Whether you are stranded at home during this pandemic like a recluse and need to get those 4k clips edited or just need a portable machine to supplement your work computer but don’t want to shed thousands of bucks, worry not, we have you covered. Our list features some of the most budget-friendly laptops a beginner can find in the market for 2020. Before the article begins, it must be said that we have only featured one MacBook because of it being the only product capable of running Final Cut and it being the most pocket friendly among its family. Moreover, we have talked about some of the key features that you must always look for when searching for a 4k video editing capable laptop. Then,we have talked about minimum specifications for some widely used software for video editing have been described. Following are the laptops that we will be discussing:
- Surface Book 2
- Dell XPS 15
- HP Spectre x360
- ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW
- HP Omen 17
- Lenovo P70
- MacBook Pro 13’’ 2020
- ASUS ROG 2020
- Dell Inspiron 7000
- ASUS ZenBook 13
DISCLAIMER: I personally have not used the laptops for any extensive length of time, after a month of investigation I ended up going all in for the 16″ Macbook Pro. All information below is from my already vast knowledge about laptops, editing systems & information found online.
What to look for in a good video editing laptop;
Before we continue on with our list of best budget-friendly devices, we have to understand what specifically are we looking for in a machine that could handle heavy loads.
The processor is the first thing that comes to mind and it must be remembered that it be at least a quad-core one to be able to handle all the editing and rendering work.
The second issue is of Ram and the minimum that you need is 8GB but even if you get 8GB at your initial purchase, we would recommend you to increase that up to 16GB whenever you get the chance.
After that has been cleared, you’ll have to look for a Graphics Card that supplies the video memory or the VRAM. You can do a bit of editing with the integrated Intel HD Graphics found in most laptops but for 4k video editing, a dedicated graphics card is a must which we will talk about in the next part.
The display panel is also an issue when scouting for a laptop capable of editing 4k videos hence the need for a UHD 4K Display Panel comprising of 3240 x 2160 pixels. Although, an FHD (1080P) can be utilized for editing 4k clips but the process is complex and rather unpleasing. Moreover, a powerful display screen can show you the original colors while editing. This just makes the post-processing work much easier.
The storage also plays an important part when doing vigorous tasks such as editing 4k videos. The Solid State Drive (SSD) is much superior to conventional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) because of faster loading time and the fact that it can access data much faster than a spinning hard disk and also security encryptions of data are better on SSD. In addition to that, the application and window boot up times on SDD are much faster compared to the conventional Hard Disk Drive.
Minimum specifications for mainstream editing software
Now lets talk about some of the minimum specifications required for mainstream editing software. Below, we have mentioned a few editing applications and given a brief description of minimum specifications required to run the respected editing application on Laptops.
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere is one of the most commonly used software among the video editing community. The minimum CPU requirements for this program are an Intel 6th Gen or AMD FX processor. At least 8GB of Ram will be required with 2GB of VRAM supplied by a graphics card.
Resolve is also a widely used video editing software but unlike Premiere, this software’s demands for power are somewhat aggressive. Now, you can make do with a quad-core CPU but the main difference resides in memory and video memory (VRAM). It’ll work with 16GB of Ram but for 4k, the minimum specified is 16GB. The minimum VRAM for 4k is 8GB. So, it must be noted that the devices at the very end of our list might not be able to utilize this program to its fullest.
Now, it must be kept in mind here that Final Cut is exclusive software for Apple devices, hence the only device in our budget and list is a single MacBook. Nevertheless, it’ll work with 4GB of Ram and 256MB of VRAM, this is only possible because the software is highly optimized to work on Apple products.
