- Manufacturers have stopped producing new laptops with optical drives due to the rise of digital media.
- Dell Inspiron 15 is the best overall laptop with a CD or DVD drive, offering a 1TB solid-state drive and 32GB of RAM.
- HP 17 FHD IPS Laptop is a runner-up option with a 10th-generation Intel Core-i5 processor and 12GB of RAM.
- Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop is the best choice for gamers, featuring a dedicated GPU and a 17.3-inch backlit display.
- Lenovo 2019 IdeaPad 15.6-Inch HD Laptop is the best budget option, offering affordability and portability with a quick hard drive.
Since the rise of digital media, manufacturers have turned away from producing new laptops with optical drives. The best laptops with a CD or DVD drive are hard to find, although a handful of models are still available. While these machines will have difficulty matching up with most modern laptops, they will allow you to play, write, or rip media CDs or DVDs.
- Best Overall: Dell Inspiron 15 2021 Premium Laptop
- Runner-Up: HP 17 FHD IPS Laptop
- Best for Gamers: Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop
- Best Mid-Range: HP 2020 17.3-Inch Flagship Laptop
- Best Budget: Lenovo 2019 IdeaPad 15.6-Inch HD Laptop
Best Overall: Dell Inspiron 15 2021 Premium Laptop
The best laptop for users who need a CD/DVD drive and plenty of power is the Dell Inspiron 15 2021 Premium Laptop . This laptop comes from one of the company’s more popular lineups. It has specs on par with current midrange systems, but with a boost.
Dell kept things simple with the design of this laptop, which has thick bezels and a sturdy frame. That panel has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 with an anti-glare backlight. It’s not a touchscreen, but it is the perfect size for portability with a 15.6-inch display. It’s a bit hefty at close to 4.5 pounds, but there’s a reason for that.
Under the hood of this laptop is a 1TB solid-state drive and 32GB of RAM. That’s double what you’ll find in many laptops without a disc drive, and the processor is relatively new. It’s powered by an Intel Core i7-1065G7, a chip from 2019. Connectivity options include an HDMI 1.4 port, dual USB 3.1, and a USB 2.0 port. There’s also a microSD card reader, headphone jack, Bluetooth 4.1, and the optical drive.
Dell’s Inspiron 15 may not be the sleekest system on our list, but it provides the best bang for your buck overall. It has enough power to outlast comparable laptops with optical drives, and the upgraded specs make the price more palatable. The only real downsides, outside of the older processor, are those large bezels and the missing backlight. Check out the Dell Inspiron 15 2021 Premium Laptop on Amazon.
|It has solid features for the price.
|It has thick bezels and a dated design.
|The laptop has a 1TB solid-state drive.
|There’s no backlit keyboard for the price.
|There is 32GB of memory under the hood.
|The battery life is respectable.
Runner-Up: HP 17 FHD IPS Laptop
This FHD IPS laptop from HP is an excellent alternative to our top choice and among the best laptops with a DVD drive today. While it shares many similarities with HP’s other laptops with optical drives, the price and features give it a leg up on the rest of the pack.
HP’s laptop sports a 10th-generation Intel Core-i5-10210U processor alongside 12GB of DDR4 RAM. It’s nimble enough to handle daily tasks, and you can expect around 5 hours of power from the battery. That can take a dip depending on your settings because of the large display. HP used a 17.3-inch IPS panel for this system, which has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080.
While large, the size of this laptop allows for a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad. That keyboard has backlighting, and the TrueVision HD webcam, speakers, and microphone are better than expected. It’s not a multimedia powerhouse, but it gets the job done. It has a standard array of ports, including a combo headphone jack, LAN, HDMI, and three USB ports.
This laptop is a bit of a mixed bag with a relatively new processor but only 12GB of RAM. The build quality is also a step behind the Inspiron, although it’s cheaper and has the same basic set of features. Consumers have been pleased with its performance, just be prepared to clean bloatware from this PC when you fire it up. Check out the HP 17 FHD IPS Laptop on Amazon.
|It has a large FHD display and a great price tag.
|The build quality could be better.
|It has a 10th gen Core-i5 processor.
|HP has included its usual dose of bloatware.
|The laptop has 12GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD.
|It has a backlit keyboard.
