Purchasing a new laptop is not as easy as it used to be because now, we have a plethora of options to choose from. Now, it’s not just about looking for the new generation processor, more gigabytes of RAM, powerful GPU, and bigger storage, because display also matters.
Sure, processors, RAM, GPU, and sometimes storage play a vital role in the performance of a laptop. But the display is another uncompromising thing while choosing a laptop. Because apart from viewing angles and color reproduction, people also look for touch laptops as they have become the new norm.
The touchscreen is mostly available on convertible models, but some modern non-convertible models also feature this screen. But is a touchscreen in laptops has become a necessity in these modern times?
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Touch VS Non-Touch Laptops
Let’s discuss a detailed comparison of touch vs non-touch laptops where we’ll discuss the pros and cons of both types of screens. We’ll also discuss how touchscreen laptops differ from conventional laptops and we’ll suggest some best choices for both touchscreen and non-touchscreen laptops.
So, without any further delay, let’s get going!
Is Touch Display and Touch Screen the Same?
Whether we talk about touchscreen smartphones or laptops, many people often get confused between their display and their screen. They often use the terms touch screen and touch display interchangeably. But there’s a difference between these two terms. So, let’s first discuss the touch display vs touch screen.
The devices featuring touchscreens are not made of a single layer. Instead, there are three main layers:
- The topmost layer is a thin layer of glass. So, whenever we give input to a touchscreen device, we interact with this thin layer of glass instead of the touchscreen itself. For screen protection, people mostly use screen guards or glass protectors on this thin layer of glass.
- Below the topmost layer, there’s a digitizer layer which is also known as the touchscreen. The touchscreen has different types which we will discuss later on in this article.
- The third layer is the display itself, which is known as a touch display in touch-sensitive devices. It can’t do anything other than provide the display.
To sum up this, touch screens and touch displays are not the same. Still, people use these terms interchangeably. However, the people reading this hopefully change their concept about the touch screen and touch displays. Now, let’s see how touchscreen laptops differ from conventional ones.
How Touch Laptops Are Different from Conventional Laptops?
The touchscreen laptops and conventional (non-touchscreen) laptops operate on pretty much the same principle because they both are computers. However, the method of inputting the commands and data is different in both.
The non-touchscreen laptops use a trackpad (touchpad or mouse) and keyboard for inputting the data. So, there’s not much science in it apart from how the computer uses ASCII code for converting the pressed key to its respective code. But the case with giving the input via touchscreen is a bit different. So, let’s discuss that in detail.
Whether you are using touchscreen laptops or mobiles, their working is pretty much the same. A touchscreen detects the touch within the given display area and it’s made up of three elements: a touch sensor, a controller, and a software driver.
So, a touchscreen comes in different sizes and types, but mainly there are three types of it:
1. Capacitive Touchscreen
Capacitive touchscreens are the most popular type of touchscreens. These types of touchscreens have a layer over the display which has an electric current running through it. As the human body conducts electricity and therefore, whenever you touch the layer, the electric current interrupts at the point where you’ve registered the touch.
The circuits at the backend of the screen send back the interrupted point to the controller. Then the software driver will help the system in translating your input into the system’s language and the CPU will perform your operations accordingly.
- These touchscreens are more durable and accurate than resistive touchscreens.
- Their Projected Capacitive (PCap)variant supports multi-touch, which means you can give multiple inputs from your fingers simultaneously and it will recognize those inputs.
- But you can’t use these touchscreens with standard gloves and these are more expensive to manufacture than resistive touchscreens.
- Laptops, tablets, and smartphones use these screens.
The resistive touchscreens have got two layers and when you press the first layer, it touches the second layer, thus transfers your touch input to the second layer. The second layer then detects the point where you’ve registered your touch. Then the controller sends the point of touch to the CPU and your system acts accordingly.
- These touchscreens are simpler than capacitive touchscreens. Therefore, these are cheaper to manufacture.
- However, neither these screens support multitouch nor are accurate.
- These touchscreens are not as durable as capacitive touchscreens and that’s why these are easily breakable.
- Interactive whiteboards generally use these screens.
3. Infrared Touchscreens
There are two further types of infrared touchscreens:
- Optical – With optical infrared touchscreens, these fire infrared lines across the screen (up, down, left, and right). As these screens consist of grid lines, so whenever users touch these screens, the grid lines at the point of touch break. So, through broken gridlines, the CPU detects the touch.
- Thermal – The thermal infrared touchscreens operate by detecting the heat from the human hands.
- Both of these screens are expensive to manufacture and these aren’t usable on flat surfaces.
Scenarios of Touch VS Non-Touch Laptops Usefulness:
Now, let’s hover over some scenarios where you should opt for a touchscreen laptop and where you shouldn’t. But keep in mind that non-touchscreen laptops will be useful in those scenarios where touchscreen laptops will be useless.
So, let’s discuss the scenarios.
