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The 5 best touchscreen laptops: Top notebooks to get your hands on

What is the best touchscreen laptop? The Dell XPS 15 is ZDNet's top choice. We compared pricing and features like display size and storage configurations to determine our top pick as well as some other honorable mentions.
hedyphillips-2.jpg
Written by Hedy Phillips, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

Touchscreen laptops are one of the more versatile computers on the market right now, and they come in a wide variety of options. There are the budget-friendly Chromebooks ideal for students to tuck in their backpacks for school, and there are also high-end convertible laptops for creative professionals to walk into a meeting with to show off the newest project. These laptops bring you right into your computer by allowing you to be hands-on with your work. While especially appealing for creatives who want to use their laptops for art, touchscreen computers are a fine machine for anyone to use, especially if you're someone who'd rather use your fingers or a stylus over a mouse.

In a crowded market of laptops, it can be stressful to figure out which computer is the right one for you. Fortunately, many laptops fit into certain categories so you can look at what you need it for (or what your budget is) and narrow it down from there. These are our top five best touchscreen laptops on the market right now.

Dell XPS 15 (9520)
Dell

Tech specs:

  • 15.6-inch OLED display
  • 12th generation Intel core processor
  • 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB RAM
  • 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSD
  • Price: $2,199+

The New Dell XPS 15 is a great pick if you're looking for a touchscreen laptop. Though it is a pricey machine at more than $2,000, it comes with specs that make it worth it. The 15.6-inch display provides plenty of room for whatever you're working on, and it's made even better with the OLED display. The 3456 x 2160 display has a 400-nit capacity as well, which means the color quality is excellent, with the blackest blacks and high contrast between shades. 

The display also includes infinity edge, so again, you're getting a lot of real estate on the display. The machine can also be configured to suit the memory and storage you need. While not all the specs work with the OLED touchscreen model, you can configure it with anywhere from 16-64GB of RAM and anywhere from 512GB to 2TB SSD storage. It is a little bit heavy, at 4.31 lbs, but for a machine with a 15.6-inch screen, that's to be expected. 

Pros:

  • OLED display is very clear
  • Can be configured in a variety of ways

Cons:

  • Heavy at 4.31 lbs
  • Pricey
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5
Lenovo

Tech specs:

  • 13.3-inch OLED display
  • 4GB memory
  • 256GB storage
  • 1.5 lbs
  • Price: $390+

Whether you're a student or just want a compact computer that doubles as a Chromebook, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is a great pick. This small machine weighs less than 2 lbs, making it easy to grab and go at home, at the office, or at school. 

Because it's a budget-friendly machine that will cost you less than $400, it's not going to have all the bells and whistles that some of the more expensive computers have, but it does come with 4 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage all hardwired into the machine. Similar models have slightly different specs, though none of them includes much more than this. 

If you don't need a lot of space and don't plan to use your touchscreen laptop for large projects or intense things like photo editing or video editing, you can easily get by with the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. It's designed for simple things like surfing the web, doing homework, showing off ideas in meetings, and similar business tasks that require a compact machine in your hands to show around.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Doubles as Chromebook
  • Budget-friendly

Cons:

  • Can't adjust the memory or storage
  • Small display
HP Spectre x360
Amazon

Tech specs:

  • Intel Core i5 or i7 processor
  • 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSD
  • 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB memory
  • Price: $1,250+

The HP Spectre x360 is a good choice if you want your touchscreen computer to also be convertible. While you'll find plenty of convertible laptops, this HP model outperforms the competition and has a somewhat reasonable price tag as well. It's fully customizable, allowing you to choose the processor, memory, storage, and display options. The more customizations you make, the higher the price tag, but even the base model is a reliable machine for work or school. 

This computer also comes in a couple different colors, so if a boring silver or black aren't your thing, you can opt for blue. It also comes equipped with security measures that include an IR camera for facial recognition and the option to get a privacy screen and shutter to block the screen and camera. This would do well to be carted around the office if you need to use your machine as a tablet and a laptop in the same day (though it's heavy) and has a battery life to last you that long as well. 

Pros:

  • Convertible machine
  • Fully customizable
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • A little hefty to carry around
  • More expensive than some competitors
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
Amazon

Tech specs:

  • 14.4-inch display
  • 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB SSD
  • 16GB or 32GB LPDDR4x RAM
  • Price: $1,400

For creative professionals and creative students who need a touchscreen laptop that can keep up, opt for the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio. This convertible touchscreen has a 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow Display, which is very responsive to your fingers and to a stylus. It's also customizable with different storage and memory options, so you can opt up to get plenty of room to stash your projects onboard.