Best for Gamers: Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop
This Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop is the best laptop with an optical drive for gamers. It’s the only system on our list designed with gamers in mind, and it has more than enough pop to bring your CD-ROM classics back to life, thanks to the GPU.
If you want to relive and replay classic CD-ROM titles on a modern machine, this laptop will not disappoint. It has a large 17.3-inch backlit display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and a dedicated GPU. The AMD Radeon R7 M445 can’t hang with an RTX card, but it is quite capable with older titles and it’s a major upgrade over integrated GPUs.
This laptop also has 1TB of storage space and a 7th-generation i7 processor with the i7-7500U. It’s a dated combo, but it will get the job done for most folks. There’s only 8GB of RAM, however, and the battery is integrated, not removable. Other noteworthy features of this laptop include MaxxAudio, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.2.
This laptop is unique because it has an optical drive and the Radeon R7 M445 GPU with 4GB of RAM. It’s a big step up from laptops with integrated graphics despite the age of the card. It’s well-built, and while that 1TB drive isn’t solid-state, you can bump the RAM up to 16GB. Just keep the battery life in mind due to the size of the display and GPU if you plan to game on the go. Check out the Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop on Amazon.
|It has a dedicated GPU with the Radeon R7.
|The laptop only has 8GB of RAM.
|There is a 17.3-inch backlit display.
|The battery life isn’t the best.
|The laptop has a Waves MaxxAudio system.
|It’s built to last.
Best Mid-Range Laptop: HP 2020 17.3-Inch Flagship Laptop
This HP 2020 17.3-Inch Flagship Laptop is one of the best laptops with a CD drive for users interested in a large, mid-range system. At 17.3 inches, this HP laptop isn’t as portable as others, but it is ideal for users who want a workhorse for home or the office.
The highlights of this laptop outside of the optical drive are the 17.3-inch display and 16GB of RAM. The display is bright, although a step down from FHD, with a resolution of 1,600 x 900. An Intel HD 620 chip handles the graphics. While it runs Windows 10 Home out of the box, 16GB of RAM ensures it’s a pleasant experience.
The processor powering this PC is an 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8265U. Storage space may get tight on this laptop quickly if you’re a heavy media user. It has a fast solid-state drive, although there’s only 512GB of space to work with. Ports are standard but a bit light on this PC with one USB 3.0, USB 2.0, USB Type-C, and an HDMI port.
This attractive laptop is behind our top choice when it comes to power, but it’s cheaper and has a much larger display. The anti-glare display is a nice touch, and the worst thing you’ll have to deal with is bloatware. Some users felt the webcam was poor, although that’s something we feel is common with laptops in this class. Check out the HP 2020 17.3-Inch Flagship Laptop on Amazon.
|There is a large 17.3-inch anti-glare display.
|There’s a lot of bloatware from HP.
|It has 16GB of RAM.
|The resolution is only HD.
|It’s reasonably priced.
|This laptop has an attractive design.
Best Budget: Lenovo 2019 IdeaPad 15.6-Inch HD Laptop
When you need a laptop with a DVD drive that won’t break the bank, this Lenovo 2019 IdeaPad 15.6-Inch HD Laptop is the best choice. It’s one of the more portable laptops in this class and affordably priced with a quick hard drive that allows you to play games, movies, and CDs.
Lenovo’s laptop is an AMD-powered machine listed as a 2019 model. It has the 7th-generation AMD A9-9425 processor under the hood and a 15.6-inch HD display. The resolution is 1,366 x 768. The design won’t win any awards as it’s a cheaper member of the IdeaPad family, but it weighs less than five pounds with the optical drive.
The cost-cutting moves continue with the hard drive and memory on this laptop. This budget-friendly system has 4GB of RAM alongside a 128GB solid-state drive. Users have upgraded both components with success, and you’re going to struggle with Windows 10 on 4GB of RAM. This model has all the standard ports, including HDMI, Ethernet, USB, and a headphone jack.
