next video editing device.

How to choose a video editing laptop

Your budget will determine your choice when it comes to selecting a laptop for video editing. However, don’t forget to choose a device that (a) is expandable (so that you can add more memory or an additional SSD if necessary), (b) one that comes with next business day warranty (or at least offers it as an option) and (c) features ample connectivity as users are likely to transfer files either via a cloud storage option or via an external storage (most likely to be a portable SSD).

Mightily impressive

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The MacBook Pro has truly made its complete transformation as a laptop for creative professionals with the launch of the M1 Pro- or M1 Max-armed MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021). It absolutely impresses with breathtaking power when tackling demanding video editing workloads and equally breathtaking battery life. Apple then adds its XDR display with 1600 nits of peak brightness and a wide color gamut to the mix, just what you need for video editing. The SD card slot, an HDMI port, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports (all of which can stay available thanks to MagSafe charging being back) are all nice touches as well.

The best Apple laptop

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Apple topped last year off with a bang, rolling out their much-talked-about M1 silicon chip that’s so far been a real game-changer. And, the first laptop to receive it is the company’s thinnest and lightest, putting it on the list of the most exciting Apple laptops of recent years. 

With this new chip, the MacBook Air is better than ever, touting excellent performance alongside its brilliant battery life – without raising the price to keep it (fairly) affordable still. This is the best thin and light laptop for pretty much everyone.

As an example of things to come, Adobe has just released another set of results for Premiere Pro running on Apple M1 and the results are stunning. Scene Edit Detection, powered by Adobe Sensei, is at least 430 percent faster on an Apple M1. Premiere Pro with native support for Apple M1 is coming soon, but you can try it right now in Beta.

Expect more video editing software developers to jump on the “native” bandwagon over time as they transition to Apple’s game changing processing platform.

Apple’s little MacBook Pro gets a big refresh

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The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) may not have gotten a massive design overhaul, but what it lacks in that department, it makes up for big time in performance and battery life. 

Thanks to Apple’s groundbreaking M1 chip, the new MacBook Pro 13-inch delivers excellent performance and exceptional battery life. Its performance is so impressive, in fact, that it can easily handle 4K – and even 8K – videos. If you’re looking for a powerful laptop that keeps things small and lightweight, this is among the best video editing laptops money can buy.

Combined with macOS Big Sur, this laptop paves the way to video editing on another level, on par – dare with say – with the best that Windows offered but in a very neatly packed chassis and at a price point that’s not absurdly expensive. Shame though that  you can’t get more than 16GB memory or more than 2TB SSD storage.

A mobile workstation for creatives

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The formidable Acer ConceptD 7 is capable of handling complex and demanding tasks such as intensive video editing, thanks in large part to its Nvidia RTX graphics. Clearly designed specifically with creative professionals in mind, including filmmakers and videographers, it boasts that sheer power you’ll find in gaming laptops

Beyond that excellent performance it delivers, it also offers decent port selection, a minimalist solid white design and that stunning Pantone-validated 4K IPS display. Obviously, it’s still pretty pricey, but no professional’s tool comes cheap. If you’re looking for a Windows-powered MacBook alternative for video editing, it’s certainly among the best video editing laptops.

5. Dell XPS 15 (2021)

Video editing for the mid-range

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The Dell XPS 15 (2021) continues the XPS line’s tradition of being an excellent tool, as well as one of the out there. While it doesn’t stray too far from its predecessor, it’s a performance machine in a portable package. With up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, you should be able to handle most of your creative work without breaking a sweat. And though it can handle some gaming, it is admittedly a bit underpowered compared to some of the competition. But, it comes with a gorgeous display, great battery life, and a price that makes this probably the best mid-range option out there.

The gaming Ultrabook returns

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The world’s first gaming ultrabook is back with updated internals. Unlike most gaming laptops out there, this offering from Razer is incredibly thin – so thin, in fact, it’s thinner than a . While that forces it to sacrifice a bit of power, it still delivers a solid gaming performance that’s good enough for video editing while on the go. The fact that it offers a 1080p display with 120GHz refresh rate and four stereo speakers capable of delivering 7.1 surround sound using THX Spatial Audio helps as well.

An extremely premium piece of kit

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In many ways, the Surface Book 3 is an example of just how far the best laptops have come in just a few short years. It has an extremely premium piece of kit – with one of the best displays we’ve used in a laptop, a keyboard that will put the MacBook Pro’s new Magic Keyboards to shame, and a hybrid design that’s great for creative tasks. More specifically for what you’re looking for, this follow up to the outstanding Surface Book 2 has configurations with a discrete GPU and more RAM than everyday consumers will ever need. That makes the Surface Book 3 an amazing choice for content creators and one of the best video editing laptops currently on offer.

