best laptops for video editing under 400

Video editing is in most cases synonymous with powerful laptops and PCs with high end graphics cards that can churn and crunch anything you throw at them. However, this does not necessarily mean you cannot edit videos on a slightly cheaper PC. We thus look at 5 of the best budget laptops for under 400 and Best Laptops For Video Editing Under 400 that you can buy today.

Back to School - Best Laptop for High School Students[2020] - BinaryIT,  Sydney

best laptops for video editing under 400

#1 – Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

View Prices!

Intro

Acer has been a standout in the budget/affordable laptop category for a long time, and the Aspire 5 Slim is a perfect choice for a fast, budget friendly laptop.  As of this writing it’s being offered at only ~$350, and that comes with a 128GB SSD!

Inexpensive laptops usually have a few hallmarks, one of which is the HDD drives, which are much slower and consume more battery life than SSD drives.  The first step many people take is to buy their own SSD and swap it out, which immediately adds on to the cost (but is generally worth it).

So the fact that this laptop is coming in at less than $400 and already has the SSD, you are set!  Let’s take a look at some of the pros:

Pros

  • 128 GB SSD Included
  • 3.5 Ghz CPU
  • 15.6 inch Full HD IPS Display (largest you will see in this class)
  • Ram Upgradeable all the way to 32GB, but 16GB is probably fine.
    • Important to choose the right RAM, use this for the upgrade: TEAMGROUP Elite DDR4 16GB Kit
  • Under Budget!

Cons

  • For a budget laptop, we can’t nit pick any downsides.  If budget is important to you, you should buy this laptop now, before they raise the price.

View Prices!

ASUS X555QA Laptop, 15.6”

ASUS X555QA Laptop – Top
ASUS X555QA Laptop
ASUS X555QA Laptop – Back
ASUS X555QA Laptop – Top
ASUS X555QA Laptop

View Prices!

If you still feel like the lack of an SSD doesn’t make you happy, perhaps you would prefer going for the ASUS X555QA which comes with a 1TB hybrid HDD. Hybrid HDDs tend to provide the best of both worlds, but at a more affordable price than someone who goes for a true SSD.

That aside, this ASUS laptop is powered with a quad core AMD A12-9700P chip that can bump up its speed to 3.4GHz when your usage increases. With the AMD A12 comes the AMD Radeon R7 as the primary graphics coprocessor. Of course, since this is a budget laptop, the card is integrated rather than discrete. The 8GB of DDR4 RAM also allows you some level of multitasking. The experience won’t be so magical, but you can still get work done.

Like the Ideapad 320, ASUS included an 8x Super-Multi double layer optical drive on this PC which you would find helpful after you’ve finished editing a video and want to save it locally on an optical disc rather than push it to the cloud. However, if the cloud is more of your thing, you would be happy to know that this laptop model includes an ethernet port which is in most cases faster than Wi-Fi. The lack of a full HD screen may or may not be a big issue depending on the kinds of video you will be editing.View Prices!

2019 Dell Latitude E7450 14″

Dell Latitude E7450 FHD Laptop – Side
Dell Latitude E7450 FHD Laptop
Dell Latitude E7450 FHD Laptop – Front
Dell Latitude E7450 FHD Laptop – Side
Dell Latitude E7450 FHD Laptop

View Prices!

The Latitude E7450 is a heaven-sent laptop if you have been looking for great power at low prices on a laptop. While you are likely to find certified refurbished models of the laptop, you can rest assured that very few laptops will have specifications close to the Latitude E7450 and at the same price.

Its Intel Core i5-5300U is the first giveaway. With a mid-range CPU such as this one, you can expect great performance from the laptop both during video editing sessions and when you’re simply handling light tasks. This is because you equally get the Intel HD Graphics 5500 integrated graphics. You can also get a variant of the laptop with 16GB of DDR3L RAM which will go a long way in ensuring you can handle a variety of tasks all at once. This is essential in video editing as you can require up to 3 different kinds of applications to finalize your video.

Battery life may not be so great on the Latitude E7450 despite using power efficient processors like the i5-5300U. This is because of the 3-cell lithium ion battery and because of the full HD LED-backlit display panel. However, you shouldn’t worry too much about this as it would be hardly noticeable. Finally, the inclusion of SSD options on the laptop make it ideal for video editors who would love to spend the least amount of time transferring files to or from the PC as the Latitude E7450 comes with a base storage capacity of 256GB.View Prices!

