Best Laptops For Film Students in 2020 (+ Buying Guide)

DailyTechCentral is reader-supported. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.


Are you a frustrated film student tired of searching for the best laptop for film school?

We understand you. No matter how many friends you ask or how many forums you visit, your needs have to be satisfied on a personal level.

ASUS-ROG-Scar-III table

In a hurry?
Here’s our Editor’s choice:
ASUS ROG Strix Scar

We, at Daily Tech Central, have done a ton of research to find the best laptops for film students based on their needs and in their own categories.

We did the hard work so that you don’t have to.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at them.

Best Laptops For Film Students in 2020


ASUS ROG Strix Scar III
(Editor’s Choice)

ASUS-ROG-Scar-III table
Intel Core i7
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070
16GB DDR4
15.6″ FHD

MacBook Pro 16″
(Best Mac)

MacBook Pro 16 table
Intel Core i7
AMD Radeon Pro M5000
16GB DDR4
16″ Retina

Acer Predator Helios 300
(Best Mid-range)

Acer Predator Helios 300 table
Intel Core i7
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
16GB DDR4
15.6″ FHD

Best Laptop For Film Students – Editor’s Choice

ASUS-ROG-Scar-III

Our Editor’s Choice for the best laptop for film students is the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III.

This gaming laptop comes with all the hardware you need for an out of the world gaming experience.

Right from the design of this laptop which is sturdy and stylish, you can see that ASUS has put a good amount of focus on detail. The laptop comes in a nice shade of black and has a stealthy look that gaming laptops are known for.

This is one of the most durable laptops Asus has ever produced. The laptop has undergone extensive drop, pressure, and vibration testing to ensure that they can handle every day physical damage. The hinges, ports, and keyboards are tested for resilience against common wear and tear.

Being a gaming laptop, this ROG model comes with an excellent cooling system. The cooling system in this laptop is made up of three modes namely silent, balanced, and Turbo mode.

The modes are activated depending upon the need. If you’re not doing anything that heavy, then the fans are working in the silent mode. If you are working with all guns blazing, then Turbo mode kicks in.

Each fan blade in this cooling system is 33% thinner when you compare it with conventional designs. Each fan comes with 83 blades which helps in increasing the airflow by 17%.

There are anti-dust tunnels that keep the fans and the heat sinks clean. This is important as clean components can always deliver more performance and efficiency over time.

When you open the lid of this laptop, you cannot miss the keyboard. We have an aura sync keyboard which makes an excellent first impression. With an excellent layout, this is one of the best keyboards we have seen on the laptop.

The keys come with enough travel for a laptop and are a pleasure to type on. There is also a dedicated number pad to the right side which should come in handy for some.

There is fully customizable RGB backlighting in the keyboard which helps you to make this laptop yours. The keyboard has full N key rollover functions for accurate multikey inputs. This will surely play a big role when it comes to gaming.

The keyboard is tested and is proven to be durable for 20 million key presses which should be more than enough for most users.

The trackpad on this laptop is a Windows precision trackpad. It comes with support for all the windows gestures and is quite good to use.

The display on this laptop is a 15.6 inch one with full HD resolution. This is one of the better full HD displays we’ve seen on a laptop and it comes with a refresh rate of 240 Hz which is crazy good for gaming.

This refresh rate gives you a fluid viewing experience and makes this an excellent laptop for gaming. Even for film students, this display will give you a new perspective and will come and super handy when you are rendering and doing video playbacks.

The IPS panel underneath the display is excellent and delivers vibrant colors. The viewing angles of the display also one point making this a good one for media consumption and other daily activities.

The processor that powers this ASUS ROG laptop is an Intel Core i7 processor. This is the ninth generation chip from Intel and it comes with six physical cores and 12 logical cores. We have a maximum clock speed of 4.6 GHz which is a lot of power even for a video editing laptop.

The processor crushes it when it comes to benchmarks and it reflects the same in real-life performance as well. You can throw almost anything on this laptop and this process will run it like a hot knife through butter.

The memory department on this laptop is full with 16GB of DDR4 RAM. The memory has a clock speed of 2666 MHz which is quite good for multitasking and running multithreaded applications. This memory should be more than enough if you’re dealing with decent sized video files.

We have a 512 GB solid state drive on this laptop for storage purposes. This is a generous inclusion from ASUS and it gives you all the space you want for your everyday needs. When your library gets bigger, you can always get more space in the form of an external hard disk drive.

The graphics card that ties everything up together is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card. This is a high-end offering from Nvidia and is one of the best graphic cards for a laptop at this moment.

