Are you caught up in the ‘one more episode, please?’ trap all the time? We all are, and it is the “Netflix Effect”!
The prospect of indulging in another thrilling, exhausting, and dream-inducing episode has become our golden standard of a night well spent.
Streaming became our best companion during the quarantine times of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Whatever your choice of media drug be, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Lionsgate Play, YouTube, or Hulu, the parameters to make a fantastic viewing experience remain the same.
The most crucial factor is to watch your favorite movie or series in the highest quality possible. This is solely dependent on the specifications of the laptop you use.
Now, you must keep in mind that the highest quality isn’t always equivalent to a grand price.
You can find the best laptops for watching movies at relatively inexpensive rates because you can compromise with interior features like the processor, RAM, or GPU.
But if you have other users for your laptop for work or online school, then look for options that will support that.
The significant points to consider while searching for the best laptops for streaming videos are a large screen, high-resolution display, and sharp images with accurate colors.
If the laptop has a high-quality sound system, it’s perfect. If you prefer downloading your media content, then your laptop should have sufficient storage space.
And now that we’ve established that you’re a binge-watcher, it is imperative to ensure your battery sustains your long journey!
Let’s go through the comprehensive list we have prepared for the seven best laptops for watching movies in 2021!
Table of Contents
- 1 Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- 2 7 Best Laptops For Watching Movies in 2021
- 2.1 Best Overall: Apple Macbook Air M1
- 2.2 Best in Aesthetic Appeal- Dell XPS 13
- 2.3 Pros & Cons
- 2.4 Best in Large Display – Dell Inspiron 15
- 2.5 Pros & Cons
- 2.6 Best Value for Money – Acer Aspire 5
- 2.7 Pros & Cons
- 2.8 Best Multitasker – MSI Creator 15
- 2.9 Pros & Cons
- 2.10 Best With a 17-inch display – Asus VivoBook 17
- 2.11 Pros & Cons
- 2.12 Best Chromebook – Acer Chromebook Spin 311
- 2.13 Pros & Cons
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
If you’re looking for the best laptops for watching Netflix, or any other streaming service of your liking, your laptop must have a few basic specifications. We have divided these into two categories for your convenience.
Minimum System Requirements
Recommended System Requirements
10th Gen Intel Core i3
10th Gen Intel Core i5 or better
256GB SSD/ Dual Storage
13.3-inch FHD (1920x1080)
15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920x1080)
Integrated Intel UHD 615
2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX250
Up to 5 hours
Up to 8 hours
Basic Checklist before buying a new laptop
Storage: We all have faced that crisis when a movie we want to watch isn’t available on any streaming services. This is the worst thing to happen, but you combat it by torrenting the film.
That requires storage space. A movie could be 1GB or 8GB, depending on its quality, and so it is very important to make sure you have adequate storage on your laptop.
RAM: Binge watching a movie or series requires a lot of effort, not just on your eyes’ part, but even your laptop! To run continuously for over an hour is an exhausting operation.
Battery Life: Once you have a killer display up and running, your battery will die sooner. So if your laptop doesn’t hold up well when it comes to battery life, forget it. Always opt for more battery power, which means more movies!
GPU: No one wants a jittery movie viewing experience. It’s annoying to have your video paused exactly when the ghost is about to creep up behind the hero, isn’t it?
To counter any such unwanted situation, a good GPU is mandatory. This will give you a smooth and buffer-free binge spree.
Display: This is the most important aspect as this is what will make the movie or series a visual treat. A 4K Ultra High Definition display is the latest buzzword, and rightly so because this is sure to give you a crisp and accurate picture.
Weight: If you ignore your laptop table and just make do with your lap, we think this should be your top priority! Plus, if you’re a movie-on-the-move kind of person, a thin, lightweight laptop is a wiser option.
7 Best Laptops For Watching Movies in 2021
Letting your head down and rewarding yourself after a day full of work stress is hands-down the best feeling in the world! And what better to top this off with a movie?
And, for some of us, that’s our best weekend plan. But as we are all stuck inside our homes due to a global pandemic, planning a movie outing isn’t possible.
So, what’s plan B? It’s tucking yourself in, grabbing some popcorn and soda, and beginning the binge rest with your favorite movies and series.
