Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

11 good ultrabooks with optical drives (DVD/Blu-Ray)

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on July 7, 2015

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.

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.

Ultrabooks with Optical drives are a rare breed, but you can still find a bunch of them in stores

Ultrabooks with Optical drives are a rare breed, but you can still find a bunch of them in stores

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.

Wrap-up

The best you can do right now is get a 14 inch ultrabook with DVD/Bluray drive, like the Vaio T Series

The best you can do right now is get a 14 inch ultrabook with DVD/Bluray drive, like the Vaio T Series

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.

Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

12 Comments

  1. José

    April 5, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Mike,

    I think you should add the Asus Ux42Vs (14 inch) and the other 15 inch Asus Ux.

    Both are powerfull devices, not very affordable but they are ultrabooks with a optical drive.

    Best regards

  2. chana minkus

    July 3, 2013 at 2:15 am

    the lenovo ideapad u410 does not have an optical drive like you indicated.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 3, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Hmm, let me look into that. Thanks for the heads-up

  3. Mihu

    February 14, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Hallo,
    Interesting article. I use a Lenovo U 410. Big and heavy. No optical drive though. Battery can be changed easily.
    I lack a drive from time to time. I use than an external. The external drive is connected via USB, a connection with miserable mechanical quality. For professional users underway this is a bad solution.
    Why there is no solid connection avalaible? The former Cardbus connection was much more solid. The function of the USB drive is easily interrupted by movements.
    This is a problem that should be solved, but my impression is that the evolution goes in the direction of wireless, so that the external drives can be made independent (with some own electrical power solution ).
    Regards

  4. mbh

    July 19, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    I think it’s interesting that people are passively accepting that software be delivered online, basically by subscription. This is nothing but a way to make more $$ from us by the providers (usually automatically, on our credit cards). Buying software and using it for as long as it does the job is MUCH more economical. I realize that fewer and fewer companies are allowing us to “own” the software and providing it on a cd, but as long as it’s an option, it’s the one I will take. Anything with a monthly or annual fee (other than electricity and water) is for suckers.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 20, 2015 at 9:00 am

      That’s now how I see things. After all, the difference is in the way a piece of software is delivered: physically (on optical discs, etc) or online (downloaded). There is however an tendency for recurring packages that you have to buy periodically, but the online packages usually offer more than the physical bundles used to (cloud space, extra services).

    • A Men

      August 7, 2015 at 11:14 am

      I agree absolutely, this all feeds into the planned obsolescence methodology of capitalist industry. I want an ultra book with an optical drive so that I can load my Office 2007 disc onto it. I should be able to do that, on a good speedy unti, without having to compromise. They hold things back just to give consumers dilemmas and shoehorn them into situations like having to by an external drive etc. I refuse!

  5. Sarah

    August 16, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Although you gave it only a passing mention, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Toshiba Portege R30.
    It may not be an “ultrabook” because it’s almost 1 inch thick, but it has all the bells and whistles of a full laptop with a thin and light (about 3lbs) casing. It was originally sold to everyone at Best Buy but is sold now exclusively as a business machine, but includes a back-lit keyboard, long battery life and the only think I can’t find is a touch screen.

    I have the first model Portege R705 which I bought in 2010 from BestBuy and am using to write this comment. Everything on this machine still works, although with all the software updates it is a little slow. But what other 5 year old laptop still works perfectly, has an optical drive, 13 inch screen and is under 1 inch thick /4 lbs?
    The original 9-10 hours battery life is down to about a half without a plug-in after 5 years of going strong.

    I’m considering buying the R30 since there is nothing equivalent out there on the market. My only wish is that I could get a touchscreen model.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      Sounds good. TBH my experience with Toshiba products is limited, so I’m not in the position to judge them properly.

    • LM

      August 31, 2015 at 10:05 am

      I’m still using my 2009 Toshiba R705 Portege and I love it. It has been getting slow in it’s old age though and I’m debating getting the latest version, but the SSD option that I would want is a lot more expensive… Really wish there were more options like it out there though!

      • Andrei Girbea

        August 31, 2015 at 10:32 am

        I’d reckon you need the optical drive? Personally, I’d get something without an internal drive and buy an external USB-powered one instead. Otherwise your options are going to be very limited

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