While most ultrabooks do not pack optical drives, whether CD, DVD or Blu-Ray units, there are some options out there that still offer this feature. So if you are looking for an ultrabook with an optical drive, this article is going to come in handy.
But first, let’s see why most of the ultrabooks available these days no longer offer this feature.
Note: Excuse me for interrupting, I'm gathering my favorite Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on ultraportable laptops over here, if you're interested.
Ultrabooks, as per their definitions, have to be very slim, usually just under 21 mm or even less. But they also have to be fast and offer enough battery life for our daily tasks. All these combined means that manufacturers needed to optimize to the max the limited space inside the body of these machines, and since they couldn’t cut corners with the performances and the batteries, they had to ditch the optical drives, among others.
For many, that might not be such a big deal after all, since these days, with most content and services using the Internet and Cloud services, you’ll hardly need to use CDs or DVDs any more. But for those of you that still need ultrabooks with optical drives, here are the units you should look at.
13 inch or smaller ultrabooks with optical units
Right now there are NO ultrabooks with 13.3 inch screens or smaller that also offer an integrated optical drive. There’s simply no room for it inside the small bodies and producers decided to make the computers slimmer and use the space for other things.
There are however a handful of business ultra-portables that offer optical units, but they are going to be either very pricey, or slightly thicker and heavier than an ultrabook. The Sony Vaio S13, the Sony Vaio Z, some Toshiba Porteges, the HP Elitebook 2570p, plus some of the Dell and Fujitsu business notebooks meet these requirements.
Still, if you really need a compact ultrabook and the optical drive, you can easily buy an external DVD or Bluray unit that you can connect to your laptop via USB. These things cost between $30 to $100 dollars and they are slim and light, thus you can easily throw them in your bag and only connect them when needed. In this post you’ll find a selection of my favorite external optical drives, with their particularities and places where you can find them discounted.
14 and 15 inch ultrabooks with DVD or Bluray drives
There’s a pretty large selection of 14 and 15 inch ultrabooks available now in stores, as you can see from this other post. And some of them do offer optical drives as well.
As a general rule though, you’ll notice that mainly the budget and the mainstream ultrabooks offer this feature these days, as the top-of-the-line products ditched them once again for a larger battery, for more powerful hardware or for a more slender body. So if you do want a premium machine, you’ll have to go for those optical DVD units.
Anyway, here are the ultrabooks that offer either a DVD or a Bluray drive these days. Both can easily read CDs as well, of course:
- Asus S46 / S56 – an affordable series, available as a 14 incher (S46) or as a 15.6 incher (S56); details on prices available here;
- Asus Vivobook S550 – this is a 15.6 inch ultrabook with a CD/DVD drive and a touchscreen, also on the cheap side – details here;
- Acer Aspire M5 – a 14 or a 15 inch gaming ultrabook, with some powerful hardware inside and a fair price, as you can see here;
- Acer Aspire V5 – another line of affordable machines, this time available with a touchscreen as well;
- Dell Inspiron 14z and 15z – another mainstream line with Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drives. The 15z is also offered with a touchscreen;
- Dell XPS 15 2012 – the premium machine, but not really an ultrabook. The 2013 version no longer sports an Optical drive,
- HP TouchSmart 17 – a large 17 inch desktop replacement, with powerful hardware and a slim profile;
- Lenovo IdeaPad U510 – a decent cheap ultrabook, with optical unit, a solid body, plenty of hardware configurations and even dedicated graphics. Just a bit bulkier and heavier than the average ultrabook;
- Samsung Series 3 and 5 – Some of the 14 and 15.6 inch Samsung Series 3 and Series 5 ultrabooks offer a DVD unit, plus dedicated graphics;
- Sony Vaio T14 / T15 – the Sony Vaio ultrabooks are also available in two version, with 14 and 15 inch screen. The 15 inch model can be paired with a BluRay drive as well, and the two are offered without or with touchscreens, as the Vaio Touch lines. More details here;
- Sony Vaio Fit 14/15 – affordable mainstream ultrabooks, with touchscreen and Intel Ivy Bridge hardware.
Alright, that’s about it for this post. As you’ve seen, if you really need a compact ultrabook with an optical drive, the best you can do today is get a 14 incher. And even so, the sleekest ones will not offer this feature.
There are however a bunch of decent everyday ultrabooks with optical drives available in stores these days, useful for those looking for a multimedia laptops or for a computer for school. And I’m updating the list above periodically, as new devices are being launched.
Still, I’m pretty sure ultrabooks with DVD or even Bluray drives are not going to be around for long. And I can’t say I’ll regret them. To be frank, I’d rather buy a laptop with more ports or a larger battery than an optical unit, just because I for one don’t use CDs and DVDs anymore. And even if I would, I could easily buy on of those affordable external drives.