We typically see video editing and graphic design work as intensive tasks meant for the high-end desktop computers. A laptop is definitely a bit more limited than an industry-level desktop PC, but this doesn’t mean a portable computer can’t take care of business. Some laptops out there that will do great editing video and photos.
This is why today we are putting together a list of our favorite laptops optimized for heavy editing and other graphic design-related work. Editing is a demanding, though, so you will definitely need to find a powerful machine. The key is to strike the right balance between processing power, graphics, RAM and internal storage (preferably a faster SSD).
We know this sounds expensive, and often it is, but we will try to include laptops from different price ranges. Shall we get started?
15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display
Many designers and producers swear by Apple’s creative advantages. These machines are powerful and have plenty of great software at their disposal. Of course, it also helps that Apple makes some of the best-looking laptops around, so you will look great while taking care of work.
Our favorite Apple machine for editing is definitely the 15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display and dedicated graphics. Of course, it will also be among the most expensive devices in this list, starting at $2499. But you can get it for $2299 from Amazon.
You get plenty for this price, though. This Macbook Pro comes with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD and an AMD Radeon R9 M370X GPU with 2GB GDDR5 memory. Of course, we can’t forget about that 15.4-inch Retina Display (2880 x 1800), which is also a very valued commodity among editors.
13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display
Don’t have too much money to spend on the 15-incher? You can still enjoy the benefits of running Mac OS X on a Retina Display without paying so much. The smaller 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display starts at $1299, but we would recommend an upgrade to the i7 processor, which costs an extra $300. Alternatively, you can get a better i5 chipset for an added $100.
You are still missing out on the dedicated GPU, but I have personally used this machine for editing and it does pretty well. Of course, it doesn’t get close to the 15-inch Macbook listed above, but it can definitely edit a good video or two. It’s a good option if you want an Apple laptop but don’t need (or can’t afford) the absolute best.
ASUS ZenBook Pro
You think the Macobok’s Retina Display has a high definition? The ASUS ZenBook Pro smokes it with a 15.6-inch 3840 x 2160 (yes, that is 4K) screen. In addition, this laptop has plenty of power. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, Nvidia GTX 960M graphics and a 512 GB SSD.
At $1399, this is not a laptop to scoff at, especially considering it is so good looking and portable. It comes with an aluminum uni-body design, 0.8 inches of thickness and only weighs 5 pounds.
Here’s a slightly cheaper computer with a 4K display (15.6 inches). The Lenovo Y50 costs $1274.88 and packs quite the punch. It features an Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GTX-860M graphics. It also comes with a 256 GB SSD. This makes it a fast computer, even if storage may be a bit limited to some.
MSI GE62 Apache Pro-004
I often tell people that some of the best editing laptops are those made for gaming. These tend to be the most powerful computers, and they will do an amazing job if you can handle the intense looks they usually tout.
The MSI GE62 Apache Pro-004 is quite the beast, and it isn’t too expensive at $1059 for the Intel Core i7 version with 16 GB of RAM and NVIDIA Geforce GTX960M graphics. My only gripes are that it has an HDD (1 TB) and 15.6-inch 1080p screen. But hey, it’s pretty affordable for the power it touts. Some sacrifices had to be made. Not to mention 1080p is more than good enough in many cases.
ASUS ROG GL752VW-DH71
Those who don’t want to spend anything over a grand have very good options too. The ASUS ROG gaming laptops have plenty of power, and this one goes for $979. It packs an Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M grpahics.
This laptop does also come with an HDD and 1080p resolution, though. Regardless, the 15.6-inch screen should be good enough for many of you.
Dell Inspiron 15 7559-2512
It’s hard to ignore Dell, so here is our favorite one from their repertoire. The Dell Inspiron 15 costs only $828.91! But what do you get for that price? Surprisingly, quite a bit.
The laptop is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GPU. It does also come with a 1 TB HDD, but Dell includes an 8 GB SSD, so you can benefit from faster performance if you install your OS there. And yes, it also has a 15.6-inch screen with 1080p resolution.
Razer Blade Stealth + Razer Core
I was a bit hesitant about this one, but figured it was worth mentioning. The Razer Blade Stealth is a super sleek and good-looking computer that starts at only $949.99 and won plenty of awards at CES 2016. All Razer Blade Stealth variants come with an Intel Core i7 processor and 8 GB of RAM. Paying up will get you a bigger SSD or a better display.
Here is how the pricing is arranged:
- QHD display with 128 GB of internal storage – $999.99
- QHD display with 256 GB of internal storage – $1199.99
- UHD display with 256 GB of internal storage – $1399.99
- UHD display with 512 GB of internal storage – $1599.99
That definitely sounds like a great deal for a laptop of this quality, so why was I doubting to add it? It doesn’t have a dedicated GPU. The computer runs on integrated graphics, but you can buy a Razer Core, which is a box that plugs in through USB Type C and you can use any GPU with.
It does take away the portability aspect, because the Razer Core is a stationary GPU box, but the computer does a pretty good job either way. If you can handle lower (yet still manageable) performance when away from your desk, this computer will definitely do.
Of course, the Razer Core costs an extra $499 (you can get a discount if you get a Blade Stealth). Then you have to add the price of the actual GPU. That amounts to a pretty high price.
There you go, guys! Those are our very favorite laptops for video/photo editing and graphic design work. Do you have any other machines you would recommend? Are any of you buying one of these?