You don’t need to have a massive, flat-screen TV to enjoy your favorite movies or shows. One of the best things about having a good laptop is that you can use it to work in the day and spend your downtime just watching movies.
If you’re looking for a new laptop to replace your old one, or just want something you’re sure to enjoy quality movie streaming on, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’re here to give you our top 5 picks of the best laptops for streaming movies and videos in 2020.
- 1 Best Laptop for Watching Movies & TV-Series
- 2 Best Laptops for Watching Movies Reviewed
- 3 Best Laptop for Watching Movies Buying Guide
- 4 Best Laptops for Watching Movies FAQs
- 5 Conclusion
Best Laptop for Watching Movies & TV-Series
Best Laptops for Watching Movies Reviewed
1. Dell XPS 15
If you’re looking for a great laptop to stream movies and shows, you’re going to need something with a fantastic display. The Dell XPS is a laptop out on the market with a great display, and it’s one of our top contenders for the best laptop to stream on.
If you thought you couldn’t enjoy high-definition streaming on your laptop, the Dell XPS 15 is here to prove you wrong.
The Dell XPS has a 15.6” 4K Ultra-HD display, which lets you enjoy your movies and series in entirety. Its display has 6-million more pixels than other Full-HD screens, and thanks to its 4K display, you won’t have to ever worry about blurred pictures and jagged lines, ever again.
It’s also got an OLED display, which gives more lifelike images, and gives you a perfectly blackened or whitened screen; something most other displays can’t achieve.
But what if you want to enjoy a good movie on a lazy Sunday afternoon? Well, the XPS achieves a 500-nit brightness and has an anti-reflective screen, so streaming in the day is just as easy. It’s also got a much wider viewing panel, so you can watch your movies from just about any angle.
The XPS makes use of InfinityEdge Technology, which makes its screen practically borderless. The bezels measure in at just 6.04mm on each side and 7.08mm on the top. It’s also got CinemaColor features, to increase the vibrance and depth of what’s on-screen to make it much more realistic.
Watching movies with an amazing screen isn’t worth it if it doesn’t sound as good as it looks. Fortunately, the XPS comes with Waves MaxxAudio Pro, which makes sure all sounds you hear, whether it’s coming from the fantastic soundtrack or shady, low-toned dialogue crystal clear. You won’t even need to get earphones.
If you watch your movies and series on Netflix or Amazon Prime, you’re probably worried about it having to buffer in the middle. Well, Dell makes use of CinemaStream, which allows your device to prioritize channeling your bandwidth to your streaming service of choice.
The Dell XPS weighs in at just about 5lbs, so if you’re looking to watch movies while traveling, you won’t feel over-encumbered by it.
Finally, the XPS has an i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and a GeForce TX 1650 graphics card, which makes the XPS not just a fantastic choice for all you movie buffs, but also a great choice for gaming and work that employs heavy software.
Unfortunately, the Dell XPS only comes with a 256GB SSD, which might help your laptop start up much quicker, but will quickly run out if you keep a lot of files and data on your laptop.
It also costs over $1000, but if you’re willing to spend that much, its display and performance make it worth every penny.
2. New Apple MacBook Pro
Of course, the Apple MacBook Pro made it onto this list. You’re getting what you pay for since it’s one of the most powerful devices on this list. The MacBook has a fantastic retina display, supported by their True Tone Technology, making it a great option for all your streaming needs.
Like we said earlier, if you’re looking for a laptop that’s perfect for watching movies on, it’s going to be something with an amazing display, and Apple delivers that. It’s got a 15.6” Retina Display, to give you an extremely immersive experience. It also employs True Tone Technology, which keeps colors bright and vibrant, while still protecting your eyes.
The MacBook Pro is equipped with an AMD Radeon Vega Pro graphics card and an Intel chipset, which lets it automatically select which graphics card is needed.
If you think the display alone isn’t impressive, the MacBook Pro also has a sound system that isn’t rivaled by many other laptops.
When streaming movies and shows, you want to be able to hear every bit of dialogue or appreciate the soundtrack, and the MacBook Pro lets you do that.
The MacBook Pro has 6 speakers, rather than the 2 found in the previous generation, and the sound coming from it can fill a room. The quality of bass and treble from the speakers is crisp and clear and contributes to its immersion factor.
