June 21, 2024

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The Best Laptops for Video and Photo Editing 2024

3 min read

Videographers and photographers on the move need a laptop that can keep up with quick deadlines and handle any task from color grading to 4K video editing. For professionals who need a laptop that doesn’t compromise on processing power, color accuracy, or battery life, the Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, M3 Pro) is our undisputed recommendation. But if you prefer Windows, or if you want a laptop that you can repair and upgrade in the future, the Dell XPS 15 9530 is the best option right now due to its processing power and OLED screen. And the more-budget-friendly 15-inch M2 MacBook Air has a superb display for a laptop of its price, as well as a processor that’s easily capable of editing 1080p footage

Our pick

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is faster than any other laptop we’ve tested for photo or video editing, and it has truly impressive battery life, to boot.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Apple M3 Pro Screen resolution: 3456×2234
Graphics: 12-core (integrated) Weight: 4.7 pounds
Memory: 16 GB Tested battery life: 15 hours
Storage: 512 GB SSD

The Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, M3 Pro) pairs a color-accurate screen with an incredibly fast laptop processor, and it delivered battery life of 15 hours in our testing. The large, 16.2-inch display offers bright images and has great contrast, so you’ll be able to see every detail in your photos or videos. And when it comes to editing, the MacBook Pro crunches through video with the power of a desktop computer. However, the laptop is a bit heavy, at 4.7 pounds, and it lacks a USB-A port, so you may still need to carry a dongle for now.

Also great

The Dell XPS 15 has a vivid 3.5K display and the processing power to edit any kind of footage on the go. It’s also more repairable and upgradable than the MacBook Pro.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core i7-13700H Screen: 3456×2160
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Weight: 4.2 pounds
Memory: 32 GB Tested battery life: 8 hours
Storage: 512 GB SSD

For people who want a Windows laptop, we recommend the Dell XPS 15 9530. Among the Windows laptops we tested, it’s the one that makes the fewest compromises, giving you a nearly 4K screen, a speedy processor and graphics card, and a comfortable keyboard. The XPS 15’s RAM and storage are upgradable, too, so you’re not stuck with the same specs if you want to upgrade your system down the line.

Budget pick

The MacBook Air is a staple of many modern office desks (or home offices, these days), but it’s a surprisingly capable video-editing laptop, especially for lighter loads and 1080p footage.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Eight-core Apple M2 CPU Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: Ten-core Apple M2 GPU Screen: 2880×1864 IPS
Memory: 8 GB

Apple’s 15-inch M2 MacBook Air has a truly great screen for a laptop of its price, and its processor can easily keep up with 1080p video editing and some shorter 4K projects. It’s fast enough for most photographers, so if you don’t need the extra ports of the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air could save a few pounds in your photo bag. Its 15.3-inch display has a resolution of 2880×1864 and a brightness of 500 nits, so it’s bright enough to use outdoors. It nearly matches the MacBook Pro in color accuracy, and it charges on a much smaller power brick. If you’re an occasional video editor, or if you work in 1080p, you don’t need to look any further than the MacBook Air.


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