Lenovo Ideapad 320 15.6″

Lenovo Flagship IdeaPad
Lenovo Flagship IdeaPad – Front Angle Left
Lenovo Flagship IdeaPad – Front Angle
Lenovo Flagship IdeaPad
Lenovo Flagship IdeaPad – Front Angle Left

View Prices!

You would probably be amazed at how simple the 2018 Lenovo Ideapad 320 is. While there are many variants of the same laptop, the AMD A9 powered variant is a great choice for enthusiasts who wish to venture into video editing but are at the same time mindful about how much they wish to spend on the PCs.

The decent AMD A9-9420 chip fitted in the Lenovo Ideapad 320 can go up to 3.5GHz in extreme scenarios, and this is something you will need for a laptop that does not really have all the popular GPUs. Speaking of GPUs, the laptop has the AMD Radeon R5 integrated graphics card. It may not be much, and it will perform lower than discrete graphic cards, but it is worth it for a start.

Optical disc drives may have been dropped for high end laptops because they wish to focus on a laptop’s compactness, but not for the Ideapad 320 which features a super slim DVD-RW drive which you can use to store your videos on an optical DVD disc. This can save you the cost of having to get an external HDD.

The laptop is also fitted with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB HDD. They may be slow in this day and age of SSDs, but they still perform their duties without any fuss once they’re up and running. IO ports such as the HDMI, the 4-in-1 card reader, and the ethernet port are all features that you may lack when going for high end laptops, but you can find them on the Ideapad 320.View Prices!

Dell Inspiron 11.6″

Dell Inspiron 11.6
Dell Inspiron 11.6 – Back Angle
Dell Inspiron 11.6
Dell Inspiron 11.6 – Back Angle

View Prices!

Anyone would do well with a highly portable laptop like the 11.6″ Dell Inspiron laptop, and not just because of the convenience it offers and its visual appeal, but its dedication to performance for non-power users.

As is the case with the Ideapad 320, you will get a HD display that features a resolution of 1366 x 768 which is not bad for a laptop ranging around $500. It also chose to side with AMD for its processor requirements as it comes with the AMD A9-9420e processor which works art a frequency of 1.8GHz when in normal situation but can go up to 2.7GHz when you begin rendering your videos.

The 8GB DDR4 SDRAM keeps things in check by ensuring that you have some level of multitasking while editing your videos. For budget laptops, having decent amounts of RAM is important because it will improve your overall experience even though the laptop is not primarily meant for intense tasks. The 256GB SSD storage it comes bundled with won’t raise eyebrows with regard to capacity, but compared to the Lenovo Ideapad 320, this is a step in the right direction because it ensures you have a faster experience.

IO ports are not in plenty but are enough to get you going through the day. The Dell Inspiron has a HDMI port, 3 USB ports, a headphone/microphone jack, and a MicroSD Card Reader you can use to transfer your files to and from other devices.View Prices!

2018 Dell Inspiron 15 5000

Dell Inspiron 15 – Side Angle
Dell Inspiron 15
Dell Inspiron 15 – Back Angle
Dell Inspiron 15 – Side Angle
Dell Inspiron 15

View Prices!

It may be a little bit over the $500 mark with $25, but there are plenty of reasons why we still had to feature it despite this. In any case, you can forego about 10 cups of coffee and have enough for topping up to get this laptop.

The first thing to note about the 2018 Dell Inspiron 15 5000 is that it comes with an Intel Core i5 processor. More specifically, the i5-8250U processor which actually beats the performance of some Core i7 processors such as the i7-7500U by 26%. It was worth mentioning this since the two laptops we have reviewed so far have AMD chips. With an Intel-powered laptop, you get the Intel Integrated 620 Graphics which is better than having nothing at all. With the integrated 620 Graphics, you can at least be sure that you can edit videos peacefully but at a much slower pace than if you had a discrete graphics card.

The laptop offers you 8GB of DDR4 SDRAM along with 1TB of SATA HDD storage. Once again, this may not be “modern”, but it does allow you to store a lot more than someone who wishes to go for a SSD equivalent.

A backlit keyboard is necessary if you work till the late hours of the night, and you can thus enjoy its inclusion on this laptop. It also beats both the Ideapad 320 and the 2018 Dell Inspiron 11.6″ model when it comes to screen resolution as this model has a full HD display panel that supports a resolution of 1920 x 1080.View Prices!

Which laptop should you buy?

This isn’t always a question with a clear and obvious answer. No matter your price category, there are simply too many different types of laptops to choose from. More to the point, there is no single best laptop because there is no single kind of user. Period.

