The best

ASUS ROG GL553

Subtle styling, powerful internals, and an attractive price complement the optical drive here perfectly.

Not only is the ASUS GL553 one of the finest entry-level gaming laptops you can buy, it also has an optical drive without being overly thick and heavy. The 15.6-inch 1080p display looks fantastic and it comes with Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, 16GB or 32GB of RAM and a mixture of SSD and HDD storage as standard.

Why the ASUS GL553 is the best

While technically a part of the Republic of Gamers family, the GL553 is a great laptop that everyone can enjoy. It's well made, has great specs, sports a balanced price and, of course, an optical drive. It adds that physical media slot some can't live without and doesn't make an insanely thick and heavy laptop in the process.

The GL553 is a bit like a Swiss Army Knife

Unlike many gaming laptops, the styling on the GL553 is subtle enough that you could take it into a meeting without feeling embarrassed. It also has a great keyboard, quality speakers, and a very nice-looking 1080p display. So not only can you game and work, but you can have a great time enjoying your media and getting work done.

The GL553 is a bit like a Swiss Army Knife; it can help you through a lot of computing situations. On balance, if the optical drive is what's most important, it's the one to go for.

Runner up

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

Sleek, sophisticated looking and packing that all important optical drive.

The Inspiron 15 5000 series is your best bet if you want that optical drive, and there are a wealth of other specifications you can customize around it. It has a 15.6-inch 1080p display with optional touch, up to an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, options for SSD or up to 2TB of HDD storage and up to 16GB of RAM.

Great value

Lenovo Ideapad 510

Great value, well built and well equipped.

If you're looking for a solid value option that's still well equipped, Lenovo's Ideapad 510 might be what you're looking for. You've got choices of Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and a great price point that makes the Ideapad 510 quite the purchase.

For gamers

Acer Predator 15

Power galore for the serious gamer who still wants to be able to use physical media.

Acer's latest gaming focused notebook has a very neat trick: you can have it both with and without an optical drive. Besides this niftiness, you've got a Core i7 processor, 16 or 32GB of DDR4 RAM, a combination of HDD and SSD storage and a really nice 15.6-inch 1080p display. And of course, top notch graphics from NVIDIA in the form of a GTX 1060.

Conclusion

Laptops with optical drives are a dying breed, and in many cases, you'll have to forego some of the latest and greatest in order to keep access to physical media. The ASUS GL552 remains a great all-rounder for its price, with Dell also in the mix by updating its best offering with the latest processors if you're not looking for dedicated graphics from NVIDIA.

The best

ASUS ROG GL553

Subtle styling, powerful internals, and an attractive price complement the optical drive here perfectly.

Not only is the ASUS GL553 one of the finest entry-level gaming laptops you can buy, it also has an optical drive without being overly thick and heavy. The 15.6-inch 1080p display looks fantastic and it comes with Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, 16GB or 32GB of RAM and a mixture of SSD and HDD storage as standard.

Updated August 22, 2018: We've checked our picks and these are still your best options for optical drive laden laptops!