A powerhouse for creative design

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The Dell XPS 17 (2021) may be pricey but it has the kind of performance to tackle all your video editing needs. With specs of up to an Intel Core i9 CPU, 64GB of RAM, and an Nvidia RTX GeForce 3060, you can even dabble in 4K video editing, especially if you splurge for that gorgeous UHD display. On top of that, all this performance fits in a 0.77-inch thick machine making this 17-inch laptop surprisingly portable. While the XPS 17 does come at a premium and could come with a few more ports, it is a great machine for a creative professional.

9. Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021)

A creative professional’s dream

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One of the most powerful mobile workstations out there, the Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) comes with a lot of power, a gorgeous display, and a whole lotta ports. Best yet, it’s priced well below its less-powerful rivals, making it a better proposition even if you have a more flexible budget. It isn’t by any means perfect. The battery life could use a bit of a boost, for example. But, for how much you’re paying and for the other things you’re getting in return, it’s a minuscule sacrifice.

Ultimate Surface laptop

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Especially when you go for the 15-inch model, which rocks more powerful internals, the Surface Laptop 4 will see you through your basic video editing needs. It’s plenty capable, despite not having H-series chips, and come with a gorgeous 2496 x 1664 touch display. It’s battery life is decent too, enough to see you through a whole work day. It could use a few more ports, but for less demanding video work, it’s a terrific choice.

Buying a video editing laptop? Here’s what experts say

We reached out to Michel Yavercovski, Senior Director of Product Management for Corel video products, to get his expert opinions about choosing a creative computer.

“There are a few key things to look for when buying a video editing laptop and of course, when you’re talking about video, the better the hardware, the smoother and more responsive your editing experience will be. Whether you’re talking about ourPinnacle Studio orVideoStudio products, both have been designed to take full benefit of your hardware to make video editing as fast and efficient as possible.” Michel said.

“First, you’ll want to look for a system with a powerful multicore processor — the Intel Core i7 product line is a good choice to get started with — and our software has been optimized to take advantage of multithreading so you can get the most out of these impressive chips. A powerful processor will also give you a seamless experience when working with today’s popular formats and creative features like multi-camera and 360° video support. 4K video can create huge file sizes, so you’ll also want to make sure the device has a large and fast SSD storage drive that can read and write large video files without any hang-ups.”

“Video editing takes up a lot of memory, so shop for a system that has between 16GB and 32GB of RAM to keep things running smoothly. And, of course, a 64-bit version of Windows 10 is a must. ” he added.

“Then, when considering graphics cards, look for the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX or GTX series as well as Intel Iris or HD Graphics for overall faster processing and editing. Most advanced graphics cards will also have HEVC support, enabling the use of this advanced video format in your productions.”

“Since you’ll be working primarily on one screen when you’re on the go, make sure the laptop’s built-in monitor produces crisp images and has accurate color rendering. It’s also ideal to have a system that will support multiple screens for when you’re back in your main work space. Lastly, I always advise users to either plug in their laptops or adjust the power settings for high performance since many notebooks default to power-saving features when they’re running on battery which can impact performance. You may have to accept a shorter battery life, but it will ensure faster processing for a great editing experience.”

Six ways to speed up your editing life

Hugely experienced edit trainer and colourist, Darren Mostyn, guides us through some essential steps to accelerate editing routines in a bid to make your workflow even more efficient.

I have been editing for over 25 years and thought I would share some of my best tips on how to speed up your editing skills. Most of this advice applies to any editing application. Even a 1% or 2% increase in speed could improve your productivity by over half an hour a week. That’s time you can take off and enjoy or add to the workload and increase your income. Having worked in broadcast sport and live events editing for around a decade, I had to edit super-fast to turn highlights of live action around in some crazy tight deadlines.

Before we get in to the steps, here’s something to keep in mind. Editing quickly is not necessarily why we are employed. But by being quick at the mechanical process of editing also leaves more time for the ‘real’ job – crafting the story, supporting the performances, controlling the pace and engaging the audience, etc.

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then followed a weekly tech column in a local business magazine in Mauritius, a late night tech radio programme called Clicplus and a freelancing gig at the now-defunct, Theinquirer, with the legendary Mike Magee as mentor. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.