It’s also a great choice for users looking for a laptop that’s great for work too. This iteration of the MacBook Pro is significantly better than its predecessors and doesn’t risk overheating thanks to the improved airflow in the laptop.
Thanks to its Intel Core i9, it can run multiple apps at once. So, if you’re the type to work as you stream, you won’t have to worry about overloading this bad boy.
The MacBook Pro is also a great choice for those of you who enjoy playing games on the side. The improvements made to this generation of the MacBook Pro means you can play some of the latest game releases on their highest visual setting.
The MacBook Pro isn’t as light as the MacBook Air, with Apple sacrificing their more lightweight tech for more powerful hardware. If you’re planning to take it with you on the go, you might just notice the extra weight.
Even if you’re looking at the slightly weaker i7 variant of the MacBook Pro, it’s going to cost you at least $2000, which is quite a steep price. But for what the MacBook Pro gives you, it’s definitely worth the cost.
3. Acer Aspire 5 Slim (Best Laptop for Watching Movies on a Budget)
The last two options on the list were high up in the price bracket, but if you’re looking for a laptop that costs less than $350, Acer has its Aspire 5 Slim laptop. While keeping in your budget, the Aspire 5 Slim is a best-seller, and for many good reasons.
You wouldn’t expect to be able to get a 15.6-inch IPS screen in this price range, let alone one that’s full-HD. The Aspire 5 Slim’s display is considerably brighter than other screens, and thanks to the IPS display you’ll be able to watch your movies and shows from just about any angle.
But that’s not all you’ll get out of this laptop.
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim also comes with ComfyView technology, which reduces on-screen reflection, keeping your eyes strain-free after binging an entire season of the Witcher (and trust me, it’s worth binging, a definite must watch).
Fortunately, it also has extremely narrow bezels, so you’ve got a large viewing area too.
It’s also got decent speakers unless you’re the type to watch your movies and shows on full blast, you shouldn’t have any problems with the sound quality of the Aspire 5 Slim’s speakers (and even get a touch of bass when listening to music).
The beauty of this laptop is it’s powerful enough to let you do your occasional presentation or write articles on them, thanks to the AMD Ryzen 3 processor, integrated Vega 3 graphics card, 4GB RAM, and 128GB SSD.
Most laptops in this price range don’t have Windows installed on them, but the Acer Aspire 5 comes with Windows 10 fully installed.
The Aspire 5 Slim is called a slim for a reason, weighing in at just 4lbs. The laptop is compact as well, so carrying it around won’t be a problem if you frequently travel. The battery life further supports its portability by lasting up to 8 hours long.
You don’t normally find solid-state drives in cheaper laptops, let alone something that costs less than $350, yet the Aspire 5 comes with a 128GB SSD. It might be a little less than other laptops with hard-disk drives, but you won’t have to worry about the Aspire 5 being slow or breaking down.
The Aspire 5 Slim is great when indoors, but because its brightness reaches only 200 nits, using it outdoors when the sun is out might be a bit of a challenge.
We mentioned the 128GB SSD, which is considerably lower than most other laptops on this list, or laptops with HDDs within its price bracket, but you’ll have to either purchase back-up storage or upgrade this one.
4. Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop
Light, portable laptops are a great choice for movie-lovers on the go, but nothing can top the convenience a 2-in-1 laptop can deliver. Here’s why the Lenovo Flex 14 is the most impressive choice for movie buffs looking for a 2-in-1 laptop.
Most 2-in-1 laptops can be converted into a tablet, and the Lenovo Flex 14 is no different. It’s 300-degree hinge lets you use it in laptop, tablet and tent mode, whichever is most convenient for you. Another plus to the Lenovo Flex 14 is its touchscreen display that makes navigating it easy.
Thanks to its convertible display, you can stream your shows and movies on the go, whether it’s on a flight or the train.
But you want something to stream on, right? Well, the Flex 14 has a full-HD display, with an IPS panel. You can easily expect clear and vibrant colors from just about any angle with its display.
The Lenovo Flex 14 is also one of the lightest laptops we have on this list, weighing in at just 3.52lbs, making it lighter than other tablets. To add to its portability, it gives you up to 10 hours of battery life and charges up to 80% in just an hour.
The laptop also comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 12GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and a Radeon Vega 8 graphics card, which means it’s just as good for doing some graphic designing and presentations as it is for streaming your favorite movies and shows.