Touché! And as close as we can get to a movie screen experience is a laptop screen. Phones just don’t make the cut. It is uncomfortable to keep holding them for so long, and the screen size doesn’t do justice to the visuals.
But when laptops were launched, they weren’t necessarily intended to be offering breathtaking visuals.
They were serious work machines that were often bulky and performed only a limited number of operations.
Thankfully, that has changed! Laptops are much more versatile, thinner, powerful, and affordable. They cater to our work needs as well entertainment.
They’ve also become top-notch gaming devices for all those who can’t get enough of Fortnite.
Thus, it is natural for us to find out about the best laptops for watching movies.
Best Overall: Apple Macbook Air M1
This new offering from Apple is all about internal changes. From the outside, it looks like a spitting image of the Intel-based Apple MacBook released last year.
The same 2560×1600 screen (still with thick bezels), 400 nits of brightness, and the signature MacBook wedge shape. The lightning-fast brand new M1 chip that was launched last winter has changed the game.
This laptop goes all out on the innovation front and is one of Apple’s best MacBook models so far. We have seen many Apple MacBook Air models in the past, but they were all powered by an Intel chipset.
This works on Apple’s homegrown M1 chip, which spells trouble for Intel! Its performance is phenomenal with this powerful chip, and the 16GB RAM only adds to the magic.
The native chipset exceeds almost all expectations; one of them is eliminating the loud fan noise that was associated with MacBooks in the past.
This is because the Intel chip is more power hungry and so your laptop heats more, and the fan needs to overwork to cool it down. Instead of this noisy fan, Apple has switched to a more efficient aluminum heat spreader that is as silent as a laptop.
The camera remains a point of contention among buyers as it suffers from quality and clarity departments. It lags at a 720p resolution and the real-time image processing taken from the iPhone only makes it worse.
The noise reduction is barely there, and the grain on the camera is not at all acceptable. Apple has also trashed its controversial butterfly mechanism for the scissor mechanism in the Magic Keyboard.
Two plastic pieces forming an X are which the individual keys are attached to, and the increased travel time makes typing smoother and error-free.
The macOS uses Rosetta 2 to convert and run the Intel apps as Universal versions aren’t out yet. They work seamlessly, and no problems are faced.
With the macOS Big Sur, Apple has managed to fix many bugs that troubled users in the past. Safari has significantly improved and is much more intuitive.
Now, you can access the widgets on the home screen by the Force Touch on the Trackpad so that it doesn’t crowd your workspace.
The innovative prowess is at its best with the Apple MacBook Air, and if you’re looking for the best laptops for streaming videos, you have arrived at your destination.
Best in Aesthetic Appeal- Dell XPS 13
If you want a stunning laptop, the Dell XPS 13 is it. Its Frost White exteriors made of anodized aluminum look very sleek and give you all the bragging rights.
This white wintry theme is carried to the laptop’s interiors, too, with the keyboard deck in Arctic White. The keyboard is arranged in such a way that there is just enough room for the trackpad.
This laptop also covers your security concerns with a fingerprint scanner embedded in the power button.
The screen of this laptop is what takes the cake. With barely-there bezels and 13.4-inch screen size, your Netflix binge will be one to kill for! There is no bottom chin at all.
Another great feature on this laptop is Dell’s CinemaColor. This feature modified saturation, white balance, and contrast using preset to enhance your video quality.
Adding to this movie-pro feature is the Dolby Vision for that perfect sound experience to give you the chills. The touch screen is responsive and has good tactile feedback.
Talking of the ports available, this laptop lacks in this department. It offers two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an audio jack, and a microSD card slot. That’s it.
We recommend you buy yourself a USB Type-C hub for using a mouse or hard drive. Coming back to the sound department, the speakers are mounted at the bottom.
Despite this, they are fairly loud and give crisp audio output. The keyboard will look different to you at first glance because of the increased keycaps.
That doesn’t hamper typing in any way; there remains adequate space between the keys, and they are well backlit.
Best in Large Display – Dell Inspiron 15
Powering this workhouse is a capable 2.3 GHz AMD R Series CPU that’s paired with 16GB RAM. This is a worthy purchase if you’re looking for an excellent graphics performance.
