Should you buy a touchscreen laptop?

Staff Writer By Staff Writer - April 20th, 2015
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Touchscreens are now more widely available and easy to use than ever. Even the most rudimentary devices that utilise them offer good feedback and can detect inputs accurately. One device that the technology is slowly being integrated into is the laptop, but is the hype to be believed?

Positives

More software companies are building their offerings with touch in mind. This trend is unlikely to change, especially as Microsoft is placing all of its eggs into one basket with Windows 8.1. For the time being at least, touchscreen laptops look as though they will be future-proof, which is the first big positive.

Laptop manufacturers are offering touchscreen functionality as standard on a host of devices, so the functionality is now heading towards becoming common across the industry.

A further bonus is that touchscreen tech is generally more usable - in the case of smartphones and tablets at least. When twinned with a powerful laptop, their intuitiveness can decrease the need for keyboard shortcuts and ultimately hold the potential to speed up the way you work.

Negatives

While the positives shouldn't be underplayed, there are also a few drawbacks to be considered. It may sound like a relatively basic problem, but constantly touching the screen of any laptop results in smudges and smears.

These may not be especially noticeable all of the time, but if they build up they can actually get in the way of other functions, making the laptop harder to use in general.

A further negative is the fact that many applications that are the most popular are unlikely to need support for touch. For example, if you spend the majority of your time using Chrome, iTunes or Adobe programmes, you may not have a huge need for the embellishment of a touchscreen.

The wider market

Whether a touchscreen laptop is right for you is something that should be carefully assessed, but there can be no denying that they are rising in popularity.

In fact, figures collated by Sandler Research suggest the global market for the devices could grow by as much as 10 per cent year-on-year to the end of the decade. The research pinpoints the Apple iPhone, which launched some eight years ago, as a driver for wider mass touchscreen adoption across all consumer tech.

Furthermore, as touch sensitive inputs are now a consideration on ultrabooks - such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X250 - and hybrid laptops - like the HP Pro x2 612 G1 - the market has a further two areas in which it can grow.

Touchscreen laptops are perhaps still a little niche, but if all of the projections come true and manufacturers can iron out any issues, then it looks like they'll be sticking around for some time to come.

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