This GPU comes with 6GB of video RAM that is of the GDDR6 type. This graphics card is excellent when it comes to running even the latest and greatest games. If you are a serious gamer, you will love this graphics card.

How good is this graphics card for film students?

When it comes to handling video editing, this RTX GPU does a pretty good job. Rendering is a lot faster with this GPU in the picture. Even if you’re dealing with 4K video files, this GPU handles it without breaking a sweat.

Overall, this laptop delivers when it comes to everyday activities and video editing making it the best laptop for film students in 2020.

Pros

Beastly performance
Awesome display
Powerful GPU

Cons

Slightly expensive

View This Laptop On Amazon!


Best Mac For Film Students

MacBook Pro 16

The MacBook Pro 16” is our choice for the best Apple laptop for film students.

There are two reasons why you would want to take the MacBook Pro as your laptop as opposed to other Windows laptops. Recent number one is that you want to make Final Cut Pro your video editing software of choice. The second reason is your love for Apple and Apple products.

The MacBook Pro 16” is an amazing laptop in so many ways. It is brilliantly designed and for its size, it weighs much lesser than other laptops in the same size category. In fact, this is the most portable 16-inch laptop you will find on the market.

The keyboard on this MacBook Pro deserves a special mention as it brings back the golden days for Apple keyboards. We have a redesigned scissor keyboard which is way better than the butterfly mechanism the previous models had.

The keys are well spaced and have a decent key travel which makes typing on this keyboard a neat experience. The backlighting on the keyboard is not customizable like in gaming laptops but it is pretty good and will help you get the job done in dark environments.

The trackpad on the MacBook Pro is probably the best one you are going to see on a laptop. When compared with the previous models, this trackpad is 20% larger giving you more surface area to play with. The trackpad comes with excellent palm rejection so the bigger surface does not interfere with your work in any way.

The MacBook Pro 16“ brings the Touch bar which is pretty good when it comes to editing videos. With Final Cut Pro, you can scrub their videos during playback with ease. The Touch Bar also provides you contextual menus depending upon the app you are using at that moment.

The presence of Touch ID gives you another level of security. It allows you to encrypt your files and also helps in seamless online shopping with the help of Apple Pay. You can also log into the user profile with just a touch instead of typing your password.

One thing that definitely needs a mention is the T2 security chip. This is a Secure Enclave that Apple has created to improve the encryption on the laptop. This chip keeps all your data secure and encrypted so that it can’t be accessed by outside parties. This also brings hey Siri which is available all the time.

The 16“ display comes with what Apple calls retina resolution. This resolution is excellent as it packs more than 4 million pixels onto the screen. When you’re looking from a normal distance, it is going to be very difficult to spot individual pixels.

The quality of images on the display is probably the best on a laptop. The colors are vibrant and true to life, thanks to the excellent contrast ratio. The true tone technology plays an important role in the final output we see. If you like reading on your laptop, the sharp text is definitely something you will enjoy.

Let’s talk about the performance of the graphics card. We have an AMD Radeon M5000 graphics card that comes with a dedicated video memory of 6GB. This graphics card does a brilliant job when it comes to handling Final Cut Pro.

In so many tests, we have observed that Final Cut Pro absolutely kills Adobe Premiere Pro when it comes to performance and that is with this graphics card in place. Even if you have super complex projects in place, this GPU will handle your workload without any issues.

The MacBook Pro comes with an Intel Core i7 processor that has six physical cores and 12 logical cores. This is, without doubt, one of the most powerful processors from Intel at the moment. With a maximum clock speed of 4.7 GHz, there is no lack of processing power when this one is in charge.

The processor handles all the applications without any hiccups whatsoever. When it comes to Final Cut Pro, the operation is smooth and you don’t see any lag at any point. Even running other applications simultaneously with Final Cut Pro doesn’t make a dent in the laptop’s performance.

When it comes to multitasking, you can do it to your heart‘s content. The 16GB of RAM in them every department will make sure that. If you’re going to be working with smaller projects, then this memory will be enough.

If you plan to work on projects that have a long-running time and a higher resolution, then 16GB might be pushing it. In such a scenario, you would be better off with 32GB of RAM. So make sure you select the model with the right amount of RAM.

With 512 GB of storage capacity, this laptop has no problems when it comes to storage. The solid state drive on the MacBook Pro is the fastest SSD there is. With reading and write speeds over 2GB/s, you will be able to move even huge files in just a few seconds which is an advantage you must have when you are working as a film student.

We usually don’t stress about battery life when it comes to laptops for film students. This MacBook Pro comes with extraordinary battery life. When you don’t do anything intense, the laptop can get you around ten to twelve hours of battery life which is crazy considering how much you can get done.

