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  • Ryan Smoot

Best Laptop for Watching Movies (Netflix, Hulu, HBO)

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

When it comes to finding the perfect laptop for watching movies, you'll obviously want to prioritize your display and getting as much bang for your buck. The bad news is, some budget laptops are going to be painfully slow. We all despise that buffering circle of doom on Netflix, so ensuring your processor speed is fast enough is crucial.

Someone using a MacBook to watch a movie, since it's one of the best laptops for watching movies.

When I tested these laptops, I also considered speakers, battery life, cooling ability, and storage (particularly if you're looking to download movies, in addition to streaming).


There was some serial binge-watching involved in the testing process — and out of a dozen contenders, these were the top 5 laptops for watching Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Prime Video, YouTube TV and free streaming, with the overall winner being the MacBook Pro M2. I'll break down that decision, along with more budget-friendly laptops for streaming, below:


Best Overall Laptop for Streaming Movies

See the 2023's Macbook's latest price on Amazon, or save with the '22 model.


This year's MacBook Pro is hands-down the best laptop I've experienced watching movies on. The speakers and display are just simply unrivaled together. There's 6 booming built-in speakers that come equipped with Spatial Audio — this guy can get loud.


The display also boasts a Retina XDR display with 1000 nits of brightness and excellent contrast ratios that will make an instant upgrade to your portable home (or bed) theater.


Top that off with 18 hours of battery life and an extremely fast M2 processor, and the MacBook Pro is undoubtedly the best laptop for streaming.




Best Budget Laptop for Watching Movies

Under $300 on Amazon



When it comes to the best laptop for streaming under $300, I'd recommend the Acer Aspire 5. The latest Aspire has an IDR HD display, really slim bezels, and a Blue Light Shield, which could be useful for sleeping after a late-night Netflix session.


Still, compared to the MacBook, you're sacrificing significantly on audio quality and it has roughly half the battery life. Still, for the price, this outranks the others in its tier.


Best Laptop Under $500 for Streaming

One of the next best laptops for streaming movies, and a good mid-tier option, is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3. I watched the Lord of the Rings on this one, and not only did the battery hold up through most of the trilogy, but it looked absolutely stunning with the Lenovo's HD display, and closely trails the latest MacBook Pro. The speakers are about what you would expect from a sub-$500 laptop, but the visualsi and processing speed are what pushes this into a top-3 pick.


One of the next best laptops for watching movies, and a good mid-tier option, is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3. I watched the Lord of the Rings on this one, and not only did the battery hold up through most of the trilogy, but it looked absolutely stunning with the Lenovo's HD display, and closely trails the latest MacBook Pro. The speakers are about what you would expect from a sub-$500 laptop, but the visuals and processing speed are what pushes this into a top-3 pick.


Honorary Mentions






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