Best Editing Laptop? Macbook Pro vs Surface Book vs Razer Blade (Video)

When the new Macbook Pro was released, there was a lot of humming and hawing from the creative professional community. Essentially, everyone was a little disappointed in the power the new Macbook Pro was given. One of the more popular theories of Apple aiming for the mainstream instead of the niche of creatives that helped set them apart years before was given more fuel to burn. And, when you think about it, Apple’s most popular products of all time, the iPod and iPhone, were not aimed at professionals, but at the mass market of your average person. So why not put more focus on that and less on the niche?

Whether that theory is right or wrong, I don’t know. But what I do know, is that for the first time ever I saw my constituents – namely YouTubers and video editors – asking on social media a question I never thought I’d see: “What’s the Windows equivalent to the new Macbook Pro?” Gasp!

Now, I know most of these people ended up getting the new Macbooks anyway most likely, but the fact they publicly were asking about a Windows option is a very interesting sign to me. So, without going further into the Apple vs Microsoft debate (of which I think both have their pluses and minuses) it got me wondering, “Could you, for the same money, get a Windows laptop that could replace your Macbook Pro as a portable editing machine and perform better than the Macbook Pro?”

Before we get started, I am not doing a complete comparison between these laptops. I am simply running a simple test that I can replicate easily across the devices that symbolizes a task I do everyday and can easily be quantified: editing footage in Premiere and seeing how long it takes to export. Again, this is not an end-all-be-all test, but I think it’s a good one for a quick comparison of power in a program that most editors use.

The Contenders and Test Parameters

Editing Laptops

The devices I ended up testing were the top model Surface Book w/ Performance Base, the top model Macbook Pro, and another popular option that I figured would be interesting to add to the mix, the Razer Blade 2016, a powerful gaming laptop. I chose the Blade over other gaming laptops with similar specs based on my own preferences of the looks being more subtle for a gaming laptop compared to others.

Here are each of the device’s specs for this test:

Macbook Pro w/ Touch Bar 15″

Processor: 2.9ghz i7
GPU: Radeon Pro 460 4GB

Price: $3,099

Surface Book w/ Performance Base

Processor: 2.6ghz i7

Price: $2,799

Razer Blade 2016

Processor: 2.6ghz i7

Price: $1799.99

And the footage we’re testing in this is 4 mins of 4.6K ProRes 422 footage from my Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K that I’ve done simple color correction on and am trying to render out in both YouTube’s 4K and 1080P preset in Adobe Premiere.

The Results

Here are the results of the test.

Premiere Results

Macbook Pro w/ Touch Bar 15″

4K Export Time: 27 mins

1080P Export Time: 12 mins

Surface Book w/ Performance Base

4K Export Time: 22 mins

1080P Export Time: 10 mins

Razer Blade 2016

4K Export Time: 11 mins

1080P Export Time: 5 mins

Yeah, I was surprised, too. Sort of. The thing is Premiere is a very GPU intensive program and even just looking at the specs sheet it’s easy to see who has the more powerful graphics cards (with the desktop-grade GTX 1060 in the Blade easily being the most powerful on paper). But that’s about a 6 min difference between the Macbook and the Blade, that’s nuts. The thing that surprised me, was the fact the new Surface Book squeaked a faster time than the Macbook.

And there you go, for anyone that was interested in such things, enjoy. Again, it needs to be said this doesn’t mean that these are better laptops to buy, but if you use Premiere and are strictly concerned with power and speed, they killed it. Now, if you use Final Cut on your Macbook and not Premiere, well that’s a different story… Stay tuned for my video on that soon.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments below, love to hear from you guys.

Also, check out my Razer Blade 2016 review I did after being super impressed by it in this test.

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