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Touchscreen Laptops: Are They Really Useful…I think Not!

Last night, I was in the mall and doing my customary pilgrimage to electronic shops when I saw the new Sony Vaio Pro (SVP1321WSNB). It is a Core i5, Windows 8, 13” Full HD touchscreen laptop. The battery life they quote is 17 hours which is actually more than the phones these days.

All in all, even excluding the touchscreen, it is a good laptop. Pricey maybe but a good one to look at and to carry around and use. However, there is one distant cousin of this laptop by Sony itself- Vaio Duo. This one is an 11” that can convert into a tablet.

This is the question I want to discuss with you fellows today. While, with the advent of touchscreen, people have started looking at all the devices they hold with an inclination towards touchscreen, it doesn’t necessary means that the touchscreen fits every bill. The importance of touchscreen lies with its ease of use. What makes it successful with smartphones and tablets because it replaces something that is a keyboard.

If we look at some other uses like in car tapes or even washing machine, touchscreen will replace the current panel. If the current panel exists and is actually good to use, I feel that it will not be used regularly.

I distinctly remember the launch of the first iPhone in which Steve Jobs mentioned that the problem with touchscreen was the pointing device and that problem had its solution in the computer and laptop (Mouse or trackpad). And indeed, mouse or a trackpad is a great solution for large screens.

While working on the laptop I found myself more at ease with the trackpad and it is not because I am already used to it but because I needed less motion for it. Taking my hand to the laptop screen is more strenuous than just moving a finger.

touch-screen-laptops-001

Thus, while the touchscreen could be useful with Windows 8, the whole process of using it makes its use tiring and redundant.

It is something similar to having a touchscreen TV. While having such a large touchscreen sounds great, it is impractical as no one is going to abandon the remote to go to the TV and touch it.

The second option of a convertible is something that actually has more practical use. With the coming of Windows 8, there is definitely one OS that can handle both the touch and keyboard with equal ease. Other companies are also sniffing around with this idea. Dell has an option in XPS range with a 12” screen that doubles up as a tablet.

The problem with these tablets is that they are obviously heavier than their simple siblings. Also, as they are actually proper laptops, they have the processor etc. to match that. The price is also exuberant. Also, you get a laptop with a smaller screen than usual. That is a definite compromise. It should be taken into mind that if you are buying this, you are not getting anything else. The price of this laptop convertible ensures that.

What is your take on this? You think touchscreen laptops (without being convertible) will be of any use or they would be another of the forgotten category?

Has anyone of you bought it and is a fan?


About Kunal Prakash

A graduate from IIT-Roorkee, Kunal Prakash’s love for technology was at first sight and everlasting. He is currently enjoying the first stint as a professional after leaving over 20 years of schooling. You can follow him on facebook or visit his blog for his other musings.

3 comments

  1. Touchscreen laptops are something that is useless, as is Windows 8. I gave up up finding a suitable replacement from my Acer Aspire One netbook because all of the offerings were touchscreens with Windows 8. So, I get to pay extra for a feature I will never use and face an operating system I will delete and replace with the user-friendly Windows 7.

  2. Touch screen laptop are not useful but the new hybrids are really awesome tech. You can convert it into tablet also Its a really good thing…but they are too expensive :(

  3. touch screens looks good in mobile phones but not in laptops. i really don’t know why people buying touch screen laptops even they are just useless. i also don’t like windows8 on my laptop. i am using windows7 and it’s really working very good for me.

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