Laptops that we’ll be discussing
The following are the top 10 budget-friendly laptops best suited for 4k video editing that we recommend:
Surface Book 2:
CPU: Intel Core i7, GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060, RAM: 16GB, Storage: 256GB SSD
This machine is the finest on our list of top budget-friendly laptops that can edit 4k clips natively. It is equipped with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU and boasts dedicated NVidia GTX 1060 graphics card which combined make it quite a powerful machine for our purposes. As jaw-dropping as it is under the hood, it also has a 3240 x 2160 which make the screen quite vivid and perfect for editing. Since, it is manufactured by Microsoft, it is one of the sleekest devices on the list. This device can last 12 hours so you can edit all day without fear of it dying mid-work. It comes in either 13.5-inch or 15-inch PixelSense Display.
Dell XPS 15:
CPU: Intel Core i7, GPU: NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, RAM: 16GB, Storage: 512GB SSD
This device comes in multiple configurations, the ones listed above are for $1729 which gets you a Core i7-10750H CPU with a GTX 1650 Ti for graphics and it is needless to say that is more than for our needs. This build also gets you an aluminum chassis which combined with carbon fiber makes it one of the most revered devices on the market at this price. The display on this laptop is 15.6-inch and the battery lasts for almost 8 hours.
For the sake of options, if you want to save a couple of hundred bucks sacrificing some of the power, you can also go for the configurations such as
$1549 config: The CPU and GPU for this build remain the same but the Ram comes down to 8GB and the storage comes down to 256GB SSD.
$1199 config: You get a 10th gen Core i5-10300H, Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB of Ram, and 256GB SSD storage.
HP Spectre x360:
CPU: Intel Core i7, GPU: Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti, RAM: 16GB, Storage: 1TB SSD
The Spectre is an elegant machine that also comes in multiple configurations. The listed one is a high-end model combining a 4k glossy display with an aluminum chassis. The display is 13.3-inch which makes for a good experience. The Core i7 with 1050 Ti makes is powerful enough to get through all the rigorous tasks that you might put it under. The battery is also quite good for a 4k display lasting a full 8 hours and 9 minutes on a single charge.
$1499 config: This build gets u Core i7 with Nvidia MX150, 8GB of Ram, and 512GB of storage. If you are behind a few bucks this build also delivers a reasonable amount of power for your work.
ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW:
CPU: Core i7, GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, Ram: 16GB, Storage: 512GB SSD
It boasts the latest Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ quad-core CPU which combined with GTX 960M which has 4GB of GDDR5 video ram, makes it one of the most coveted 4k video editing laptops in 2020. Its Intel 4k UDH touchscreen panel makes it stand out from the rest and that panel is 15.6-inch display. Its SSD which is capable of 2200 MB/s transfer rate makes it quite quick. It is powered by a 96Wh lithium battery which gives you 6 hours of battery life on a 4k display.
HP Omen 17:
CPU: Core i7, GPU: Nvidia GeForce 1060, RAM: 32GB, Storage: 2TB HDD with 128GB SSD
Omen 17 has a 17.3’’ UHD 4k IPS UWVA screen which has an anti-glare coating and is WLED backlit, which makes it quite big and vivid enough for editing 4k videos. The CPU is the same as the last one Inter quad-core i7-6700HQ with 2.6 GHz which can be turbo boosted to 3.5 GHz. The GeForce 1060 having 6GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM combined with 32GB of RAM make it one of the fastest devices in our list. And the graphics card is also VR ready if you ever wanted to edit your 4k VR videos, this is one of the devices that you must consider.
This laptop has a few drawbacks that come with the insane power. Its battery only lasts around 5 hours and it has no physical CD or DVD ROM drive. The problem with the batter might derive from the fact that this device is made to support the heaviest of the games thus outputting a huge amount of power at all time.
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5, GPU: Nvidia Quadro M5000M, RAM: 32GB, Storage: 512GB SSD
Now this device is one of the heavily powered at its price point. The processor is a quad-core Intel Xeon Processor E3-1505M v5 which goes up to 2.4 GHz, and the graphics card is also a fairly good one by Nvidia called Quadro M5000M. But the main difference here is that is boasts 32GD of DDR4 RAM and the graphics card gives 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM. It also boasts a beautiful 17.3-inch panel which is a UHD 4k. Despite of the 4k display and the tremendous power that it delivers, it packs a battery that keeps it running for 10.8 hours.
