Video Editing Tips: How To Choose The Right Laptop For Video Editing

Mary Joseph
Mary Joseph July 20, 2023
Updated 2023/07/23 at 10:32 AM
laptop for video editing

Editing videos while on the move, particularly with larger files and 4k footage, can pose a significant obstacle without an appropriate system. Fortunately, over the past few years, laptops have significantly improved in terms of power and capabilities, simplifying the video editing process for videographers and creators no matter where they are.

This article provides a comprehensive guide on selecting the optimal laptop for video editing. It explores various crucial factors to be mindful of when making a decision, outlines the recommended specifications for a video editing laptop, and concludes with a bonus list of the top video editing laptops in 2023.

Video Editing Tips: How To Choose The Right Laptop For Video Editing

Think About Your Software:

Different computer software packages have varying priorities when it comes to utilizing your computer’s resources. It is important to consider the specific software you intend to use or are currently using and select a laptop that aligns with those requirements.

Here’s a helpful suggestion: If you are contemplating getting a new computer system, it is likely because your current system is struggling with certain tasks. If you are using Windows, you can open the Task Manager and navigate to the Performance tab to identify which component of your system is experiencing high usage.

The CPU, RAM, and hard drives are common causes of performance slowdown, and in many Windows laptops, it is possible to upgrade the latter two components with some courage and a set of jeweller’s screwdrivers. Adding more RAM can significantly alleviate difficulties while performing tasks.

Personally, I found that the disparity between having 16GB and 32GB of RAM was remarkable in terms of performance.

Contrary to expectations, Adobe Premiere Pro primarily relies on the CPU and RAM rather than the GPU. While certain effects like scaling utilize the GPU, most of the demanding tasks such as playback and rendering are handled by the CPU.

However, some effects like Warp Stabilizer depend on the clock speed of the CPU and don’t benefit from additional cores, whereas rendering does benefit from more cores.

On the other hand, DaVinci Resolve heavily depends on the GPU. While a strong CPU is still necessary, having a powerful GPU is crucial for optimal performance.

However, DaVinci Resolve offers excellent colour correction options and can be purchased at a reasonable price, as opposed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription model. Additionally, the free version of DaVinci Resolve is quite powerful and allows users to test it out before making a purchase.

If you prefer to use Final Cut Pro and require mobility, you are limited to using the Apple MacBook Pro.

4K or 1080P?;

What type of video material will you be modifying? In general, when working with 1080P footage, you won’t need a high-powered system. Your CPU, RAM, and storage can be slower and less expensive. However, if you’re editing 4K footage, you’ll require a significantly more powerful system. Thankfully, we have suggestions that will suit both scenarios.

Proxies are downscaled and compressed versions of your video files that are created using your editing software. Their purpose is to ensure smooth and fast playback during the editing process. When it comes to rendering the final video, you disable the proxies and use the original high-resolution files.

Even the most powerful laptop, in comparison to a similarly priced desktop, is generally less capable. If you’re working with 1080p footage, there may not be a need to create proxies for your editing. However, when dealing with 4K footage, it may be necessary to generate proxies.

It’s important to note that although proxies are significantly smaller than the original 4K files, they still occupy a considerable amount of storage space. Throughout the editing phase, you’ll need to retain both the original files and the proxies, which can consume a significant amount of storage.

External Hds Versus Ssds:

If you are engaged in video editing, be prepared to allocate a significant amount of storage capacity. When shooting 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 video with my Panasonic GH5 hybrid camera, a 64GB SD card can be filled in less than an hour. As you embark on longer shoots with multiple cameras, the amount of data grows exponentially.

For optimal performance, it is advisable to use fast SSD storage for your ongoing projects. This ensures smooth playback of footage without any frame drops. However, most laptops typically have a small SSD dedicated to the operating system and essential applications, while using a larger traditional hard disk drive (HDD) for everything else.

While it is possible to store 1080p footage on a basic USB 3.0 external HDD, it is preferable to store your 4K footage on an SSD drive. If you run out of space on your laptop’s SSD, you can utilize an external SSD with a USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 interface.

Obtaining Precise Color:

The majority of laptop screens are optimized for optimal performance in everyday tasks and gaming, but they may not accurately reproduce colours for video production. If you spend time adjusting white balance or correcting colours in your videos, it’s important to note that this particular device is not designed to synchronize the colours of different monitors. It cannot make your laptop screen and an external monitor match perfectly.

However, it can significantly improve the overall colour accuracy, enhancing the appearance of your videos on various devices.

Monitors, Displays, And All The Extras:

Having a high-quality screen is essential for video editing. If you’re working with high-resolution (HD) video footage intended for HD devices, it’s crucial to ensure that your screen accurately represents the footage you’re editing. This includes displaying clear images and accurate colours.

Most laptop screens are LCD screens that utilize the RGB system (backlit red, green, and blue hues) to reproduce a wide range of colours.

The brightness of your screen is measured in nits, while the definition is determined by the number of pixels in a single column of the display.

While it’s important to have a high-quality display on your laptop, the size of the screen is not as significant. Since you’ll likely connect to a larger external monitor for editing work, it’s not wise to spend extra money on a larger laptop screen.


Editing videos on mobile devices, especially when dealing with high-resolution 4K footage, can pose considerable difficulties. However, laptops have undergone substantial advancements in terms of processing capabilities in recent times, resulting in more cost-effective options for mobile video editing.

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