I’m bitter about a lot of things in this world, and a lot of those things are related to technology and big businesses. But right now, the one really un-salting my butter is the fact that laptops aren’t made with built-in disc drives anymore. The quest to make laptops as thin as possible has also made them way less functional and sturdy. 

If I dropped a 2022 Macbook on the carpet, I don’t think it would survive. The screen, at the very least, would not sustain that impact. On the other hand, the 2003 HP laptop I used for about six years was so strong that last year, after taking out the guts, I went at it with a hammer just for the fun of it. The screen didn’t even dent after three direct blows from a metal hammer, and I was swinging as hard as I could. 

But physical integrity aside, laptops are also losing the features that make them actually useful. Much like Apple removing the headphone jack on phones and USB ports on Macbooks, I don’t think there’s a single laptop made right now with a built-in disc drive. Sure, it makes it bulkier, but it also gives you access to a ton of features that otherwise you’d have to purchase a separate external drive for. I have an external disc drive, and it’s awesome. I can watch DVDs, play CDs, burn my own CDs, and store videos and photos on discs anytime I want. Plus, I can load up old PC games that only come on a disc. However, I have to have my external drive and plug it in for this. If I don’t remember to put it in my bag, I’m not doing any of those things on my laptop. 

A mixed CD I found in a thrift store.
Photo Credit | Marie Sayler

This is another way companies try to wring the most money possible out of consumers by making us buy the disc drives separately, but it also makes it harder to use physical media – which, as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, is really important. It’s a lot more work to get an external drive and a DVD of the movie you want to watch than to rent it on Amazon Prime for $3.99. This total reliance on streaming services isn’t good for consumers. 

Our access to the media we have purchased shouldn’t depend on the whims of a streaming service, or our ability to access Wi-Fi. Physical media is important! The freedom to hold a movie you’ve paid for in your hands and know you can watch it as many times as you want as long as you have electricity and the disc stays intact is important! Putting disc drives back in laptops would improve user experience, but that isn’t what companies are worried about. They’re worried about making the most amount of money. Tech companies are slowly making their products less user-friendly and their users more reliant on their specific products to access the services that used to be commonplace. 

We mustn’t let them take everything from us, and for me, one of those things is the ability to be pretentious and annoying by making an ultra-specific mixed CD for every emotion I have experienced. Comrades, we must stand together against Big Tech. We have the God-given right as Americans to be as insufferable as we want, and I will die before Apple robs me of the ability to watch a DVD in the backseat of my car with no cell service.

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