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Best laptops with an optical drive 2022

Best laptops with an optical drive
Best laptops with an optical drive (Image credit: Windows Central)

The optical drive may be a dying feature on laptops, but some folks absolutely must have one. It's harder than ever to find a good laptop with this kind of drive, but not impossible. Whatever your budget or specific use case, there are still good laptops out there for you like the HP ENVY 17t, which tops our list of best laptops with an optical drive.

Best overall: HP ENVY 17t

New Envy 17t

Source: HP (Image credit: Source: HP)

HP ENVY 17t laptop

Big, beautiful, and ticks all the boxes

Reasons to buy

+
Great hardware specs
+
Stylish design
+
Dedicated graphics
+
Decent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite large
-
Display limited to 1080p

With the ENVY 17t, HP created a desirable laptop with a large screen, an optical drive, and just about every other spec you could ask for. It's sleek, sophisticated, and surprisingly thin, considering it has a 17.3-inch display. Most importantly, you can slot a DVD into it.

Much of the hardware here you'd find elsewhere in HP's premium lineup. The processor is a 10th Gen Intel Core i7, the graphics come from NVIDIA in the form of a 4GB MX250, and the audio comes courtesy of Bang & Olufsen. This is every bit the high-end laptop you expect, but it doesn't command an incredibly high price.

It's also making use of some cutting-edge internals, like Intel's Optane memory for storage acceleration, and it's even got pretty good battery life at up to nine hours. What more could you ask for? We're big fans of HP laptops — there are multiple HP options in our list of the very best laptops available — and the ENVY 17t does not disappoint.

One important point to note, however, is that you have to get the slightly older model with an Intel 10th Gen processor if you want the optical drive. The latest model has finally relinquished it, another sign the optical drive isn't long for this world.

Budget 17-inch: Acer Aspire 17

Acer Aspire 17

Source: Acer (Image credit: Source: Acer)

Acer Aspire 17 laptop

A lower-cost laptop that still plays DVDs

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of ports
+
Good included storage
+
Affordable
+
Full Intel Core processor

Reasons to avoid

-
Lower resolution display
-
Slow HDD

If you're on a tighter budget but still want a large screen, then Acer has just the laptop for you. It also has plenty of other goodies to go with it, proving you don't need to spend a lot to get a great laptop and still have an optical drive.

Besides the DVD drive, this Aspire 17 has a 17.3-inch display, an Intel Core i5 processor, 1TB HDD storage, and 12GB of RAM. Toss in a bunch of USB ports, HDMI, and an SD card slot, and you have a cheap laptop with plenty of flexibility. The tradeoff for the pretty potent processor is a lower-resolution display, but for regular work it'll still work out just fine.

An easy way to give this laptop a little extra oomph for a little extra cash is to consider replacing the 1TB HDD with an SSD that will make your daily life with this laptop a lot faster.

Best 15-inch: Lenovo IdeaPad 330

Lenovo Ideapad 15

Source: Lenovo (Image credit: Source: Lenovo)

Lenovo IdeaPad 330 laptop

Solid hardware, great price

Reasons to buy

+
Solid design and build
+
Lots of ports
+
Great size
+
Attractive price

Reasons to avoid

-
Low storage as standard
-
Low-resolution display

If you're looking for a reliable value option that's still well equipped, Lenovo's IdeaPad 330 is what you're looking for. Not only does it have an optical drive tucked away in its fairly slim side, but inside you'll find a plethora of other impressive specs.

At 15 inches, it's the sweet spot for people who want a larger display without going overboard into the 17-inch range, and despite an attractive price, it's packed with plenty of goodies on the inside. An 8th Gen Intel Core i5 is paired with 8GB of RAM SSD storage and plenty of connectivity, including USB-C.

Lenovo always has great keyboards with its laptops, too, so you'll get an all-around reliable laptop. The IdeaPad 330 might be a mid-ranger, but it punches way above its price tag. It's well designed, built to last, and is a perfect carry for the office or college.

Bottom line

The optical drive has now become a niche laptop feature, but that doesn't mean demand for it has gone. There are still people who need it, and there are still some laptop makers satisfying that demand. And they fulfill it with quality hardware.

The HP ENVY 17t is a great laptop, period. That it has an optical drive is a bonus, but by current standards, it lacks very little. The inclusion of dedicated graphics and Intel Optane memory is a nice touch, and the ENVY 17t is extremely well rounded. It even looks the part!

Sadly, that's about as far as the good news goes. While HP has made a real effort to cater to this niche with not only a new, current-spec laptop that looks great to boot, the rest of the market isn't so hot. In most cases, you'll be making sacrifices or buying older hardware just for the sake of having an optical drive.