Everyone wants something different. Some people care more about specs. Others care more about screens. You might care more about having a laptop that looks good than having one that can run graphically demanding games. You might not. So when people ask us which laptop or laptop brand is the best, we don’t give them an easy answer.  

Instead, we give them a list. A set of criteria that everyone should give some consideration towards before splurging on a new device. Ultimately, it’s your money. Taking the time to research and think about how best to spend it might sound a little more tedious and time-consuming than dropping into your local JB Hi-Fi, flashing that cash and walking out with A Shiny New Thing. However, in the long run, it increases the likelihood of you both saving money and ending up with a product that actually suits your needs.

1. Size & Form-Factor

When it comes to laptops, size matters.

Depending on what you plan to be doing with your next laptop, you’ll want to make sure you pick the size that’s the right fit for you. Size isn’t like the RAM or ROM of a laptop, you can’t upgrade it later. You’re locked into whatever form-factor you select up-front, so choose wisely.

Laptops sizes tend to start at 11.6-inches and go all the way up to 17.3 inches. Most brands and OEMS like HP, Dell, ASUS and Acer tend to offer three display sizes – 13.3-inch, 15.6-inch and 17.3-inches. However, some vendors do sell laptops that fall outside these sizes including 11.6-inches, 12.5-inches and 14-inches.

Obviously, if portability is your priority, you’ll want to go for a smaller-sized Windows laptop. They tend to be thinner and lighter than their larger counterparts. Look for laptops that have a screen that is either 12.5-inches or 13.3-inches in size, and a weight between 1kg and 1.5kgs.

Razer Blade
Razer Blade

However, keep in mind that smaller-sized 13.3-inch machines often don’t support the same high-end Intel Core CPUs or discrete graphics cards you’ll be able to find in their 15.6-inch counterparts. Most of the time, they’ll also feature a less-robust selection of ports. If the kind of work you intend to be using your new laptop for necessitates a larger display or standalone graphics, you’ll probably need to look at a larger size.

Beyond specific sizings, there are several different classes of laptop to choose from. Ultrabooks tend to favor a slim and lightweight form-factor over high-end performance. Things like the ASUS Zenbook (review here) and Lenovo’s Yoga (review here) devices fall into this category.

By contrast, Notebooks tend to offer a good mix of power and portability. If you’re looking at notebooks, a good place to start is the Dell XPS 13 (review here) and HP’s Envy x360 (review here).

Convertibles (also known as 2-in-1 laptops or 2-in-1 PCs) expand on this by adding the ability to fold away (or remove) the keyboard and use your new laptop as you would a tablet. Products like Microsoft’s Surface Go (review here) and Acer’s Chromebooks fall into this category.

Finally, traditional clamshell and gaming laptops tend to boast bulkier form-factors but significantly-beefier specs.

Microsoft Surface Go
Microsoft Surface Go

The most important thing to consider here when looking for the best laptop you can buy is what you’re actually going to need that laptop to do. It’s rarely ever a case of one size fits all. Some users need something lighter and more portable. Other users need discrete graphics for things like video editing or running high end games. If you need a PC with an optical drive or long battery life, you’ll almost certainly have to look for something larger.

[Related Content: Top 6 Best 4K TVs of 2018]

Once you’ve worked out the size and form-factor of laptop you’re looking for, the search for the best one becomes that much easier – since you can begin to filter your search results by those parameters.

2. Screen Quality

MSI celebrates another accolade with special deals
More from MSI Gaming Australia

Since you’ll probably end up staring at your laptop screen hours at a time, you’ll probably want to make sure it’s as painless as possible to do so. For this, you’ll need a screen that is comfortable to look at and feels natural to use. m

To start with, you’ll want to consider whether you want your next laptop to have a touchscreen at all. These days, touchscreens are very common and they can make some tasks easier than others. Some brands include this feature as standard. Others will demand a modest surcharge for its inclusion.

Unfortunately, opting for a touchscreen can sometimes add a glossiness to the display. Though not a universal trait among touch-sensitive displays, glossier screens are often a little more susceptible to glare. This can be a definite drawback if you’re gaming, watching content or editing images and video content.

Modern touchscreens are much better than their predecessors but, some of the above details persist and if you’re more of a natural typist, you might want to consider going for a laptop that doesn’t have a touchscreen.

Next up, be sure to look at the resolution on any laptop you’re thinking of buying. A 1920×1080-pixel resolution (Full HD) should be considered the minimum if you want plenty of space to line up windows and keep things in view.If you splurge on something a little sharper, you probably won’t regret it though.