We’ve already mentioned that the Flex 14 has a 256GB SSD, and you can expect that your laptop will start any application or program without a hitch, and isn’t prone to any breakdowns, compared to your standard HDD.
The display is great indoors, but considering it only has 224-nits, the laptop won’t be as good outdoors.
If you’re a hardcore gamer and need a laptop with a dedicated graphics card to handle the latest releases of games, then the Lenovo Flex 14 might not be the best choice for you thanks to its integrated graphics card. It’s still good enough to play games like PUBG or Overwatch, though.
You’ve got your standard 256GB storage, which most other laptops in its price range have. But if you’ve got an external drive for backups, you don’t have to worry too much about that.
5. HP Envy X360
HP has come out with another 2-in-1 laptop that’s fantastic for streaming on. The Envy X360 is another convertible laptop choice on this list, and here’s why we’ve picked it.
Because the Envy X360 is another convertible laptop, you’ll have no problem viewing your movies in your preferred viewing mode. The versatility of the HP means you can use it as a laptop or a tablet.
The display is nothing shy of fantastic either. The HP Envy X360 has a 15.6-inch, Full-HD display with a 1920×1080 resolution, so you can expect your movies and shows to be crisp and clear.
Not only that, but you can also expect to enjoy what you’re watching from just about any angle thanks to the IPS panel installed in its display.
This laptop is also equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor and 8GB of RAM, which means you can expect it to handle a couple of tasks if you’re the type to multitask and stream as you work.
It comes with the standard 256GB SSD to make booting up the laptop and your applications reasonably quick.
The HP Envy also has an HDMI port, so if you love streaming from your laptop but decide you want to plug it into your TV, you won’t have a problem doing that either.
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to watch your Netflix favorites on the go, then the Envy is for you. It weighs in at just about 4.50lbs, and you can expect it to last you up to 8 hours on a single charge.
Watching movies on the go, whether you’re flying out somewhere or already on vacation, you’re guaranteed to have a laptop that’s perfect for viewing just about anywhere.
The integrated graphics card makes light gaming easy (so avid Fortnite or PUBG players don’t need to worry) but doing anything graphics-intensive might be an issue.
It’s also prone to running quite hot the first few times, but it can stay cool as long as you aren’t doing anything too intense for its CPU.
Best Laptop for Watching Movies Buying Guide
At the start of this article, we briefly touched on which features are most important when buying a laptop primarily for watching movies and shows, and we’re going to explain just why those features should matter to you, so you can decide for yourself which laptop is perfect for you.
This was mentioned at the beginning of the article. Screen resolutions come in varying qualities, and you must know all about it. You won’t be able to enjoy your favorite movies and shows if your display isn’t up to par with your standards.
For you to enjoy your Netflix binges at their absolute best, you’re going to need a laptop with a fantastic display. Regardless of what other features the laptop may have, we want to help by explaining why each aspect of your laptop’s display should matter for your viewing pleasure.
The term ‘resolution’ refers to the pixel density per inch of the screen, where you’ll want to be watching some HD movies on. The most ideal laptops for movie streaming would have a screen resolution of at least 1080p.
If you’ve got a limited budget, then there are always 720p resolution laptops to consider, but we’re talking about the best laptops for you to enjoy streaming your videos on, so your best bet would be to go with the 1080p.
Now, there are screen resolutions higher than 1080p, such as the QHD or 4K displays, but as fantastic as they are, they aren’t recommended since most streaming apps only support up to 1080p resolution, tops.
These are the other features of a laptop that support their screens. At the moment, IPS panels are quite trendy because most laptops have these panels installed. What makes IPS panels so great for avid movie-watchers is that these panels don’t distort colors no matter which angle you view them from.
Remember when you’d watch movies with a friend (or your bae), and you’d frequently have to adjust the display for the other? Well, that’s because old laptops came with TN panels installed.
Movie watching with them won’t be as inconvenient with a laptop that has an IPS panel integrated into their display, so you and your viewing buddy won’t have to worry about being at different angles when watching.
