Physical media may be on its way out the door, but it hasn’t completely gone the way of the Dodo just yet.
Steam, Dropbox, Google Docs and other digital services are rapidly removing the need for discs to store data. Consequently, built-in optical drives in newer laptops are becoming more and more rare.
Need a portable computer with great specs that doesn’t forget about physical discs? We’ve got you covered with a roundup of the best laptops with a DVD drive!
Picking The Best Laptop With A CD/DVD Drive
There’s no question that storage options have shifted away from CDs to cloud-based services and USB thumb drives.
Plenty of people still keep around game installation discs, CD collections, and burned DVDs filled with photos and family videos, however.
Finding a laptop with acceptable modern specs and a built-in optical drive is difficult, but not impossible. Below we’ve picked five of the best models available at every possible price range for work, school, or gaming.
When looking for a laptop with a CD drive, keep in mind they are often culled from newer models to save space for other features. Many manufacturers are shifting away from traditional laptop design to combine tablets and computers into one.
If you don’t want to lose out on certain minimum specs, you need to be very selective in your choice, taking into account all the possible options.
Whether you want a touchscreen, extra RAM, more hard drive space, or great battery life, we’ve got a laptop here to fit your needs.
In A Hurry? Here’s The Winner From 20 Hours Of Research
HP 15 Laptop
Why is it better?
- Strong Ryzen processor and Vega 8 graphics
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- 12GB of RAM for speedy multi-tasking
- Optical drive has both read and write functionality
The Lineup At A Glance
The Contenders For the Best Laptop with a CD / DVD Drive
1. HP Pavilion 2019 – Best Budget Laptop
If you are searching for a laptop for everyday use that can browse the web, create presentations, or watch DVD’s, the HP Pavilion 2019 is a great choice. Oh, and it’s super low price just sweetens the deal.
- Extremely affordable
- Low display resolution
- No SSD drive
If you are looking for the perfect laptop to keep around the house for the entire family, the HP Pavilion 2019 is a great choice. It’s low price point and overall decent specs make it a great laptop for parents or the kids.
Inside is a decently fast AMD A6-9220 dual core processor that is perfect for web browsing, doing homework, or watching a movie. Though it does have 500GB of HDD space, that is only mechanical with no SSD coming stock.
At this low of a price point, you will not get a dedicated graphics processor, so any new games will be a no-go on the Radeon R4 integrated GPU on this laptop. However, there are gaming laptops out there with CD drives (we list our favorite below).
It comes equipped with a glossy 15.6-inch display, and has a resolution of 1366 x 768. While this isn’t terrible, it falls a bit shy of our preferred 1920 x 1080 resolution.
The optical drive is a SuperMulti CD/DVD burner, which is plenty capable. It can play DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW, CD-R/RW, DVD-RAM and double-layer DVD.
You will be hard pressed to find a better laptop with a CD drive in the budget market than the HP Pavilion 2019. It packs enough horsepower to be a main household laptop, all at an affordable price.
2. Lenovo ThinkPad E570 – Best Business Laptop
The Lenovo ThinkPad E570 keeps up the high quality standards of the most iconic business class laptops in history. It is built like a tank, and has the horsepower to handle all of your business needs.
- Full HD IPS display
- Sturdy build quality
- Affordable for business class
- Only an i5 processor
- No dedicated GPU
When you walk into the boardroom of your office for a meeting with the higher ups, you will want to look the part. Strolling in with the Lenovo ThinkPad E570 will let them know you are the real deal.
The ThinkPad has a decent i5 processor onboard, though we find ourselves wishing it was an i7 with a couple more cores at times. It is usually more than enough when combined with 8GB of RAM and fast SSD storage to handle your business.
The integrated Intel graphics are fine for business use cases, and even light content creation (presentations, audio recording, etc). We would not recommend it for use in 3D modelling, animation, or anything other than light photo editing and creative work.
The Lenovo ThinkPad E570 has a really nice 15.6-inch display and 1920 x 1080 resolution. This gives the screen a nice crisp and clear image, making it easy on the eyes when reading documents or typing up your next business proposal.
In today’s world, it is hard to find an optical drive on laptops. However, the ThinkPad has one equipped, and that makes it a great choice when physical copies of files are still used.
When you look at the overall package, the Lenovo ThinkPad E570 is a fantastic business laptop. There are few weaknesses, and it has strengths in all the right places.
3. HP 15 Laptop – Most Lightweight Laptop
The HP 15 has a nice Ryzen 5 processor with Vega 8 graphics, which enable it to be lightweight while still giving you great performance. If you are looking for a laptop with a CD drive but don’t want any added weight, this is the best option.
- Ryzen 5 processor
- Vega 8 graphics
- Slow HDD
- Low resolution screen
Having a portable laptop that weighs under 5 pounds to carry in a backpack is often the thing college students or those with an active lifestyle are looking for. If you want the most portable and sleek laptop with a CD drive, you should definitely check out the HP 15.
With a nice and fast Ryzen 5 processor and 8GB of RAM, this laptop can do anything you want. Homework, business work, and even gaming are all in the realm of possibilities.
The Vega 8 integrated graphics are a really good alternative to a dedicated GPU to keep the price down. They can handle content creation and gaming on even some of the newer games on the market.
The two things that hold this laptop back the most are the screen and the slow hard drive. The screen, while it does have decent color, only has a resolution of 1366 x 768. The storage hard drive is only rated at 5400 RPM, which is slow in the modern technological age.
Read and write DVDs and CDs with the integrated optical drive. Great for those that still have photos and videos on physical media, or a large DVD library.
