Listen, the best laptops with CD-DVD drives are few and far between. In fact, you're not going to find any modern laptops launching with CD-DVD drives, and while some of the following recommendations stand — they also aren't widely available. We highly recommend getting an external CD-DVD drive.
Lucky for you, there are plenty of external CD-DVD drives out there. We even recommend a deal shortly below that you should consider.
We know it's super convenient to have a DVD drive handy, especially if you need to look at your MRI, or if you're still watching DVD films or listening to music CDs. I respect physical media, but we both know it's not convenient when you can stream or download games, films, shows, music, software and more.
However, if you simply must have a laptop with the built-in CD-DVD drive, take a look at the recommendations below.
External DVD Drive deal
What are the best laptops with CD-DVD drives?
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The best laptops with CD-DVD drives comes in all shapes and sizes, and our top pick is the Acer Aspire 3. It's well priced at less than $600, and it'll meet your multimedia needs with a built-in optical drive, so you can play CDs and DVDs to your heart's desire.
We also dig the ultra-large 17.3-inch display on this laptop, which means you have plenty of screen real estate to read long-form articles and other expansive stuff that large screens are best for. It's also highly praised on Amazon, so we're not the only fans of this model.
Another laptop with CD-DVD drive is the HP 17 2021 17.3-inch laptop. This is for folks who have heavy workloads because it comes equipped with 32GB of RAM, which means it is excellent at multitasking and juggling several tasks at once. If you need to run several resource-intensive apps at once, this is the laptop for you. It's also packed with abundance of storage space (1TB HDD + 512GB SSD). Admittedly, it's pricey, but it's worth it for those seeking a capable, productive laptop with a built-in CD-DVD drive.
The Quick List
Best overall laptop
The Acer Aspire 3 is packed with a super large display (17.3 inches), giving you plenty of screen real estate to surf the web or work on large spreadsheets.
Best budget laptop
Thanks to a capable Core i5 CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a powerful 512GB SSD / 1TB HDD combo, the HP 17 is perfect for multimedia mavens of any age.
Best HP Touchscreen
Best HP touchscreen laptop
This touchscreen laptop comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU, Intel UHD graphics, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.
Best Lenovo laptop
This 15-inch Lenovo has a Core i3 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 240GB of SSD storage.
Best Dell Inspiron (17-inch)
Best Dell Inspiron (17-inch) laptop
Thanks to a comfy keyboard and plenty of "oomph" under the hood, this 17-inch laptop is a pixel-pushing powerhouse.
Best Dell Inspiron (15-inch)
Best Dell Inspiron (15-inch) laptop
The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 comes with plenty of ports and plenty of power.
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Best HP Envy
Best HP Envy laptop
The premium HP Envy 17 has an aluminum chassis and 17.3-inch 4K IPS anti-glare display.
Best HP ZBook
Best HP ZBook laptop
The rock-solid HP ZBook 17 G5 features military-grade durability a super-speedy Intel Xeon processor.
Best laptop overall with CD-DVD drive
1. Acer Aspire 3
There's a reason why the Acer Aspire 3 has an Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars! It's one of the best laptops you can get because it's packed with a large-screen display (17.3 inches), giving you plenty of screen real estate as you surf the web or work on large spreadsheets. Most importantly, it has an optical drive that can fire up any CD or DVD without a hitch.
The Acer Aspire 3 comes with an Intel Core i5-1035G1 GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 1920 x 1080-pixel display. The Aspire 3 is wrapped in a sleek, sophisticated Shale Black chassis, so it will look great, whether it's sitting in your room or office.
Best budget laptop with CD-DVD drive
2. HP 17 2021 17.3-inch laptop
This HP notebook is another spectacular laptop with an optical drive. As of this writing, it costs $1,099. You may be wondering why this laptop isn't under $1,000 like most laptops with optical drives these days. There are a few reasons for this. One, this laptop has 32GB of RAM, which is a lot! Typically, laptops in this price range have less than 16GB of RAM. RAM makes it easier for your laptop to juggle multiple tasks at once. For example, with 32GB of RAM, you can have 80 tabs open on Google Chrome without it slowing down.
Secondly, this laptop has tons of storage: it has a 512GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, so you'll be fending off the annoying "storage full" error for a long time. Finally, this laptop is highly rated on Amazon, so naturally, HP priced it according to demand. This laptop also comes with an SD card reader, which many content creators will appreciate.
