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Best Laptops for Video Editing from HP®
November 23, 2018
Reading time: 10 minutes
If you want to create quality video content, you already know that you require a different level of power from your laptop than the average user.
To handle the software requirement, a good laptop for video editing needs certain specifications so you can work without worrying about your computer crashing.
Desktop or laptop? Which is best for video?
In the past, you would be looking for articles about the best desktop computers for video editing if you were planning to create videos on a computer. And you would need a desktop PC with a decent amount of high-speed RAM along with a high-powered processor.
Welcome to the new age of video editing computers! You can now find laptops - from notebook computers to heavy duty workstations - capable of providing you with the power you need at a reasonable price.
Customized or off-the-shelf?
Most computer companies, including HP®, don’t specifically built models just for editing video, but with the opportunity to customize your own device, you can get the best PC for video editing just the same.
We have powerful devices designed for gamers and smaller laptops for students or commuters, but it can take some footwork to find the best editing laptop. It may also require you to pick and choose some of the features that come with certain models so you can combine the aspects you like the most.
How much will it cost?
Because the computer you want may have to be customized, the cost of your video editing workstation will vary. You may also have a tough time finding exactly what you want in a standard machine, so building a customizable model can benefit you.
Our list below is mostly made up of customizable PCs, so you can put together the perfect laptop for your style of work.
Best laptops for video editing
HP® has a number of laptops that offer the power and graphics you need to accomplish your editing goals. They also have options in multiple price ranges in addition to customizable models, making it easy to find exactly what you need.
1. HP EliteBook 850 G6 customizable notebook
The 15-inch HP EliteBook 850 G6 notebook is one of HP’s customizable options, and it boasts anywhere from 128GB to 2TB of SSD storage and the powerful Intel HD Graphics 620 or 850 discrete graphics card.
It also offers up to 64GB of memory and 4 cores of processing power, making it ideal for running all but the most advanced software. It’s built for those on-the-go with long battery life and starting weight at under 4 lbs.
You can also find HP EliteBook x360 models with touch screens so you can get hands-on with your projects, along with numerous screen sizes and resolutions. No matter what your needs are, you can pick and choose the specs you need to make the best laptop for editing video.
If you want a solid device that doesn’t require you to make any changes but is ready to do the job, then the HP OMEN may be the best computer for video editing for you.
It also comes at an affordable price, so you know you’ll have the power you need to create great videos without worrying about your laptop budget.
With the 8th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and up to 1TB HDD, the HP OMEN was designed for top-tier performance and 4K compatibility. It’s an ideal choice for those who plan to experiment with the newest technology.
With a stunning display and plenty of storage, the HP OMEN is more than capable of meeting your creative needs. This is a great system for beginners and experts alike.
NVIDIA G-SYNC™ on select models
15.6-inch or 17.3-inch screen options
Bang & Olufsen speakers for great sound
Multi-format SD card reader
3. HP ProBook x360 convertible laptop
Another model available for customization, the HP ProBook x360 convertible laptop is the rare PC that offers a 360-degree design and the power necessary in order to run whatever video editing software works for your projects.
Created with the idea that video, audio, and software should run in harmony, this HP ProBook combines quality design with the performance you need in order to create your vision.
It boasts a compact design, too, so it’s ideal for commuters. The HD graphics card by Intel is also customizable, so you can choose an option that works within your budget.
There’s also the opportunity to choose whether you would like up to 512GB of internal storage, making it a laptop that can handle almost any job you need to get done.
Up to 16GB PC4 SO-DIMM RAM
Expansion slots for SD cards
Enhanced BIOSphere Gen4 firmware for additional security
Long battery life
4. HP ZBook mobile workstation
The HP ZBook G6 mobile workstation was created to handle the most intense work in any industry, which makes it great for professionals looking to take their video editing to the next level.
It was also designed for running multiple programs at once, so it can handle audio and video rendering at the same time. And it has 16GB of Intel Optane memory to speed your rendering even more.
For those who want to choose their specs, this laptop offers up to 4 million different configurations to give video editors their choice in ports, speakers, graphics cards, and more.
But how do you decide what you need? To make that easier, we have laid out the components you should pay attention to. Once you have a handle on the most important specs for the type of editing you are doing, then you can decide which aspects are essential and budget accordingly.
A high-powered CPU
The processor you use and how well it runs is a major factor in whether your laptop will work for your editing purposes. For video, you’ll be running applications that tend to use all the cores of a multi-core CPU.
