Hardware downsides to a touchscreen?
April 10, 2014 3:50 PM   Subscribe

I am soon to be in the market for a new laptop. I don't like touchscreens and won't use one, but I want to know if that means I should avoid a touchscreen laptop, or merely ignore the touchscreen if I end up with one. That is: do touchscreens tend to come with drawbacks in terms of durability, longevity, battery usage, sharpness, viewing angles, color reproduction, and what have you? Obviously some panels are better than others, but I'm interested in a general overview. Questions of touchscreens tend to focus on "gorilla arm" and the like, but I'm only interested in how they affect the monitor's ability to let me look at stuff.
posted by rogue haggis landing to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They're generally heavier than non-touch-screens, if that's something that matters to you, though that would appear in the overall laptop weight specs obviously.
posted by brainmouse at 4:17 PM on April 10, 2014

I'm not sure if I've seen a matte touchscreen? They seem to be either glossy plastic or GorillaGlass type surfaces. That may or may not make a difference to you, as matte vs. glossy = anti-reflective diffraction vs. sharpest, most transparent material.
posted by bartleby at 4:47 PM on April 10, 2014

Battery life is much worse with a touchscreen.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:36 PM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Despite manufacturers all hopping on the 'glossy bandwagon' (because they look shiny in stores and that tends to sell better) anti-reflective (matte) screens are much better and better for you (less eye strain) as you tend to not see so much glare and reflections of the room around you. I tend to get really bad headaches when using a glossy screen in a bright environment, probably because my brain is trying to process two images at once, so I only buy laptops with a matte screen.
Are you looking for a Mac or PC? (I assume PC since Mac doesn't do touch laptops) I ask because you might consider trying a mac if it's do-able for you (and they really make it easy to switch, like, the instant you turn it on it's helping you migrate over)...the MacBook Pro has a matte screen option and the trackpad is just...dreamy (super-intuitive multitouch gecstures, etc). That was always my issue with PCs...really wonky interface design.
(sorry to go all mac vs pc) Look for a matte screen and a really good trackpad.
Also, it seems a lot of PCs are coming with wacom enabled (pressure-sensitive) pen/multitouch screens these days...if you do digital art or aspire to, they can really be awesome, but yeah, usually glossy.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:56 PM on April 10, 2014

Touch screens block from 10-30% of the light. So either they're dimmer, or the laptop needs a brighter, hotter, more power-hungry backlight.
posted by aubilenon at 6:10 PM on April 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Windows 8.1's latest update (this week?) Supposedly would offer desktop mode by default, but only to non touch machines.
posted by TheAdamist at 8:45 PM on April 10, 2014

A touchscreen is going to be more expensive. Most models that have a touch screen also have a non-touch version which is cheaper. A touchscreen is also more stuff to break (both hardware and software). I knew I wouldn't use one and actively avoided them while shopping.
posted by anaelith at 11:42 AM on April 12, 2014

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