As a laptop geek who has owned many laptops over the years and loves movies, there’s nothing like a laptop that can let you enjoy movies like you were in the movie theater.
It doesn’t matter if you use Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO, or any other video streaming service, I’ve compiled a list of laptops that 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 a processor, GPU, and RAM.
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What to Look For
The four most important things if you want a laptop just for streaming movies are:
- High resolution: On 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. Have you ever watched a big TV and said “Wow, the image looks amazing” That’s due to high resolution, not the screen size.
- Large screen size: This doesn’t matter in terms of image quality, but it is a good addition for watching movies. Nobody wants to watch media on a small screen, that’s why the average smartphone size just gets bigger year after year.
- Good connectivity: Streaming movies requires a good internet connection, but it also requires a laptop that can handle that fast connection without interruption.
- Good battery: You want a battery duration that would at the very least let you watch an entire movie and a bit more while unplugged.
What about Memory, Disk Space, Processor, and Graphics Card?
They are important, but not as much if your sole purpose is watching movies.
If you also want a laptop for work, school, or gaming, you will want to consider them as well:
- RAM: If you want to do many things at the same time. More of it is almost always useful, but not necessary.
- Processor: If you need to do a lot of CPU-heavy tasks (e.g. editing and encoding videos)
- Graphics card: for gaming, 3D modeling, etc.
- 4k resolution at a relatively affordable price
- Slim, elegant look
- Lightweight (2.7 lb)
- Not so good battery duration (7-8 hours)
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 Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 9.
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 means.
It has integrated graphics, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and an Intel Core i7-1165G7 2.80GHz.
This is a step above what you will find in an affordable computer nowadays with the plus of a nice resolution.
The design reminds me of an Apple. But objectively, it is a computer with better specs than a Mac and slightly cheaper. Because of that, this has to be the winner for us.
The worst part about it is that you’re paying a lot 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 video games.
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, this is the number 1 choice.
- 2k resolution and a high DPI screen
- Slim, elegant look
- Lightweight (2.7 lb)
- $1,000 laptop with integrated graphics
- 16:10 aspect ratio makes black bars appear in movies
I’ll be honest with you, the only context in which I’ll ever recommend an Apple Mac is if you care about the image quality and “premium” look of your computer.
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 15.3 inches with a resolution of 2880×1864. It allows up to 24GB RAM and up to 2TB 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 in 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.
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.
- Best quality/price relationship
- Just enough for the average laptop user
- Higher RAM than most offerings
- Dull, uninteresting look
- No touchscreen
- 9 hours of battery life
This laptop has been one of the best-sellers for a while. The reasons are obvious: most people just want a simple laptop to surf 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 on 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: 12 GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage, and simple integrated graphics.
The features stated above are what you’ll find in the most basic version of this laptop, but it is highly customizable.
The worst part about is probably that its battery duration is only 9 hours, but I’ve seen much worse.
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 it 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.
- 2-in-1 that can become a tablet
- Slim and versatile
- Slightly better processor
- More expensive but similar performance to the Acer Aspire
I like to think of this Lenovo as a slight upgrade from the Acer Aspire E 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: a much better look, and a newer processor—Ryzen 5 4500U—, a touchscreen, and lightweight—3.63 lbs.
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.
It’s much more versatile than the Acer one because of this.
It’s a 6-core processor with a frequency of 2.1GHz and only 16GB of RAM, so it is more than enough to watch movies if that’s what you want to do.
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.
- 2-in-1 that can become a tablet
- Slim and versatile
- 2.5K IPS Touchscreen Display
- Processor is an i5
- Relatively low battery life (8-10 hours)
If you really like the 2-in-1 laptops, but you want a more a higher resolution, this other Lenovo is a great choice.
The previous Lenovo I featured—the Flex 5— is stuck at 1080p resolution but the Yoga has a 2560 x 1600 resolution with an i5-1240P processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. But you also have the option to expand them if needed.
As a movie enjoyer, you’ll love the high-resolution touchscreen, and it’s a good middle ground between the cheapness of 1080p and the high quality of 4k. Movies and videos will look beautiful with high image detail and vibrant colors for a better price.
Similarly to Macbooks, this one also has a 16:10 aspect ratio, so the small horizontal black part will be present fullscreen in videos.
- It comes in various beautiful colors
- A bit expensive for the performance
Similar 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 we showed earlier, 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 aesthetics in mind.
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 3.97 lb.
If you love the looks you will enjoy this beautiful 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.
- 1920×1080 resolution for a cheap price
- Slim design
- Lightweight (3.42 lb)
- Relies on using internet connection for most features
- Can’t do much more than watching movies and browsing the internet
If you truly want a laptop for the very basics, then you will do fine with a Chromebook.
This is not a Windows laptop, so it is much cheaper. In fact, 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 have a reliable connection, you won’t have trouble 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, and an Intel Celeron N4000 Dual-Core processor with a decent 2.6GHz processor speed.
It is kind of heavy for a Chromecast, but it’s still lightweight compared to most laptops with only 3.75 lbs.
It is the simplest laptop I’d recommend if you truly want a laptop for watching movies and the very basics of using a personal computer.
Will has been a full-time content creator since 2014. He’s an audio, video, and tech hobbyist dedicated to reviewing products and giving you the best tips he knows to grow your audience.