When you are working on your video production, this laptop will stay alive for around four hours which is still a pretty good number. However, we do recommend plugging your laptop into a power socket so that you won’t lose any unsaved work.

Overall, if Final Cut Pro is your video production software of choice, then there is only one option left for you to have an unadulterated video editing experience. The MacBook Pro 16“ does extremely well in this regard and is clearly the best Mac for film students.

Pros

Gorgeous display
Excellent graphics card
Touch ID

Cons

Only USB type C port available

View This Laptop On Amazon!


Best Mid-range Laptop For Film Students

Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is an excellent mid-range laptop for film students.

By mid-range, we don’t mean that this is an affordable laptop. The laptop still costs around $1000 but we would categorize it as a mid-range laptop for film students.

The graphics card is a core component when dealing with video production software. We have an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti as the graphics card. It comes with a dedicated video memory of 6GB which is pretty good.

This graphics card does well when it comes to video editing and other graphics-related tasks. When running Adobe Premiere Pro or other video production software, you will find that the rendering time is a lot better with GPU in place.

In order to maintain consistent performance, the laptop comes with an excellent cooling system in place. The cooling system comprises of the 4th gen AeroBlade 3D fan technology. The laptop is considerably quiet even during heavy computing which is nice.

The processor that runs the Acer predator Helios 300 laptop is an Intel Core i7 processor. This 9th generation Intel processor comes with six cores with a maximum clocking frequency of 4.5 GHz.

Being one of the most powerful processors right now, this one does an amazing job when it comes to handling heavy applications. The processor works in tandem with the 16GB of memory on this laptop and provides a hiccup-free overall user experience.

The keyboard on this laptop deserves a special mention. The keys are well rounded and concave shaped which is pretty nice to type on. There is a dedicated number pad to the right which will surely come in handy for some. The backlighting on the keyboard is another advantage to have.

The laptop keyboard comes with RGB backlighting which can be customized to suit your taste. The touchpad is a Windows precision touchpad and it comes with full support for all the windows gestures making it a pleasure to use.

The display on this predator laptop is 15.6 inch one with full HD resolution. This is a widescreen display that has an IPS panel and a maximum brightness of 300 nits.

The display comes with a refresh rate of 144 Hz which makes this an excellent display for gaming. This refresh rate also comes in handy when you are making videos. The 3ms overdrive response time is also a pretty good thing to have.

The picture output of the display is excellent and vibrant in nature. Thanks to the IPS panel, the viewing angles are fantastic and you can catch a movie with friends on a weekend without having to set right in front of the laptop.

The storage on this Acer predator Helios 300 laptop is made up of a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD. This storage is super fast and comes with excellent reading and writing speeds.

Overall, the Acer predator Helios 300 is a brilliant laptop for gamers and also works fine for film students.

Pros

Excellent processor
Gorgeous display
Impressive cooling system

Cons

Slightly heavy

View This Laptop On Amazon!


Best Budget Laptop For Film Students

MSI GF63

MSI has been producing some amazing gaming laptops over the years and this MSI GF63 is no exception, making it the best budget laptop for film students.

Under $900, this brings in all the premium features a need for a seamless video production experience for film students. As for the students, you will appreciate what is this laptop brings to the table even with just the specs on a sheet of paper.

The display on this laptop is a simple full HD display that comes with a 60Hz refresh rate and a 16:9 native aspect ratio. Thanks to the IPS panel, the display output excellent colors and is great for consuming media and watching your video playback during video editing.

A 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor with a base frequency of 2.6GHz and a maximum clock frequency of 4.5GHz powers this laptop. This is a hexa core processor and it comes with enough power to handle pretty much any application you throw at it.

This laptop is sufficient with 16GB of RAM that is of DDR4 type. For small and mid-size projects in which memory is more than enough. If you are going to be dealing with 4K footage with a slightly longer duration, this memory may not be a good choice. In that case, you have to go with 32 gigs of RAM to get the best experience.

The solid state drive here is very fast and it comes with a storage capacity of 512GB. This solid state drive is an NVMe drive and is very fast in terms of speed. The SSD is great for the laptop’s performance and there is no going back once you start using this.

The graphics card on this MSI laptop is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. This is an upper mid-range graphics card and it comes with a dedicated video memory of 4 GB that is of the GDDR5 type.

This graphics card can easily handle Adobe Premiere Pro without any issues. The GPU, CPU and the graphics card together work well as a team and give you the best video editing experience on a budget price.

