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Despite what computer makers might want everyone to think, there are plenty of people out there who use CDs and DVDs. As someone who reviews tons of laptops, who am I to look down on these folks who just prefer having an optical drive close at hand? I’m actually one of them—though none of my personal computers have built-in optical drives, I own an external drive I use for ripping music CDs all the time.

So I empathize when people don’t want to buy a laptop without the convenience of an optical drive. That’s why I’ve put together this list of four models that still give you the flexibility of ripping, burning, and watching the discs you’ve owned for years.

Acer Aspire E15

This laptop was always bound to be on the top of my list, mainly because even discounting its optical drive, the Aspire E 15 is just a great tech bargain. On top of the ability to read and burn discs, this laptop also includes the latest Intel chips, a backlit keyboard, a good trackpad, and simple upgradeability. Starting at only $350, Acer’s made a computer that deserves to be on the top of every bargain hunter’s shopping list.

Buy the Asus Aspire E15 from Amazon

HP 15-ay011nr

Though I haven’t tested this laptop, we were impressed by its little brother, the HP 14-an013nr. This bigger HP has an Intel processor inside, a 15-inch HD screen, and that optical drive. Add in plenty of ports, a workmanlike keyboard, and a big 1 TB hard drive, and you’re looking at a computer that’s perfect for cataloging and storing your music library.

Buy the HP 15-ay011nr from Amazon

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

I’ve been very impressed with Dell’s mid-range laptops lately, and the 15-inch Inspiron 5000 seems like another winner. Armed with a nice, backlit keyboard, 7th generation Intel processors, and even an optional HD touchscreen with Windows Hello facial recognition, this is a Dell that’s designed to keep your CDs spinning without sacrificing modern creature comforts.

Buy the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 from Dell


Asus offers up a lot of stuff in its F556 15-inch notebook, including a standard fast SSD for storage, a new 7th gen i5 chip, and a full HD display. Its thin body still somehow finds a way to incorporate its optical drive, which can write and read DVDs and CDs. Reviewers on Amazon have given this Asus plenty of kudos, and even though its $550 price is a little higher than some of the others in this list, it seems to be worth the extra dough.

Buy the Asus F556UA 15-inch laptop from Amazon