Education Laptops

Best Laptop for After Effects IN 2021 | Your Laptop Guide

Editing videos is an excellent hobby that is often pursued to be a lucrative career. It is a fun and exciting thing and is an integral part of almost all film industries. But you will only be able to follow your profession effectively if you have the right resources. 

You might have realized that you don’t need an entire studio set up to meet your video editing needs in this century. All you need now is a laptop, and depending on a few variables, you can choose the best video editing experience via Adobe After Effects. 

What is Adobe After Effects?

After effects is a software developed by Adobe Systems. It is used in the post-production process of film making to put visual effects, motion graphics, and animations into the scene. It is often combined with Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing. And to run them both, you need a capable and robust laptop with at-least minimum RAM, CPU, GPU, and other specs without causing a poor user experience. We will review a few laptops for the intended use of Adobe After Effects and discuss what features, characteristics, or drawbacks these laptops come might contain. 

Recommended Requirements

First, let’s set up a benchmark of recommended requirements for Adobe After Effects. Any laptop that is close to these specs will bring about a pleasant video editing experience. So, according to Adobe’s official website, a good laptop for Adobe After Effects should have the following specs:

Windows

  • Multicore Processor with 64bit support
  • 8GB RAM (16GB Recommended)
  • 5GB Setup space
  • 10GB additional space for cache (Recommended)
  • 1280×1080 Display
  • Optional: Adobe-certified GPU Card for GPU-Accelerated 3D Rendering and Ray Tracing

macOS

  • Multicore Processor with 64bit support
  • 8GB RAM (16GB Recommended)
  • 6GB Setup space
  • 10GB additional space for cache (Recommended)
  • 1440×900 Display
  • Optional: Adobe-certified GPU Card for GPU-Accelerated 3D Rendering and Ray Tracing

Now that we have established an initial benchmark, we will review some laptops and answer whether you can use your best laptop for After Effects and how it will perform for the purpose. 

1.New Microsoft Surface Book 3

The New Microsoft Surface Book 3 is – just like its name – a generational improvement on the previous book 1 and book 2 versions. Its unique design coupled with high-quality touchscreen and pen compatibility is absolutely pleasant for the user. Moreover, the SD card slot on the side makes it lovely for photographers. That and a few other reasons make Surface Book 3 a handy accessory for photoshopping, but it also gives decent performance when it comes to video editing.

While the Surface Book 3 meets the minimum requirements for Adobe After Effects, it does lack in performance when made comparison with robust laptops with 6 cores or 8 cores. The Surface Book 3 only has 4 cores that perform at a measly 1.39GHz. It can, however, boost up to a massive 3.9GHz, it becomes restrained by thermal throttling – setting back to a snail’s pace of 1.5GHz. The CPU and other components sit behind the display and are not able to receive efficient cooling. The wattage is maintained at 15W only and a high temperature of 69C. It is for this reason, that Microsoft might have chosen to compromise on the performance.

With the constraints of CPU cooling, Surface Book 3 still performs quite good when it comes to video editing or using After Effects. A YouTube video of 4 minutes at 4K quality would take about only 2 minutes. Those are decent numbers. Furthermore, the battery life at extensive tasks will still live up to 5 hours. And the front camera is 5MP and 1080P display – unlike the common 720p cameras. Considering all these features that come with this laptop and at the price point, it is a respectable deal that gives you a good value for money, just make sure to use it for all its features.

Features:

  • Windows 10 OS
  • 4 core 10th Generation Intel Core i7 1065G7 Processor
  • 15-inch Screen size
  • 32GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD Capacity
  • Nvidia GeForce 1660 TI Max Q dedicated GPU
  • Up to 17.5 hours battery life with extended time via improved standby
Pros
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • Display with Bright, Accurate Colors
  • Pen Compatibility
  • SD Card Slot
Cons
  • Very Low CPU GHz
  • Thermal Throttling
  • Very expensive

2.New Apple MacBook Pro

The new Apple MacBook Pro is by far the most popular choice when it comes to video editing or video rendering. The 16GB RAM is coupled with a powerful CPU – that has a base clock of 2.60 GHz and boosts up to 4.50 GHz – ensure that you would have a smooth video rendering experience even while you surf on the RAM hungry chrome boy. It also has a decent GPU, enabling you to work with high resolution videos. The battery lasts about 11 hours at 1080p video streaming on 50% brightness. In a way, Apple has created a video editing beast for the Adobe After Effects users.

The Apple MacBook Pro is an excellent choice when it comes to video editing, but it is also very expensive. However, the good news is, Apple has asked no more than the price of its previous model (at the time of its release), and with the benefits of larger screen, double storage, and better graphics performance. So, we can conclude that if you are a video editing professional and your primary use of the laptop is Adobe After Effects, you should go for it. Otherwise, you should go for a cheaper best laptop for After Effects.