This often means that if you can find a processor with plenty of cores, your computer will run smoother and with minimal lag. Often gaming CPUs can do the job since many are designed for multi-core processing.
One of the fantastic things about Intel® is the way it has designed mobile processors in laptops to handle programs using less power (and therefore less heat). For most editing jobs, the Intel Core™ i7 and Core i9 processor should be more than enough to power your computer because they offer support for 6 cores.
You need to have an idea of the editing software you will use so you know how much processing power you will require. For Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro, the more power you have, the better.
Target: 6 cores if possible, but 4 cores at a minimum
Consider your RAM and hard drive
When you’re working with video, you’ll have to save some large files on your hard drive on occasion. Your temporary memory, also known as RAM, can determine how quickly these files are pulled up and how fast they render.
Most laptops come with 8GB or 16GB of RAM, although there are some you can customize to have 32GB of RAM. While it can help to have this extra RAM, many editors choose to spend their money on higher CPU power, and 16GB is an affordable option for any major editing job you take on. Many laptops can be upgraded with more RAM later, too.
Target: at least 16GB of RAM
For storage, a solid-state drive (SSD) should be the first consideration for those who foresee themselves primarily using their laptops for video editing. An SSD accesses important data much faster than a spinning drive, and they are designed to help load applications or play multiple video clips at the same time.
If you plan to work with 4K footage at any point, an SSD can be essential to the performance of your computer. For those on a budget, you may need to compromise on the cost of a large SSD or a higher-quality CPU. For space above 1TB, prices can increase quickly, which is why an external hard drive is a good alternative for storing large video files.
Some gaming computers will offer the SSD and graphics cards that work well for video editing, so a gaming laptop could be a good solution for those who need a speedy storage option.
Target: 256GB to 1TB SSD, whatever your budget allows
Consider how it sounds and which ports you need
Good speakers can be an underrated feature if the video editing you’re doing requires adjusting the levels. If you plan to create music videos or videos heavy on narration, the audio quality will also make a difference in how it will perform on a variety of devices.
Ideally, you’ll want a laptop that allows you to connect a microphone if needed, as well. This can come in the form of an audio jack or a USB port, depending on the type of equipment you have.
How you plan to transfer your files can also be a consideration. Many cameras have a USB port so you can use your editing software to have it directly imported onto your timeline. However, having an SD or microSD slot can also be helpful if you need to put footage on your computer and you don’t want to carry around your heavy camera gear with you.
Target: Decent speakers, audio ports, access ports for your input preference
Look into graphics cards and displays
Depending on how crisp you want your video to look on your screen, the graphics card for video editing you choose won’t heavily affect the overall performance of your laptop or any applications you might need to use.
Most video editing software has not been created with certain graphics cards in mind like it has targeted certain CPUs.
However, this does depend on the software you plan to use. For Final Cut Pro X, a solid graphics card can be extremely useful for some of the new features. On the other hand, it may be worth it to focus your budget on other specs. If there happens to be an option to upgrade your graphics card for a reasonable price it’s worth it.
For many editing jobs, any graphics card included in a gaming laptop should be more than adequate. The NVIDIA® GeForce® MX130 or MX150 is what you are most likely to find when purchasing a new computer, although the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, 1070, or 1080 is ideal if you can get it.
Target: Discrete GPU; AMD Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce GTX or MX
As for the display, size can matter but quality is just as important. Many editors will opt for a larger screen because you can access more of your editing timeline, but it can also make it less portable if you need to take your work on the road.
On the other hand, a 12-inch display is easy to take with you but it won’t be practical when you need a full view of your footage.
If you are shooting in 4K, that’s another consideration to take into account. Your screen resolution should match at 3840 x 2160 pixels so the image isn’t stretched. 4K isn’t yet the standard for video editing, but even if you don’t have a 4K screen, you should make sure to choose a screen that supports at least a High Definition (HD) resolution.
Target: 15 to 17-inch screen, Full HD at a minimum, UHD if your budget allows
Color settings aren’t usually something to be concerned about unless you are planning on some experimentation. However, precision is worth considering, so invest in a keyboard and mouse which can go a long way toward helping you to feel like you have proper control over your software.
Video editing can require some very particular specs, and it’s essential to have a basic idea of what a device can handle or whether you need some customization. With the variety that HP® offers, you’re likely to find a device that can create videos that you are proud to share with the world, whether you are a hobbyist or committed to professional video editing.
Related article: Best HP Desktops for Video Editing
About the Author
Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.
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