And yes, your movies will look fantastic! If you’ve also taken up gaming during quarantine, you will enjoy using this laptop as the graphics satisfy your Fortnite, Rocket League, etc., cravings.
This laptop is basically the AMD version of the Intel-chipset Inspiron 15 5584. And unlike the Apple MacBook Air M1, there are more than just internal changes.
There are significant differences in the chassis (which is the laptop’s body), performance speed, battery, etc. The motherboard has also undergone a transformation.
Alongside the Acer Aspire 5, this laptop is a money saver too. It is an inexpensive alternative to counterparts like the Dell XPS or the Asus VivoBook.
The outer covering is metal, sturdy but not the most aesthetic. It is similar to the Dell XPS. After all, it is a work machine and delivers despite a lack of glamour. So, from a visual standpoint, you could like it or not.
Once you lift the lid, there is no shortage of signs to prove that you just bought a budget laptop. Plastic bezels, to begin with, then the keyboard deck and palm rest.
The XPS 15 has sleeker bezels. Another aspect is that the body feels hollow, and there is moderate flexing when you push down the keyboard keys or the cover.
The construction quality is not perfect, as is evident from the uneven space between the hinge and the chassis. The lid can be opened at a maximum angle of 160 degrees.
Another great feature of this laptop for its entry-level range is that it comes with a fingerprint-enabled power button.
The Dell Inspiron 5 is packed with all ports you will need in your computer, including the USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI 1.4a, 2 USB 3.1 Type-A ports, AC adapter, 3.5mm combo audio.
Despite being on the slower side, the integrated SD card reader is a big help. So you don’t have to worry about compatibility when you’re sharing movies via hard disks, bingo!
Dell laptops are known to be very user-friendly, and this is no less. The laptop weighs 5.74 pounds, quite heavy but not to the point of discomfort.
The keyboard isn’t a strong point of this laptop, but it’s got the AMD processor, making it an all-rounder. That also fairly compensates for its lack of aesthetics.
The affordability also works in favor of this work machine. You must keep in mind that it is also meant for you if you use your laptop for daily tasks like checking emails, browsing the web, online classes, etc.
So, it’s a movie plus work deal! The narrow bezels give you an unhindered visual experience which isn’t possible in the Apple MacBook Air M1.
Best Value for Money – Acer Aspire 5
Acer as a brand is famous for their budget laptops. The company has experimented and successfully “aced” the ultra-thin craze with models in the Spin and Swift lines. These make traveling with your laptops much easier.
Even now, when we’re not really traveling a lot, lightweight laptops are the best laptops for watching movies. You can conveniently keep them in your lap and go ahead with your movie/series time!
Portability and convenience aren’t the only benefits of a lightweight laptop, but even the looks are. Acer has done a great job with this one!
The metal lid is a nice upgrade from Dell Inspiron 15’s plastic lid. It comes with a brushed texture on the lid and the keyboard keys, which makes for a very classy laptop.
You can fold the lid a full 180 degrees, which is a great relief. The bezels on this one are narrower than the previous year’s Aspire 5 A515-51G.
It is an updated version of the same. Acer Aspire 5 weighs in at 1.9 kg, meaning it’s lightweight and convenient to move around with. If you’re taking your laptop to someone’s house for the movie night, it’s a great buy.
As the weight and thickness are reduced, we do lose out on some ports. It features only one USB 3.0 Type-A port with a Type-C port.
Other than that, it has two USB 2.0 ports which aren’t sufficient for a laptop in this price range, an HDMI port, an SD card slot, a Gigabit Ethernet, a 3.5mm audio port, and a Kensington lock.
The laptop keeps cool using one fan from which the hot air gets expelled. One problem with this system is the heat sink, which exposes a significant portion of the laptop, making it prone to dust buildup. If you’re one for a spick and span laptop, try a laptop cleaning kit to help you with it.
The speakers on this laptop perform surprisingly well. They offer a great auditory experience and make it one of the best laptops for watching Netflix and much more!
We know how much a laptop that always has to be connected to power while you’re watching something irritates you, and so the Acer Aspire five covers that land.
