If you’re looking for a new laptop and wondered if it’s worth investing in a touch screen, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the touch screen vs non-touchscreen laptop debate to determine if it’s right for you. Are they a passing phase or a new innovative technology, stick with us and read on as we find out!
We’ll dive into a look at how touch screens work and the different types of touchscreen laptops, then shift over to what advantages and disadvantages you reap from investing in a touch screen laptop. Finally, we’ll be answering some frequently asked questions and capping off with our conclusions. Feel free to skip to whichever section is relevant to you, we figure you understand the basics like how to manually charge your laptop.
If you want the best of both worlds, check out if 2-in-1 laptops are worth it.
Touch Screen – An In-Depth Look
Laptops with touch screens are a relative innovation, combining the functionality of tablets with the intuitive swipes and gestures that makes tablets so great. Thanks to this combined function, touchscreen laptops are often able to switch between tablet form and laptop form with an easy fold!
This touchscreen feature has two versions that you need to pay attention to if you’re planning to purchase a touchscreen laptop – capacitive and resistive.
Capacitive Touchscreen Display
Capacitive touch screens are likely what you think of when touch screen laptops first come into your mind.
The display of capacitive touchscreen models is made up of fine layers of plastic and glass and coated in a conductor like copper or indium tin oxide. When another conductor, like your finger, comes into contact with this display, it registers and allows users to navigate the interface.
A capacitive touchscreen display allows you to use multiple inputs, your fingers, simultaneously to navigate the display. This isn’t offered by the alternative type of touchscreen display that we’ll be talking about – resistive touchscreen displays. And fret not, as you can still put a screen protector or case on your display without reducing the touch display functionality.
If you have a choice, you should always go with a capacitive touchscreen display as not only do capacitive screens have brighter and higher resolution touchscreen displays, you’ll intuitively understand its functions easier as they reside in your smartphones.
Resistive Touchscreen Display
The other choice for your touchscreen device is a resistive display. These displays are usually glass or plastic and coated with a resistive metallic layer that is capable of conducting an electrical charge. When you press on the screen with your finger, the two layers touch, notifying the device and allowing you to interact with the interface.
One major flaw of resistive displays is that they generally only allow a single input at a time. If you use multiple fingers to make inputs on a resistive touchscreen laptop you’ll confuse the system and not get very far. It’s a simple system that allows you to easily open, close, and navigate programs. They also tend to be the cheaper alternative to capacitive touchscreen laptops as the durable plastic costs less than the conductive material.
If you’re a developer using Java or planning to keep your activities on your touchscreen laptop simple, then the cheaper resistive touchscreen display is for you.
Advantages of a Touch Screen Laptop
That’s the run-down of what types of touchscreen laptops exist out there, but if you’re still undecided on whether you should or should not purchase one as your net laptop purchase then read on! We’ve covered the advantages and disadvantages of owning a touch screen laptop.
A Blessing for Digital Artists
The introduction of the touchscreen has revolutionized how artists work and digital art has become a set standard for many. While professional drawing tablets exist, their functionality is limited to drawing and watching series.
A touch screen laptop combines the capabilities of a drawing tablet and the versatile utility and processing power of a standard laptop. This 2-in-1 design choice fills a niche market space but is a godsend for digital artists and graphic designers that don’t want to spend money on two separate devices.
If you are planning to use your touch-screen laptops as a digital whiteboard or art canvas, we recommend you purchase a capacitive touch-screen display.
Note-Taking Made Simple
Tagging along with the digital artists and graphic designers are the high school and college students that will greatly benefit from the note-taking potential that isn’t offered in a non-touch laptop.
Once you begin working on a touch screen to take your note-taking, it’s very difficult to get back to pen and paper to perform tasks. If you purchase one of the convertible models, you’ll have everything that you need to excel in processing tasks and much more.
Higher Quality Displays
Extra care has been taken to improve the touchscreen features when you purchase a 2-in-1 laptop, but this has the added effect of improving the clarity and providing higher-resolution touchscreen displays.
Compared to traditional laptops, the best touchscreen laptops will grant an incredible viewing experience that will allow you to watch movies and play games in high resolution. Non-touchscreen displays can’t compare!
Intuitive User Interface
The added benefit of having touchscreen laptop displays compared to a traditional laptop is the intuitive user interface you unlock.
