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Apple Final Cut Pro X review

Video editing at its finest. Apple Final Cut Pro X is accessible yet powerful.

Apple Final Cut Pro X review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Apple Final Cut Pro X is a very powerful video editing program that runs every complex feature you may want, but via an intuitive user friendly interface, and at a price that's relatively affordable.

For

  • Easy to use
  • Super powerful
  • 4K and HDR as well as 360 editing

Against

  • Not traditional timeline

Apple Final Cut Pro X 2021 is a video editor that manages to strike that fine balance between powerful and feature rich yet easy to use and fun. It somehow also does this while keeping the price relatively low. They're just a few of the reasons this has made it onto our list of the best video editing software.

If you know audio editing, then the jump between Logic Pro and GarageBand is a good way to compare this video editor to its Apple sibling, iMovie. Final Cut Pro X adds lots of powerful features, like 4K, HDR and 360 editing, while making sure to keep the interface minimal and even beginner user friendly.

From super easy organization and trackless timelines to facial auto analysis and multicam support, this does a huge amount and manages to do that while keeping the pace up – presuming your machine has the power. All that said, this may be overqualified for some users, so even that decent price could be overspend.

Apple Final Cut Pro X: Features

Apple Final Cut Pro X features – where to start? Like the software does, let's keep things simple and point out that this is a very competent video editor. That means you have a clear magnetic and, less traditionally trackless timeline, that is intuitive to use. 

Extras like iPad Sidecar (for a second display) and MacBook Touch Bar support help to make this interface even more user friendly for those with the devices to support these features.

Smart Conform is a newer and more powerful feature which helps cropping for the modern age. This intelligently crops videos to fit smartphone screens as well as social media formats as needed. It's a simple to use tool which can save lots of time and can result in a far more widely viewed end result – ideal for pros but also for those that simply love social media sharing their edits.

Apple Final Cut Pro X

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has taken user criticism onboard and has updated its already impressive 360-degree editing smarts in Apple Final Cut Pro X to now also offer motion stabilization. It's also worth mentioning that the Motion app can edit 3D object animation and features a Stroke filter. All that makes this a very capable virtual reality tool for professionals.

The ability to edit in 4K and HDR includes HEVC, aka H.265, meaning even higher quality video edits can be compressed for online sharing without taking up too much bandwidth. Integration for direct uploads to the likes you YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo also helps when sharing videos online.

Apple Final Cut Pro X: Performance

Apple Final Cut Pro X is a great way to work when it comes to being organized. Once you've got the hang of that non-traditional magnetized trackless timeline, this is easy to use. 

Clips are organized into Roles, as the program calls them. These categorize your clips for easy access with the likes of music, effects and dialogue all separated and color coded. All that makes for fast editing and with Compound Clips – which groups video, audio and other elements together to be moved as one – the process couldn't be simpler.

Apple Final Cut Pro X

(Image credit: Apple)

A really powerful feature that helps speed up editing is the advanced facial recognition smarts. This allows you to search for a specific person in a video and the program will automatically find that face for you, so you can jump right to the point where they appear.

Effects are plentiful and are easy to use with a simple drag and drop system. For example, to use Chroma keying, you'd just search for "keying" in the effects menu. Then drag and drop that onto your timeline where two clips are connected and it'll automatically determine the key color to use.

Auditions is another useful, ahem, addition. This lets you group similar clips, each with different effects, say, so that you can see which one works best before committing to dropping that option into the main timeline.

Everything runs smoothly even on older machines but it is worth noting, Apple Final Cut Pro X is a 3GB file and there are minimum requirements. These are at least a Core 2 Duo processor with macOS Mojave 10.14.6 or newer, an OpenCL-capable video processor, 3.8GB of free disk space and at least 4GB of RAM, although 8GB is recommended.

How much does Apple Final Cut Pro X cost?

Apple Final Cut Pro X is simple to buy as it has a single price that lets you own the program on your machine – rather than any subscription type model which some use. Apple Final Cut Pro X is available on the Apple App Store for $299, which allows you to install it on multiple Macs at once. 

Once you buy the Apple Final Cut Pro X software you're then entitled to all updates so you continue to get upgraded features and performance.

Should you buy Apple Final Cut Pro X?

Apple Final Cut Pro X is a relatively affordable way to get pro-level video editing smarts in a package that runs quickly and is intuitively easy to use. Features like 4K, HDR and 360-degree video editing, easy social media cropping, online direct sharing and facial recognition smarts all help to make this stand out. The fact it undercuts the competition in price significantly is just a great bonus.

If your needs are simpler, then iMovie may be enough for you. Or, if you're a pro that wants even more complexity, then you may want to go the way of Adobe Premiere.

Luke Edwards

Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.