Features:

  • macOS
  • 6 core 9th Generation Intel Core i7 9750H Processor
  • 16-inch Screen size
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD Capacity
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4GB VRAM GPU
  • Up to 11 hours battery life
Pros
  • Large Screen
  • Excellent for After Effects
  • Good CPU and GPU specs
  • Good Battery Life
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • More suitable for professionals only

3.2020 HP ZBook 15 G5

The original ZBook was introduced back in 2018, but its high demand has kept it still in play even in 2020. The powerful CPU can chug up high performance numbers – with 6 cores and 4.30GHz boost-able clock speeds. The storage capacity and RAM have been upgraded to 1TB and 32GB, respectively. And the entire system is backed up with 4GB of VRAM, making you shred the minimum performance parameters for After Effects. With this laptop you can be sure to receive quite a good experience for video compositing.

With such beastly specs, you might be wondering whether it has any flaws. Well… it does have a few. The Full HD display with 120Hz refresh rate might sound impressive, but it loses its value because of the botchy display. The film colors are not so bright and has poor viewing angles, which might affect your video making experience.

The display flaw can be ignored if we consider the price to performance ratio this system can provide. It is not so expensive and provides a good value for money. Geekbench test for overall performance gives it a high score of 22,013. And it can convert 4K video to 1080p in less than 10 minutes on Handbrake Benchmark test. Which is 5 MINUTES FASTER than average workstations. Therefore, this laptop can comfortably meet your After Effects needs and you will be sure to receive a good user experience. However, if you also intend to use the laptop for gaming you might need to consider a laptop with more GPU performance such as Acer Predator Helios 300.

Features:

  • Windows 10 64bit OS
  • 6 core8th Generation Intel Core i7 8850H Processor
  • 15.6-inch Screen size
  • Full HD (1920×1080) Anti-glare Display
  • 32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD Capacity
  • NVIDIA Quadro P2000 4GB VRAM GPU
  • Up to 9 hours battery life
Pros
  • Excellent for After Effects
  • High Performance Capable
  • Good Battery Life
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles on display
  • Not suitable for heavy gaming

4.Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 Laptop

If you are looking for a laptop that is capable of giving high performance numbers, then look no further than Asus ZenBook Pro. The 10th generation, newly released, intel Core i9 with a base clock of 2.4GHz and 8 cores, will give you a smooth multitasking experience without any system lag.

The ZenBook Pro is exceptional for multitasking, particularly because of its dual 4K displays. You can perform your tasks on main screen, while the ScreenPad will avoid you the hassle of switching tabs. The productivity goes up with the cherry on the topping of beautiful displays. The ZenBook Pro is like a dream come true for professionals who work with video editing software such as Adobe After Effects.

The ZenBook scores 26,524 on Geekbench 4.3, which is better than category average of 15,321. The Handbrake test to transcode 4K video to 1080P took 8 minutes 52, for which premium laptop average is a high of 22 minutes. The only better performers are MacBook Pro at 8:10, and Dell XPS 15 at 8:00.

The ZenBook Pro is publicized for content creation and productivity machine, but it is also capable for good casual gaming sessions. The 6GB VRAM graphics card is capable of providing a satisfying gaming experience in which depending on the game, none went below the 30 FPS mark. The efficient cooling kept temperatures maintained with only a high value, at extensive long use, of 42C – but that’s acceptable since the vents transfer it away from body and also have the option to switch on turbo mode.

The only drawback to this system is its price. It falls out of the budget limit of the average users, which might be the reason why this machine is marketed for professionals. The ScreenPad could have been a little raised so line of sight does not need to be broken when looking at it from main screen, but that’s only a minor issue. If not for the price, the ZenBook Pro was easily our top favorite in the list.

Features:

  • Windows 10 Pro OS
  • 8 core10th Generation Intel Core i9 10980HK Processor
  • 15.6-inch Screen size
  • UHD 4K Nano-edge Touch Display
  • 32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD Capacity
  • GeForce RTX 2060 6GB VRAM GPU
  • Up to 5 hours battery life
Pros
  • Excellent for After Effects
  • Two Beautiful 4K Displays
  • Very High Raw Performance
  • Good for Casual Gaming
  • Efficient Cooling
Cons
  • More Suitable for Professionals
  • Very Expensive
  • Low Battery Life

5.New Dell XPS 15 9500

What’s better than a good laptop?

A laptop that is reproduced with new generation laptop. That’s right. The Dell XPS 15 was crushing numbers and demand in 2019, but now it has been reintroduced with 10th generation intel core i7. This new CPU is based on new architecture with thinner thickness and better thermal cooling, that will give you nice overclockable performance for your video making and editing via After Effects. This laptop is, hands-down, one of the best laptops for post-production processes in film making, and it does not even cost you a fortune (unlike the MacBook Pro).

