So you came across a convertible laptop and you asked yourself, do I need to buy a laptop with a touchscreen? Is a traditional laptop good enough? or is there an even better alternative out there? Don’t buy a touchscreen laptop before you read this article!
Now that most people are working from home, everyone is searching for the best laptop for their needs. Touchscreen laptops (also known as 2-in-1, hybrid, or convertible laptops) are also quite popular, but the verdict is split down the middle. Some people loving them, and the other half says touchscreen laptops are an expensive gimmick.
Who is right?
I’ll keep this article unbiased and try to list an equal amount of pros and cons for each side of the argument, enough information for you to make your own decision. Bear in mind, links to external websites such as Amazon, are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases.
Do I Need to Buy a Laptop with a Touchscreen?
You only need to buy a laptop with a touchscreen if you’re going to use it for certain tasks that require a touchscreen, such as; taking notes, signing documents, art with a stylus, reading books, quick navigation, and others.
While touchscreens on laptops can be very useful, there are also some downsides, such as shorter battery life, more expensive, smudges on the screen, challenging to use, and other issues.
Bear in mind, almost every laptop includes a trackpad that works pretty much the same as a touchscreen, scrolling is as easy with two fingers, zoom with a pinch, and other gestures make navigation easy. Not to mention most people attach an external mouse to their laptops because prolonged use of the trackpad can be bothersome.
Types of Touchscreen Laptops:
To provide some context, there are three categories of touchscreen laptops:
2-in-1 Convertible Laptops 👍
And then we have the 2-in-1 convertible laptops that I wrote about quite a bit on this website.
2-in-1 laptops look the same as traditional laptops, except they have a touchscreen and the screen is designed to rotate all the way behind the laptop which makes it possible to use it in the laptop, tent, and tablet mode.
2-in-1 laptops definitely have their place, and they’re the perfect bridge between laptops and tablets.
One notable 2-in-1 is the AMD Ryzen Lenovo Flex 5 14 inches with 16 GB of RAM
The previous Flex model, Flex 14, still is a best-seller, but the stock runs out quite fast.
Portable Tablets with Optional Keyboards 😐
(Kind of meh, but cheaper)
While these aren’t really considered laptops, they are often throw in with touchscreen laptops for a couple of reasons. These devices are kind of like tablets that can be used with a keyboard to create a kind of portable laptop.
Probably the most notable product in this category is the Microsoft’s Surface Go series:
Microsoft Surface 6 has been a best seller for a while now. You could also accomplish the same thing by attaching a keyboard to a tablet or even a phone, but most people like the Windows operating system.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Windows because all the programs I use are compatible with it. The Surface Go is great for people on the go (no pun intended), such as when you’re traveling or on a business trip, it will slide nicely in a briefcase or backpack, and the battery life is incredible too.
Traditional Laptops with Touchscreens 👎
These laptops are much like ordinary laptops except with a touchscreen. I’m not such a fan of touchscreen traditional laptops because they don’t have reversible hinges, which means you have to reach over the laptop’s keyboard to touch the screen. It’s kind of uncomfortable.
My opinion? A touchscreen doesn’t really make a laptop easier to use, and you have to deal with screen smudges. I would stick to a traditional laptop that does not have a touchscreen.
In my opinion, a good trackpad (or any external mouse) is all you need for a regular laptop. Look for a laptop with a good trackpad and decent specs, it shouldn’t be hard to find some decent ones.
Reasons to Buy a Laptop with a Touchscreen:
Here are some reasons to buy a laptop with a touchscreen:
1 – Easier to Take Notes
In college or university? Do you find yourself taking notes on a regular basis? A laptop with a touchscreen and a stylus pen is great for taking notes. Microsoft has a lot of note-taking programs, and Microsoft Office also supports the feature.
2 – Easier to Draw
Once again, if you’re a digital artist, or plan to get into the field, a touchscreen laptop would make that easier. A laptop that includes a stylus pen for artists is recommended, we’ll mention a couple later on.
3 – Browsing the Internet
Browsing the internet is really easy on touchscreen laptops and, most of the time, navigation is very fluid. If you’re used to browsing the internet on your phone, then browsing on a touchscreen laptop will be no different, except on a bigger screen.
My girlfriend is so used to using her phone, I remember a few times where she thought one of my laptops had a touchscreen and tried swiping on it. It’s also a bit easier for some people, they like the feel of touchscreens more, it’s simpler and easier to use.