Today’s modern crop of tablets lets anyone navigate through apps easily and quickly even without the use of an external keyboard or mouse. If you combine this functionality with a powerful processor of a laptop, you get a versatile tool that anybody can make use of very easily.
Disadvantages of a Touch Screen Laptop
Looking at the advantages, you may be convinced to purchase a touchscreen laptop instead of regular laptops but the introduction of a touch-enabled laptop also brings its disadvantages. We’ve listed the most common complaints we’ve seen below, it may change your mind!
Shorter Battery Life
The introduction of a touch screen to your laptop does have consequences for battery life. The processing power to maintain the functionality of your touchscreen laptop is higher than non-touch laptops, so you’ll often find your solid battery life drains rapidly if you use your touch screen often.
Higher usage can also impact your GPU fan and increase the temperature of your device. This can be curbed if you introduce a spare battery or portable laptop battery, alleviating the need to charge your device more often due to your computer’s hardware and battery drain.
While often cheaper than purchasing a tablet and laptop separately, a touchscreen laptop is more expensive than other laptop models that don’t have a touchscreen.
If you think you’ll be using the touch screen laptop sparingly, then it may be worth it to invest in premium laptops that don’t have a touchscreen instead.
Although more minor, the added touchscreen does increase the weight of the laptop. This weight can vary from 0.2 to 0.3 lbs heavier, which can impact the portability of the device – especially when your bag is packed with other items.
And while the laptop is heavier, the convertible models are also more fragile than a standard laptop. Its hinges may break and make the entire laptop unusable if not handled correctly.
Reduced Bright Light Visibility
If you’ve ever owned a tablet, you know that they can be absolute smudge magnets. Touchscreen laptops often follow suit since they use the same technology that tablets do.
This is especially noticeable in bright light environments, where the smudges can reduce visibility considerably. Without cleaning taking place very often, this can hinder your user experience and spoil the glossy finishes that these laptops come with.
Another solution is to primarily use your device in low light settings where this is less noticeable.
Frequently Asked Questions
At this point, you may have a clearer view of whether touchscreen laptops or non-touchscreen laptops are right for you or your business, and whether the performance of the device will match your work or studies.
To seal the deal, we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic and answered them the best we can. Some of the questions you’ve been thinking about may be among them so read on and take a look.
Which is Better: Touchscreen or Non-Touch Screen Laptop?
This depends on what you’ll be using the device for exactly, as the touch screen capabilities of the laptop are a great addition to your arsenal if you’re an artist, graphic designer, or student.
Otherwise, you’re better off purchasing one of the higher-end non-touchscreen laptops like a Macbook for productivity, Alienware or gaming, or a tablet for everyday life.
How Do Touch Screen Laptops Work?
We’ve covered how touch screen laptops work in this article but here’s a quick summary:
Resistive touchscreens use the resistance of inputs, like your finger, to connect two separate layers of material and communicate with your device. It is unable to process multiple inputs.
Capacitive touchscreens use an electrical charge to communicate with the device instead and allow for multiple points of contact, perfect for zooming in or navigating your device. If you’re a photo editor or artist, this type of touchscreen laptop is a no-brainer.
What Type of Screen is Best for Laptops?
What type of screen fits best for you can be a difficult question to answer as it depends on your needs and budget. If you’ve got a lot of space and budget on hand, invest in a higher resolution 1440p monitor that you can also use as a monitor for your PS4 or PS5.
Purchasing an external monitor for your laptop is also an excellent option, allowing you to experience a vivid and masterful resolution.
Hopefully, this guide has definitively shown the key differences between touchscreen laptops and non-touch screen laptops, and you’ve decided whether or not it’s the right choice for you or your work.
If you’re having trouble with removing stickers from your laptop, check out our guide. You can also learn how to connect your Nintendo switch to your laptop by checking our guide.
Writer Graham Grieve brings two decades of technical communications experience to The Holy Tech coverage. Isaac contributes articles on laptops, tablets and PCs, alongside various software and hardware guides. Isaac is a former newspaper journalist who also worked in tech communications for some of the country’s biggest corporations. He also counsels and creates material for other technology publications and hosts a podcast.
Isaac’s in-depth reporting and knowledge of hardware and software issues helps The Holy Tech’s readers learn how to choose the right products, or solve tricky problems.