Touchscreen laptops are supposed to be superior to your average machine, but the real question is; are they any good for programming?
Touch screen technology has become a crucial part of our lives. We can’t even imagine buying our smartphones without this gimmick. What started off as a cool feature quickly shifted to other forms of products, and laptops are no different.
Touch screen laptops or 2-in-1 (convertible) laptops offer the convenience of an interactive screen without limiting the keyboard experience. This means that you can use it as a tablet or a regular laptop on the go.
Are Touchscreen Laptops Good for Programming?
Now, although touch screen laptops are an ideal choice for creative designers and artwork professionals, they aren’t that great when it comes to programming. Many developers and software programmers despise them as they can be pretty irritating.
They can make you accustomed to the touch screen, which means selecting text can be difficult as it gets. Moreover, their display is glossy/reflective, which can, of course, dramatically affect your productivity.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Touch Screen Laptops
Let’s take a closer look at touch screen vs. non-touchscreen laptops for programming in detail.
Touch Screen Laptop Problems
1) Reflective Glare
One of the big red flags while purchasing a touch screen laptop is the fact that its display comes equipped with glossy glass. This means that things like smudges and fingerprints are quite common.
This may seem tolerable, but seriously, no programmer wants their performance reduced or work delayed by such petty issues. Similarly, the reflective glare out of touch screen laptops is a real nuisance.
Even when watching YouTube, you constantly lose focus, which is always not a great thing. Of course, many latest touch-screen laptops have somewhat resolved these issues, but for most consumers, it’s still a long way.
2) Software Compatibility
The downfall of touch screen laptops might not be on the hardware end but because of the software. Not every program in Windows is created with touch in mind, and this leads to a number of issues.
Sure, their native apps might be convenient for an average user, but when you look at the third-party programs such as editing tools, they aren’t considered for touch.
Even their built-in file explorer can be a headache to use as its icons are small and not easy to press on a touch screen. This is the same reason why you won’t find any MacBook with touch screen compatibility on the market.
3) User Experience
Touch screen laptops might be a deal breaker for designers but for normal users (even programmers) like you and me; it’s not something to look forward to.
If you are already accustomed to using a mouse and keyboard, the whole touch thing might seem clumsy and off-balance. You will have to constantly change from type to touch, which can again be irritating for beginners.
Speaking from my personal experience, the screen wobble is pretty substantial on touch screen laptops, and unlike your regular tablet, it won’t feel natural. This will limit your user experience, and as a programmer, you definitely don’t want that.
Another reason to not consider touch screen laptops is because of pricing. On average, a touch-screen featured laptop can cost you $50 more than its non-touch counterpart.
The best example can be seen in terms of the ASUS Chromebook 14, which is available in both configurations. Furthermore, on top of being expensive, it adds a bit of weight to the laptop. So, programmers in dire need of portability might have to reconsider altogether.
Touch Screen Laptop Advantages
1) Faster Navigation
Generally, touch screen laptops aren’t as popular as they were before. However, there is still a large consumer base who prefers touch screens on their laptops and that’s mainly because of navigation.
In certain situations, having a touch screen is more preferable to using a trackpad. As a programmer, you’ll be mainly sitting upright, and that’s totally fine.
But as much as this position seems the norm, sitting for hours on end can get really uncomfortable. You want easier access to your machine, and unfortunately, traditional laptops fail to provide just that.
Their keyboard is most of the time hard to reach, and technically the trackpad makes it more difficult to navigate than simply using your fingers to select things on the screen.
Not to mention, the latest windows 11 has become quite the touch-friendly experience. So, yeah, in situations like these, you are better off with a touch-enabled laptop.
The next point brings us to the very idea of touch screen laptops, which is one device that is both a tablet and a laptop. This means that you can effectively use this machine as both an entertainment tablet and a programming computer.
In your spare time, you can use it for browsing the web, reading articles, or watching Netflix. Of course, you can do these things on a normal laptop, but you will miss out on added comfort and flexibility.
Types Of Touchscreen Laptops for Programming
Touch screen laptops manufactured by Google or Microsoft mainly come in three main configurations. These include;
- Detachable Laptops
A detachable laptop is one with a separate tablet that is accompanied by a regular keyboard. They are great for creative / Adobe work and are often less expensive.
- 2 in 1 Laptop
A convertible or 2 in 1 laptop offers both tablet and computer orientation in a single setup. This means you won’t be able to use them separately but still get the added benefits of both. They are touch sensitive and are an ideal choice for programmers and college students.
- Touch enabled Laptops
These are the more expensive laptops with high-end hardware but reflective displays. Navigating the screen also becomes a hassle on these, which is why they are perceived poorly as compared to previous form factors.
All in all, this was my verdict on whether touchscreen laptops are good for programming or not. In the end, Touch screen laptops are more mainstream than they ever were before.
However, buying one ultimately boils down to what your needs in a laptop are and how much you are willing to spend. For some, a regular laptop does the same as a full fledge touch screen device without any strings attached.
At the same time, others seem to have a liking for navigating the touch screen. So, choose wisely what works best for you!
Also, check out my list for the Best Touchscreen laptops with backlit.
Q1, Can I use a mouse with a touch screen laptop?
Yes, of course, you can. Most touch screen laptops offer the same mouse and keyboard experience as their non-touch variants.
Q2, How touch screen laptops are different?
Unlike your regular laptops, convertible laptops offer the typing experience of a regular keyboard, paired with the touch-navigation of a tablet.
Q3, Are MacBooks touch compatible?
No, they aren’t. Apple hasn’t produced a MacBook with touch support because of the limitations of this technology on the software end.