If you think that streaming your favorite TV shows and movies requires an expensive laptop, we’re here to prove you wrong!
You can easily watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or any other streaming service on a cheap laptop that costs under $500. Best part? You can also connect that laptop to your large TV to watch your favorite content if you prefer a larger screen. All you need is an HDMI cable (and, in some cases, an USB-C to HDMI dongle).
But if the slightly smaller size of your laptop’s screen is not a problem, you can watch Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services on your laptop’s screen without a problem. All you need is an active internet connection and you’re set to go!
In this article we’re going to take this even further and share with you some of the best laptops for watching Netflix / Hulu that cost under $500 and offer you not only the possibility to stream the shows or movies on your laptop, but also see them on your TV!
In order to do so, you will need to buy a cheap and basic HDMI cable which is usually around $15 a piece (get one here – affiliate link) and an USB-C to HDMI one (affiliate link), ONLY IF your laptop doesn’t have an HDMI port.
Now that we’ve got this settled, let’s check out below the best cheap laptops for streaming Netflix, Hulu and other services. These are good laptops for everyday use too, and they are all under $500 at the moment of writing (double check as things could change at any time – although highly unprobable).
If you don’t have time to go through our in-depth reviews of each recommended model, we have a summary in the table below. If you want to get even more details about each laptop model, keep reading the article after you check out the table.
Please note: We get commissions for purchases made through links in this article.
|Lenovo Chromebook S330 – Get it on Amazon
|Small screen, Little Storage
|HP 14 inch – Get it on Amazon
|Solid processor and battery life, SSD storage
|14″ display, not full HD
|Acer Aspire 5 – Get it on Amazon
|Full HD, fast SSD Storage
|Slower performance, lower battery life
|ASUS VivoBook 15
(Editor’s Choice) – Get it on Amazon
|Full HD, lots of RAM
|Battery life could be better
|2020 HP 17.3-inch – Get it on Amazon
|Specs could be better
Now let’s check out more details about each of the laptops recommended above:
5. Lenovo Chromebook S330
A large screen is normally recommended when you’re watching Netflix or Hulu on your laptop. But if you’re planning to just connect your device to a large screen TV, then the size of the laptop doesn’t matter.
Also, if you’re traveling a lot, a smaller laptop is easier to carry around and 14″ – the display size of this Chromebook is not tiny, in the end. And overall, the Lenovo Chromebook S330 is a pretty solid option!
It’s also the cheapest product at the moment of writing this article, so if the budget is really tight, it can’t get much better than this money-wise.
Despite being a smaller laptop, it still manages to handle streaming your favorite shows and movies without a problem.
In order to handle the pressure, it is powered by a MediaTek MT8173C Processor, and also 4GB of RAM. It also got upgraded from previous models and now offers a stunning 1920×1080 resolution, so you can enjoy your movies at full quality.
Extremely small, lightweight and portable, this is a great laptop to carry around easily. It doesn’t offer a ton of storage space (just 64GB) but at least it is an eMMC drive, which is very fast. You don’t need a lot if you’re streaming movies and TV shows online, anyway.
Do have in mind that this is Chromebook, meaning that it runs on Google’s Chrome OS and not Windows. This shouldn’t be a problem at all when it comes to streaming, but if you’re used with Windows laptops, it will take a bit of time to adjust.
Don’t expect to get cinema-grade audio quality from this laptop either. The sound is OK, but nothing to write home about. So while not perfect for listening to music, when it comes to movies and TV shows, it will be acceptable at least. And you’ll be able to watch movies for several hours on a single charge, which is really good.
While not the best laptop the world has ever seen, it delivers a solid image quality and is offering a fair performance – which is exactly what you need when you’re on a really tight budget.
4. HP 14 inch
We’re sticking to a 14″ display, one that makes watching movies directly on your laptop’s screen much more enjoyable. And from now on, we’re moving to Windows only laptops so you will probably be on familiar grounds in terms of the operating system.
This 2020 laptop model manufactured by HP comes with a 14″ display (so still smaller than your regular laptops) and a pretty good image quality. The audio is decent also, but don’t expect breathtaking audio quality here either.
The laptop is perfect for streaming video content from your favorite service. It is powered by an AMD Athlon Silver 3050U processor (with a solid base speed of 2.3 GHz) and also 4GB of RAM. It comes with 128 GB of SSD storage which isn’t a lot, but at least we’re taking about a lightning fast drive, so it has this working in its favor
Even though you are probably more familiar with Intel processors, rest asured that this AMD model delivers excellent speed for the money. It also has a decent battery, offering up to 10 hours on a single charge.
