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The best touchscreen laptops of 2020

A touchscreen laptop used to be a luxury, but now there are plenty of options out there. You don’t have to stick to one brand or model, and you can find a touchscreen laptop at almost any price, though it can sometimes require paying a premium over non-touch-sensitive displays. The HP Spectre X360 13 is our top pick because of its beautiful design and 2-in-1 feature that allows you to convert it to a tablet.

Whether you’re a student or a professional looking for a new touchscreen laptop, here are some of the best ones.

The best touchscreen laptops at a glance:

The best touchscreen laptop: HP Spectre x360 13

HP Spectre x360 15 2019 review
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: You want a flexible laptop that performs great in all categories.

Who’s it for: Professionals, perfectionists, and people who want a really good laptop.

Why we picked the HP Spectre x360 13:

It’s not often that we reward any laptops a perfect review score, but finding a laptop like the HP Spectre x360 13 is a rare occurrence. This incredible laptop has a beautiful “gem-cut” design, amazing battery life, a keyboard that feels great to use, and 2-in-1 features if you want to convert it to tablet form to sketch, takes notes, etc. It has a little of everything, and manages to do it all well.

The touchscreen itself is a bright HD display that comes with a handy power saving mode that can adjust the screen so your battery doesn’t waste too much juice on it. As can be expected with HP laptops, there are plenty of security features onboard, including a facial recognition camera and a fingerprint scanner. Ports include two USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 support, USB-A 3.1, and microSD.

The HP Spectre we tested offered an 8th-gen Core i7 process, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, but these specs can vary based on your picks, and you can make the laptop significantly more powerful if you want. Even better, HP has announced an updated Spectre x360 13 that fixes the 2-in-1’s main issue — huge bezels — with a tiny-bezel design, ramps up the power with Intel’s new 10th-gen CPUs, and offers a new 4K OLED display option.

Read our full HP Spectre x360 13 review

The best touchscreen Chromebook: Google Pixelbook Go

Google Pixelbook Go Not Pink Prototype
9to5Google

Why you should buy this: It’s a versatile and powerful Chromebook that can do almost anything.

Who’s it for: Students who want a Chromebook that will last and professionals who like Chrome OS.

Why we picked the Google Pixelbook Go:

Do Chromebooks seem lacking in storage to you? Google has a compromise with its own 2-in-1 Pixelbook Go. It offers more power and space so it can function as a more versatile laptop than other, more streamlined Chromebooks (albeit at a higher cost, too).

The Pixelbook Go is equipped with a 13.3-inch display, which can be upgraded from full HD to 4K if you prefer. You also get a broad choice in processors, from an Intel Core m3 to a Core i7, depending on what you need. RAM ranges from 8GB to 15GB and storage from 64GB to a 256GB SSD drive.

The battery for the Pixelbook Go is rated at around 12 hours of standard activity, making it a long-lasting device. You’ll need a couple of dongles or adapters, though, as its port selection is limited to just one USB-C and a headphone jack.

Read our full PixelBook Go review

The best touchscreen 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Why you should buy this: It’s the best 2-in-1 you can buy, hands down.

Who’s it for: Mobile professionals and those who want a Windows 10 tablet.

Why we picked the Microsoft Surface Pro 7:

The Surface Pro line has always been a high-end option for excellent 2-in-1 models, and the Surface Pro 7 adds some long-awaited features to the line that make it even more ready for today’s business world. If you want the best Windows 10 tablet, this is your top option and our current favorite 2-in-1.

It comes with a 12.3-inch UHD touchscreen and several choices of processors, up to a 10th-gen Intel Core i7 chip for the latest performance. You can also choose up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage — which means this slim laptop can become as powerful as you need.

There’s also a USB-C port, something the Pro 6 was sadly lacking, plus USB-A, a headphone jack, ports for Surface Connect and Surface Type Cover, and a MicroSDXC card reader. While the battery is rated for 10.5 hours, our tests showed that Microsoft Surface Pro 7 performed a bit worse than the Pro 6, possibly because of the higher processor speeds and better display qualities.

Read our full Microsoft Surface Pro 7 review

The best touchscreen laptop under $500: Dell Inspiron 14 7000

Dell-Inspiron-14-7000-left-side

Why you should buy this: A solid laptop that’s more affordable than ever.

Who’s it for: Those who need a touchscreen on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice quality.

