The Best Laptops for Video and Photo Editing

The Best Laptops for Video and Photo Editing

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Our pick

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2

The best all-around package

Powerful and lighter than anything else we tested, the ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 has our favorite laptop keyboard and plenty of ports, though its battery life and screen are both average rather than great.

Buying Options

$1,660 from Lenovo

Recommended configuration

Processor: Six-core Intel Core i7-9750H Screen: 4K IPS
Graphics: Nvidia Quadro T1000 Weight: 3.8 pounds
Memory: 16 GB Tested battery life: 6 hours
Storage: 512 GB SSD

The Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 is the lightest of the laptops we tested, but it still includes powerful six- and eight-core processors and dedicated graphics options. And when configured with the 4K IPS screen option (IPS is a type of LCD screen that offers better viewing angles than older LCD technology provides), the P1 Gen 2 comes with a variety of color-calibration presets that the other laptops we tested don’t include. (For the best color accuracy, we recommend the sRGB preset.) Lenovo will sell you up to 64 GB of memory and 4 TB of fast solid-state storage—the P1 Gen 2 is the only laptop we tested with a second M.2 slot, so you can put two 2 TB SSDs in it at once—and the ThinkPad keyboard is the best one you can get in a laptop. But at 6 hours, its tested battery life was an hour and a half short of the Dell XPS 15 7590’s, and as on every laptop we tested this round, its screen wasn’t particularly color-accurate even with the calibration features enabled.

We also tested the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2, which is mostly identical to the P1 Gen 2. It doesn’t include the screen-calibration presets or the second M.2 slot, Lenovo doesn’t offer a 2 TB SSD upgrade, it uses an Nvidia GeForce 1650 Max-Q GPU instead of the Quadro (overall performance should be similar), and it’s typically a little more expensive than the P1 Gen 2. If you don’t care about those features and you see the X1 Extreme Gen 2 for less money, buy it instead.

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Runner-up

Dell XPS 15 7590

Dell XPS 15 7590

Nicer screen, but heavier

The XPS 15 7590 is as fast as the ThinkPad P1 Gen 2, usually cheaper, and blessed with better battery life, but it’s also larger and heavier, and we don’t like the keyboard as much.

Buying Options

$1,600 from Dell

Recommended configuration

Processor: Six-core Intel Core i7-9750H Screen: 4K OLED
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Weight: 4.5 pounds
Memory: 16 GB Tested battery life: 7.6 hours
Storage: 512 GB SSD

The Dell XPS 15 7590 can do the same work at about the same speed as the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2, and it’s normally a couple hundred dollars cheaper—you just need to put up with an extra three-quarters of a pound in your bag. The XPS 15 7590 has one fewer Thunderbolt port than the P1 Gen 2, and its keyboard feels shallower, but both the keyboard and trackpad are accurate and satisfying enough for a day of work. The version of the XPS 15 we tested includes an OLED display that provides higher contrast and deeper blacks than more common IPS panels offer, as well as a 97 watt-hour battery that helps it last an hour and a half longer on a charge than the ThinkPad P1 Gen 2. You can buy a 4-pound version with a 56 Wh battery, but in doing so you’d be cutting your laptop’s battery life by roughly a third, and that’s not a trade-off most people should make.

We focused on Windows laptops for this guide, but Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro is also an excellent laptop for photo and video editing if you prefer macOS and don’t mind paying a little more. The MacBook Pro also has a larger and more color-accurate screen than the Windows laptops we tested; you can read more in our guide to the best MacBooks.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2

The best all-around package

Powerful and lighter than anything else we tested, the ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 has our favorite laptop keyboard and plenty of ports, though its battery life and screen are both average rather than great.

Buying Options

$1,660 from Lenovo

Runner-up

Dell XPS 15 7590

Dell XPS 15 7590

Nicer screen, but heavier

The XPS 15 7590 is as fast as the ThinkPad P1 Gen 2, usually cheaper, and blessed with better battery life, but it’s also larger and heavier, and we don’t like the keyboard as much.

Buying Options

$1,600 from Dell

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter
Keyword: The Best Laptops for Video and Photo Editing

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