The laptop is still not full HD, offering HD-only definition (1366 x 768 pixels) but thanks to the smaller screen, you won’t really be able to notice the difference unless you have a really well trained eye.
It is very portable, light and thin and looks good. Not the most stylish laptop you have seen, but offers great performance and that’s all that matters when streaming from your favorite service.
3. Acer Aspire 5 – Best for the money
We’re not moving to what I consider a regular size laptop: 15.6-inch displays. This is what this Acer model offers, and then something on top to make it a really good budget choice for our needs.
It’s powered by a decent processor, the AMD Ryzen 3 3200U which only has two cores, but is still strong enough to handle streaming. 4GB of RAM round it up well, together wth the fast SSD storage of 128 GB.
The great thing about is is that it offers a full HD resolution (1920 x 1080). A really great choice for streaming directly on your laptop’s screen or on a larger TV. The image quality is really good, too with good colors and contrast. Perfect for using indoors!
The sound quality is decent as well, thanks to the company’s proprietary TrueHarmony technology that offers deeper bass and more volume. It’s still not desktop-computer grade quality, but remember that we’re looking for cheap laptops and we can’t really have it all.
Being a laptop with a larger screen means that the battery drains faster. Expect it to last around 7 hours depending on usage. You’ll still get it to play a full feature movie (and maybe even more) on a single charge, so it’s all good. A great product selling at a really low price.
2. ASUS VivoBook 15 – Editor’s Choice
Thin, light and with a classy design, offering an amazing performance and great overall quality. This model grabs our Editor’s choice award and it’s probably the best choice for you as well.
The VivoBook 15 is a really solid 15.6-inch laptop, powered by an Intel i3-1005G1 prcessor. True, this isn’t the most mind-blowing model on the market, but it is paired with 8GB of RAM, making the laptop faster and perfect for streaming Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime movies and TB Shows.
It has a fast, albeit small, SSD drive (128GB) and supports full HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels).
In other words, it has everything you can wish for from a cheap laptop for watching Hulu or Netflix. A dedicated graphics card would’ve been even better, but at this price range, it’s difficult to find one with it.
Just like all the other laptops on this list, it comes with an HDMI port so you can easily hook it up to your large TV. But the image quality on its display is realy good too so you won’t have any problems if you use it as it is.
This model features the proprietary ASUS SonicMaster audio technology, which offers deeper bass and a clearer sound overall. Probably the best audio on our list, without being cinema-grade.
The battery life is not the best around, but you can still expect to get around 6 hours of usage on a single charge. It also comes with some extra bells and whistles – like a fingerprint sensor and backlit keyboard. Not essential, but nice to have.
All in all, this is a really good choice for a cheap, solid laptop. But we would’ve loved the battery to be a little better! Even without it, it gets our “Editor’s choice” stamp for being such a great product that you will surely love.
1. 2020 HP 17.3-inch
We’re rounding up the list with a really large laptop. A 17.3-inch screen is almost impossible to find for our budget, but we surprisingly found it!
While this is not as portable as other models, it is perfect if you buy it to watch content on the laptop’s screen only. The large display that delivers a decent video quality and HD+ resolution (1600×900 px) will keep you very happy.
While it’s not the fastest laptop you will ever see, it offers a decent performance thanks to its AMD Dual Core Ryzen 3 3200U processor, 4GB of RAM ad super fast 128GB SSD.
These are not amazing specs considering the fact that it’s the most expensive product on the list. But do remember that you’re getting a huge screen – that’s what you are paying the extra dollars for. And in terms of streaming, you should have no problem with any service you run.
The audio is not the best either, but it’s not too bad. I would consider it decent – not the best bass or volume, but clear and nice enough not to make you wonder what the actors said. As an interesting extra feature, this model comes equipped with an optical drive – perfect for those who still have some DVDs they might want to re-watch every now and then.
If you are looking for a large laptop, this is not the best but probably your oonly option under the $500 budget. And it’s not bad.
Now you can easily handle Netflix, Hulu as well as streaming from other sources, either on your laptop’s screen or on your big screen TV (don’t forget about the HDMI cable and/or dongle if they’re needed!)
Finally, if you’re interested in similarly cheap products, but prefer to stay away from the Windows operating system, you can check out the best Chromebooks for streaming movies from Netflix and other similar online services.