Why we picked the Dell Inspiron 14 7000:

This 14-inch Inspiron model offers a larger screen than many of our picks, and has a particularly low price for a lightweight touchscreen laptop, a great option for those looking to save money. The model has an Intel Core i5 processor and 6GB of RAM—upgrades to these specs are available, but that will also increase the cost. Storage, however, can easily go up to 1TB without affecting the price too much. Ports include USB-A 3.0, SD card slot, and HDMI and are well positioned, highlighting the strong design of this Dell laptop.

Of course, you do give up a bit for the lower price. The Dell Inspiron 14’s display is only 1080p, which serviceable for most tasks but disappointing if you were looking for ultra HD. There’s no USB-C option for more advanced connections either. Battery life is passable at around 8 hours and 10 minutes for our basic “Readers” test. Given the affordable price though, those negatives feel like understandable compromises.

Read our full Dell Inspiron 14 7000 review

The best touchscreen laptop for students: Microsoft Surface Go 2

Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: This 2-in-1 is an easy, durable choice when you’re always on the move.

Who’s it for: Students and professionals who don’t need to get a Surface Pro.

Why we picked the Microsoft Surface Go 2:

The Go 2 improves on the affordable 2-in-1 in several ways, notably with a larger 10.5-inch touchscreen that improved its screen resolution to HD and enhanced the battery life to 10 hours. At only 1.2 pounds, it’s the lightest option on our list, too, ideal for carrying around with you throughout the day.

You can choose up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage, but we like the lower specs that keep the price down. At the base level, it’s the most affordable Surface device Microsoft offers, and well within a wider range of budgets. Perfect for those who don’t need or can’t justify buying a Surface Pro. You will need to buy the optional typer cover to give this 2-in-1 full laptop functionality, however.

We love that this the Microsoft Surface Go 2 comes equipped with a USB-C connection for the latest, fastest data connections, although there’s also a Surface Connect port and a MicroSDX card reader.

Read our full Surface Go 2 review

Research and buying tips

Do touchscreen laptops use more battery?

They can, but this question is trickier than it seems. All sorts of laptop display settings can drain your battery, especially screen brightness.

Touchscreens use a simple capacitive layer on the display to detect your fingers, which uses hardly any electricity at all. However, as touchscreen laptops have grown more complex, there are more features “watching” for touch inputs, which can drain battery life over time. For a variety of reasons, touchscreen laptops tend to use their batteries faster than models without a touchscreen. Oh, and disabling the touchscreen won’t make a difference. Most laptops simply set the screen to ignore all touches, accidental or otherwise, but the battery-draining features are still there.

The real reason touchscreen laptops tend to get worse battery life is because sometimes they are limited to higher resolution configurations, such as with the Dell XPS 13. A 4K screen is the primary battery-sucker here, not the touchscreen addition.

Are touchscreen laptops good for drawing?

This is a very model specific question! Some touchscreen laptops are horrible for drawing, while others are actually very good at it. Look for a 2-in-1 model that’s stylus compatible with something like the Surface Pen (Microsoft’s Surface models, Lenovo Yoga models, etc.). Then look carefully at reviews and see if people find that the laptop model is good for sketching and drawing. If the display isn’t able to lay completely flat, it’s probably not a good choice as a drawing surface.

Does Apple have a touchscreen laptop?

Apple does have a touchscreen laptop, as long as you count the iPad Pro as one. Sure, it’s technically a tablet, but there have been major developments to make it laptop-like, especially with the features from the new iPadOS. 

Beyond that, Apple doesn’t have any interest in making MacBooks with touchscreens at this time. The reason: Apple’s designers just don’t like the idea. However, with MacOS Catalina, Apple did introduce a feature called Sidecar. With Sidecar, you can bring your iPad and MacBook together, as it offers easy screen-sharing. Then, your MacBook can become a touch screen system, with seamless usage via the Apple Pencil or just your own fingers. The feature is excellent for drawing, but we can see the appeal for other applications, too.

Are all 2-in-1 laptops touchscreen laptops?

When manufacturers call a laptop a “2-in-1,” they mean it can convert to a tablet. Typically, you convert a 2-in-1 by folding the screen back or sliding the keyboard off. A few examples are the Lenovo Yoga, HP Spectre 360x, and Microsoft Surface Book. Because these types of laptops do double duty as tablets, they require a touchscreen. So yes, all 2-in-1 laptops are touchscreen models. 

You will find some clamshell laptops with touchscreens, too. Laptops like the Surface Laptop 2 and some iterations of the Dell XPS 13 are standard clamshell-style computers with touchscreens.

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