What Is the Best Laptop for Streaming and Watching Content?
We’re all big fans of Netflix and Amazon Prime, and Hulu, and…and…look, the bottom line is that we love streaming. After all, cable is dead, so we’re not going to pretend to be sorry about binging.
But that introduces a tricky question – what is the best device for streaming? That depends on your lifestyle, but from our point of view, it’s a laptop. And what laptop is the best for streaming and watching content? Let’s talk about that right now.
Why do you need a dedicated laptop for watching content?
Okay, but why do you need a streaming laptop to begin with? Surely, it’s superfluous, right? It seems like a waste of money, especially if you already have a work or gaming laptop. But the thing is that your needs will be different, depending on what you’re planning on doing with the device. Let’s see how you will benefit from choosing a laptop as a streaming device.
- You travel or are on the go
First thing’s first – if you only watch Netflix at home, just get a TV. If, however, you travel often or you find yourself on the go a lot, then a laptop is definitely the way to go. That way, you get to enjoy one of the main advantages of streaming vs cable – it’s portable.
- You don’t have the patience for streaming on your phone
Some people use their phones to watch movies just fine – in the bathroom, at work, in waiting rooms, at restaurants, etc. But let’s face it – it’s very annoying and straining on the eyes. Not an ideal viewing experience, by any stretch of the imagination. A laptop is still portable, but it offers a way more generous screen.
- You are concerned about privacy
You may not wish for others to have access to your streaming account, which can happen, if you watch at home, on your regular TV. If you have a personal laptop, you can lock it without needing to log out of your streaming account every single time you use it or worry about having left it open for prying eyes to see what you’ve been watching.
- You use streaming as your primary entertainment outlet
Perhaps you’ve got other main hobbies, such as gaming, for example, or graphic design, or something where you don’t need to use a computer. Or on the contrary, perhaps you require a higher performance device, and an extra laptop doesn’t make sense.
But if you just love watching movies and shows and you spend a lot of time streaming, it may be worth the investment in a dedicated device that enhances your experience.
- You need to separate work and home life
Okay, but what if you’ve already got a work laptop? Do you really need another one? Well, that depends on what you do for work. If you’re dealing with any type of confidential information or data you’re worried about, then you really need separate devices.
It’s worth buying a personal laptop for all your streaming needs and more, just to make sure that you maintain work security. The last thing you need is to be the cause of a company-wide security breach.
What should you be looking for?
Let’s say you’re convinced – you’re going to purchase a laptop for streaming. What kind of characteristics should it have? Is there something specific you should be looking for?
- Great graphics card
The biggest sin a laptop can commit, when it comes to viewing content, is having a weak graphics card. That can throw the whole experience down the drain. Not only will a good graphics card enable your movie to render beautifully, you also don’t have to worry about freezing screens or even a total shutdown due to overstraining.
- High-end display
If you’re going to be watching a lot of content, no matter if you’re streaming it, watching from a DVD, or from your own hard drive, you’re going to need a very good, high-quality display. That’s going to make the difference in your viewing experience. You want something HD that is going to accurately show you a crisp, realistic image with a high resolution.
- Quality sound system
Unless you’re using headphones, you’ll also want to keep in mind sound quality. When you’re in your hotel room, lounging, you don’t want to have to keep your ear pressed against the speaker. You also want to avoid the oh-so-annoying buzzing.
- Good Wi-Fi network adapter
Since streaming relies heavily on internet use, that’s something you’ll need to consider. Is the Wi-Fi network adapter solid? Is it notoriously crap? You’d be surprised at how many “high-end” laptops have problems with Wi-Fi connectivity, and that’s the last thing you want.
- Large hard drive
If you keep your movie collection where you can see it – on your hard drive – then you need to think about how much space you’ll be utilizing. If you rely entirely on streaming, then space is less of an issue for you, but high-quality content eats a lot of space, so you need to be prepared.
What are the best laptops for streaming and watching content?
Let’s get one thing straight: you don’t need a super expensive or “high-end” laptop to use for streaming and watching content. However, you’ll still want to invest a bit of money in order to get at least some of the features you are ideally looking for. Here are our top picks:
- Acer Aspire E 15
The HD screen with excellent resolution makes this pick a great one for both streaming and regular viewing. Plus, the graphics card is fantastic, and the battery is not too shabby, either. All these features contribute to the best streaming or viewing experience you can hope for – even in broad daylight, thanks to the extra brightness the display allows for!
- Acer Predator G9-792-70DR
This one has a huge display, which obviously is ideal for an enhanced viewing experience. You won’t be complaining about not being able to see what’s happening on this baby. The processor is fast, and the hard drive space does not disappoint. This one is made for performance, so you’ll find that it delivers on all fronts.
- Lenovo Flex 4 2-IN-1
As we discussed earlier, portability is a major feature people look for when opting for laptops and for streaming over cable, in general. That makes this convertible laptop the ideal device for all your streaming on the go needs. The value for money is impressive, as you are essentially getting 2 devices in 1, per the name. You won’t be sorry when you see what this pick can do.
As you can see, there is no need to spend thousands of dollars and your laptop does not need to look like a spaceship in order to enable you to have the experience you want when enjoying streaming content. However, a baseline level of quality is still necessary.
You’ll want something that can offer a crisp image, great sound clarity, reliable Wi-Fi, and have some space for you to store your favorite movies, just in case they ever decide to kick them out of the Netflix content library.
All that is more or less achievable, depending on your budget and expectations. You just need to keep an open mind.
Guest Blog Post by Liz W.