Laptops with touch screen capabilities have become increasingly popular in recent years. As the name suggests, a touch screen laptop allows users to interact directly with the display using their fingers, similar to how you would use a smartphone or tablet. But what exactly are these touch-enabled laptops called? There are a few common terms used to describe them.
The most straightforward name is simply “touchscreen laptop.” This makes it clear that the laptop has a display that supports touch input. Major laptop manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and others use the “touchscreen laptop” terminology to market their touch-enabled models. For example:
- Dell XPS 13 Touchscreen Laptop
- HP Spectre x360 Touchscreen Laptop
- Lenovo Yoga Touchscreen Laptop
So if you’re looking for a new laptop and want one with touch capabilities, searching for a “touchscreen laptop” will bring up many options from various brands. This is a widely recognized and understood term.
Another common name is a “2-in-1 laptop.” This refers to a laptop that can convert between a traditional laptop/clamshell mode and a tablet mode. Many 2-in-1 models have touchscreens and are designed for versatility, allowing you to interact directly with the screen or use the keyboard, depending on your needs at the time. Examples of 2-in-1 laptops include:
- Microsoft Surface Pro
- Lenovo Yoga
- HP Spectre x360
- Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
The defining feature of a 2-in-1 is the versatile convertible design, not necessarily the touch capabilities. However, most 2-in-1 models do include touchscreens to enhance the tablet experience. So if you see a laptop described as a 2-in-1, it likely has touchscreen functionality.
“Convertible laptop” is another term used interchangeably with 2-in-1 to describe laptops with versatile designs. Some key examples include:
- Lenovo Yoga series – screen rotates 360 degrees into tablet mode
- HP x360 models – screen folds back 360 degrees
- Dell Inspiron series – screen folds back 300 degrees
The ability to “convert” the laptop into different modes or orientations is the defining characteristic. And touchscreens complement convertible designs by letting you directly interact with the screen in tablet mode. So “convertible laptop” models will generally have touchscreen capabilities.
You may also see the term “hybrid laptop.” This is used interchangeably with 2-in-1 and convertible laptops. Hybrid refers to the fact that the device combines features of both traditional laptops and tablets. Mainly the keyboard and touchscreen. So hybrid laptops will always have touch displays.
“Detachable laptop” refers to a 2-in-1 design where the keyboard can be completely detached from the display, fully transforming it into a standalone tablet. Some examples include:
- Microsoft Surface Book
- HP Elite x2
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1
The detachable design requires a touchscreen to function properly in tablet mode. So if a laptop is described as detachable, it will definitely have touch capabilities.
An emerging category is the “foldable laptop.” As the name suggests, the screen can be folded, typically doubling the display size. For example:
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
- Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED
Foldable screens need touch capabilities to enable user interaction in different orientations. So foldable laptops will always have touchscreens.
Touchscreen vs Non-Touchscreen Laptops
To summarize so far, there are a variety of terms used to describe laptops with touchscreen capabilities, including:
- Touchscreen laptop
- 2-in-1 laptop
- Convertible laptop
- Hybrid laptop
- Detachable laptop
- Foldable laptop
On the other hand, “traditional” laptops without touch generally do not have any special descriptive terms. They are simply referred to as laptops or notebooks. Some examples are:
- Dell XPS 15
- MacBook Pro
- Asus Zenbook
- Acer Aspire
- HP Envy
These models do not advertise or highlight touch capabilities because they only have traditional displays without touch input.
So in summary, if a laptop is described using a special term like 2-in-1, touchscreen, convertible, etc., it has touch capabilities. If it’s described simply as a laptop or notebook without any additional descriptors, it likely does not have a touch-enabled display.
