questionsis a touchscreen v. the touchpad worth the extra…

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I'm not even sure what you're asking. A touchpad is a tablet, right? Aren't all tablets touch screen?

So are you asking about getting a laptop with a touch screen versus a simple tablet? The tablet does not have a keyboard so if the majority of your tasks have to do with typing, I would still recommend a laptop over a tablet. It's not that easy to type on a tablet because you cannot rest your fingers on the screen and you cannot feel if you're pressing the right keys.

Or, are you asking about getting a touch screen laptop versus a non touch screen laptop? I had to make this same decision recently too. Turns out the touch screen option was about $100 more on a 17" laptop. After playing with both, there wasn't really any comparison -- touch screen all the way! It was fun navigating google maps because you can pinch to zoom. Also if you're going to use Windows 8, it's easier to use the swipe from edge method to get to some menus than it is to hover your mouse in a corner.

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It's true that all the programs could use a mouse instead of touching the screen and I even use the mouse more often. . A mouse is more convenient and I don't have to wipe fingerprint off the screen as often. I was not on a tight budget so that extra $100 wasn't that big of a deal for me. If I was having trouble paying my rent and having to make this same decision, then I would be satisfied with a laptop without the touch screen.

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@cengland0: I was asking about the latter: non-touch v. touch laptop. Thanks for answering my question.

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@cengland0: a touch pad is the thing on a laptop that you use instead of a mouse

edit: exception being the HP Touchpad tablet

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Without question, having the touchscreen option is the way to go, so really, it comes down to one thing:

How much extra is the TouchScreen going to cost you? And how much is it worth to you?

Without question, the TouchScreen is the way to go.. and I'd say for an extra $50 or so, no question.. Especially if this is going to be your main laptop and it's going to be something you have for years, I'd say it's worth a little more. Paying ~10% is probably worth it.

But, if you're buying a short-term budget machine and the TouchScreen is going to cost you +30% of what you're paying for the entire machine, it might be worth re-considering.

Keep in mind, you can always get a nice, big, fast touchscreen for under $100 :)..

Coincidentally I'm typing this on a touchscreen I just got about 10 minutes ago.. it's really nice, but do I see myself reaching across the screen to do things I can do in 1/2 the time on the pad? Probably not too often.

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I bought a touchscreen, and thought I'd be using it all the time. I don't use it as much as I thought, because the fingerprints all over the screen are irritating. Also, I have to reach a bit to use it, and the touchpad is right there.
Yes, you pay more, and then there is also the screen difference. The non touch, have a lot less glare on the screens from what I've seen. There are also some clearance buys on the non touch that make them a lot cheaper than just $100 off.
I'm still glad that I got the touch, because it is occasionally convenient, and otherwise, I'd probably be hitting the screen anyway due to my cell and tablet habits. At least I actually accomplish something doing it... lol.