The laptop comes with all the essential connectivity options you’d expect a modern gaming laptop. These ports come in handy for transferring data and for external connectivity as well. There is also a built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth card which is neat.

The Wi-Fi on this laptop is an 801.11ac Wi-Fi which is way faster than the previous iterations. With Bluetooth 5.0, you will be able to reach and connect with devices that are much further away from the laptop.

Overall, this is an excellent laptop that comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect at a budget price. Without a doubt, the MSI GF63 is the best budget laptop for film students.

Pros

Excellent performance
Able graphics card
Fast display

Cons

Only 60 Hz refresh rate

View This Laptop On Amazon!


What To Look For In The Best Laptop For Film Students?

So you want to decide on the best laptop on your own?

That’s great. While we applaud your decision, we do want to make sure that you don’t mess up.

Here’s a simple guide that will guide you to the laptop that’ll make your life great as a film student.

Processing Power

Having good processing power is vital as it can make or break your video editing.

When thinking about the processor, you need to focus on a few features.

What is the clock speed of the processor? This is nothing but the number of operations a single core can complete in a second. You need to have a process that has a decent base clock speed.

Anything above 1.8 GHz is a pretty good choice.

Do make sure that your processor can overclock well there is a need for more power. Intel processors make use of a functionality called Turbo boost to achieve this. A maximum clock speed of around 4.5 GHz should be sufficient.

Next, you need to figure out how many cores you need in your processor. The more number of cores you have, the better the overall performance of your laptop will be.

Since you’re a film student, you need a processor that has a minimum of four cores. You can also go for hexa core processors if you have the budget for it.

Having many cores gives you an advantage when it comes to rendering. The process is a lot faster and the work is divided among the cores which would put less stress on the processor.

If you want a simple answer, you can go with an Intel Core i5 or an i7 processor that has four cores or more. You can also go with an equivalent AMD processor that delivers the same performance.

How much memory do you need?

This depends mainly on your workload.

If you are going to be dealing with huge files, then it is probably best to go with a memory that is not less than 16 GB.

Usually, we recommend people to go with a minimum of 8GB of RAM, but since you are film students, you’re going to be needing a lot more memory and 8GB is not going to make the cut.

If you have plans to use a lot of effects and plugins with your video editing software, then it would make sense to go for even 32GB of RAM. Otherwise, 16GB should be more than enough.

Weapon of Choice – Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro?

This is probably the most important factor that decides a lot of things for you.

Choosing to go with Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro will decide the operating system of your laptop and will also decide between Windows or Mac OS for you.

If you are going to take the Adobe road, then you’re going to have a lot of options when it comes to laptops. You can whip up a new laptop with your desired specifications and use it to run Adobe Premiere Pro.

But if you’re going to go with Final Cut Pro, then you are restricted to the Macs. Final Cut Pro is only available on the Mac operating system which means you don’t have the option of going with a windows machine in this case.

Both of them are amazing tools when it comes to video editing. The obvious choice here is the one that your school is recommending.

If they recommend both, then it is up to you to decide which will be your weapon of choice depending on your operating system choice and budget. Do note that Macs are generally more expensive than Windows laptops.

Graphics

A dedicated graphics card is a must when it comes to a laptop for video editing. As a film student, you’re going to be doing a lot of video editing so make sure you have a dedicated GPU in your laptop.

While editing videos, there are a few things that will require a lot of processing power from the GPU.

If you’re going to apply a lot of effects on your video, then you need a powerful GPU. This is also true if you plan to use a lot of plugins for your video editing software.

Rendering times will also be affected if you have a good graphics card in place. You can save a lot of time if you are planning to do a ton of video editing over time.

When you have a high-resolution display, GPU will definitely come in handy during the playback of your video. The GPU can also make sure that you can hook up to an external monitor without any issues.

So what GPU will I need?

If you are serious about making films, then you’re going to need a high-end graphics card. The Nvidia GeForce series has efficient models like the 1070 GTX, 1060 GTX, 2060 RTX, 2070 RTX, and 2080 RTX.

These are very good when it comes to handling graphics requirements and will not disappoint you. If you are going to be dealing with huge files that are shot in 4K resolution, then going with the latest RTX models will be a good move.

Should I go with AMD graphics cards?

Nvidia graphics cards are superior in terms of technology.

Nvidia GPUs come with CUDA cores which are like smaller processors that can handle a heavier load when it comes to graphics processing.

The AMD graphics cards come with OpenCL which also have wide support from video editing software but they do lack when it comes to overall performance.

Display

Getting a good display on your laptop is super crucial for a film student.

Even if you get the best display there is on the laptop, they are not going to be on par with reference monitors that people usually use for video editing.

