What to consider when buying a Windows 8 touchscreen laptop

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Nov 20th 2012 - by Fix My PC FREE in: Blog Laptop Tweaks and Repairs | 1 Comment

What to consider when buying a Windows 8 touchscreen laptop

The release of Windows 8 has come and gone, and that means that all new laptops available in stores today feature Windows 8. Many of these laptops include touchscreens.

If you’re like most consumers, you’ve never purchased a touchscreen laptop before in your life. And that’s why we’re going to show you some of the most important things to consider when buying any touchscreen laptop.

Without further ado, here are the features you should pay attention to when buying a Windows 8 touchscreen laptop:

Pinpointing your budget range

Low budget range ($400 to $800)

Some touchscreen laptops are surprisingly cheap. In terms of good touchscreen laptops on a budget, Asus leads the way. Asus’s line of Vivobooks is priced at $499, $599, and $649. Those screens are 11.6 inches, 14.1 inches, and 15.6 inches in size. As far as hardware goes, the Vivobooks feature Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors and standard onboard graphics.

So budget Windows 8 laptops are out there. It’s just a matter of doing research and waiting for the right sales.

Medium budget range ($800 to $1400)

Most users stray towards the medium budget range. Medium budget range laptops are obviously larger and more powerful than their lower end counterparts, but they also tend to be more durable. While lower end laptops might last for just a year or two before something needs to be fixed, medium range laptops shouldn’t have nearly as many problems.

Durability is more important with touchscreen laptops because there are more parts at play. Touchscreens are complex pieces of technology, and when companies create lower end touchscreens, you know they have had to cut corners somewhere along the way. If your touchscreen stops working a few months down the road, then what’s the point of buying a touchscreen laptop in the first place?

In short, the medium budget range provides a good blend of affordability, durability, and performance power that will appeal to the average PC user.

Upper budget range ($1400+)

And then there is the cream of the crop. If you’re willing to spend over $1500 on a laptop, then you can expect to enjoy top-of-the-line resolution, power, touchscreen support, and all sorts of other goodies. MSI and Samsung offer a number of premium-quality laptops at the upper range.

MSI’s $2700 behemoth, for example, features a 256GB SSD (along with a 750GB main hard drive) as well as an Intel Core i7 CPU, 17.3” screen, and 16GB of RAM. Oh, and it also has more video memory than most desktop video cards on the market today, with the GTX 680M powering all of your gaming needs.

Performance power – how much do you need?

Once you’ve decided how much money you want to spend on your new touchscreen laptop, it’s time to decide how much RAM and processing power you need. Here is what we think in terms of processing power, hard drive speed, and RAM:

RAM: Windows 8 requires a minimum of 2GB of RAM for the 64-bit model. For that reason, your Windows 8 laptop shouldn’t have less than 4GB of RAM. If you have less than 4GB, you’re cutting too close to the minimum requirements. With 4GB or more, you’ll experience blazing fast speed. And obviously, the more RAM you have, the faster your laptop will go. Preferably, buy a laptop with 8GB of RAM. However, if you’re buying a low to mid-range laptop, then 4GB of RAM might be your only option.

CPU: Intel’s processors dominate the world of Windows 8 laptops. Intel’s current line of processors come in i3, i5, and i7 models, with i3 being the least powerful and i7 being the most powerful. Windows 8 only requires a 1GHz CPU, so your CPU choice won’t affect basic Windows 8 performance as much as your hard drive or RAM choice. The i5 generally provides the best blend of affordability and performance, with the i7 being an ideal choice for power desktop users. But if you plan on using your laptop for basic programs and gaming tasks, the i5 should get the job done without any hiccups.

Hard drives: While CPU and RAM get a lot of attention, hard drive performance is often more important – especially when your laptop has an SSD. SSDs are smaller, lighter, and faster versions of traditional hard drives. Although they’re more expensive than a normal hard drive, they are more than twice as fast. Whenever possible, choose a laptop with an SSD. Traditional laptop hard drives generally come in 5,400rpm models, which makes them significantly slower than desktop computers. If you are willing to spend an extra $100 for an SSD, you can expect your computer to boot up in seconds and load programs instantly.

Screen size and resolution

You’ll be staring at your laptop screen a lot, so you’ll want to spend some time researching the best screen size and resolution. With laptop resolution, consumers today generally have two options:

-1366×768

-1920×1080 (full HD)

Most laptops south of $1000 have a 1366×768 resolution. Unless you’re paying more than that, 1366×768 will do the job just fine. Since most laptops today feature this resolution, websites, programs, and games have all been optimized to run at that level.

But if you are willing to pay over $1000 for your laptop, you should be able to find some good 1920×1080 models. Full HD is a nice luxury, as it allows you to play 1080p videos in their full glory and experience HD gaming. You can also have multiple windows open side-by-side without feeling too crammed.

The perfect Windows 8 touchscreen laptops for each budget

We’ve put together a short list of some of the laptops that meet all of the requirements listed above. Here are our best picks for the lower, medium, and upper range of Windows 8 touchscreen laptops.

Note: we are not affiliated with these companies in any way, so you can rest assured that these laptop choices are completely non-biased. They can all be purchased from online retailers like Newegg, Amazon, Best Buy, or the manufacturers themselves:

Lower range:

Asus VivoBook Q200 – $499

-4GB of RAM

-Intel Core i3 CPU

-1366×768 resolution on a 11.6-inch screen

This is as good a touchscreen laptop as you’re going to get if you’re paying less than $500.

Medium range:

Sony Vaio T13 – $769

-13-inch screen size with 1366×768 resolution

-Intel Core i3 CPU

-4GB of RAM

-32GB hybrid drive plus 320GB standard hard drive

Dell XPS 12 – $1199  

-12.5-inch 1920×1080 screen

-4GB of RAM

-128 GB SSD

-Intel Core i5 CPU

The Dell XPS 12 is our personal favorite from this list. At this price range, it’s relatively affordable. It also features an HD resolution, 128GB SSD, and an i5 with more than enough processing power. If you’re looking for the perfect blend of affordability and performance, the XPS 12 will do the trick.

Upper range:

MSI GT Series GT70 ($2700)

-17.3-inch 1920×1080 screen

-16GB of RAM

-750 GB hard drive + 256GB SSD

-Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M

-Intel Core i7 CPU

This is the cream of the crop when it comes to Windows 8 touchscreen laptops. Expect it to play all the latest PC games while handling every other task you throw at it.

Samsung Amor2 Ultrabook

-Intel Core i7 CPU

-8GB of RAM

-256GB SSD

If you’re looking for a high performance laptop but don’t need it to play the latest PC games, then consider the Samsung Amor2 Ultrabook, which offers a good blend of performance and affordability without the price of a premium video card. It also has a huge SSD.

1 Comment

One Response to What to consider when buying a Windows 8 touchscreen laptop

  1. judy

    but the MSI isn’t touchscreen !!!

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