Top 7 Best Laptops for Streaming Movies 2020
I love movies and TV series.
And if you’re like me, you probably want to watch them in the highest quality possible.
Since we’re in the premiere week of Avenger and the third episode of the final season of Game of Thrones—UPDATE: WELL, THAT WAS DISAPPOINTING. Now I’m updating this post to 2020—, I want to take this occasion to update you with the best laptops for streaming movies and series in 2020.
It doesn’t matter if you use Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO or any other video streaming service. All these laptops will let you enjoy the best quality for the best price.
The good news is that you don’t need a super expensive laptop for watching movies. You can find laptops that have a really high-quality image with cheap internal components that you won’t need, like processor, GPU, and RAM.
Price / Rating
13.3” 4k (3840x2160)
2.68 lb, 10.5 hours
13.3" 2k (2560x1600)
1.6GHz dual-core i5
2.75 lb, 12 hours
15.6” FHD (1920x1080)
5.27 lb, 15 hours
15.6” FHD (1920x1080)
4.4 lb, 10.5 hours
15.6” FHD (1920x1080)
2.54 lb, 5.5 hours
Price not available
15.6” FHD (1920x1080)
2.2 lb, 9 hours
14” FHD (1920x1080)
Intel Celeron N3160 Quad-Core
3.42 lb, 12 hours
Table of Contents
- Why Resolution Matters for Movies
- Is Memory, Disk Space, Processor and Graphics Card Important?
- Make Sure You Got the Internet Speed for 4k
- Review of the Best Laptops for Streaming Movies in 2020
- Acer Aspire E 15
- Lenovo Flex 15
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Why Resolution Matters for Movies
If you’re asking this question, you probably don’t understand completely how resolution works.
In a digital screen, the image you see is formed by pixels. The resolution is the number of pixels—horizontally and vertically—that the screen will display.
If you use more pixels, there’s more visual information that the screen is going to display to you.
There will be more details and even if you may not notice it sometimes, you will be watching a higher quality image.
I can tell you that resolution does matter if you want to use a screen to enjoy visual media.
The following video from TechQuickie explains it pretty well and simple.
Screen size—which is measured in inches— doesn’t matter in terms of image quality.
This is a common mistake people make. They think that the larger the screen, the better the image quality. Not true.
Resolution and screen size are completely independent of each other. But it is true that if you want a huge screen, you will want more pixels because you’ll see a “pixelated” image otherwise —also simply called low quality.
The resolution I will recommend you is 1920×1080 pixels. This one is the standard for 2020.
You won’t want a lower resolution screen if you are a fan of movies and want to enjoy them the best you can.
The best resolution you can get is 4k, which is around 3840×2160 pixels, although there are different 4k resolutions.
The higher the resolution, the more expensive the laptop is going to be.
No need to over complicate things. Just know that the higher the resolution, the better the image quality.
But remember that screen size has nothing to do with it.
Is Memory, Disk Space, Processor and Graphics Card Important?
They are important, but not as much if your sole purpose is watching movies.
Still, I really recommend you think more about it because it is unlikely that you’ll use your laptop exclusively for streaming.
If you also want it for work, school or gaming, you will want to consider other factors.
You will want an i7 processor and probably 16GB of RAM if you want to use it for apps like Adobe Premiere, Photoshop or Lightroom.
However, if the programs you use for this purpose are the classic ones like Microsoft Office, you will do fine with the laptops presented here.
Make Sure You Got the Internet Speed for 4k
If you’re going for a 4k resolution laptop because you want to stream 4k, make sure you have the required internet plan.
According to Netflix, the minimum internet speed for 4k is 25 megabits per second.
Make sure you have this internet speed at home to be able to use your 4k laptop to the highest potential.
Also, remember that to stream 4k in Netflix, you will need to upgrade your account to a higher plan.
Review of the Best Laptops for Streaming Movies in 2020
Dell XPS 13 9370
Being able to watch movies in 4k is the dream of every movie lover.
Sadly, most of the laptops with this resolution are extremely expensive.
However, the cheapest one that is worth buying is the Dell XPS 13 9370.
It is still kind of expensive for a laptop that is only for watching movies, but if you can afford it, you won’t regret it.
The reason why this one is one of the most affordable 4k ones is that it is one of the few to sacrifice expensive internal components in favor of a better image resolution.
But still, this PC is not slow by any mean.
These are the very basics you will find in an affordable computer nowadays, but with the plus of a really nice resolution.
The design also reminds a little bit the slim and elegant design from Apple computers.
And objectively, it is a computer with better specs than a Mac and slightly cheaper. Because of that, this has to be the 2020 winner for us.
The worst part about it is that you’re paying over a thousand dollars for integrated graphics.
As a gamer, this feels utterly wrong, but in the end, that’s just something you’ll only regret if you play videogames.
This is not the computer you need if you’re just looking for a laptop to watch movies without anything fancy. You can watch movies on a much cheaper laptop.
But if you’re looking for the best experience and are willing to pay for it, the Dell XPS 13 is the number 1 choice.
Apple MacBook Air
That’s why I’ve included it here. I don’t usually recommend it because they are much more expensive than the competitors with objectively worse components. Plain and simple.
However, I must admit that the Apple MacBook Air actually has a decent price and beautiful image quality for watching movies.