There are two options for the graphics card, based on which processor you get: the Intel Iris Xe Graphics GPU or the NVIDIA GeForce RTX3050 Ti  laptop GPU. Both of these can handle photo editing or video editing if that's what you plan to use the laptop for, though the Nvidia graphics card is paired with the Intel Core i7 models, so you'll get a slightly faster, smoother performance. 

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Convertible

Cons:

  • Runs warm
  • Limited port options
Google Pixelbook Go
Amazon

Tech specs:

  • 13.3-inch LCD display
  • 8GB or 16GB RAM 
  • 64GB, 128GB, or 256  SSD
  • Price: $649+

The Google Pixelbook Go is an all-around great touchscreen computer if you're shopping on a budget. It's customizable in terms of memory and storage, but the base model is equipped with enough of both to get you through schoolwork or standard business tasks. It runs with a Chrome OS, so if you're a Google devotee, you'll be a fan of this.

The computer is lightweight as well -- just over 2 lbs -- which makes it easy to carry around to school or work, and with a battery life up to 12 hours, you don't have to worry about being tethered to your desk. This is a great little laptop to drop in your work bag or schoolbag to use on the go. Plus, it charges extra fast, so you don't have to stay plugged in very long before getting up and moving around again. You could easily use this in a meeting to go through a presentation or take it with you to art class to doodle your next masterpiece.   

Pros:

  • Base model is budget-friendly
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Modifications make the laptop pricier
  • Audio isn't great
  • Limited storage

What is the best touchscreen laptop?

The new Dell XPS 15 is an overall good pick when it comes to touchscreen laptops. It can be configured to be an even higher-quality machine if you have more money to spend, but the base model with the 15.6-inch OLED display will work beautifully at the office or at home thanks to its incredible color quality and crisp display.

Touchscreen laptop

Price

Display

Storage

Dell XPS 15

$2,199+

OLED

512GB, 1TB, 2TB 

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5

$390+

OLED

128GB, 256GB

HP Spectre x360

$1,250+

OLED

512GB, 1TB, 2TB 

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

$1,400+

PixelSense Flow Display

256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB

Google Pixelbook Go

$649+

LCD

64GB, 128GB, 256GB 

Which is the right touchscreen laptop for you?

While all these touchscreen laptops have that functionality, they differ otherwise. You can choose the right machine for you based on what you plan to use it for, budget, and more. Consider your primary use for the computer to decide which option is the best choice.

Choose this touchscreen laptop…

If you are looking for…

Dell XPS 15 

High-contrast colors and a gorgeous display

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5

A touchscreen Chromebook

HP Spectre x360

A convertible touchscreen

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

A laptop built for creatives

Google Pixelbook Go

A budget-friendly machine

How did we choose these touchscreen laptops?

There are a few things to consider when laptop shopping. Because this is an investment purchase, you want to make sure you're looking at all the features of the computer and considering what you need it for before you take the plunge. 

Our ratings here were based on looking at all these factors. We looked at the tech specs of the touchscreen computers on the market and weighed lifestyle choices alongside them. Budget is also a factor for something like a computer. Some laptops will have a higher price tag but don't necessarily have the performance to match. That's why we looked at the specs in comparison to the price.

There are so many laptops on the market and it can be difficult to wade through all of them while you're shopping. We weeded out most computers that were really expensive, as well as those that were so cheap that they compromised on performance. We also took a close look at how much each machine weighs, as many touchscreen laptops are intended to be portable. While we did include some heavier options, we felt the performance made the size worth it.

Are touchscreen laptops good for drawing?

Touchscreen laptops are a great idea for drawing if you're using a convertible one. While some convertible touchscreen laptops are a bit large to carry around, you can comfortably hold them in your lap to draw. A convertible touchscreen can also double as your tablet, saving you the cost of buying two devices to work on. 

Are touchscreen laptops worth it?

Touchscreen laptops range in price, so consider a more budget-friendly pick like a Lenovo Chromebook if you're concerned about the cost. These computers have a small price tag in comparison to competitors, so you can get a feel for the touchscreen functionality. If you use one of these for a while and decide it's the right type of laptop for you, you could upgrade to a higher-quality computer with more storage or memory and a faster processor. 

Do I need a stylus for a touchscreen laptop?

While it isn't absolutely necessary to use a stylus with a touchscreen laptop, they'll help you with precision. Some touchscreen laptops come equipped with a stylus, whereas some brands will make you purchase one separately.

Are there alternative touchscreen laptops worth considering?

Beyond these top five picks for the best touchscreen laptops, there are a few more computers that are quality machines to get the job done. They largely fit into the same categories outlined previously and are slightly outperformed by our picks but are still worth looking into while you do your shopping.

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