Touch screens are now an essential edition to handsets, tablets and 2-in-1 hybrids. As our minds become ever more conditioned to using a touch screen interface, it begs the question of just how much we need them? If you’re in the market for a cheap laptop, should you go for a touch-based variant or not? Here’s six reasons why you should perhaps reconsider…
Some laptops come equipped with a touch screen as part of the package, while others add in touch functionality as a costly optional extra. For example, Lenovo charges $75 more for a ThinkPad T460s with a touch screen and Dell puts a massive $350 premium on its XPS 13 with touch. Seriously consider if you need to the added feature on your machine before splashing the cash.
Inferior Battery Life
Adding a touch screen into the mix is another electrical component that requires power. It’s estimated that it causes battery life to vent by a further 15 to 25 percent versus non-touch devices. On the HP EliteBook Folio G1, the non-touch variant lasted for 7 hours while the touch version crapped-out after 4 hours, a 35-percent variance. The touch Folio also has a 4K resolution, which laps more power than the full-HD non-touch. We verified all of these laptops using our regular Laptop Mag Battery Test, which includes nonstop surfing on Wi-Fi.
Sadly, you can’t do anything round this battery forfeit after you’ve purchased a touch-screen laptop. The digitizer demands power, even if you switch off the touch functionality altogether.
A Heavier, Heftier PC
If you pick a laptop with touch, expect to carry a little more weight in your bag wherever you go. Adding touch to a laptop usually ups its weight by 0.2 to 0.4 pounds. The EliteBook Folio G1 without touch is just 2.14 pounds, but the touch-screen version is at 2.26 pounds. The alteration among the touch and nontouch Dell XPS 13 is also of 2.7 versus 2.9 pounds. It’s a small jump but definitely adds unwanted weight.
When touching a tablet or smartphone, the range of movement is pretty small and you typically bring it closer to your face. With a touch screen laptop, you have to reach diagonally to access areas of the virtual keyboard, which is difficult and harmful.
According to Cindy Burt, an ergonomics expert at UCLA, you’re going to be putting more strain on your wrist and hand while typing on a touch laptop. She said that marketing workers who have to spread their arms and poke at touch-screen often have shoulder complications as a result.
A Poorer Typing Experience
Touch screens have improved significantly on smartphones to the point where typing on them is now quite desirable, but the same can’t be said of laptops. Attempting to type on a 13-inch touchscreen is still a painful experience that just cannot compare to a physical keyboard. There’s far too much movement involved, while the lack of haptic feedback makes the experience feel sterile and unnatural in comparison.
Worse Broadcasting Viewpoints
The majority of touch screens are made from glossy material, which somewhat obscures viewing angles. You can see the image just fine when you’re looking at the display head-on, but your partners, who are at 45 degrees, see washed-out images veiled by a reflection of their own faces.
A few business laptops like Lenovo’s ThinkPad T460s and T460 have anti-glare sections, which alleviates this problem but often disrupts touch responsiveness.
Sam Murray from cheapcontractphones.org.uk says customers would be better off buying a cheap laptop then a tablet with the spare cash:
“I would avoid touch screen laptops and get a tablet alongside it. Tablets are perfect for light use on the go, so if you’re not worried about extra processing power or having to perform multiple tasks at once, you can pick up some great tablets at an affordable price.”