The screen is a 13.3-inch with a resolution of 2560×1600. It allows up to 16gb ram and up to 1.5TB SSD storage.
This new model even comes with more bass for a better audio experience, altogether with an increase of 25% in volume. This will improve the experience of watching movies without using headphones.
Finally, there’s one last important thing you need to consider if you want a Mac computer for movies. You might not like this:
Most of them, including this one, have an aspect ratio of 16:10. Movies are made for 16:9 format.
What does this mean?
It really isn’t a big deal, but you will see some black bars show up when you watch a movie.
Most people don’t mind them, but I know a lot of people prefer not having them.
There is no real workaround for this. If you don’t want the bars, choose any of the other laptops in this list. They are 16:9 aspect ratio and won’t show the bars.
On the upside, it’s better for working because you will see more without needing to scroll down so much. That’s the advantage of Mac’s 16:10 display.
Acer Aspire E 15
This laptop has been the best-seller for a while. The reasons are obvious: most people just want a simple laptop to surf on the internet, watch a movie and write a document. All of this while being affordable, and most importantly, reliable.
This is the Aspire E 15 for you. It is the best-balanced laptop in the market. It is not too bad, nor too good.
It rocks an Intel Core I5-8250U, which is still an up-to-date processor together with all the recommended for running Windows 10 smoothly: 8gb ram, 256GB SSD storage, and a simple GeForce MX150 graphics card.
The features stated above are what you’ll find in the most basic version of this laptop, but it is highly customizable.
If you want a little more power for work, you can choose the i7 version for an additional $150.
One of the most outstanding things about this computer is the duration of the battery. It can last up to 15 hours but expect this to be much shorter if you’re going to watch movies.
It is the best price/quality relationship laptop on the market.
The worst part about is probably that it’s a bit bulky with its 5.27 pounds.
Also, do not expect a fancy look or feel. You can find better-looking laptops out there for this same price, but they won’t have a good balance between components like this one.
I’d love if this model didn’t look so dull, but it is a trade off you will be okay to take if you just want a reliable product.
Lenovo Flex 15
It does feel like a much higher quality laptop, but it’s more about the looks and versatility.
It fixes those bad things about the Aspire: much better look, and newer processor—i7-8550—, touchscreen and lighter—4.4lbs—.
However, it does all this for a considerable price increase.
Also, bear in mind that this one is a 2-in-1 laptop, so it can turn into a tablet if you want it.
Still, even though the processor is newer, it feels a bit underwhelming for the price increase.
It’s still a 4-core processor with a really small frequency increase (0.2GHz) and only 2MB aditional of cache memory. This makes it really hard to notice a significant improvement.
The real advantage you will feel is that it has a touchsreen and can turn into a tablet.
It also offers Windows Ink capability, which is a huge plus if you’re an artist and love using the pen to create amazing art.
Lenovo Premium Flagship Yoga
The previous Lenovo I featured—the Flex 15—offers this feature and a newer processor, but since the difference between the i5 and i7 is barely noticeable, you can save extra $100 for a 2-in-1 with the older i5 processor.
That’s the main catch of this laptop. You get a nice looking laptop that can also turn into a tablet.
Additionally, the laptop is lighter than the previous two, weighin only 2.54 lb.
However, the main trade off is that the battery is the weakest of all the laptops in this list.
It can only last for 5.5 hours, so you might be able to watch an entire movie without connecting it only if your battery is almost full when you begin.
ASUS VivoBook S 15
Similarly to the Acer Aspire E 15—notice that we’re comparing most of the laptops here with the Acer because it truly is like a benchmark for the industry—, this laptop is just enough for the average user that loves movies.
It has a slightly faster processor than the Acer, but the main reason it costs a bit more is the look and feel.
It is one of the few laptops that were made with the aesthetics in mind.
It comes in various beautiful colors that truly give this laptop an unique look:
- Frimament Green
- Gunmetal Grey
- Blue with Yellow Trim
- Starry Grey with Red Trim
I know that in my case I wouldn’t pay the price difference for a better look, but I know a lot of people would pay more for it—I know my girlfriend would.
But to be fair, the better build also offers an important improvement: it only weighs 3.5 lb.
If you love the looks you will enjoy this beatiful laptop.
But if you don’t really care much about the style and would like the best laptop you can get for the money, go for the Acer Aspire E 15 we already talked about.
Acer Chromebook 14
This is not a Windows laptop, so it is much cheaper.
It’s the cheapest kind of laptop you can get for streaming.
The main downside to Chromecasts is that they are made for people with good internet.
They don’t come with internal storage; files that you need to save will be uploaded to your Google Drive cloud instead. Only vital files are saved locally.
You won’t need to pay for storage since it includes 100gb of free storage on Google Drive.
If you got a reliable connection, you won have troubles with a Chromebook. However, remember that you will depend on having WiFi wherever you go.
You will be able to use Netflix and other streaming services through the included Chrome browser.
The laptop comes with 4GB of Ram, an Intel Celeron N3160 quad-core processor with a decent 2.24GHz processor speed.
It is kind of heavy for a Chromecast, but it’s still lightweight compared to most laptops with only 3.42 lbs.
It is the simplest laptop I’d recommend you if you truly want a laptop for watching movies and the very basics of using a personal computer.