When we talk about touchscreens, they’re usually in reference to phones, tablets, 2-in-1s, convertibles, and all-in-one PCs. After all, that’s where touchscreens are best utilized, especially when touch-based input is at the forefront of your computing experience. But regardless of how much Steve Jobs hated them, there’s a crowd that wouldn’t mind a traditional clamshell laptop with a screen supporting touch.
Below you will find a mixture of Chromebooks and Windows 10 PCs. Our favorite is the HP Spectre 13 as seen in our recent review, sporting a 13.3-inch screen and an 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8550U processor. We also chose a great option for a premium experience, and a great solution if you’re on a tight budget. Our picks for the best Chromebook and budget-friendly options have locked specifications and prices while our other selections have configurations you can customize through the manufacturer.
HP Spectre 13
Why you should buy this: This touch-enabled laptop provides excellent performance backed by a solid battery, and a beautiful yet thin and light form factor.
Who’s it for: Customers willing to purchase a laptop above the $1,200 mark.
How much will it cost: $1,249+
Why we picked the HP Spectre 13:
For this model, HP provides two configurations with a starting price of $1,249 although we reviewed the higher-end model. The big difference between the two is the underlying processor: a seventh-generation Core i7-7500U in one model, and an eighth-generation Core i7-8550U in the other. Both provide the same amount of system memory and storage, but the seventh-generation version is slightly bigger in size due to two additional speakers.
As the specifications show, the laptop measures just 0.41 inches thick, and weighs 2.45 pounds. Complementing this thin and light form factor is a cooling system that enables the full potential of Intel’s chip without causing excessive heat and possible performance bottlenecks. The system also includes dynamic power settings that adjusts to the current application, so you get high performance when you need it, enabling a longer battery duration.
The best 15-inch touchscreen laptop
Dell XPS 15
Why you should buy this: It’s most highly-recommended laptop, turned into a touchscreen machine.
Who’s it for: Customers wanting high performance and in a premium laptop.
How much will it cost: Starting at $1,699
Why we picked the Dell XPS 15:
The Dell XPS 13 is the best laptop you can buy — and its 15-inch cousin is just as good. They have amazing design, build quality, and feature top-of-the-line specs. The displays on these laptops, in particular, are fantastic, providing photography-level color reproduction that professionals and hobbyists should both like.
The problem is that the touchscreen option is only available on the more premium 4K configurations, which aren’t cheap. If it wasn’t for that, the Dell XPS line would have taken out our top pick. As a 15-inch laptop, the Dell XPS 15 is the best you can buy — touchscreen or not.
If you’re looking for a more inexpensive way to get a 15-inch XPS laptop, be on the lookout for the XPS 15 2-in-1, due in March. As a 2-in-1, it will always have a touchscreen, but it will start at a more affordable $1,300 — with the added bonus of stylus support and tablet mode.
The best touchscreen Chromebook
Acer Chromebook 15
Why you should buy this: Acer’s solution is the largest Chromebook to date, and is backed by premium components.
Who’s it for: Customers looking for a premium computing experience outside the Windows platform.
How much will it cost: $399
Why we picked the Acer Chromebook 15:
This is Acer’s largest Chromebook to date, and we thought it was a great. There’s only one configuration available, which consists of an Intel Pentium N4200 processor, 4GB of system memory, and 32GB of storage. That’s not a lot of space, of course, but Chrome OS wasn’t designed to download and install programs. On that same note, the platform now supports Google Play and Android apps, so Acer helps alleviate your storage woes with a built-in SD card reader.
Notable features in Acer’s Chromebook include a 15.6-inch screen supporting wide viewing angles, deep colors, and a Full HD resolution. There are also two USB-C ports, both of which can be used to charge the Chromebook. Meanwhile, all four USB ports are capable of video output and wired networking using a compatible adapter (although Google would likely rather you purchase a Chromecast for pushing your screen on an external display). Other ingredients include a 720p webcam and Wireless AC networking.
The best touchscreen laptop on a budget
Dell Inspiron 15 5567
Why you should buy this: Dell’s Inspiron 15 5567 is a decent touch-based 15.6-inch solution based on a seventh-generation CPU, and a Full HD screen.
Who’s it for: Customers seeking a touch-based laptop for under $600
How much will it cost: $589
Why we picked the Dell Inspiron 15 5567:
Finally, we have a great touch-based laptop for under $600. It’s based on Intel’s seventh-generation Core i5-7200U processor, and the chip’s integrated HD Graphics 620 component. This combo powers a 15.6-inch screen with a Full HD resolution, and is backed by 8GB of system memory running at a decent 2,400MHz and a rather slow hard drive spinning at a mere 5,400 rotations per minute.
As for other features, this laptop provides three USB ports, HDMI-based video output for external monitors and HDTVs, wired networking, an SD card slot, and a 720p infrared camera that supports Windows 10 facial recognition via Windows Hello. Unfortunately, the Wireless AC component is capped at 433Mbps, which is half of what you typically see in most laptops sold on the market.
Note that if you want more oomph out of a laptop, there’s a version with a discrete GeForce GTX 1050 graphics chip for $100 more.