Getting a laptop that suits your needs is a lot harder than one might think. With dozens of attractive options in the market and complex technical specs, one can get lost easily.
Some need their laptops for business, others for gaming or graphics. However, the majority of us use them to watch movies and listen to music. I’ll be focusing on that today.
In 2020, I currently recommend this Apple Macbook Air for Mac OS fans and Acer Aspire 5 Slim for Windows fans. I’ve used both and they both have fantastic speakers and sound quality. You won’t be disappointed!
I’ve stacked a list of the Best Laptops for Listening to Music from different budgets for you. Let’s look at what they offer and how can you choose between them.
1. HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 Ultra HD Touch-Screen – Round WinnerThe exquisite 2-in-1 feature makes your HP Spectre function as a regular laptop, a tablet, or even better, on a stand mode. It’s a laptop designed for optimal multimedia functionality through its 4k UHD touch screen and Bang & Olufsen speakers that produce crystal clear images and crisp sounds.
HP is well-known for its elegant designs and it outdid itself in this design. It’s dark-ash silver color and sharply angled corners make Spectre a real masterpiece. The machine itself is small, yet its speakers produce loud and fine audio that fills a whole conference room.
When it comes to its advertisement you have to read thoroughly. It has no pen, no number pad, and no fingerprint sensor. If you’re into gaming, beware that it doesn’t come with a separate video card.
- CPU: Intel Core i7 8th Gen – 8550U
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX150
- Display: 15.6 inches 4K Ultra HD
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- RAM: 16 GB
- Weight: 0.77 lbs
- Fast charging
- Thin & Lightweight
- Sleek look
- Long battery life
- Relatively Expensive
- Has a lot of unnecessary features occupying space
2. Dell XPS 13 – Runner UpDell is raising the bar for its rivals by producing this laptop. XPS 13, Dell’s star performer, is known to be one of the best sounding laptops in the market. With a strong 8th generation i7 core processor and 1 TB of storage, this device is ready to knock others down.
An interesting feature to look at is the GORE thermal insulation that aims to keep your laptop cool by providing lower levels of thermal conductivity. It lets heat out of the device and operates 2 fans to cool it down.
Thanks to its built-in mics this laptop responds to voices from 14 feet away, you can control your playlists and access schedules even in presence of noise.
Compared to other Dell laptops, XPS is thin & lightweight, a property that’s hard to find in Dell laptops. Its size is too small to some users though.
- CPU: 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U
- GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Display: 13.3 inches UHD InfinityEdge
- Storage: 1TB SSD
- RAM: 16 GB
- Weight: 2.67 lbs
- Good hardware build
- Fast with good battery life
- Brilliant resolution
- Loud fan
- No USB port
3. ASUS F556UA-AS54 – Best Mid-RangeIf you have a medium budget and you’re looking for a laptop with superior acoustics then you’re in the right place. ASUS F556 has combined the best hardware, software, and tuning to develop one of the best notebook PC audios in the market.
Large speakers & sound amplifiers grant louder volumes. Resonance chambers allow for stronger and deeper bass. In addition to an audio filter to remove noise. This is one of the few laptops that put audio quality as a top priority.
The only downside to this laptop is that it’s mostly made of plastic, which means it can be damaged easily and it won’t tolerate hits or falls.
Overall, this is a nice laptop that’ll provide you with most of the options you need without hurting your pockets. Decent battery life, fast RAM, and clear audio are mainly what you’re looking for and they’re all here!
- CPU: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5-6200U
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 520 Integrated
- Display: 15.6 inches (1920*1080)
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- RAM: 8GB
- Weight: 5.07 lbs
- Limited bloatware
- Several USB ports
- Its battery isn’t removable
- Not durable
4. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch – High-End MultimediaA MacBook Pro speaks for itself; an unmatched performance, long battery life, high definition display, and great audio. Needless to mention the sleek thin design with a brushed aluminum finish that makes it a treat to the eye.
Down to business now, this MacBook provides impeccable sound quality. The interesting feature is the touch bar that’s been integrated to previous versions, yet it keeps being a favorite feature to many. When listening to music, it’s easy to control volume, rewind or use the equalizer through it.
Speakers are impressive considering how thin this laptop is. It might lack some bass adjustments. If you’re a fan of Apple you should go for this, but if you’re just looking for a laptop with good sound, we recommend other less expensive options.
- CPU:2.3GHz Intel Core i5
- GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
- Display: 13.3 inches
- Storage: 128GB or 256GB SSD
- RAM: 8GB
- Weight: 3.02 pounds
- Good value for money
- Longer battery life
- Strong CPU
- USB-C ports are annoying to some users
- Uncomfortable keyboard
5. HP Pavilion 15 – Best ValueA strong contender with a reasonable budget is HP Pavilion. The i7 core processor puts it on the side of high performing PCs. However, it’s relatively slow with limited RAM. This is a machine aimed for non-advanced users looking for solid workhorses.
This is a real budget beater that comes by default with basic functionality. Fortunately, it can be customized as needed, which will subsequently increase the price.
The sound quality is impressive, yet the problem of an overall weak bass still holds here. It scores highly in volume and sound clarity. It has no rattling at all.
Balancing money and features, HP Pavilion 15 is a decent choice if you need an average-functioning laptop and not looking for something fancy.