While choosing the display, you need to make sure that the display comes with a good resolution.

A full HD resolution is a good start as it gives you enough pixels on the screen. But we do recommend going for a QHD display or even a 4K display depending on your needs and budget.

With a higher resolution display, you will be able to see the entire output during the rendering and the playback process which is a good thing to have.

Do make sure that the laptop display comes with an IPS panel. The In Plane Switching (IPS) technology is the best display technology out there at the moment and it outperforms the other ones by a huge mile.

The IPS panel ensures excellent viewing angles and also gives you brilliant colors out of the box.

It would also be a good idea to go with matte displays instead of glossy displays. When you are working in a room with bright lights, a glossy display is going to create a lot of reflections which are a pain to deal with. You do not have these problems with a matte display.

When it comes to the screen size, we recommend going for a 15.6-inch screen as it gives you enough screen real estate to play with. You can also go for a 17.3-inch laptop if you want a bigger screen.

But if you truly want a bigger screen, we recommend getting an external monitor that is at least 24”. You can connect your laptop to this external monitor and have a better overall viewing experience during video playback.

Storage

The storage is one of the most important parts of your laptop.

In modern-day laptops, the storage is simply not for the storage alone but will also play a part in the performance of your laptop.

Since you are going to be dealing with a lot of big video files, it will be a natural want for you to reach out for the largest storage devices there are.

When you go seeking the largest drive, you will come across hard drives that are huge in storage and are usually cheap. People tend to pick this up without knowing the issues they will face in the future.

These hard drives are mechanical in nature and are super slow. They are not up to speed when it comes to modern everyday operations and will slow you down without any mercy.

Enter solid state drives.

The SSDs are pretty much the standard for storage these days.

The best SSDs out there are up to 17 times faster at reading and writing than your regular hard disk drive. The difference is just day and night.

You can easily move all your video files from the camera to your laptop in a snap. Moving around files within your laptop will also be quite fast. The SSD plays a major role in quickly booting the operating system and in the loading of your favorite applications.

The catch with SSDs is that they are quite expensive. You are not going to be able to get huge storage as they can cost a big sum.

If you want to save money, then you have to get both the hard disk drive and an SSD onboard. People call this a hybrid drive.

A hybrid drive set up will be a combination of both. For example, you will have a 256GB SSD with a 1TB hard disc drive. This combination gives you both the speed of an SSD and also the storage capacity of a hard disc drive.

If you want to have the best solid-state drive experience, you should go with a PCIe NVMe SSDs instead of M.2 SATA III SSDs.

Connectivity

Connectivity is essential for a modern-day laptop.

If you are a film student, then you’re going to be getting a lot of data from your friends that you want to transfer to your laptop.

Your laptop needs to have all the essential ports like a USB type C port, an HDMI port, an SD card slot, and a headphone jack. The USB type C port is super fast and will transfer data in a flash.

Your laptop should also have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Make sure that the Wi-Fi adapter inside your laptop is of the 802.11AC iteration. This version is multiple times faster than the predecessor and will give you high-speed internet access.

Having good Bluetooth functionality is also very important. Bluetooth 4.2 or above will be more than enough in most cases.

How To Save Money?

We do agree that you’re going to need a solid laptop, but that doesn’t mean you have to shell a ton of money on features that aren’t that important.

Here’s a list of features you can skimp on to save some cash.

Touchscreen

Having a touchscreen for video editing laptop is totally unnecessary.

A touchscreen on a laptop is a novelty feature that people will most likely not use regularly. Having one will surely increase the cost of your laptop and will not add up when it comes to video editing.

Once you start using the touchscreen regularly, it also affects the battery life of your laptop which is not what we are looking for. So avoid the touchscreen as it can save you some bucks.

Battery Life

Battery life is one of the most important aspects of a laptop.

But when you are dealing with a high-end laptop for video editing, you are not going to solely rely on the battery life of the laptop.

Since you’re going to be doing a lot of heavy work, the battery is going to lose its juice very fast. This means you have to stay plugged in for the most part as you cannot risk losing all the progress you’ve made.

This is why you don’t have to stress that much when it comes to battery life for a video editing laptop.

Speakers

Most high-end laptops come with excellent speakers.

But when you are going to work on editing films, you are going to be using a high-end headphones most of the time.

Investing in speakers for laptops is not a great idea especially in this scenario and it could save you some money as well.


That brings us to the end of this mammoth post.

We hope you enjoyed reading this.

Do let us know if you have any questions.

Visit the DailyTechCentral for more useful buying guides.


Leave a Comment