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With so many laptops on the market, filmmakers and film students might find themselves confused about which brand or model to purchase. Thankfully, there are a lot of high-quality laptops available that are great for film editing and other needs.
Regardless of whether you’re a student or a more experienced filmmaker, you’ll be multi-tasking more often than not — which means that you’ll need a laptop that is capable of performing multiple tasks such as audio and video rendering, without overheating or the battery dying too fast. To help you get started on your search, we rounded up a list of five of the best laptops for filmmakers that range in pricing and capabilities. Some of the notebooks listed can be used for gaming as well, and obviously other potentially more mundane tasks like streaming videos and checking social media. The list includes Dell, HP, Apple, and other top brands.
Below, find our list of laptops that filmmakers should buy. And if you want more computer-related content be sure to read our picks for best laptop bags for filmmakers, best editing software, best books for first-time filmmakers, and best screenwriting software.
HP Elitebook 850 G6 Customizable Notebook
HP has a bunch of different options to chose from, but the Elitebook 850 G6 is a solid choice for film editing. This durable notebook weighs under four pounds and offers a long battery life, making it perfect for your editing needs. It also features anywhere from 128GB to 2TB of SSD storage, along with an Intel HD Graphics 620 or 850 discrete graphics card. The notebook has 64GB of memory and four cores of processing capabilities, which is great for advanced software. You can also purchase the HP Elitebook 850 model with a touch screen.
Writes user Josh H, “We really like this laptop. It boots extremely quickly with the SSD. I did however have to get a 256gb slim USB since the included SSD was only 256gb which is pretty small. The aluminum design is rugged and comparable to our old MacBook Pro. The screen is really impressive with its HDR capabilities. Overall great laptop so far. Loving it!”
Dell XP 15 9500
Equipped with Adobe RGB and a 94 percent DCI-P3 color gamut, the notebook boasts a stunning display with vivid picturing and an optional 4K Ultra HD+ display (3840 x 2400), which will help make your film creations that much more brilliant. And if you want seamless productivity, the camera has a 16:10 display with a stunning edge-to-edge view updated with 921k more pixels on UHD+, along with carefully crafted backlighting and a UV resistant and stain-resistant coating to prevent yellowing and other stains.
Writes one user Dina Jadallah, “My New XPS 15 laptop is phenomenal! Better than I imagined it would be. I’m highly impressed with the incredible power of its processor, the speed with which it boots up, the comfortable keyboard, the amazing colors, precision, and functionality of the monitor, the remarkable clarity and power of the speakers, and so many other things besides. In addition, the ease of setting up the machine and its personalization was nothing short of amazing. So very easy! Connecting with my other devices, apps, etc.. was practically a snap! Furthermore, it is super sleek and light and just beautiful to look at. I would recommend it to anyone!”
Dell Alienware M15 R3 Laptop
Dell’s M15 R3 laptop is mostly good for graphics, which is why it tends to get used as a gaming laptop. You can, of course, use it for video editing as well. The notebook features 12-phase graphics voltage regulation on configurations featuring the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti or higher and a 50 percent increase in voltage regulation phases, making it one of Dell’s most efficient 15″ Alienware designs. It also has built-in blue light reduction capabilities, weighs just under five pounds, and includes premium magnesium alloy materials, which is a bit of an improvement on the surface coating designed to reduce fingerprints and other stains without changing the hue or color.
Writes user Jack, “This is a great laptop (especially when found on sale). I got mine on a huge discount because the new 3070 and 3080 laptops were coming out, but I am still very happy with this 2070 model — it will no doubt last several years. My model has a 300hz display, which although very nice and crisp, comes with the drawback of lacking battery life. I get two hours of battery on battery saver mode when fully charged because the 300hz display model does not allow you turn off the GPU when doing normal tasks like web browsing. If this problem was fixed, this would be a dream machine!”
Acer Nitro 5, 15.6” Laptop
Anyone who has shopped for laptops before knows that Acer remains one of the more affordable and reliable brands. The Acer Nitro 5 AN515-43 is technically a gaming laptop, but it works for film editing as well. The laptop has an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB system memory, a 15.6” full HD screen, 1920 x 1080 resolution, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card rendering bright and detailed visuals. The 256GB SSD offers up plenty of storage space.
Writes user Pcexbird, “Best upgradability of all available premium laptops. [It] comes with one open slot for an extra nvme ssd. Comes with [an] open sata slot for 2tb hard drive or ssd. [It] comes with one open slot for more RAM. Fantastic cooling promises excellent core temps.”
Macbook Pro 16”
Apple computers are pretty reliable and good for a variety of uses — video editing being one of them. This Macbook Pro features a 16″ retina display and up to 64GB of memory, along with a lightening-fast processor and 8TB SSD storage. It also includes an AMD Radeon Pro 500M series graphics card and six-speaker sound system with studio-grade mics. Plus, this model of Macbook Pro has three microphones (instead of one) and a touch bar.
Writes user Mike, “The difference in size is subtle but noticeable. It’s technically even more dense, but just barely. You won’t notice much difference from recent MacBook Pros but true to Apple, the display is absolutely gorgeous. The 0.6 inch difference in size retains the same logical resolution, so everything should look just slightly bigger which I welcome. The [processor] base model has the same chipset as the 2019 15.4″ model. The performance, however, is about 10 percent better due to significantly improved airflow and larger heatsinks. The issue of heat-related throttling has been largely addressed. On the upper model, the machine now comes with eight cores and [a] serious performance bump. There is literally nothing you can throw at this MacBook that it won’t handle with breeze.”
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