There aren’t many laptops that include optical drives that are under 5 pounds. This makes the HP 15 the most portable choices on the market, all while still packing powerful internal specs.
4. Dell Inspiron 5000 FHD Laptop – Best Performing Laptop
With a fast i7 processor and dedicated graphics, the Dell Inspiron 5000 FHD has all the bells and whistles you need in a laptop. If you want to play some games, or get work done, it can handle it all.
- i7 processor
- 4GB Radeon R7 graphics
- 16GB RAM
- Slow HDD
Dell has been making high quality laptops for a long time, and the Inspiron 5000 FHD continues that prestigious designation. No matter what your use case for a laptop is, this beautiful piece of machinery will be able to handle it.
Packing an i7 processor and a whopping 16GB of RAM, this is a great laptop for all productivity related tasks. The hard drive is a full 1 Tb of SSD storage, which is great for plenty of speedy file sharing.
This beast of a laptop is using the Radeon R7 M445 graphics card, giving you a full 4GB of dedicated graphics memory. This is enough to do things like render videos or play the latest games on lower resolutions and have an enjoyable experience.
The biggest negative with this laptop is a problem that plagues just about every Dell laptop ever made, bloatware. It is packed with space-taking applications that you will want to remove as soon as you boot up the computer.
The DVD writer that is included is a nice touch, and something that most laptops are getting rid of. It works great, playing CDs and DVDs extremely quickly and without error.
You would be hard pressed trying to figure out how to improve this laptop. If you upgrade the lackluster hard drive, you will have the ultimate laptop with a CD drive!
5. HP Omen 17t Laptop – Best Gaming Laptop
The HP Omen 17t is everything you could ask for in a gaming laptop. Top of the line processor, RAM, and graphics card paired with a high refresh rate G-sync panel make it one of the best laptops on the market, period.
- i7 processor
- GTX 1070
- G-Sync 144Hz display
- Poor battery life
There may not be a more well rounded, feature rich, gaming laptop on the market than HP’s Omen 17t. It has high end specs, a fantastic screen, and looks to kill.
When you pair an i7 8750H with 32GB of RAM and a full 1Tb of SSD storage, you make one of the most powerful laptops in the world. They did not skimp on any specs here, everything is high end and pristine.
Did we mention this laptop has a full-fledged Nvidia GTX 1070 pushing the graphics? With the 8GB of VRAM, you will be able to play any game at full HD and a high frame rate.
The screen is where this laptop really shines. A 144Hz G-sync full HD panel is a gamers dream, especially in this laptop with such high end specifications.
The battery life is not good, but that is to be expected with such a powerful machine. Make sure you take the charger with you everywhere you go, as you will definitely need it.
This is one of the best laptops on the market, and sits on the throne of gaming laptops with a CD drive. If you are in the market for a gaming laptop that has an optical drive on board, this is the machine for you.
What Problems Should I Look Out For In CD Drive Laptops?
Picking a decent laptop with a CD drive isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think. When browsing different models, be sure to take special note of the specs and not just the description or cover image.
Slight differences in model numbers across the same series can have radically different options. More than just a cursory glance is needed to make sure you find what you really need.
Stock photos of a previous model may be used for multiple products at sites like Amazon and Newegg. The photo can appear to have an optical drive on the side, but that particular model may not actually include the CD / DVD.
Take a look at what the reviewers have to say about the speaker quality as well. If your goal is to listen to music CDs or watch movies on DVD without headphones, this can be a critical feature.
Can I Find More Budget-Friendly Options?
Although we picked a wide range of models to include some cheaper options, those on a budget may want something with an even lower price tag.
It isn’t difficult to find laptops in the $250 – $350 range with a DVD drive. You just can’t expect to get a computer with higher end specs at that price point, unfortunately.
Typically these lower priced models only have 4GB of RAM and a slower processor. For web browsing, movie watching, and light work these may still meet your needs.
Even more expensive models may have trade offs to carefully consider. Removing the optical drive saves room for other components, especially in thin and lightweight models.
When a manufacturer adds the CD drive, you may lose out on other specs. Be on the lookout for a laptop with M.2 expansion slot so you can put in an SSD for faster boot times.
Models that allow you to upgrade to 32GB of RAM are also worth considering. You don’t want your laptop with a built-in CD drive going obsolete in the near future.
How Can I Prepare For The End Of Optical Drives?
Sadly, it won’t be long before optical drives are entirely a thing of the past. For those of us with binders full of CDs and extensive collections of disc games, that means it’s time to catch up with the technology.
Many manufacturers offer a large chunk of online storage — such as 500GB — for free if you register your laptop and sign up for an account.
Check the computer’s documentation, or even just take a look at all those stickers near the touchpad before tearing them off the laptop. They often have all the details right there, so don’t overlook them before they go in the trash!
Even if your laptop doesn’t include an online storage option, there are still plenty of services available for free. If you’d prefer not to keep all your data in the cloud, external USB drives offer extra room at reasonable prices.
Best CD Drive Laptop Options
Between these five contenders, you should have found the absolute best laptop with a CD ROM drive to meet your needs. No matter what size, specs, or options you want, something here will fit your budget.
What did you think of our picks, and why do you stick with old school optical drives? Sound off and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! If the laptop model you choose has a burner equipped (not just a reader), you will be able to burn discs just like on a desktop PC.
No! There are readers, where you will only be able to watch DVDs and listen to CDs. There are also burners which can read and write CDs and DVDs. Just read the specs for the specific drive.
Unless you have a huge library of discs, no. You can also buy external drives to attach to your laptop if you find one you like that is not equipped with a CD drive.