You probably thought that streaming your favorite shows and movies requires an expensive laptop. That’s not the case! You can easily watch Netflix or Hulu 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! But if the 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.
But 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! And everything you need in order to make it happen is to buy a basic HDMI cable for less than $10 if you don’t have one already (available here for the US or here for the UK/Europe).
Now let’s check out below which are the best cheap laptops for watching Netflix or Hulu or stream your favorite videos on your TV. These are also great laptops for everyday use, so it’s a win-win situation here!
Please note: This article was updated in May 2017 in order to keep this list as accurate as possible and offer you better choices. We’ll constantly update this list in order to make sure you get the best products, even though the laptops below will remain a great choice for a long time!
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, you can find them below the table.
Please note: We get commissions for purchases made through links in this article.
|Laptop model||Main advantages||Main disadvantages||Our rating||Purchase link|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X||Lowest price on the list||Small screen, Refurbished||3.2/5||Get it on Amazon|
|Lenovo ThinkPad E560||Solid processor and battery life||Heavy, not full HD||3.5/5||Get it on Amazon|
|Asus 15.6” laptop||Full HD, SSD Storage||Not the best processor on the list||4/5||Get it on Amazon|
|Dell Inspiron 15 FHD Touch|
|Full HD, Touchscreen||Battery life could be better||4.5/5||Get it on Amazon|
|Acer Aspire E 15|
|Full HD, Great battery life, Great price||Specs could be better||4.5/5||Get it on Amazon|
Now here are more details about each of the laptops recommended above:
5. Lenovo ThinkPad X
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. That’s why we’re including the Lenovo ThinkPad X on our list.
This is a small laptop (11.6-inch display) that still managed to handle streaming your favorite shows and movies without a problem. In order to handle the pressure, it is powered by an AMD Dual-core E-450 processor running at 1.65GHz, and also 4GB of RAM. It only comes with an integrated AMD Radeon HD 6320 card, which isn’t ideal either, but it will still manage to stream smooth video and that’s all that matters. Do have in mind, though, that its maximum resolution is 1366 x 768 pixels, so no full HD here. But if you’re only watching movies and TV shows on your laptop’s display, you won’t feel the difference!
Extremely small, lightweight and portable, this is a great laptop to carry around easily. It doesn’t offer a ton of storage space (just 320GB) and it doesn’t have an optical drive (most laptops nowadays don’t, anyway), but it gets the job done.
Not really the best possible choice, but if you’re on a really tight budget, you’ll have to do with this one! Please have in mind that this is a Certified Refurbished products – follow the link below to find out more about this (and the laptop itself).
4. Lenovo ThinkPad E560
Last year, it was the E555 model that we recommended, but this year we have an even better model for you. Lenovo is usually the best choice when it comes to cheap laptops and this particular product ticks all the boxes that we need for streaming Netflix or Hulu. Plus, it’s larger than the previous recommendation (like all the other products recommended from now on.)
Offering a large screen (15.6-inch display), it is powered by a solid processor (Intel Core i5 6200U, running at 2.3 GHz) and also has 4GB of RAM. Although the graphic card is integrated – the Intel HD Graphics 520 card, it can run Netflix and Hulu smoothly, especially since it can only offer resolutions of up to 1366 x 768 pixels.
It’s also heavier than other similarly-sized laptops on the list and only offers 500GB of storage, but if you are a fan of Lenovo and you have under $500 to pay, this is a good laptop to go for if you’re interested in streaming video content.
3. Asus 15.6″ laptop
We’re not moving to what I consider a regular size laptop: 15.6-inch displays. This is what this ASUS model recommends, and then something on top to make it a really good budget choice for our needs.
It’s powered by a decent processor, the Quad Core AMD A10-8700P that goes up to 1.80 GHz (or 3.20 GHz turbo boost). It offers an amazing 8 GB of DDR3 RAM in order to boost its performance even more and it’s also the only laptop on our list to offer an extremely fast SSD for storage, although only 320GB.
It comes with Windows 10 already installed and one of its best selling points is that it supports Full HD 1920*1080 resolution. A really great choice for streaming directly on your laptop’s screen or on a larger TV.
2. Dell Inspiron 15 FHD Touch
Now this one has a really great treat for you: its display has touchscreen capabilities, so you can go all sci-fi with it to impress friends and family.
It’s also a really solid 15.6-inch laptop, even without the extra bells and whistles. It’s powered by a solid processor, the Intel Core i5-6200U, it has 8GB of RAM and supports full HD resolution (1920×1080). 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. It also offers a lot of storage if you want to save your favorite shows and movies – 1TB HDD.
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, even though it’s more expensive than our next recommendation.
1. Acer Aspire E5-721-20GJ
This Acer Aspire laptop is our Editor’s choice and also the top pick of customers – if we are to look at its rankings and ratings on Amazon. This is the #1 best selling laptop in the Traditional Laptops on Amazon, with a great average rating of 4 out of 5, based on over 930 customer reviews.
Powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core i3-7100U Processor (goes up to 2.4GHz) and 4GB of RAM, this laptop has just what it needs to deliver a great streaming experience, no matter if you watch your favorite content on the laptop’s screen directly or on your large TV. The high quality of the image is ensured by the fact that it supports full HD (1920×1080) resolution.
With great battery life (up to 12 hours on a single charge) and offering 1TB of storage space, this is indeed an amazing laptop for the money. It’s well under our budget of $500 and, even though it doesn’t deliver the performance of the model above, it’s still great for watching movies and regular usage.
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!)