- CPU: 8th Generation Intel Quad Core i5-8250U
- GPU: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Display: 15.6-Inch IPS Touchscreen
- Storage: 1 TB HDD
- RAM: 8 GB
- Weight: 4.21 lbs
- Long battery life
- Good value for money
- Screen brightness
- Limited RAM
- Mostly plastic
6. Microsoft Surface Pro – Smart OptionAlthough it’s technically a tablet, Microsoft Surface Pro offers much more. The removable keyboard makes it an attractive purchase, where you can play media on the go easily. It has an outstanding display and strong speakers while being portable. All of that comes at a decent price, making it a real bargain!
With its built-in kickstand you can operate Microsoft Surface Pro in laptop mode. In addition to studio mode or tablet mode. Granting you extreme flexibility & mobility. A perfect fit for people who’re always on the go.
- CPU: Intel Core i7, i5, and m3
- GPU: Intel Iris and HD graphics
- Display: 12.3 inches PixelSense Touchscreen with pen input
- Storage: 1 TB HDD
- RAM: 1TB or 512GB or 256GB or 128GB
- Weight: 1.69 lbs
- Light & portable
- Unmatched display
- Doesn’t heat up
- Keyboard is small
- Some users reported screen flickers
7. Lenovo Thinkpad E545 – Budget PickLenovo wanted to produce a slim elegant laptop, namely the Thinkpad. It scores highly in durability, ease of use, and affordability. But, it fails to meet proper battery usage and graphics expectations.
When it comes to audio, this laptop produces decent sound. The pitfall is that its speakers are placed on its bottom so it’s not the loudest, yet it provides good performance compared to its price.
Lenovo’s keyboard is one of the best, it’s accurate easy to use. This laptop also has a multitude of ports, which contributes to its versatility. To be honest, Lenovo Thinkpad E545 is an average laptop, whose main appeal is a cheap price.
- CPU: AMD Dual-Core A6 5350M
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 4400
- Display: 15.6-Inch HD Antiglare LED-backlit Display
- Storage: 320GB SSD
- RAM: 4GB
- Weight: 5.2 lbs
- Expandable RAM
- Well-designed keyboard
- Multiple USB ports
- Low price
- Relatively heavy
- Poor screen resolution
- Low battery life
What to Consider?
Before buying your laptop, there’re some important factors to consider according to your priorities. Overall, you should look for a good operating system, large storage, and reliable RAM.
Placement of speakers matters; lateral & top speakers are favored over bottom ones to produce higher volume and clearer quality. Surely, the manufacturer’s name also makes a difference.
You need to look for speakers that can render low & high notes accurately and has a decent bass effect.
Processor & RAM
Multimedia requires proficient processing. This is interpreted in terms of the processor and RAM. For processors, normally any multicore processor will be enough. Regarding the RAM the minimum is 4GB. Overall, the bigger the RAM, the better.
Opt for 6 to 8 hours lasting battery. Also, a laptop with thermal insulation is an asset, heating up easily isn’t a good sign. Irreplaceable batteries are limiting too.
A PC’s fan is a small device that’s used to reduce its heat while running. Many well-crafted PCs come with loud fans, while efficient in keeping the temperature low, they’re really annoying and can ruin the mood.
Make sure to get a laptop with a silent fan, you can only get such information from other reviewers who’ve used it.
You don’t need a fancy overpriced laptop for good sound. Usually, something under 400$ will suffice. As most laptop manufacturers are leaning towards thin lightweight laptops, they compromise speakers. So, the more you spend, the more features you get. Just know that you won’t be getting any miraculous sound software.
How to Get the Best Quality out of Your Laptop?
Because of the lightweight – speakers tradeoff. Some go as far as claiming that performance and good sound are mutually exclusive in laptops. You can only get one.
While this is extreme, it’s true to some extent. That’s why I’ll be discussing some tips you can follow to get the best sound quality possible.
Whether it’s Spotify, Youtube, or Windows Media Player. They’re some sound options, make sure to explore these options and optimize them according to your preferences.
A good place to start is the enhancements tab inside the sound options of the control panel. Another way to do it is to download separate software that’s designed for such purposes.
Let’s face it. Optimal sound quality can only be achieved via proper external speakers connected to your laptop. Whether it’s a loudspeaker or a Bluetooth operated headset, if chosen well, such devices will take your laptop audio to a whole new level.
A DAC is a device inside your laptop that converts sound’s digital signal to an analog one. It’s usually followed by an amplifier to enhance the sound. The case with most laptops is that they have weak built-in DACs.
Luckily, you can get a separate DAC and connect it to your laptop or headset. They’ll help reduce noise and intereference. Moreover, they’ll boost the sound quality and raise the volume without compromising clarity
Any programs running on your PC are occupying a space of RAM. That’s why when you run too many programs all at once, your PC slows down. This affects its sound negatively.
Make sure to minimize your app-consumption during listening to music to get the most out of your PC’s sound system.
For high-end acoustics, ethernet connection provides better quality than wifi. It’s faster and minimizes packet-loss while connection, allowing for better audio.
I hope I’ve provided a wide range of options throughout this article. For us, our favorite is HP Spectre (click here to buy it on Amazon.com), for its stunning audio, elegant design, and good performance. It’s worth its price because it can be used for other purposes than music.
If it’s way over your budget, I’d recommend ASUS F556 which is perfect, except for the durability issue. In either case, investing in a decent DAC can enhance your audial experience and it won’t cost that much.
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