When watching a movie indoors, brightness isn’t too much of a concern because you can easily control your brightness. The reason brightness is an important factor in picking a laptop to watch movies on is because it defines the movie-watching experience when viewing outdoors or anywhere you won’t have any control over the lighting.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that even using your mobile phone in bright sunlight dims your display, and a laptop is no different. Unless your laptop has high brightness (measured in nits), you’re not going to have a good time. The laptop you choose should have at least 250 nits.
The issue with measuring your battery performance lies in the fact that there’s no set metric to determine what is good and what is bad. Some like to judge this based on the rating and power output of a battery, but the problem with that is that batteries that are poorly built can still have a good power rating.
The best way to determine how good a battery is is to test it by running the laptop under normal conditions.
The average battery should last up to 5 hours from full charge. The best batteries on the market can last up to even 24 hours with a single charge under normal use, so good batteries should clock in around 20 hours.
If you’re fond of working in coffee shops, in the library, or on the train, and love spending your work breaks catching up with a couple of shows, then you need to consider your laptop’s portability.
The portability of your laptop is based on its size and its weight. A laptop’s size matters because you don’t want to be dragging around a gigantic machine with you wherever you go; you want something reasonably sized.
This depends on the size of the laptop’s screen. Avid movie watchers or tv show bingers should be looking at 15 or 17-inch displays, especially if they’re looking to feel fully immersed in what’s on-screen.
We mentioned lugging around a large device being an unpleasant experience; well, the same goes for a heavy laptop. A 9-pound laptop is going to be a pain to carry around or place on your lap for any amount of time.
You need a laptop that’s going to be lightweight, around 4 to 5 lbs., max. Anything heavier than that is no longer considered lightweight, though some users don’t mind this.
Anything more than 9 pounds is just considered heavy, and it’s not desirable in the slightest. The heavier the laptop, the higher the risk you have dropping it and causing damage.
Finally, you need to think about just how much disk space you need in your laptop, especially if you’re one to keep your movie files on your laptop, rather than stream it straight from any streaming platform. Internal and external drives are where you’re going to be storing your favorite HD movies and series.
Your laptop’s CPU is what links your disk drives to your laptop’s RAM resources while you run your streaming apps to watch your favorite movies and shows.
You need to consider the type of storage you have and how much space it’s got. Your laptop may either come with the newer solid-state drives (SSD), which have less mechanical parts (and use electronic parts instead) and are less prone to breaking down, or the traditional hard-disk drives (HDD), which are still reliable and often make a device much cheaper but have more mechanical parts inside, making them more prone to breakdowns if not well taken care of.
If you’re the type to download and store lots of movies and shows onto your laptop, then you might want to consider an HDD since most SSDs don’t exceed 1TB storage capacities. But generally, we’d recommend still opting for an SSD if you don’t need extensive storage capacities.
Best Laptops for Watching Movies FAQs
Q1: Is the best laptop for online streaming the same?
Generally speaking, yes, they are. As long as you’ve got a decent connection with the internet and good speed and bandwidth, streaming in HD won’t be too different from watching offline, as long as your laptop has the right components (like a good quality CPU, screen resolution, RAM, etc.).
Some laptops don’t have great internet connectivity features, which make online streaming much more frustrating than downloading to watch offline.
Q2: My laptop screen seems dull, can I change the brightness to fix it?
Can the brightness level of screens be changed because my laptop has a dull resolution? Almost all laptops can adjust their screen brightness level; the only limitation to this is in the hardware of your laptops. The brightness of your display won’t necessarily change how dull the display is on certain laptops.
Q3: Do I need an i7 processor or i5 processor?
Speaking generally, yes, an Intel Core i7 processor is going to be much better than their i5 variants but take note on the other components of the laptops, because these other components can easily catch the i5 with its i7 variant. Both can easily perform on par with each other when streaming movies.
We’ve taken a look at some of our top picks of laptops to stream movies on. Based on their hardware, design, portability, display, and so on, we’ve decided that the Dell XPS 15 is the best laptop to stream movies on.
It’s got a 4K Ultra-HD display and brings even the dullest scenes to life with its fantastic display, and it costs much less than the Apple MacBook Pro.
Considering everything we’ve mentioned about the XPS 15, from its display to its sound quality, to its sleek design, we think it’s the laptop that satisfies any avid movie buff’s needs.
The other laptops we’ve mentioned on this list are also great alternatives for the Dell XPS 15 (and the MacBook Pro), especially if you’re on a tight budget.