The Dell XPS scores 28,882 on Geekbench 4.3 on overall performance test – where category average us 16,226. Handbrake test took only 8 minutes, while MacBook Pro and premium laptop average is 8:10 and 22:13 respectively. The system runs smoothly with Netflix streaming while 25 chrome tabs were running.

The Dell XPS does not have a gaming GPU, which might be the reason it is not so expensive. The battery life averages around 8 hours, which can be overlooked when comparing the performance of such systems. And the temperatures can reach up to 40C on the undercarriage, at which point you won’t be able to place it in your lap – as comfort temperature is about 35C. While the Dell XPS 15 can run campaign modes of games, the GTX 1650 is not very suitable for gaming, especially in 2020. Overall, Dell XPS is ideal for Adobe After Effects with a handful of other features.

Features:

  • Windows 10 Pro OS
  • 6 core10th Generation Intel Core i7 10750H Processor
  • 15.6-inch Screen size
  • UHD 4K Display
  • 16GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD Capacity
  • NVIDIA GTX 1650Ti 4GB VRAM GPU
  • Up to 8 hours battery life
Pros
  • Excellent for After Effects
  • Affordable
  • Very High Raw Performance
Cons
  • Not suitable for Gaming
  • Low Battery Life

6.LG Gram Laptop WQXGA

The LG Gram is an excellent laptop if you want some video editing on the go. Its astonishingly light weight (less than 3 pounds) and very large display make it an excellent travelling companion. Moreover, the long battery life won’t hinder your experience away from a socket. And its portability is backed up by a decent, new generation, CPU that boosts up to 3.90GHz. With the LG Gram Laptop, you won’t have to wait to get behind your desktop for Adobe After Effects.

Even though, the display is large and gives good vibrant colors, it might be the only reason for LG Gram to be so pricey. You can find cheaper laptops with same core components and better performance in the price range of this laptop. But the major plus point is the Handbrake test, where LG Gram took only 8 minutes – fastest in the category. However, the unavailability of discrete graphics card makes it a poor choice for gaming.

Overall, if you are an Adobe After Effects and do a lot of travelling, LG Gram is a good choice for you. But if you can compromise slightly on the display size and weight is not an issue, you can find many better and high performing laptops.

Features:

  • Windows 10 Home OS
  • 4 core10th Generation Intel Core i7 1065G7 Processor
  • 17-inch Screen size
  • UHD 4K Display
  • 16GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD Capacity
  • Intel Iris Plus Integrated
  • Up to 17 hours
Pros
  • Good for After Effects
  • Large Display
  • Long Battery Life
  • Astonishingly Light
Cons
  • Not good for gaming
  • Might be pricey in terms of performance

7.Lenovo IdealPad Flex 5

The Lenovo IdealPad meets just the minimum requirements for Adobe After Effects. It is suitable for Intel and Lenovo IdealPad because it does not provide a good value for money. It is more expensive than it should be. However, with a couple alternations, it can achieve its maximum potential. The Display, for one, is an absolute advantage which comes in handy during casual content viewing and light tasks with the rotatable display.

The Lenovo IdealPad Flex has the only flex in the form of its 360-degree rotatable display. The laptop’s CPU can be replaced with Ryzen’s to achieve better performance and it costs a lot less. The storage capacity is low, and the graphics are only integrated – meaning you can forget gaming beyond windows solitaire. Overall, the Lenovo IdealPad is recommended only as an extra accessory for viewing After Effects Files. If you are going for it, you might as well go for the AMD variant of this laptop.

Features:

  • Windows 10 Home OS
  • 4 Core 10th Generation Intel Core i5 1035G1 Processor
  • 14-inch Screen size
  • 360 degree rotatable
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB SSD Capacity
  • Intel Integrated Graphics
  • Up to 10 hours
Pros
  • Will get the After Effects job done
  • Rotatable Display
  • Battery Life is satisfactory
Cons
  • Not good for heavy tasks
  • Low Storage Capacity

8.MSI Creator 15 A10SFS-287

MSI Creator 15 is an entire package deal in a single system. It is all that a video editor and a casual gamer would need. It crushes the requirements for creative applications with a robust 8 core CPU. The Intel Core i7 is complimented by a decent GPU: RTX 2070 Super. It will give a respectable gaming experience, but as the name shows, MSI Creator is made for creatives who create visual effects in photos and videos. The MSI Creator is a haven for Adobe After effects, and considering the price point, the features it comes with are incredible.

The drawbacks that this system will give is in terms of cooling. During extensive tasks, the temperatures can reach up to a high of 54C. In addition, the screen has a refresh rate of 60Hz which might hinder the competitive gaming experience where 144Hz is recommended.

