Do you really need a laptop with a touch screen?

Recently I got the ASUS Zenbook 14 for review. It is a beautiful and amazing device. I love it. I really do. It is well powered, well spec’d and fits well into very many people’s daily routine. If you want a device for typing and browsing, it is great for that. The keyboard is great. Want a device that you can carry around easily? It is a perfect 14-inch screen device that fits in a form factor smaller than my 13-inch laptop. Yes, it can fit your daily carryon bag. It has good battery life, and if you’re someone who edits pictures or videos, you can trust it can handle most of your work. Something I only realised by accident later on – ASUS hadn’t told me – is that it is a touch-screen device. There was a speck of dirt and I tried wiping it off, and was like whoah! This got me thinking… Do we really need touch screen laptops?

I use my laptop every day. I would like to think I am one of those people who spend all their day between different devices. Wake up, pick my phone see what’s on social media. A few minutes later, use the tablet for emails, watching stuff, and some more social media. Occasionally, read an article, or finish a chapter of some interesting book. Then if there are photos I need to be edited, or short videos, I open the various app for those and get to work while seated anywhere comfortably. The form factor of a tablet allows one to get away with doing work literally anywhere.

When I need to type – which is very many times – I move to the laptop because that’s the best form factor for long typing. Occasionally I’ll use the tablet for some typing, but that gets tiring without a proper keyboard, so the laptop is the best device for that.

I use my laptop mostly for typing, and for editing huge videos or pictures. That is basically it for me. I do not watch movies on my laptop, neither do I use it for music or for whatever else people use laptops for. Yes, I use it sometimes for browsing the internet and reading articles, but I love saving articles I discover so that I can read them from the tablet or the phone. It is way more enjoyable.

Asus Zenbook 14 (UX434F) 10th Gen Intel Processor, WiFi 6
Maximum screen can go…

There are many arguments online for and against touch screen laptops. I will admit that ever since getting my now aged HP Spectre, I have asked myself many times if I’d love it more if it had a touchscreen. Would I be more productive? Would I work better? Would things be easier? LOL > would there be world peace? Blah blah.

Before getting a device, I always consider lots of stuff. I want to make sure that I won’t get an extra piece of tech without putting it to good use. If I feel like it will be a wasted expense – though many times I find stupid ways to convince myself it isn’t – I will rethink the decision. So part of the things I asked myself when getting the iPad were if it would fit my daily routine, give me more value, and make me more productive. Of course, it has.

Not everyone wants a tablet though. There are people who prefer if they could have one device that does everything. Which is why touch screen laptops exist, I believe.

I’ve reviewed a couple of ASUS laptops, and some of them have had touchscreens. Though this is the first time I am solely focusing on this subject in an article. Because with the form factor of this model, I don’t think every laptop needs to have a touch screen.

Here are a couple of things about this laptop:

  1. The laptop is the usual clamshell laptop form-factor. You cannot rotate the display, neither can you detach it from the keyboard. It also doesn’t open past around 160 degrees.
  2. It is a huge 14-inch device with an amazing 92% screen-to-body ratio. So it feels really big on your face when you look at it but remains amazingly small to carry around.
  3. It has an amazing touchpad! Switch off ASUS’s Screenpad technology that just drains the battery for no reason and you’ll love the touchpad. I love this touchpad most out of all Windows laptops I’ve used.
  4. It runs Windows 10 – which admittedly supports touchscreens quite well, but many times icons are just too tiny to register perfect touches.
Asus Zenbook 14 (UX434F) 10th Gen Intel Processor, WiFi 6
Small space to rest hands…

Touching the display doesn’t make much sense to me in this form factor. It is hard to constantly raise my hand and reach out to the screen. It means having to sit in a particular position. Also, being that it is a 14 inch in a smaller-than-13-inch body, the resting space for your hand when typing is significantly limited. So you get typing fatigue pretty quick. Now imagine stretching fatigued hands to a screen that’s a distance from you.

For the week I have been using it, there have been very few instances where I felt the need to touch the screen. Moving the cursor feels much faster for me with the very responsive touchpad. I switched off the ScreenPad because it made no sense to me on this small laptop.

To justify my feeling that not every laptop should be a touchscreen, I went out to Social Media and sort people’s opinions on how they feel about their laptops. Particularly, I asked how many times they actually touched their screens. Turns out many people don’t. Many people never interact with their touchscreen laptops. The few who do happen to have either convertible ones or detachable ones.

So, you’re in the market for a new laptop… Do you really need one with a touch screen?

Here’s my answer: If you want one, get one. It is your money, spend it however you like. But my advice would be to think of all the possible use cases for the laptop.  Having a touch screen like on this ASUS laptop I’m reviewing is cool, but the number of times you actually get to touch the display is limited by the way the laptop is built. If it were a 360 hinge, I’d turn it around and use it as a huge tablet. If it were a detachable 2-in-1 I’d remove it and have a tablet. It isn’t, and that really limits my use. So I feel like it is an unnecessary cost that’d have been cut and the device would still be amazing.

Maybe you use a traditional clamshell laptop like this one. Would you love if it were a touch screen? How different would you use it? Or is it already a touch screen? How many times do you actually touch it?

Perhaps that’s why Apple hasn’t yet made a touchscreen Macbook.

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