In the last months I’ve had the chance to play with a couple of netbooks and smaller laptops equipped with a touchscreen display and after using them for a while I even bought myself one, the Acer 1825PT.
Now, a lot of people asked me why did i do that, why i chose to pay $200 extra for an 11.6 incher just to get the touchscreen. Well, because it’s just completely worth it.
In the last couple of months, netbook producers tried to squeeze as big keyboards as possible on these little machines. In most cases that left insufficient space for a decent trackpad, and they ended with very cramped such input controls. That’s not a problem with a touch screen as in most cases you won’t ever use the trackpad again.
And there are other advantages. First, you can increase your productivity on the little machine. In laptop mode, I’ve got used to using right hand for selecting things on the screen or just moving the cursor with my fingers, while with the left i use the keyboard. You can easily click the address bar to open a new site, zoom in on a photo, scroll through a site, open a file, select a text etc. And in tablet mode the touchscreen tablet is even better, especially when browsing. A complete pleasure and I guarantee that once you’ve tried it, you’ll forever love it.
Now, in order to enjoy your touch experience and really see its benefits, there are a couple of musts. First, you have to get a device with a proper screen. A capacitive one would be nice, because resistive displays like on the Asus T101MT will be less responsive. Of course, for inking and taking notes, resistive screens will be better, but that’s not really something I care for (plus, you can do this on a capacitive display too with a proper capacitive stylus – will cost only a couple of bucks extra).
Then, you have to get a laptop equipped with decent hardware. The Atom configuration on the Asus T101MT was incredibly sluggish, but the ULV dual-core Intel on the Acer is quite snappy. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to pinch or drag something on the screen and having to deal with 1-2 seconds lag.
And it will be important to get a device with a proper screen size/resolution ratio. If you get a small screen with big resolution you will have problems pressing those tiny buttons some applications use (especially in Windows 7). This happens sometimes on my Acer (11.6 inch display with 1366 x 768 px resolution), especially when reaching for something on the edges of the screen and is kind of annoying.
Also, if you plan to use the device on tablet mode a lot, while on the couch or in bed, i advice to get something as light as possible and preferably, see reviews to make sure it doesn’t get too hot on the back.
Of course, there are some touch screen laptops that don’t offer a convertible display. They come with a standard one like on every notebook, but touch-sensible. That too can be useful, increasing your productivity and making everyday tasks easy once you get used to it. But, I’d still advice going for a tablet PC with convertible screen.
All in all, touch screen netbooks and laptops are somewhat more expensive than their regular likes. Price might be 20 to 40 % bigger, which is not something to let go easy. However, if your budget allows, my advice would be to go for the touch laptops. I for one love them and I’m pretty sure you guys would too. And with all these touch gadgets around us lately, touch laptops will pretty soon become mainstream and get more affordable. So the future looks good !