A lot of people these days are streaming movies and watching online content over the internet. Even the process for installing common applications has changed to include downloads instead of the included CDs. This means laptops with optical drives are becoming less popular in 2022, especially as laptop makers focus on making thinner and lighter devices. So, if you still have a collection of CDs, DVDs, or Blu-rays, you might be wondering what this means to play or use that content on your laptop.
You could always use an external optical drive, but there are a small group of older laptops that still have built-in optical drives. In this guide, we’ll pick some of the best for you, from a variety of categories. However, keep in mind that a lot of these laptops won’t have modern or impressive specs due to their age. But, these laptops are still on sale, and we still pick the best overall, the best budget and so much more. You can also go to your specific selection by clicking on the link below.
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Best Overall: HP Envy 17T
At the top of our list is a laptop that we really love, not only because it has a built-in CD/DVD drive, but this 17-inch laptop, so you’ll end up immersed in whatever content you’re watching. Another feature you’ll get with this laptop is a dedicated GPU, although it’s not the most powerful. Again, it’s getting hard to find, but here’s more on why we like it so much.
Jumping to the screen first, this laptop features a 17.3-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. By 2022, that might not be the 4K or 2.5K resolution people are looking for, but for basic multimedia consumption like watching a DVD you might have, it should get the job done just fine. The laptop is touchscreen too, so you can use the big screen to your advantage and use your fingers to navigate.
Now, on the specs. This is a much older system, with much older graphics, but if your primary purpose is to use it to browse the web, watch content from DVDs, or listen to CDs, you should be fine. It comes with an Nvidia MX 250 graphics card and an Intel Core i7 CPU. This is paired with 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. I wouldn’t normally suggest a laptop with these old specs, but given the rarity of laptops with optical drives, these are good enough specs you can get for the price. Despite the huge screen, the old specs help with the battery as well, rated at 7 hours.
Note, though, that this laptop does not have a DVD burner. It’s just a DVD and CD player, so keep that in mind. You will only be able to read discs, not write to them. It’s also pretty heavy, at 6.63 pounds and 16.38 x 11.4 x 1 inches, but don’t worry. Our other choices will be much better.
Best Budget: Aspire Aspire 3
Next on our list is the Aspire Aspire 3. It’s another 17-inch laptop you can buy in 2022. Again, since many laptops stopped offering CD drives a few years ago, this is one of the last modern devices you can buy. . The specs and overall design wouldn’t be impressive either, but it’s hard to complain about a $550 laptop. Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
It’s a complicated process to suggest a laptop with older specs like this in 2022, but if a CD drive is necessary, this is the way to go. You won’t find a laptop with 12th generation CPUs that has CD drives. That’s why this machine has a 10th generation Intel Core i5 CPU which can go up to a total of 3.6GHz. You’ll also find a total of 8GB of RAM and an NVMe SSD. The combo should last you for the basics like browsing the web, but anything beyond that and you may just need to settle on a new laptop without a CD drive, and buy an external reader instead.
As far as the screen goes, 1080p was the standard when this laptop was first released. While the laptop itself has a 17.3-inch screen, the resolution will end at 1920 x 1080. You might not experience crisp detail in movies, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the basics. You’ll have plenty of room to stack windows side by side as well if you plan on using this machine for productivity.
In terms of ports, there is plenty for laptops of this era. They range from two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, a headphone port (combined headphone and microphone), an RJ45 port, an Ethernet port, and an HDMI 1.4 port. You definitely won’t need a dongle.
In terms of weight, this is a heavy device, as are laptops with optical drives. This extra weight is why laptop makers have stopped including CD drives, to begin with. Anyway, this laptop comes in at 6.17 pounds and measures 16.5 x 11.4 x 0.97 inches. It’s going to be tough to hold, so you might want to check out our next pick, the 15-inch.
Best 15-inch Laptop: Lenovo IdeaPad 330
Third on our list is a 15-inch laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad 330. This is one of the 15-inch laptops that we can find for sale. It’s from 2019, so again, the specs won’t be the best, but it can still get the job done if you only need a laptop for an optical drive to use an old CD or DVD. read more.
This laptop features an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U processor which wasn’t that bad in 2022 for everyday tasks like browsing the web. The notebook also has 8GB of RAM and 1TB of hard drive storage. That’s slower than an SSD, but the larger space means you can store important documents, photos, and other things on your laptop—when not using it as a CD or DVD player. Some models also come with optional Nvidia graphics, so if you find these you can steer clear of lighter games, also in older titles like CS: go.
As far as the screen goes, this laptop has a 15-inch FHD screen. Like our other picks, this is a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Again, it’s not quite as high as you’ll get on modern 15-inch laptops, but for the basics, it’ll be fine. Note that some speakers surround the screen. The laptop has Dolby Audio speakers, which can help make music sound better, especially if it’s played from a CD. If sound is important to you, we suggest you buy this laptop.
As always, we want to end up talking about ports as well. For a laptop from 2019, there is a shock. It has a USB-C port. It’s not Thunderbolt, but you’ll be able to connect modern stuff like newer SSDs to this device without worry.
As you can tell, there aren’t many laptops with an optical drive left in 2022. They’re basically old hardware, and many new laptop makers no longer have the technology on board. You can buy an external optical drive instead, and connect it to a newer laptop (Our pick of the best new laptops) via USB-A or USB-C. The external optical drive we have below is a really great choice if this is for you. Or you can check out our dedicated guide for more.