Macbook. No Touch = No Go.

Posted on 20 May 2015 by

Laptopmag published an interesting article about touchscreen laptops last week. “Why you shouldn’t buy a touchscreen laptop.” I strongly disagreed, along with others, on a Facebook comment thread. ┬áTouch can be extremely useful, productive and fun if you commit to it but if you’re not feeling adventurous then yes, touchscreens may be a disadvantage for you. The 1-2mm thickness, 100 grams and, usually, $100 is a waste. Me, I need touch badly, as I found out at the weekend when testing out a Macbook.

Macbook. No touchscreen.

The Macbook is a gorgeously finished ultra-light PC with a great screen, an amazing trackpad and, for me, a nice keyboard. That keyboard might be a little too low-profile for some so try before you buy.

It was the screen that caught me out though. It took me at least 5 seconds to realize there was no touchscreen as I poked the URL bar on Safari. I’m so used to doing it on my own touchscreen laptops and convertibles that when it’s not there I not only miss it but I waste time too.

Scrolling and zooming, selecting and dragging are often harder and slower with a touchpad and simple things like annotating a Snipping Tool grab or adjusting the screen brightness and volume are faster and more accurate when the touchscreen and touch UI are in place. Of course OS X isn’t built for touch so there’s no reason for touch here but the experience confirmed to me just how much I rely on a touch layer and touch UI. The Macbook is a no-go for me.

You can find all the lightweight touchscreen laptops here in the database.

I realize I am probably in the minority as a touch laptop fan so feel free to voice your opinion below. Do you think the number of touchscreen laptops available is going to increase or decrease? Will Windows 10 improve or degrade the laptop touch experience?

Categorized | Hands On

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  • Meengal Yip

    I fully agree with Chippy: Touch screen on a laptop, especially when the laptop has a ‘stand’ mode is absolutely a delight! I have a 10″ Acer Iconia W510 and a 15.5″ Lenovo IdeaFlex laptop. And in both of them, watching videos or web browsing etc are much better in the Stand mode.
    Not to mention the ease of use during WIDI: It is so easy to swipe the right of the screen and select an external display (ActionTec ScreenBeam 2) while the laptop is sitting beside you on the couch in the Stand mode.
    I rarely use the keyboard on these two devices unless I have to type more than a few words.
    PS. Of course when Apple comes out with Touch Screen then the Touch Screens would be great on laptop :)

  • Garry

    I have just bought a Macbook Air without touch and after using a whole variety of Touch screen laptops I do find my self missing the touch screen. However I tended to find that my touch devices were tablet hybrid devices and this meant that other sacrifices where made to get the tluch screen onto the machine. For what I do the MBA is fulfilling my needs for now. We shall see what happens with Windows 10 and also if the off rumoured iPad pro ever arrives.

  • Different Jan

    Touchscreen is nice. I agree, it is definitely of good use on a laptop. I think I do about 50/50 touch/trackpad when working with laptop. My sister tends to use the touch much more, kids are flexible I guess :)

  • Meengal Yip

    @Different Jan:
    I would go even further and say that a laptop with touch-screen and a Stand Mode is head and shoulders above even the best laptop experience out there!

    For the past half hour or so: I turned awoke my laptop, flipped into stand mode, connected via WIDI to the living room tv, started some background music in YouTube in Chrome, while surfed the web in another tab–looking for a WIDI tablet–and just now bought a Chuwi vi8 tablet for $110 from Ebay! I did this all until I saw the email for this site, changed to laptop mode to type this–and then will go back to browsing in the Stand mode.

    People don’t know what they are missing until they try such things! This is a truly multi-tasking and powerful option: A Windows laptop in Stand mode and WIDI. I won’t settle for less.

  • End User

    As someone who uses a touchscreen tablet UI on a daily basis I see no difference between it and OS X for scrolling and zooming using the trackpad. Selecting and dragging is, dare I say, easier on OS X using the trackpad (three fingers for both tasks (no click)).

    Apps such as VLC use a trackpad gesture to control volume. All Macs have brightness and audio keys. BetterTouchTool allows you to assign OS X brightness and audio control to trackpad control.

  • Meengla

    A key aspect of touch screen in a laptop’s Stand mode is that the screen comes near to you–an experience which even the best track pad in regular/laptop mode simply can’t match. Thus is my experience. My Lenovo IdeaFlex 15.5 has a pretty decent trackpad but it pales in comparison with the experience when I use that device in Stand mode.

  • Kirladill

    Dont worry, when the inevitable happens and Apple releases a laptop with a touchscreen the mainstream tech press will suddenly change their mind & tell everyone how it makes sense now.

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