And not everyone understands the trackpad gestures!
“It’s not a touchscreen”
4 – Reading Books, Articles or PDFs
To expand on the previous point, using touchscreen laptops in tablet mode makes things like reading books and articles much easier.
For hybrids, you would bend the screen back in tablet mode, and then the web browser should rotate to adjust, and boom, an e-book reader.
Note: I recommend turning on the Night Light mode to reduce blue light from your screen, it reduces the strain on your eyes for long reading sessions.
Speaking of reading things, have you considered a Kindle Paperwhite?
5 – Watching Movies
Especially with apps like Netflix, you can easily navigate to media and control it with a few taps of your finger.
I admit, one of the reasons I got into 2-in-1 laptops is because I wanted to download Netflix shows to watch on airplanes in tablet mode. I used to travel a bit too much.
But as you know, that’s going to have to wait for a while. Nobody is going anywhere!
6 – For Fun!
Let’s be honest, having a touchscreen laptop is just cool. And it’s a lot of fun to play around with the touchscreen.
I blew my parent’s mind when I showed them how my 2-in-1’s screen rotates all the way around, they thought I broke the screen.
Reasons to NOT Buy a Laptop with a Touchscreen:
But… there are some issues with touchscreen laptops:
1 – They Can be Pricey
The most notable downside to buying a touchscreen laptop is they can be quite pricey. Most of the good touchscreen laptops are above $800 and the specs aren’t usually the best. You can save some cash if you buy a laptop that does not have a touchscreen.
Note: Chromebooks are a cheaper alternative, but the Chome OS has some limitations that can be a dealbreaker for some people. For an even cheaper option, Samsung Dex provides a desktop-like experience straight from your phone. Read about Samsung Dex vs Chromebooks here.
I personally prefer Windows touchscreen laptops because all the programs I use are on Windows. Most touchscreen laptops ship with Windows 10 which is new to the touchscreen scene and has some issues (such as the touchscreen unresponsive), but overall it’s easy to use with a touchscreen.
Look, touchscreen laptops aren’t that expensive, but if you’re really tight on cash, every dollar counts. Trust me, as someone who spends way too long looking for the best laptop deals, I would know! Ultimately, it’s your money and decision.
But I would choose a laptop with better specs, and the features I need, over an expensive laptop with a touchscreen.
Take a look at this list of best-selling traditional laptops.
2 – Drains Battery Life
Touchscreens tend to consume a lot more battery than other components. I admit, nowadays laptops have a pretty good battery life, and most operating systems provide plenty of battery-saving options to further extend it.
But you still need to know that touchscreens drain the battery, it might mean cutting a couple of hours off the estimated battery life, I don’t think it’s the end of the world though.
3 – Traditional Laptops Have Better Specs
As I already mentioned before, traditional laptops almost always have better specs than touchscreen laptops. One of the reasons for that is the touchscreen laptop’s selling point is the touchscreen, the other hardware is on the sidelines.
What you end up with is a laptop that has mobile-grade CPUs, a smaller hard drive, and less RAM. Keep in mind, CPU models can be confusing but generally, the chips with “U” at the end are designed for mobile devices.
There are some touchscreen laptops with decent specs, but those are usually quite expensive. One notable example would be the Acer Spin 5 with an I7, GTX 1050, and 8 GB RAM. But for that price, you can find much more powerful laptops.
For example, this gaming laptop I found (which is actually cheaper!) Acer Predator Helios 300.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 has:
- i7-9750H 6-cores
- GTX 1660 TI
- 16 GB 2,666 Mhz Memory.
- 144 Hz Display
I understand most people don’t want gaming laptops, but I wanted to show what you could get for the same price as a touchscreen laptop.
In short, throw out a budget, and I guarantee you that you can find a traditional laptop that has much better specs than a touchscreen laptop.
If you read this far, then you probably already have your answer. When people ask me, “Do I need to buy a laptop with a touchscreen?” I usually ask them if they’re going to use the touchscreen.
Do you need a touchscreen? If you can’t think of a good reason to buy a laptop with a touchscreen, then I suggest looking for a traditional laptop that has the features you need. They’ll be cheaper, the specs will be better, and you shouldn’t have any problems. If you like the touchscreen features, they would work best with a proper 2-in-1 or hybrid laptop.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article! What do you think about touchscreen laptops? Leave a comment below!