However, the 60Hz refresh rate is not a drawback, especially considering the price point. MSI took the approach of replacing 120Hz screen, of other variants, with a touch display to aid graphic designers and video editors. On the Handbrake test, MSI Creator took only 8 minutes. So, considering all the features of this Laptop, it is one of our favorites for After Effects and additional functions.

Features:

  • Windows 10 Pro OS
  • 8 core10th Generation Intel Core i7 10875H Processor
  • 15.6-inch Screen size
  • UHD 4K Ultra-Thin Bezel Adobe Display
  • 32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD Capacity
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB VRAM
  • Up to 10 hours
Pros
  • Excellent for After Effects
  • Touch Display
  • Good for Casual Gaming
  • Great value for money
Cons
  • Gets very hot at times
  • 60Hz Display

9.Acer Predator Helios 300

When it comes to any intensive task, gaming laptops are the best choice. Be it video editing or designing, Acer Predator Helios will guarantee a pleasant experience. This Gaming Laptop packs a 6-core processor, that can boost comfortably up to 5GHz. In addition, gaming laptops are known for their powerful GPU. This laptop doesn’t disappoint with 6GB VRAM NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060. And to put icing on the cake, you won’t even have to worry about thermal throttling due to excellent ventilation with multiple, well placed, exhaust ports. Due to which it makes to our list of the Best Laptop for After Effects

The Acer Predator scores 683 in Puget After Effects benchmark and 593 in After Effects render tests. These are quite impressive numbers when it comes to using Adobe After Effects. Moreover, the display is 144Hz full HD, and portrays good color accuracy for games and projects.

The Acer Predator Helios is a nice mid-range Laptop, but it has a potential for upgrades. The RAM is 16GB that can cause possible bottlenecks during extensive tasks. And the 512GB SSD, even though is fast, is a very low storage. Especially when it comes to gaming, which might be an issue since this laptop is marketed for gamers. Another likely hindrance for you might be the battery life – that averages for 5-6 hours for web surfing, and 2-3 hours for video design.

The battery life can be ignored, considering it is common for such laptops. And other drawbacks can be negated with slight upgradation. Overall, the features outweigh – by several times and especially at this price point – the drawbacks of this laptop. And it is for this reason, it is our second favorite choice, in this list, for Adobe After Effects experts and enthusiastic gamers

Features:

  • Windows 10 Home OS
  • 6 core10th Generation Intel Core i7 10750H Processor
  • 15.6-inch Screen size
  • FHD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD Capacity
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB VRAM
  • Up to 5 hours
Pros
  • Excellent for After Effects
  • Affordable
  • Good for Gaming
  • Efficient Cooling
Cons
  • Potential for hardware upgrades
  • Low Battery Life

10.Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition

Razer is a company known for providing, absolutely killer, gaming machines. The Razer Blade 15 is, however, a slightly different story. Don’t get me wrong… It will provide excellent gaming experience, especially considering the extraordinary GPU, but the incredibly expensive price will force you to use this machine for professional purposes.

The Razer Blade 15 provides the ultimate level of performance. However, that is both a blessing and a curse, since it is incredibly expensive, making it unattractive to most people. To justify the price point, you will need to use it for very intensive video editing and rendering tasks.

The machine is designed for creative professionals, and with Razer Blade 15, you can be sure to receive a performance that is unmatched by a very wide majority. The Adobe After Effects will run smoothly to fulfil your rendering tasks within a fraction of few minutes. The laptop scores 5,587 on Geekbench 5 (impressive as expected for such a beast). Furthermore, the common notion for battery life: better performance shorter life is unapplied on Razer Blade. It ran for 7 hours during looped 1080p video and 4 hours for intensive tasks such as video rendering.

Overall, the Razer Blade performs exceptionally well, but that is what should be expected at such price point. If you are a professional video editor, Adobe After Effects’ expert, and have a fortune lying around, you should go for Razer Blade 15. Otherwise, it will be an overkill for you.

Features:

  • Windows 10 Home OS
  • 8 core10th Generation Intel Core i7 10875H Processor
  • 15.6-inch Screen size
  • 4K OLED Touch Display
  • 32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD Capacity
  • NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 16GB VRAM
  • Up to 5 hours222
Pros
  • Ultimate Performance
  • Amazing Display
  • Good Battery Life
Cons
  • Costs a Fortune
  • Only for Professionals

Conclusion

The winner for us in this list is MSI Creator 15 because of every reason. Price, performance, and especially its execution of intended task: Adobe After Effects. It is the most balanced in terms of hardware and promises a good value for money. The MSI can be used for multiple functions while we can work with After Effects. If the only intended use is After Effects, we would go for a cheaper HP ZBook 15, to avoid overkill. However, if the budget is not too much of a restriction, we would definitely place Asus ZenBook Pro on top of our favorites list – specifically because of its dual 4K display and high productivity potential.

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