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Do I Need a Touch Screen for Windows 8?

Touch Screen for Windows 8: This PROs and CONs

Illustration: Gordon McAlpin

Microsoft LOVES touchscreens. In fact, the Metro user interface in the new Windows 8, coming soon, is designed and geared toward those PCs that have touchscreens. It’s designed to look identical to and integrate with Windows phones, which will also be using Metro by then.

There’s at least one problem with that: very few of us own touchscreen Windows PCs, and there are good reasons for that. In fact, there are a whole host of drawbacks to owning a PC that has a touchscreen.


  • Huge additional cost



You can’t use any old monitor. You have to use the one that comes with the PC, which means you’re paying much more for the same or reduced screen size, compared to the average LCD or LED monitor. Touchscreen technology is still expensive, and scales up exponentially, the larger the monitor is.

For example, a dual-core all-in-one Samsung PC with 23″ touchscreen is over $1,000 — several hundred dollars more than the equivalent desktop PC and monitor, without a touchscreen.


  • The touchscreen has to be close to you



My monitor here at the office is a good 3 feet from my eyes. This allows me to see all the details very clearly at my chosen resolution (1920 x 1280). I don’t want it any closer to me, and I certainly don’t want it close enough to touch.


  • The touchscreen gets fingerprints all over it



I don’t know about you, but I find a touchscreen filled with fingerprints kind of gross. How much moreso for a PC monitor, where detail and clarity is important? Do you really want to be having to clean that thing every five minutes?


  • Poor operating system support



Sure, Windows 8 is designed for touchscreen PCs. But Windows 8 is still a long way off, and in the meantime, support for touchscreens in existing Windows versions is pretty crummy. Nobody wants to try and use their fingers to navigate an OS that’s clearly designed for a mouse and keyboard. In addition, most OSes don’t support multitouch (the ability to use more than one finger at a time to perform complex commands).

So I’d conclude that no, Windows 8 is not enough to make the average user (you and me) want to own a touchscreen PC. Now, if the Windows 8 experience is amazing on a phone or tablet, that’s a different story. But the mouse and keyboard will do just nicely for controlling desktop and laptop PCs for the foreseeable future, thank you.

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