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Buying a Budget 4K Video Editing Laptop for Under $1,000 in 2021

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4K video is now the norm. It’s weird to think about still, but we now have screens and computers and even phones that can easily view 4K footage. As for editing, even you can pick up a solid 4K video editing laptop on a budget of less than $1,000 thanks to current technology. High-resolution video editing has never been more accessible.

If you are in the market for a 4K editing laptop that won’t break the bank, Matt WhoisMatt Johnson has a few picks for you to check out. You should just be aware of what each can do, though handling 4K is a minimum expectation.

One catch with most of these picks is availability due to the pandemic and global chip shortages. Graphics cards in particular have become harder to find and pushed prices up on devices that have them – if you can even find them. These picks attempt to get around that with integrated graphics, which aren’t as good as dedicated cards but will do the trick for budget users.

Assuming most people on a budget are working with more limited video, say 8-bit 4K, you should be cautious with these choices if you plan to move to high frame rate 4K or even higher resolutions. You’ll quickly find the laptop’s limits.

1. ASUS VivoBook 15

Specifically, the ASUS VivoBook 15 M515UA-NS77 with an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU. It’s under $700! As an entry-level laptop from a respectable brand it should be built decently. And the specs seem like they can cut it for 4K video even though reviews are slim considering it is so new.

  • AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 2 x USB 3.2 (1 x Type A, 1 x Type C)
  • 15.6” 1920 x 1080 display

The lacking part is likely going to be battery life. Claims for battery life are usually based on average usage browsing the web and checking emails. Video editing will burn it. Also, the screen isn’t super color accurate. This means you can use it for working in the timeline but you shouldn’t trust it for grading or color correction.

2. Lenovo Flex 5

Because you might not be able to find the previous model, an alternative is the Lenovo Flex 5, model 82HU002YUS. This is a little pricier, sitting at around $750. There are more features to justify that upgrade.

  • AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
  • Improved keyboard/trackpad
  • USB 3.2 ports
  • SD card slot
  • Flips over for tablet or presentation use

Again, the screen is only mediocre. It’s a Full HD 60 Hz panel that isn’t super color accurate. For editing video it is fine, less so for colorwork. You will want to make sure you get the model with the Ryzen 7 5700U and 16GB RAM as there are loads of different configs. In this case, Lenovo does solder the RAM in so you will want the 16GB RAM from the start since you can’t upgrade later.

3. HP ENVY x360

Running $700, the HP ENVY x360 laptop is a little cheaper than the last model. However, you have to upgrade from that base model to get good performance. This is actually an advantage as if you have the funds you can upgrade everything you need. Going up with the CPU, RAM, and screen.

  • AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
  • 16GB RAM
  • 15.6” 1920 x 1080 display with 100% sRGB

Bonus: MacBook Air (M1)

Believe it or not, the latest M1 MacBook Air is actually under $1000 and is powerful enough for some 4K video editing. It was huge for the series. This isn’t a perfect choice as the screen is a little smaller than the others at 13” and the M1 chip doesn’t have perfect compatibility with all software yet.

Plus, the base model is a little limited. It only has 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. Once you start upgrading there you’ll end up spending a fair amount more than that $1000 budget.

These are all a good place to start. Do you have your own suggestion?

[source: Matt WhoisMatt Johnson]

Order Links:

  • ASUS VivoBook 15 Laptop (Newegg)
  • Lenovo Flex 5 14” Laptop (Costco)
  • HP ENVY x360 15.6” Laptop (HP)
  • Apple MacBook Air w/ M1 Chip (B&H, Amazon)

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