The only drawback here is that because of its big display and components packs, it is a relatively heavier machine.
MacBook Pro 13’’ 2020:
CPU: 1.4 GHz quad-core 8th Gen, GPU: Intel Iris Plus 645, RAM: 8GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3, Storage: 256GB SSD
This is the only MacBook that we have featured in our list because this is the only does not ask us to shelve thousands of bucks. The significance of this device on our list is that it is the only device capable of running Final Cut Pro because the software is exclusive to Apple product hence, we had to add at least one MacBook to diversify the list. Of course, there are some drawbacks, you’ll be getting a 13 Inch Retina Display which is 2560 x 1660. It does not however mean that the display is not good, but rather that you will not get a 4k display to edit natively. This device gives you a whopping 10 hours of battery life. This is a base model, the second configuration is listed in the next paragraph but if you want to just increase the RAM on this model that would also help you for an extra $100.
If you have some extra couple hundred bucks lying around, precisely $1799, you can get a faster 2.3 GHz 10TH Gen Core i7 coupled with 32GB of RAM, you can also configure the storage to your liking and you get Intel Iris Plus for graphics.
ASUS ROG 2020:
CPU: Core i7, GPU: GeForce GTX 1650, RAM: 16GB, Storage: 512GB SSD
This beast is targeted toward gamers but it is also one of the best video editing devices that you can get under $1000. It packs an Intel 6-Core i7-9750H up to 4.5 GHz coupled with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 giving 4GB of VRAM. It has 16GB of DDR5 RAM with 512GB of SSD storage. Since, it was designed for gamers, it has cool looking backlit RGB keyboard and a 15.6-inch display capable of 120Hz refresh rate.
The only drawback here is the screen which is an FHD or a 1080p display, not a 4k but it must be kept in mind that a 4k display under 1000 bucks is not quite possible at this stage of technological advancement.
Dell Inspiron 7000 i7559:
CPU: Core i7, GPU: Intel HD Graphics 630, RAM: 16GB, Storage: 1TB HDD with 128GB SSD
This is the latest device by Dell powered by the latest processor from Intel that is i7-6700 HQ 2.6 GHz. Now this base model has integrated Intel HD graphics 360 which does the work but if you want to crank the power up and are willing to part with $1100, you can get it with a NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB VRAM. The RAM is DDR3 and the storage is a combination of 1TB HDD and 128GB of SSD which provide enough space for your 4k videos. The display is a touchscreen 4k panel which makes is more useful. The battery is also quite good lasting for a full 7 hours and 28 minutes under best conditions.
The only little setback here is that the cooling on this device is a bit ineffective so you’ll have to use it in places which are not much humid. The 15.6’’ UHD panel also makes it a bit heavy.
ASUS ZenBook 13:
CPU: Intel Core i5, GPU: Intel UHD 620, RAM: 8GB, Storage: 256GB SSD
This device valued at $750 is the most budget-friendly device that we include in our list. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-1035G1 and integrated Intel Graphics, we don’t say that this machine packs a heavy punch but it is good enough to get in the video editing community. The device is good looking in itself with a 13.3-inch display but lacking a 4k display. Though, you can edit 4k clips in it using proxies but not natively. Its battery stands at a good 9 hours.
So now that we have talked about the best 4k video editing laptops in 2020, it is time for you to select the one that fits with you the best. It all comes down to the price you are willing to pay and the value you are getting for your price. Some of the laptops are sleeker than others while some look extraordinarily stunning with their high quality displays, it just comes down to preference. Experts that develop these products say when you are talking video, the better the hardware, the better the work that can be done. As a word of advice, the list does include some pretty budget-friendly laptops, though they are the best in their range and get a lot of work done, they lack in their 4k display and a little bit less power. It must also be advised to you that the RAM that you get on your initial purchase can be doubled for a few bucks more if you ever feel like buffing your device up. However, for someone, just entering the market and trying video editing, these are some of the best laptops on the market in 2020 for beginners.