While this version of the Lenovo Ideapad might struggle out of the gate, adding memory will vastly increase its capabilities. It’s still not the type of laptop you can depend on to run intensive applications due to the processor, but it is one of the cheapest new Windows-capable laptops with an optical drive. You’ll also want to be aware of Windows S Mode out of the box, which you can change to Windows 10. Check out the Lenovo 2019 IdeaPad 15.6-Inch HD Laptop on Amazon.
|It’s incredibly cheap.
|Windows 10 S Mode can be a hassle to remove.
|It’s lightweight for a laptop in this class.
|The laptop doesn’t have the best performance out of the box.
|You can upgrade the memory and hard drive.
|It has a respectable battery life.
How to Pick the Best Laptops with a CD and DVD Drive: Step by Step
You will have no problem finding a laptop with a touchscreen display or 2-in-1 design today. Want one with an optical drive? That can be a serious problem these days unless you’re willing to deal with some drawbacks. The selection is sparse, so instead of focusing on a 4K display or dedicated GPU, you’ll want to consider your usage, the price, and the features.
- Your Budget
If you’re reading our guide, you already know why you need or want a laptop with an optical drive. Take a minute and think about how often you’ll use it. If the answer is “rarely” or you only have a couple of dozen disks you want to deal with, better solutions are available.
People with a large library of games on disk will be thrilled to have a new PC with an optical drive. If you’re only going to use it to rip media or author it, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. While it’s easy to track down tech specs on almost any laptop, finding specifications on the drive that’s included can be challenging.
While optical drives are handy, they are often associated with older or cheaper laptops today. Every laptop on our list is new, but you may be surprised by the price. Setting a budget before considering a laptop with a CD or DVD drive is a good idea. They are not as cheap as you might expect.
Most laptops in this niche are older but not necessarily outdated. That means you’ll find old stock from vendors, not necessarily the manufacturer. You can throw the original MSRP out the window with these systems. Depending on your needs, you can expect to pay from $500 to more than $1,000 for these laptops.
That may not seem like an issue, and it won’t be if you’re not concerned about your budget. It’s worth considering once you take the tech specs of these systems into account, however.
Features are always a good way to thin the herd when searching for a new laptop. That’s especially true when those laptops have a CD or DVD drive. Plenty of models have been produced with touchscreens and modern features, but you will have a hard time finding one of those new.
Some of the more common features found on laptops in this class include backlit keyboards, stereo speakers, and numerical pads. The size of the laptop allows manufacturers to use full-size keyboards and trackpads. It also allows them to use larger batteries, and that’s why you’ll find plenty of 17-inch systems in this range.
What to Know Before Buying Laptops with a CD and DVD Drive
There’s not a lot to know when buying laptops with a CD and DVD drive compared to a laptop without one – unless you’ve never used an optical drive. We’ll touch on that, but the main thing to keep in mind is you won’t get a system on par with a new Macbook or flagship PC.
You can find upgraded models with 16GB or 32GB of RAM, and solid-state drives are fairly standard. Processors are also usually several years old. The processor is a sticking point, but you can usually upgrade the memory and hard drive.
That’s incredibly important if you need a laptop with a drive and want to edit videos or handle other intensive tasks. It’s also a good idea to check out the programs on your PC and remove anything you don’t need. Bloatware is an issue with all types of PCs but can be a real hassle on older systems, especially ones from HP.
Using Laptops with a CD and DVD Drive: What It’s Like
As someone who’s owned many laptops with CD and DVD drives, my first piece of advice is to be careful with the tray. Unless you’re willing to go refurbished, most laptops will have fragile loading trays. It’s another way for dust to get into the laptop as well. Tray-based drives can definitely become finicky with extended use.
The most significant differences between these types of drives and those found on video consoles or Blu-Ray players are the capabilities and speed. That’s another reason external drives have become popular and why physical ones have largely been phased out over the years.
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