The main benefit a touchscreen laptop offers is the ability to interact directly with what’s displayed on the screen rather than having to rely on a mouse, touchpad or other input device which many people find cumbersome, particularly when using the laptop on the road. A touchscreen laptop makes navigation quicker and easier, as well as launching or switching between apps. For 2-in-1 or convertible laptops where the screen can be folded back 180 degrees or detached from the keyboard, a touch screen makes even more sense since you’re effectively doing away with the keyboard completely.
Like any laptop purchase decision, there are a few things to weigh up before buying a touchscreen laptop. Perhaps the most important consideration is your usage type. Artists, graphic designers and some students will appreciate the capability to create artwork, draw sketches or take notes on the go without having to lug a heavy bag of books around. When used in tandem with a stylus or pen, the experience is enhanced further, particularly when working with compatible apps such as PhotoShop or AutoCAD. For other types of users though, a touchscreen model offers no tangible benefit compared to a conventional laptop.
There are two main types of screens used in touchscreen laptops, resistive and capacitive. Capacitive models can detect multiple touches simultaneously and can therefore support advanced interactions such as zoom control. Both types will typically feature better brightness, image resolution, vibrancy and colour accuracy than their non-touchscreen equivalents. This makes them popular with creatives who work with colour such as photographers and graphic designers.
Aside from the screen, the same considerations that apply to buying a traditional laptop need to be factored before buying a touchscreen model. Weigh up the laptop’s specifications including processor, RAM, storage and operating system. Think about the physical characteristics including chassis design, number and type of ports available for connectivity and overall size and weight. Balance all this information against how you plan to use it before making a final decision.
A touchscreen laptop does have some drawbacks that need to be mentioned. Generally, they are more expensive than traditional models due to the higher cost of the touchscreen display. This extra screen technology uses more resources and can drain the laptop battery faster than a non-touch screen model would. Touchscreen laptops usually require more physical space for the screen which makes the laptop bulkier and heavier. The difference may only be a few centimetres/grammes but even a small change can be quite noticeable, particularly for road warriors accustomed to ultraportable machines. Despite their superior brightness levels, touchscreen displays can be difficult to use in bright light conditions. Finally, models with glossy finishes on the screen can attract fingerprint smears which look unsightly.