When to opt for a Touchscreen Laptop
i. Drawing, Note-taking (Digital Art):
The main reason that anyone would go for touchscreen laptops is either he belongs to the field of arts or he’s a graphic designer. As touchscreen laptops often come with a stylus, so it’s easier to create sketches with them. Even if some touchscreen laptop doesn’t feature a stylus, still the sketching will be easier as compared to the non-touchscreen laptops.
Plus, touchscreen laptops will be more useful for a student. Because it’s easier to take notes on them, rather than carrying a bunch of books to your school or college.
ii. High-Quality Displays:
Graphic designers and digital artists often need high-quality displays for their work. So, generally, touchscreen laptops have better color precision and excellent picture quality as compared to non-touchscreen laptops. Therefore, they prefer touchscreen laptops.
iii. Fast Navigation:
Touchscreen laptops offer faster navigation than laptops that use touchpads (trackpads) and keyboards for input. This scenario is similar to the touch and non-touch mobile phones because touch mobile phones are easier to operate than non-touch mobile phones. That’s why old people prefer them 😉😁.
When not to opt for a Touchscreen Laptop
i. Hard to View Display in Bright Light:
Since touchscreen laptops have a glossy display, therefore, it’s hard to work on them in bright lights. Their display quality is undeniable, but these are not worth using in bright environments.
Portability is one of the major reasons for buying a laptop. But touchscreen laptops are heavier than non-touchscreen laptops, which is the reason why most people are still not a fan of buying touchscreen laptops.
iii. Less Battery life:
Because of the presence of touch panels, touchscreen laptops have to perform more processing which means they require more energy for their working. So, they have lesser battery life than non-touchscreen laptops.
Most manufacturers offer touch sensitivity in those laptops that have a 4K panel. So, 4K panels often come at an extensive price, which can be another reason for people not choosing touchscreen laptops.
Touchscreen laptops have come a long way and both Microsoft, Google have put a great effort to bring the norm of touchscreens on laptops. However, Apple hasn’t included a touchscreen on any of its Mac systems and we don’t think that it’s planning to. Because Apple has iPads.
So, touchscreen laptops are still not mainstream yet. But manufacturers are still trying their best to make touchscreen laptops as the mainstream ones. Yet, there are still various issues with touchscreen laptops that might change your view of the touchscreen laptops.
- The touchscreen comes in: 2-in-1 convertible laptops, detachable laptops, and regular laptops. The convertible ones are the way to go because they offer more productivity than the other models. But the major issue with all these laptops is the smudges and the fingerprints on the laptop’s display. This gets even worse if your laptop has a large screen because it can take you a while to wipe all the fingerprints.
- The fingerprints and smudges issue might be a petty complaint to some users. But the major issue with touchscreen laptops lies in the software. Because Microsoft and Google have designed the UI of most laptop applications with touchpad and keyboard in mind.
So, sometimes it’s hard to touch a small icon like closing a tab on Chromebook or operating in the File Explorer of Windows.
So, with these points in mind, the gap between mobile and desktop computing is clear. So far, Apple seems wiser than Google and Microsoft for not putting a touchscreen on MacBooks or Mac desktop systems. However, things in technology evolve pretty quickly, so fingers crossed.
To conclude our touch vs non-touch laptops comparison, we recommend you first identify your needs here. We have discussed the scenarios where touchscreen laptops can be useful and where they are useless, but only you can answer which one is most suitable for you.
Our Top Choices for theBest Touchscreen Laptops:
- Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5.
- Razer Blade 15 – Suitable for Gaming.
- Microsoft Surface Pro 7.
- Dell XPS 13 – We’ll share the XPS 13 touch laptop review some other time.
Our Top Choices for the Best Non-Touchscreen Laptops:
- Apple MacBook Air with Apple M1 Chip– The 2020 model of Apple MacBook Air is the best non-touchscreen laptop 2020.
- Acer Predator Helios 300 – Gaming Laptop.
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 2.
1. Are Touchscreen Laptops Good for Students?
If you are a student who needs a laptop just for study purposes, not for gaming, editing, and other heavy tasks, then Chromebooks are the way to go. Because not only are they convertibles, but they also offer more portability. So, touchscreen laptops in the form of Chromebooks are good for students.
2. Which Laptop is Best Touch or Non-Touch?
The answer to this question depends on what you need on a laptop:
- If you want more power and portability in your laptop, then it’s preferable to go for a non-touch laptop. Because not only touchscreen laptops are heavy, but their battery drains out quickly.
- However, if you want a laptop for drawing and note-taking with high-quality and expressive displays, touch laptops are the way to go.
3. Is Touchscreen Useful on a Laptop?
It’s 2021, but touchscreens in laptops still feel like an experiment. Because not only do they cost more, but most manufacturers don’t offer touchscreens on laptops having displays less than 4K. So, the touchscreen on laptops isn’t perfect, but it can be useful in specific scenarios, which we’ve discussed above.