Laptops have always had multiple use cases, and streaming media is something that many laptop owners do. Likewise, laptops are great for watching media because you can watch anything you like whenever you want and work, all on the same device. Hence, we have picked the best laptops to watch movies and TV shows for under $500.

The laptop market is heavily saturated right now, and it can often be confusing to pick a laptop that gets your everyday work done and lets you enjoy your favorite movies. Despite the recent increase in prices, you can get a solid laptop under $500 that you can carry everywhere. Say you want a budget laptop that fits your requirements and is good enough for adequate media streaming; what would you need?

What matters when buying a laptop to watch media

While getting a laptop for watching movies and TV shows, you would want something that checks all the relevant boxes. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind while buying a laptop for that purpose.

Display: In this case, an ideal laptop would be one with a decent display with a 16:10 aspect ratio to best enjoy your entertainment experience with more screen real estate.

Colors: A good laptop should have an IPS display with high color accuracy to be true to the visuals because they matter.

Audio: A decent-quality headphone jack is necessary to ensure you hear everything in high quality, and a sufficing pair of speakers if you prefer those.

Ports: What’s a laptop for media streaming that doesn’t have enough ports? With a Type C port with DisplayPort support, you can hook up an external monitor to enhance your experience.

All in all, it’s hard to get everything in one package, but our picks of the best laptops to watch movies and TV shows under $500 try to check all the boxes.

5 Best laptops under $500 to watch movies & TV shows

Note: The items in this list aren’t in any order of preference.

1. HP Pavilion x360 2-in-1

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You would not expect a budget laptop for basic tasks like media streaming to have significant performance. However, the HP Pavillion 2-in-1 has not only the latest 12th-Gen Intel Core i5 CPU but also a touchscreen display. This 2-in-1 laptop can convert into a tablet so you can work and then stream media effortlessly.

The HP Pavillion is extremely capable of handling multiple tasks with its 12-Gen Intel CPU and is an ideal device for work and play. Moreover, it comes with a 14-inch IPS panel display that wouldn’t disappoint while watching movies and TV shows. Overall, it’s among the best laptops to watch movies and TV shows for under $500.

Processor & Graphics 12th-Gen Intel Core i5 1235U with Iris Xe graphics
RAM 8 GB
SSD 512 GB (upgradable)
HDD N.A.
Display 14-inch 1080p IPS touchscreen display
Battery Up to 8 hours (advertised)
OS Windows 11 Home
Weight 3.35 pounds (or 1.51 kg)

Buy from BestBuy ($499.99)

2. Acer-Chromebook 317

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Looking for a solid laptop to watch media with an incredibly cheap price tag? Look no further because the Acer Chromebook 317 is an excellent machine for watching movies and TV shows and is well under the $500 budget. Chromebooks are great for everyday tasks, and they can be wonderful companions when you want to watch movies and TV Shows.

In this Acer machine, you get a large 17.3-inch IPS panel display, suitable for media streaming and other tasks. While you shouldn’t expect it to handle tasks that require high performance, it’s more than adequate to watch media. In the same vein, the Acer Chromebook is a worthy media machine that costs less than $400.

Processor & Graphics Intel Pentium Silver N6000 with Intel UHD graphics
RAM 8 GB LPDDRX
Storage 64 GB eMMC
Display 17.3-inch 1080 IPS touchscreen display
Battery Up to 10 hours (advertised)
OS Chrome OS
Weight 4.85 pounds (or 2.1 kg)

Buy from BestBuy ($379)

3. ASUS ZenBook 15

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Next up, the ASUS ZenBook 15 is the perfect laptop for users that require performance and an enjoyable media experience. Likewise, the ZenBook 15 houses a Ryzen 7 5700U CPU paired with NVIDIA GeForce MX450 graphics. The added performance makes it a suitable machine for content creators and power users.

Apart from the power, it’s a touchscreen laptop that you can convert into a tablet. Hence, you can have a delightful media-watching experience. All in all, it’s among the best laptops to watch movies and TV shows for under $500.

Processor & Graphics AMD Ryzen 7 5700U with NVIDIA GeForce MX450 graphics
RAM 8 GB LPPDRX
SSD 512 GB (upgradable)
HDD N.A.
Display 15.6-inch IPS panel touchscreen display
Battery Up to 10 hours (advertised)
OS Windows 11 Home
Weight 4.19 pounds (or 1.9 kg)

Buy from BestBuy ($499.99)

4. Lenovo Yoga 6

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Further, the Lenovo Yoga 6 makes it to the list of the best laptops to watch movies and TV shows for under $500. The Yoga 6 is an ideal laptop that you can use for both work and play and not compromise anything. It can handle your everyday tasks relentlessly and let you enjoy your favorite movies and shows too.

Moreover, the Lenovo Yoga 6 offers a compact form factor housing a 13.3-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. The extra screen space makes for an extraordinary viewing experience. You can also convert the machine to a tablet to further use its features to the fullest.

Processor & Graphics AMD Ryzen 5500U with AMD Radeon graphics
RAM 8 GB LPDDRX
SSD 256 GB (upgradable)
HDD N.A.
Display 13.3-inch 1200p touchscreen display with a 16:10 aspect ratio
Battery Up to 15 hours (advertised)
OS Windows 11 Home
Weight 3.058 pounds (or 1.38 kg)

Buy from BestBuy ($449.99)

5. Acer Aspire 5 A515-57

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The final entree to the list of the best laptops to watch movies and TV shows is the Acer Aspire 5. The OEM’s Aspire 5 is quite successful and has become better with every refresh. Coming to this Aspire 5 model, it offers reliable performance and checks the boxes of an ideal media laptop.

You can get your everyday tasks done with this laptop and relish watching movies too. It comes with Intel’s latest 12th-Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, which is excellent for high-demanding apps and multitasking. Hence, it’s an ideal machine for power users who also need a laptop to watch media.

Processor & Graphics 12th-Gen Intel Core i5 1235U with Iris Xe graphics
RAM 8 GB (upgradable)
SSD 512 GB (upgradable)
HDD N.A.
Display 15.6-inch 1080 IPS panel display
Battery Up to 7.5 hours (advertised)
OS Windows 11 Home
Weight 3.88 pounds (or 1.75 kg)

Buy from Newegg ($469.99)

Our recommendation: Best laptops to watch movies & TV shows under $500

Watching movies and TV shows on your laptop is quite convenient because you can carry it anywhere for work and enjoy media on a large screen at the same time. While the current market is overwhelmed by tons of laptops from all major manufacturers, we have only picked the best ones that fit the category. If you are having trouble picking one, we recommend getting the Acer Aspire 5 or the HP Pavillion x360 for a great experience.

Like this list? Check out the best gaming laptops under $1500 here.

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