Touchscreen Laptop Features and Benefits
Now that we’ve covered the terminology used to describe touchscreen laptops, let’s discuss why you may want to choose a model with touch capabilities. Here are some of the key features and benefits of touchscreen laptops:
The main appeal of a touchscreen laptop is the ability to directly interact with what’s on the display using your fingers. Tap, swipe, pinch/zoom, and other multi-touch gestures allow for an intuitive, natural experience similar to a smartphone or tablet. This can be especially helpful for activities like:
- Scrolling through web pages or long documents
- Zooming in on photos or maps
- Selecting interface options and buttons
- Drawing or taking handwritten notes
- Playing touch-compatible games
The direct interaction facilitates workflows that feel faster and more hands-on than using keyboard/mouse input alone.
As discussed earlier, many touchscreen laptops feature 2-in-1 or convertible designs. This allows for flexibility in notebook, stand, tent, or tablet modes to suit different needs:
- Notebook mode – for traditional laptop use with typing and trackpad
- Stand mode – for watching video hands-free
- Tent mode – for confined spaces like airplanes
- Tablet mode – for a pure touchscreen experience
The ability to transition between modes makes a touchscreen laptop more functional in a wider range of use cases.
Touch input can provide greater accuracy for certain tasks than using a touchpad or external mouse. Activities like selecting menus and buttons or drawing/writing precisely benefit from direct touch manipulation. Fingers provide natural feedback for accuracy.
Interaction becomes more convenient with touch capabilities. Switching between keyboard, touchpad, and touch input allows you to choose the best input method for the task at hand. And gestures like swiping and scrolling can save time versus mouse movements.
Many games are now optimized and designed specifically for touchscreens. Playing these games on a touchscreen laptop provides a more engaging, interactive experience compared to only using keyboard and mouse input.
Passing a touchscreen laptop around a group facilitates collaboration. Everyone can interact directly without disruptions to switch input methods. This benefits activities like brainstorming, design sessions, and interactive presentations.
Detachable touchscreen laptops essentially provide you with a laptop and tablet in one device. You get the typing ability of a notebook plus the mobile convenience of a tablet when detached.
Disadvantages of Touchscreen Laptops
Despite their benefits, touchscreen laptops do come with some potential drawbacks to consider:
- Typically cost more than non-touch models
- Can drain battery life faster due to more power-hungry touch displays
- Increase weight compared to non-touch versions
- Lead to more fingerprints/smudges on the screen
- Usability constraints in laptop mode (reaching over keyboard)
- Require cleaning and maintenance of the screen
However, many of these concerns have been minimized with ongoing advances in technology like power-efficient displays and improved touch compatibility in laptop mode. Still, weigh the pros and cons based on your specific needs and usage.
Popular Touchscreen Laptop Brands
If you’ve decided to get a touchscreen laptop, which brands and models should you consider? Here are some of the top options:
|Popular Touchscreen Models
|XPS 13 2-in-1, Inspiron 14 5000 2-in-1, Latitude 5300 2-in-1
|Spectre x360, Pavilion x360, ENVY x360
|Yoga 9i, Yoga C740, Flex 5
|ZenBook Flip, VivoBook Flip
|Spin 5, Switch 3, Spin 7
|Surface Pro, Surface Laptop Go 2
|Galaxy Book Flex, Galaxy Book Pro 360
These major players offer a range of touchscreen convertibles, detachables, and 2-in-1 designs at various price points. Shop around to find the right mix of features, performance, and budget for your needs.
Choosing the Right Touchscreen Laptop
If you’ve decided a touchscreen laptop is the right fit, here are some key factors to consider while shopping:
As discussed earlier, many touchscreen laptops feature versatile 2-in-1 or convertible designs. Decide just how much tablet functionality you need to determine the right form factor:
- 360° hinge – screen folds all the way back for tablet use but stays attached to base
- Detachable – screen completely detaches from keyboard to act as standalone tablet
- Foldable – screen can be folded in half for more screen real estate
Consider usage scenarios and portability requirements to choose the ideal 2-in-1 form factor for your needs.