Select modern laptops also now offer 4K resolutions. However, these high-end display panels are generally a costly add-on to an already-expensive product. 4K is an extra that’s only really going to be worth it for those who really need it such as content creation professionals.

Photographers and videographers will also want to privilege laptops that offer better color accuracy and support wider color gamut and HDR standards over those that don’t. The key things you’re looking for here are Delta E < 1 color accuracy and 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut. 

[Related Content: Everything You Need To Know About 4K]

If you’re a gamer, it’s also worth taking the time to check the refresh rate on the display of any potential laptop. A faster refresh rate can often provide a sometimes provide a competitive advantage in online games, as it enables a smoother and more responsive play experience. Ideally, you want something with less than 5ms response time or a refresh rate greater than 144Hz.

Lastly, viewing angles are extremely important. A laptop screen that touts IPS (in-plane switching) technology offers the widest viewing angles and the best user comfort. Chances are you’re not always going to be using your laptop in its natural habitat, so a laptop with an IPS display is usually preferred over the opposite.

If possible, take the time to go into a store and try to feel out the differences between different displays for yourself. If your eyes can’t see much of a difference between a laptop with a FHD display and one with a 4K one, it might not be worth paying the premium for the latter.

Just keep in mind that display models usually have the settings cranked to the maximum in order to catch your eyes. Otherwise, be sure to check out reviews like those on PC World to get a good overview of the product and whether or not its screen will be able to suit your needs. In 2020, most major laptop displays hit the mark but those that don’t make themselves quickly known often when subjected to the scrutiny of a professional reviewer.

Related: The Top 5 TVs
Related: The Top 5 Best Laptop bags in 2017 that you can buy right now

3. Keyboard quality

For long typing sessions, you’ll need to get a laptop that has a comfortable keyboard. You don’t want to get a keyboard that packs in every key under the sun (think keyboards that have squished in number pads) because that can translate to a poor overall user experience when hunting for specifics like the arrow or delete keys.

Ideally, you want a keyboard that has a comfortable layout with full-sized keys and some space around the arrow keys. The keys should have adequate travel on the downstroke and snappy responsiveness when you let them go.READ MOREWhat’s the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?

Make sure the keyboard is also backlit. At face value, that might seem like a superficial detail but backlit keys make it much easier to see what you’re typing in dimly lit environments.

[Related Content: Four Alternatives To Cherry MX Switches]

As with the screen, it helps to try before you buy – especially if your main task will be typing. Chances are, you’re going to find the most comfort with what you know here. If you’re used to typing on a laptop keyboard that stretches all the way to the edge of the chassis, you’re probably going to find laptops that opt for the same or a similar layout to be easier to type on than the alternatives.

4. CPU

It’s hard to go past any of Intel’s Core-based CPUs when buying a new laptop. Even if you’re not versed in the technical details, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the stickers plastered on all new laptops for the silicon giant’s Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors.

For many users, an Intel Core Processor offer the best performance when it comes to multitasking and multimedia tasks. Core i3-based notebooks are generally found in entry-level systems, while Core i5 makes up the majority of mainstream computers.

Core i7-based systems are for those of you who want the best performance from your laptop. However, note that with a Core i7-based system, heat coming through the base of the laptop can be cause for concern, especially if you plan to actually use the laptop on your lap a lot of the time.

Some larger laptops also now incorporate Intel’s i9 Core processors. Laptops running on i9 Core processors are even more powerful than laptops running on i7 Core processors. They’re able to rival desktops for performance but they do come with a significantly-higher cost than a laptop with an i7, i5 or i3 Core Processor.

[Related Content: How do I decide between a Core i3, i5, i7 or i9?]

Select vendors now also offer laptops and notebooks that run on AMD’s Ryzen Mobile CPUs. If you’re a gamer, this can be a particularly compelling option worth considering. Ryzen Mobile CPUs tend to be paired with AMD’s own Vega graphics chipsets, which are currently far better for gaming than Intel’s own onboard graphics.

Final Thoughts

Selecting a good laptop for video editing is easy if you’re ready to go all in and spend as much as you want. However, it can be difficult if you have budget constraints as you will most definitely end up with a laptop that lacks a GPU. This is not to say that GPUs are necessary in order for you to edit videos, but they could save you a lot of time and ease the burden on your CPU when the workload increases. When getting a laptop with a GPU is out of the question, it would be wise if you focus on a laptop with a relatively fast processor and a good amount of RAM. This is because computers without GPUs tend to “borrow” a portion of the RAM and use it as a virtual GPU. Of course, the performance would not be the same as that of a real GPU, but it would be better than having nothing at all.

Leave a Comment