Best Multitasker – MSI Creator 15
As you can tell from the name, this laptop is a powerhouse for not just watching movies but other creative pursuits you might have too.
It is a great choice for movie lovers, creatives, and gamers alike. For the number of features it offers, the laptop has an excellent 10 hours of battery life.
The touchscreen is an upgrade from MSI’s GS66 Stealth, making it easier to use and efficient. Another feature that usually sets an MSI laptop apart is their RGB-rainbow-colored keyboard backlights, but they decided to do away with them and put all-white lighting instead.
The body looks classy in grey color and is made entirely of metal. The lid is foldable to 180 degrees, giving you more comfort when propping up the screen for another round of The Avengers!
Plus, when you’re using the laptop via the touchscreen, folding it all the way is very convenient. Despite the big screen that comes packed with the MSI Creator 15, it still remains a portable laptop. The laptop is heavy when compared with others on this list, it weighs a solid 4.63 pounds.
The 15.6-inch display is stunning with a 3840×2160 resolution that produces clear and beautiful visuals. The keyboard is island-style with backlit keys and well-spaced out.
But, it lacks good tactile feedback. The wide trackpad is buttonless and works noiselessly. The variety of ports available is commendable, but the quantity is what pulls it back.
You get one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, an audio jack, an SD card reader, an HDMI 2.0 port, and one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port.
Best With a 17-inch display – Asus VivoBook 17
CPU: 3.5 GHz AMD Ryzen 3 3250U
RAM: 12GB DDR4
Storage: 256GB PCle SSD plus 1 TB HDD
Display: 17.3-inch FHD (1920×1080) IPS
GPU: 3 Core AMD Radeon Graphics
Battery Life: Up to 10 hours
The Asus VivoBook covers all core basics when it comes to the best laptop for streaming videos. Starting with the huge 17.3-inch screen, you are sure to have a great cinematic experience. The chassis is finished in elegant transparent silver.
It weighs around 5.07 pounds, a little on the heavier side, but can be dealt with given the widescreen you’re getting. The screen-to-body ratio is perfect, giving you an immersive binge time.
Despite the screen having very thin bezels surrounding it, it features an HD webcam fitted right in the center of the lid.
Another key feature that sets Asus laptops apart is their ErgoLift-Hinge, which props the keyboard up when you open the lid. This helps in typing conveniently.
The keys have great tactile feedback but aren’t spaced out well enough as one would want with a laptop of this size. It has a responsive but small trackpad. If we’re talking about the best laptop for watching movies, we can’t ignore the ports!
They are your companions when transferring movies that your friend has and you don’t. This laptop has one USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, one USB 3.2 Type-C port, one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, and a microSD slot. There is a security slot too.
With its 3.5 GHz AMD Ryzen 3 3250U CPU, it is fast enough for completing your daily laptop tasks like web browsing, emailing, etc. easily. Another benefit of this laptop is that the memory can be upgraded to 16GB for all the extra movies you want to store.
Best Chromebook – Acer Chromebook Spin 311
This laptop is a two-in-one bonus package. It is designed so that the lid folds back a full 360 degrees so that the laptop can be used as a tablet.
The 360 degrees Hinge and the whole chassis give major Apple MacBook vibes by the looks of it. The display is dimmed a little by the thicker bezels surrounding it.
The key selling point of the Acer Chromebook is its versatility of use because the 360 degrees foldable lid is a great addition when you want just your visuals in front. No wonder it is the best laptop for streaming movies.
It is powered by the Celeron CPU and 4GB of RAM. You might find the local storage capacity at 32GB to below for laptops these days, but if you stream movies instead of downloading them, it shouldn’t be much of a problem.
As mentioned, the one thing that sets the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 apart is its ability to pull off both the duties of a laptop and a tablet. The display size isn’t big, but you can consider this if you watch the movie/series all by yourself. The laptop doesn’t look its price, with a sleek silver body contrasted by black keys and piano-black bezels. It is made of plastic.
The bezels, let’s talk about them. This laptop has a small screen of 11.6-inches, surrounded by very thick bezels. This makes the screen seemingly shrink further and gives the whole laptop a bulky look.