Best HP touchscreen laptop with CD-DVD drive
3. HP 17.3-inch HD+ Touchscreen laptop
If the last HP laptop is too pricey for you, consider this HP notebook that has a touchscreen display. It's priced at less than $800, and it comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU, Intel UHD graphics, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. And of course, it has a built-in optical drive, which means you can pop in your favorite CDs and DVDs without any issues.
Check out more of the best HP laptops right here.
Best Lenovo laptop with CD-DVD drive
4. Lenovo ThinkPad E570
If you're looking for a decent laptop with a CD drive on the cheap so that it will not break your bank, the Lenovo ThinkPad E570 is an excellent choice. One of the best qualities of this laptop is that it is equipped with a variety of ports for all your peripheral needs.
You may also find that you'll love the clickiness of the keyboard -- many laptops in this day and age sacrifice a good keyboard in favor of a slim chassis. But with the Lenovo ThinkPad E570, you'll have a comfortable keyboard, a decent stock of ports and a CD-DVD drive (that's rare in this day and age) — all for a decent price.
Best 17-inch Dell Inspiron laptop with CD-DVD drive
Looking for a big screen without an equally large price? The Dell Inspiron 17 5770 is a kitchen sink-level laptop. Not only does the Inspiron pack a comfortable keyboard, a 17-inch Full HD screen and that optical drive you're looking for, but it's also got an SD card reader, another dying breed of port. Just don't let its metallic finish fool you, that's a plastic chassis.
Read our full Dell Inspiron 17 5770 review.
Best 15-inch Dell laptop with CD-DVD drive
Looking for more power? Dell's Inspiron 15 5000 laptop starts at $599 with a Core i5 CPU, and its optical drive comes standard. Upgrade options include a discrete AMD Radeon R7 graphics card for gaming, doubling the memory for more multitasking, a 256GB SSD and a Core i7 processor for more speed.
Read our full Dell Inspiron 15 5000 review.
Best HP Envy laptop with CD-DVD drive
Got more money to spend? You truly can have it all. The HP Envy 17 is a premium machine with an aluminum chassis, a 17.3-inch 4K IPS anti-glare display and audio from the sound maestros at Bang & Olufsen. It also packs a 1TB SSD, a 4GB Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card, 16GB of RAM and — of course — a CD-DVD drive.
Read our full HP Envy 17 review.
Best HP ZBook laptop with CD-DVD drive
HP knows that sometimes professionals need optical drives too, and that's why it sells the premium-grade ZBook 17 G5. That's right, the ZBook 17 G5 isn't just a plain old laptop with a CD-DVD drive: it's got a Blu-ray CD-DVD drive, which is even rarer than regular optical drives. This system also features military-grade durability and the blistering speed of an Intel Xeon processor.
Read our full HP Zbook 17 G5 review.
How We Test Laptops with CD-DVD Drives
We put each laptop through extensive benchmark testing — both synthetic and real-world — before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate each aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers and heat management.
In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and DCI-P3 color gamut of the laptop's display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including GeekBench 5 and 3DMark professional graphics tests.
To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 25GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test includes the Assasin's Creed Valhalla benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution.
We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 11 laptops, a runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise.
These tests are complemented with extensive hands-on testing from our reviewers who critique everything from the laptop's materials to the feel of its touchpad.
Why Trust Laptop Mag
Laptop Mag reviews over one hundred different laptops every year, from paperweight ultralights to everyday workhorses to lumbering gaming notebooks that scorch the frame rates of even the hottest AAA games. We're not just experts in the laptop field, as we go one step further by meticulously testing smartphones, tablets, headphones, PC accessories, software, and even the latest in gaming.
We are 100% independent and have decades of experience to help you buy with confidence. In fact, Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing products for three decades, and we continue to deliver trustworthy reviews you can rely on.
Our experienced team of writers and editors scour the available information about the laptop and put it through its paces to determine which is best for you. But before they start, the testing team subjects each system to a rigorous regimen of synthetic and real-world tests to see how a system handles the type of work and games you’re most likely to throw at it.
Our editorial trustworthiness is enforced by one of the world's largest technology publishers, Future Publishing. As a company, we have unrivaled experience across every tech sector — and we're the group's specialist for all things mobile tech.
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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!
- Rami TabariEditor