Touchscreen laptop displays come in sizes ranging from smaller 11-inch models up to 15-inch versions:
- 11-12 inches – ultraportable but less surface area for touch
- 13-14 inches – balance of compact and generous touch space
- 15+ inches – heavy but expansive touchscreen real estate
Think about the display real estate needed for your applications and touch interactions. But remember larger screens increase size, weight, and decrease portability.
The operating system influences the touch experience. Main options are:
- Windows – touch fully supported with gesture controls and tablet mode
- Chrome OS – touch optimized for Android apps but limited functionality
- MacOS – can be used with touch but not optimized for touch experience
Windows provides the most polished touch experience. MacOS is best suited for occasional touch interactions but mainly keyboard/mouse use.
CPU and RAM
Factor in performance specifications depending on your usage requirements:
- CPU – choose Intel Core i3 up to i7 or AMD Ryzen
- RAM – 8GB minimum, 16GB better for multitasking
- Storage – SSD over HDD for responsiveness
Balance performance needs with budget. CPU and RAM have the biggest influence on overall speed and multitasking capabilities.
Look for a good mix of new and legacy ports based on your connectivity needs:
- USB-C – new standard with power and data delivery
- USB-A – widely used for existing peripherals
- Headphone jack – convenient for audio
- HDMI/DisplayPort – external monitor support
- SD card reader – photo/video transfer
Make sure the laptop offers the essential ports for your current accessories and future needs.
Some touchscreen laptops, especially 2-in-1 models, come with stylus support for advanced creative work:
- Note taking and annotations
- Drawing, painting, design work
- Precision selection and editing
Look for pressure and tilt support for a natural pen-on-paper feel. Models like the Microsoft Surface include the stylus. Others require a separate purchase.
Touchscreen laptops span a wide range of prices. Entry models can start around $400-500 and high-end versions can exceed $2,000. Consider how much you rely on touch interactions versus keyboard/mouse work. This will help determine the right budget for your needs.
Prioritize features like display, CPU, RAM, storage and look for the best combination within your budget.
The Future of Touchscreen Laptops
Touch capabilities have already become a standard feature on many new laptops, especially premium and 2-in-1 models. Here are some exciting ways this technology could continue evolving in the future:
Vibrating haptic feedback under the display provides confirmation when you interact with onscreen elements. This brings an extra dimension to the touch experience. Apple’s Force Touch trackpads demonstrate the utility of haptics. Applying this to touchscreen laptops could enhance usability.
High Refresh Rate Displays
Higher refresh rates like 90Hz and 120Hz make interactions feel instant and responsive. Scrolling and animations look incredibly smooth. Refresh rates on touchscreens are steadily improving just like they have on smartphones. Expect buttery responsiveness down the line.
With built-in Internet connectivity, touchscreen laptops could easily sync user interface configurations, settings, and data into the cloud. This enables seamlessly transitioning workflows across different devices with touch capabilities. Work on a desktop, laptop, and tablet with everything continuously synced.
Advanced machine learning algorithms can learn how you prefer to interact with your touchscreen over time. It then optimizes and predicts frequently used gestures, interface preferences, and other behaviors to enhance the experience. Human-computer interaction gets smarter.
Integrated Fingerprint Readers
Fingerprint scanning technology is becoming smaller and more affordable. Even budget laptops now integrate fingerprint readers for quick secure biometric access. As the parts get smaller, expect direct fingerprint reading from the trackpad or touchscreen for simplified security.
Eye Tracking Cameras
Eye tracking cameras follow your gaze to determine where you’re focusing on the screen. This can enable new forms of gesture control. For example, looking at an element for a few seconds could trigger contextual actions to reduce frequent reaching.
AI Touch Optimization
Artificial intelligence will allow laptops to study your touch habits and then optimize the interface and experience for you personally. Everything from icon/menu placement to gesture controls to predictive actions could be customized based on AI data of how you work.
Advanced Stylus Capabilities
Styluses will gain new abilities like adaptive pressure sensitivity, tilt and shading recognition, and extremely precise tracking