It is a very lightweight Chromebook weighing 2.62 pounds, allowing you to use it on your lap for more extended periods of time. The keyboard is another aspect that is fit for daily use.
The keys are responsive and do not have backlighting. It has a buttonless trackpad which is pretty accurate on press.
The touchscreen makes switching tabs, opening, closing apps, etc., easier despite difficulty while executing finer control due to the small screen size.
You can’t enhance this with a stylus as that sign is supported. The webcam is subpar at a 720p and oversaturated quality and no noise cancellation.
When it comes to ports, this Chromebook doesn’t lag because of the less weight. It features two USB Type-C ports, two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a Kensington lock slot, a USB-C port giving DisplayPort for compensating the lack of an HDMI port.
The audio port is standard, and the MicroSD card reader comes in handy when looking to expand storage space.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 takes just 10 seconds to boot and performs as expected with its Intel Celeron N4020 processor. It offers smooth sailing when browsing through Chrome, playing Android games, and other usage scenarios.
If you’re a game lover along with a movie lover, this laptop has the Google Play Store pre-installed so that you can access all Android games on it.
Playing them is also a treat owing to the 360 degrees foldable lid and effective touch controls. It has a decent battery life when compared to the other laptops on this list but will still allow you to watch six two-hour movies in one sitting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Resolution So Essential to Find the Best Laptop for Watching Movies?
When we see movies on a laptop, we’re talking about pixels. Pixels are what make up the image on a digital screen. The resolution is just the number of pixels that the screen will show.
The math is simple; the more pixels, the more visual information you are able to see. By visual information, it means the details of an image. There will be more clarity, sharpness, and brightness to it.
You may not instantly notice these differences, but when you watch movies meant for cinema screens with dynamic visual delivering capacities and excellent resolution, you’d want your laptop screen to mimic at least a tenth of that experience.
The resolution doesn’t depend on the screen size, so don’t think that your resolution will be better if you have a bigger screen.
All in all, if you’re looking for the best laptop for streaming movies, then resolution plays a crucial and deciding factor.
Does The Memory Card, Processor, Graphics Card, or Disk Space Matter?
Of course, when you are buying a laptop, all these factors are important to take into consideration before making the purchase.
Still, there is no denying that when you are looking for a laptop just to watch movies, we can think of compromising on these fronts.
But, then again, it is highly unlikely that the only purpose your laptop will serve is streaming videos, so give it good thought.
If you’re a student and need a laptop for online classes and schoolwork, do pay attention to the memory card, graphics, local storage space, etc.
They will only enhance the performance of your laptop and not take away from it. The price of the laptop will indeed increase with advanced features.
Are There Any Minimum Requirements I Should Look For?
You can compromise on these depending on your budget; as more advanced the features, the more the price. These requirements are based on an optimum viewing experience for the best laptops for watching movies in 2021.
We recommend a minimum 1920×1080 pixels resolution. The best resolution available in the market is around 3840×2160. There are different variations available of the same.
In terms of the CPU, look for an i5 processor at least. You can pair it with 16GB of RAM if you have more extensive use for your laptop other than streaming videos.
Apart from the specifications of the laptop, you would also need a steady WiFi connection. Netflix recommends 25 megabits per second for streaming in 4K.
These are some of the laptops available in the market which are the best laptops for watching movies. With the second wave of COVID picking up pace, staying indoors is as important as ever.
And when you’re stuck inside, these laptops will keep you entertained. Whether you like bingeing on Netflix, rewatching Friends for the fifteenth time, or on a Game of Thrones spree, you would need a laptop that does justice to them.
Apple MacBook Air tops the list for many reasons like its Retina Display, powerful M1 chip, noiseless operation, sleek design, etc.
This laptop also has an excellent battery life which gives you an uninterrupted viewing experience. But if you’re not going for a high-end laptop, explore the other options, and you’ll find your perfect movie partner.
Abhishek Jariwala is the Founder, Editor and Owner of LaptopsMatter.com. He is a passionate geek who loves to tinker around with the latest phones, tablets and laptops as soon as they launch. He also loves to help people pick up their best laptops for their purposes which is also the reason why this site was made.